Will White Vinegar Corrode My Sink If Used for Cleaning?

  • Thread starter kyphysics
  • Start date
  • #1
358
298
I have been reading online about the cleaning usefulness of white distilled vinegar, which is said to be mostly water and 5% acetic acid. Various sources frequently list it as useful for cleaning various things from sink faucet handles (the metal can get a lot of soap scum on them) to even killing mold.

For me, specifically, I poured a small amount (likely no more than a 1/2 cup) through my bathroom sink's overflow holes, as I thought they were perhaps dirty inside, as I have nasty little gnats flying in and out of them. I saw that recommended online as a means of cleaning the overflow holes in sink and thought I'd try it, but realized it wasn't a professional saying that...Then it got me thinking and feeling uneasy about that. Overflow holes don't always allow all the fluids that go into them to go down the drain. Some of it does, but often a small amount will remain (due to the design and how the overflow hole's own hole into the drain is slightly elevated).

My main question is this:

As the water evaporates out of the white distilled vinegar and only acetic acid is left:

1.) Will that remaining acetic acid corrode and eat through my sink's interior? I have read that pure acetic acid can corrode through even stone and metals. But is that only if they are heated to high temps or even if just at room temperature they can do that?

2.) Will the remaining acetic acid itself also safely evaporate (at room temperature) if I just let it sit there in my sink's overflow area?

Thank you in advance for your help!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
256bits
Gold Member
3,571
1,612
Overflow holes don't always allow all the fluids that go into them to go down the drain
Kitchen sinks don't have overflows - so why do sinks in the bathroom have them?
Do people run the bathroom sinks like they run bathtubs and forget about it when the phone rings.
I can't think of any usefulness of the overflow, except as an intercept for someone out to cause havoc, but that is the way they sell them.
Never seen a marketing feature as "this sink has an exceptionally designed overflow using latest technology CAD/CAM".
Hmmm
 
  • #3
Borek
Mentor
28,961
3,566
As the water evaporates out of the white distilled vinegar and only acetic acid is left:

Not going to happen. Acetic acid is quite volatile (which is why it is so smelly).

Kitchen sinks don't have overflows

I am too lazy to go and take a picture, but be sure they do. Perhaps not all of them, that I don't know.
 
  • #4
Orodruin
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
2021 Award
18,537
8,440
I am too lazy to go and take a picture, but be sure they do.
You don't need to. IKEA displays a large number of kitchen sinks on their homepage. For example, the overflow (for one of the sinks, the other is on the other side) is clearly visible in HILLESJÖN:
hillesjon-inbyggnadsdiskbank-ho__0461817_PE607739_S4.JPG

https://www.ikea.com/se/sv/catalog/products/S49140631/
 
  • #5
256bits
Gold Member
3,571
1,612
Now I have it!
An overflow an inch or so down, can allow one to dip the hand in to pull the plug without the water spilling over the sides of the sink.
A mental health issue - the avoidance of mental breakdowns when presented with a sink full of water.
 
  • #6
358
298
Not going to happen. Acetic acid is quite volatile (which is why it is so smelly).

Wait, what did you mean?

The water won't naturally evaporate out of the vinegar (if I leave it in the overflow hole and have it sit at room temperature) over time or that the remaining acetic acid won't eventually evaporate (also if left in the overflow hole at room temp.)?

My thought was that if you just left vinegar, say, in a cup for a LONG time, that either the water and/or the acetic acid in it would EVENTUALLY just evaporate on its own. Is that incorrect?

Thanks again!
 
  • #7
Orodruin
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
2021 Award
18,537
8,440
Wait, what did you mean?

The water won't naturally evaporate out of the vinegar (if I leave it in the overflow hole and have it sit at room temperature) over time or that the remaining acetic acid won't eventually evaporate (also if left in the overflow hole at room temp.)?

My thought was that if you just left vinegar, say, in a cup for a LONG time, that either the water and/or the acetic acid in it would EVENTUALLY just evaporate on its own. Is that incorrect?

Thanks again!
He is saying that you will not be left with pure acid as the acid is volatile and evaporates.
 
  • #8
580
360
You don't need to. IKEA displays a large number of kitchen sinks on their homepage. For example, the overflow (for one of the sinks, the other is on the other side) is clearly visible in HILLESJÖN:
hillesjon-inbyggnadsdiskbank-ho__0461817_PE607739_S4.jpg

https://www.ikea.com/se/sv/catalog/products/S49140631/

Interesting - I was going to post that I've never seen an overflow on a kitchen sink. My understanding is that it was a code thing - an overflow on a kitchen sink would trap all sorts of particles and harbor bacteria/nasties. But they are clearly visible on your post.

Ah-hah! Must be a USA code - I find what appears to be that exact sink on the US Ikea site, with no overflow!

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S99140704/

But typically, the wall between the two sinks will be lower than the rim, which at least allows water to flow from one sink drain to the other. That helps if one is clogged or the stopper is in place on one.

hillesjon-bowl-dual-mount-sink__0431171_PE585217_S4.jpg
 

Attachments

  • hillesjon-inbyggnadsdiskbank-ho__0461817_PE607739_S4.jpg
    hillesjon-inbyggnadsdiskbank-ho__0461817_PE607739_S4.jpg
    13.5 KB · Views: 496
  • hillesjon-bowl-dual-mount-sink__0431171_PE585217_S4.jpg
    hillesjon-bowl-dual-mount-sink__0431171_PE585217_S4.jpg
    13.4 KB · Views: 522
  • #9
358
298
He is saying that you will not be left with pure acid as the acid is volatile and evaporates.

Oh, okay. Thx.
 

Related Threads on Will White Vinegar Corrode My Sink If Used for Cleaning?

Replies
3
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
23
Views
25K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
493
Replies
16
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
11K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
7K
Top