Think Before You Buy: Vinegar in the Cleaning Aisle

I like to use green cleaning products whenever I can, because I’m sensitive to regular cleaning products.

Cleaning with vinegar has been around since…forever.

I remember watching an old episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 (yep,very very old) when Sara Snow came on and demonstrated to Kate, the OCD germophobe, how to use vinegar to clean. Then she told Kate not to wash mushrooms, just wipe the dirt off. “If there’s a little bit of dirt left on there, it’s not going to hurt anyone,” Snow says. You can see Kate start twerking. Must not yell at Sarah Snow. Dirt? Dirt? AUGHH!

Anyway, vinegar is really really cheap. You can get a huge 1.32 gallon container of Heinz 5% acidity at Costco for $3 or $4.

I was at Target the other day and saw this 32 ounce vinegar in their cleaning section:


It’s watered down to 4% acidity. You don’t even get a spray cap with it.

$2 for 32 ounces. $4 for 1.32 gallons (which is more than 258 ounces).

Which one should you get?

I think there exist people who believe that you cannot use vinegar from the grocery aisle for cleaning, because it doesn’t specifically say MADE FOR CLEANING. It reminds me of this lady I used to babysit for. I went grocery shopping with her to mind her kid. She wanted to get ginger ale and wouldn’t buy it unless it said Caffeine-Free. I said all ginger ale is caffeine free, so if it said anything, it would say, “Caffeine Added.” But she did not believe me, probably because I was 14. But if she thought about it, or heck, even asked the grocery store manager, she would have known I was correct. (And, ohmygosh, I just realized that baby is now like 24 or 25).

So if you are thinking about buying vinegar from the cleaning section, do yourself a favor and walk on over to the grocery store aisle.

Another shopping tip that will save cash: if you want microfiber cloths for housecleaning, go to the Automotive Section. They are cheaper there, for some reason, and come in larger packages.

Does cleaning with vinegar work? I think it works as a disinfectant, but if you have food on a counter, you have to let it sit for a while.

I prefer the Method products sold at Target, which work better and don’t make me have asthma attacks. The Daily Green has a guide to green cleaning products; it’s part of Good Housekeeping, so I think it’s a pretty good resource.

Here’s the Jon & Kate vid, if you must:


Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

2 thoughts on “Think Before You Buy: Vinegar in the Cleaning Aisle

  1. Cleaning vinegar as 6% REGULAR has 5%. Maybe 1% but it makes a huge difference especially for mineral stains. Most places dont even stock it:(

Thoughts? Comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: