Can you really use vinegar as a surface cleaner or disinfectant?

During quarantine, cleaner and disinfectant sales have been at an all-time high. So, is it safe to make your own cleaner at home using vinegar?

Distilled white vinegar is a popular all-natural DIY option that can be used on sinks, countertops and other surfaces. It’s an alternative to the harsh chemicals found in other cleaners, but with that comes some differences in terms of killing germs.

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Distilled white vinegar is a cleaner, not a disinfectant.

In The Know’s Phoebe Zaslav, who came up with an easy way to make a natural cleaner with vinegar, explained the difference.

“Cleaners physically remove dirt, debris and some germs but do not kill 99.9 percent of germs, like disinfectants do,” Phoebe says in the clip.

This doesn’t undermine how great distilled white vinegar can be as a natural cleaner. It contains 5 percent acetic acid which can kill certain bacterias like E. coli or salmonella. But to be clear: Do not use vinegar if you’re trying to adequately disinfect your home against COVID.

“For this cleaner, you need 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of water and 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil,” Phoebe says. “The essential oil is used to basically mask the really sour, almost pickle-y smell of the vinegar.”

Simply combine all of the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake it up.

“Since this does kill a lot of bacteria that comes from food, this is a great spray to keep in your kitchen,” Phoebe adds. “And the best part is you can make it smell like whatever you want!”

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