Plumbing Tips

Vinegar essence or citric acid? When is which household remedy better?

Posted by Anna Urban

Vinegar essence and citric acid, who wants to remove stubborn stains, relies on these all-rounders in the household. But be careful when using them, because the household remedies can also cause damage.

Lime deposits are ugly and often stubborn. If you want to remove them, it is best to use acids – such as vinegar essence or citric acid. But you should use them carefully. So which acid is best for what?

When not to use vinegar

The advantage of citric acid is its low inherent odor, explains the Industrieverband Körperpflege- und Waschmittel (IKW). Vinegar essence, on the other hand, has an intense to pungent odor.

In addition, acetic acid can attack certain materials – and even cause damage such as stress cracks in water taps or mixer taps, for example. Acetic acid is therefore not suitable for cleaning sensitive fittings. You should also avoid using vinegar to descale your shower head or other objects containing a rubber seal. The acid can severely damage the material. It is better to use citric acid.

If, on the other hand, you want to clean your kettle, you can use citric acid in pure powder form. If this is heated as an aqueous solution, it increases its decalcifying effect.

However, vinegar essence is well suited to removing limescale stains from stainless steel, such as from sinks. You can also clean drains well with this household remedy. When using the concentrate, open the window so that your respiratory tract is not affected.

This should be noted with the household remedies

For cleaning with vinegar essence as well as with citric acid you should dilute both in a ratio of 1:4 – one part essence or acid to four parts water.

Since the household remedies are aggressive acids, you should wear gloves when cleaning and avoid contact with the eyes and mucous membranes. Do not use vinegar or citric acid to clean marble surfaces. Marble, like lime, consists of calcium carbonate, among other things – the acid would damage the surface. The acids are also ineffective against fat.

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