Does vinegar disinfect?


Quick Answer

Although vinegar is not as effective as commercial cleaners, it is a natural disinfectant that can kill bacteria and viruses. Vinegar's disinfecting properties come from the acetic acid that is part of its composition, but this acid also damages some types of surfaces, so it should be used with caution.

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Full Answer

Vinegar offers the benefits of being biodegradable, non-toxic and inexpensive, so it's safe enough to be used even by children for cleaning. However, it cannot kill all types of bacteria. For instance, researchers in the United Kingdom found that vinegar kills the flu virus, but it is ineffective against certain types of salmonella.

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