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Can You Clean Wood With Vinegar? Is It a Good Idea?

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Wood can be a tricky surface to keep clean. While it looks great in many applications, it’s also a soft material, and a cleaning solution that is too harsh can easily discolor or damage it. But how does vinegar stack up? Is it a good cleaning solution for wood, or should you use something else?

The short answer is that you can use vinegar as a cleaning solution, but only if you dilute it properly. It can be a bit complicated, so this guide breaks down everything that you need to know to use vinegar to clean wood surfaces throughout your home.

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Can You Clean Wood With Vinegar?

Vinegar
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Vinegar is an acid, so it can be extremely useful for cleaning, even on wood. However, while you can clean wood with a vinegar solution, you should never clean wood with pure, undiluted vinegar.

So, yes, you can clean wood with vinegar, but only if you do it the right way; otherwise, you will damage the wood.

Is It a Good Idea to Clean Wood With Vinegar?

cropped woman cleaning wood surface with blue cloth and spray cleaner
Image Credit: Kmpzzz, Shutterstock

While you can clean wood with a vinegar solution, it’s not a good idea to clean wood with undiluted vinegar. Vinegar is an acid, and if you leave it on long enough, it can eat at the wood and discolor it or damage it in other ways.

However, properly diluted vinegar cleaning solutions use the acid from the vinegar to break down contaminants, dirt, and grime on top of the wood.

That said, you need to wipe up the vinegar solution instead of letting it sit on the wood for an extended time. Otherwise, you risk the same discoloration and damage that you can get with undiluted vinegar.

Concerns About Cleaning Wood With Vinegar

The primary concern about cleaning wood with vinegar is potentially discoloring the surface of the wood. But that’s only an issue if you leave the vinegar on the wood for an extended amount of time or repeatedly use vinegar on the wood.

If you dilute the vinegar properly in a cleaning solution and dry up the excess after cleaning the wood, there are no real concerns about using vinegar to clean wood surfaces.

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How to Clean Wood With Vinegar in 4 Steps

Here’s a great vinegar solution that should work for the wood in your home, along with everything that you need to know to use it safely without damaging your furniture.

1. Make the Cleaning Solution

vinegar and cleaning supplies on the table
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Creating a vinegar-cleaning solution is easy. Simply add 3 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 cup of water, and stir it. You can also add a small amount of dish soap if you want more cleaning power.

That’s all you need to do to dilute vinegar. It’s simple, easy, and cost-effective, making it an excellent cleaning solution choice.


2. Dust First

Dust and debris will hamper any efforts to clean off a wooden surface, so do yourself a favor, and dust and vacuum any debris on the wood before you start using your solution. This simple step will make the rest of your cleaning process much easier, and you can save yourself frustration and time.


3. Test Your Solution

cropped man cleaning wood surface with blue cloth and disinfectant
Image Credit: Polina Zimmerman, Pexels

This vinegar solution should work on just about any wood surface, but there are many different kinds out there, and you don’t want to find out that it doesn’t work after you put it on the wood.

Find an area of the wood that’s not easily visible, and try out a small amount there. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off. Everything should look clean and unblemished. If there’s any discoloring, try a different cleaning solution.


4. Clean the Wood

Now that you know your vinegar cleaning solution won’t damage the wood, it’s time to start cleaning. Use your cleaning solution all over the wood, and clean it all. Feel free to scrub as needed, but use a soft-bristled brush that won’t cut into or scratch the wood.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to use vinegar safely and effectively to clean wood, you just need to make your own cleaning solution and get to work. You can get your wood surfaces clean without damaging them or spending much money, which is a real win-win.


Featured Image Credit: FotoHelin, Shutterstock

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