Tips for Using Vinegar for Cleaning Wood

Vinegar makes an excellent wood cleaner because it won’t damage wood finish or warp wood like other products do. Cleaning with vinegar is a green alternative to the sometimes toxic and expensive cleaners offered at the store. Cleaning with vinegar has many advantages -- it is cost-effective, deodorizing and nontoxic to humans and pets. Vinegar is a very weak form of acetic acid made from a combination of sugars and starches.

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Vinegar can clean all kinds of wood.

Wood Paneling

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Wood paneling is easily cleaned with a vinegar solution.

Mix one cup of vinegar with one cup of olive oil and four cups of warm water. Use a soft cloth to apply the cleaning solution to the wood. Dry it with another soft, clean cloth. No rinsing is necessary.

Wood Cutting Boards

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Wood cutting boards can be cleaned and deodorized with vinegar.

Wipe the surface of the cutting board with a cloth sprinkled with vinegar. No need to rinse or dry the board afterward.

Wood Floors

Clean your floors first in your customary way. Mix one cup of vinegar into a gallon of warm water. Use a cloth or a mop to coat your floor with the vinegar mixture. Go over your floor several times to remove all unwanted residue. If you have been using an oil-based cleaner, go heavy on the vinegar and go over your floor extra times. If your wood floor is laminated, vinegar is an ideal cleaning product because it won’t strip the wax off floors like ammonia will. If you have a hardwood or laminated wood floor, use white vinegar and stay away from your mop as it could contain residue from other cleaners that would not allow the vinegar to have its full effect. Dip a damp towel into the vinegar mixture, squeeze out the excess water and use the towel as your mop. You don’t need to rinse your floor, but dry it if it is still damp.

Wood Furniture or Knick Knacks

Mix one cup of olive oil with a half cup of vinegar. The olive oil with polish the furniture while the vinegar will clean it without stripping any finishes. This mixture works best if used from a spray bottle. Use a soft, clean cloth to apply the cleaning solution to the furniture.