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Baking Soda and Vinegar Together?

Baking Soda and Vinegar Together?

Dear Annie,
I have been cleaning with vinegar for years. Now people are adding baking soda? Don’t they just neutralize each other?
—Shamana

Dear Shamana,
Yes, children are taught about acids and bases using baking soda and vinegar because they are opposites. They make a fun “volcano” with a heap of baking soda (mountain) and vinegar, which is added in a drizzle down the top, resulting in “lava.” When combined, baking soda and vinegar neutralize each other in a safe bubbly, hissing kind of way.

Baking soda is alkaline, a base, with a pH of around 8.1. Vinegar is acidic, and most commercial distilled white vinegars contain 5 percent acetic acid and has a pH of about 2.4. Neutral is 7.0.

There is one instance when I recommend combining baking soda and vinegar, and that is in the drain. Sometimes the bubbling and hissing in the drain when you combine these two is enough to dislodge hair and gummy buildup. (I recommend a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar.)

Otherwise, readers take note that when you combine baking soda with vinegar you end up with a neutral liquid that isn’t much use for cleaning.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

249 comments

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8:13PM PST on Jan 20, 2015

okay

4:00AM PST on Dec 30, 2014

Not altogether true. Although the finished result of mixing vinegar and baking soda doesn't do much, I have been using it for years to clean and polish my jewelry. Place jewelry - everything except wood, opal and pearls - into a towel-lined sink. Just cover with hot water. Add 1/3 cup baking soda and then add 1 cup vinegar ( 1/2 at a time as the "volcano action stops). Let sit for 5 minutes and rinse. Carefully dry with a soft cloth. I did craft shows for years. My company, Out of My Mind Creations, used this method to clean and polish the hand crafted jewelry before each show, so it would gleam and look wonderful. I even used to give hand-outs with the directions on how to use this to clean the jewelry. As I said though, do Not use this method on pearls, wood or opals.

8:18AM PST on Nov 19, 2014

Thanks

8:18AM PST on Nov 19, 2014

Thanks for sharing

8:17AM PST on Nov 19, 2014

Thanks

1:18AM PST on Nov 19, 2014

noted

1:38PM PST on Nov 17, 2014

Thank you

2:37PM PST on Nov 16, 2014

They say you should learn a new thing every day. Once again, Care2 fills the bill!

10:29AM PST on Nov 16, 2014

I will have to try that drain method again. Baking soda and vinegar never worked for me my first try, so I resorted to the chemical stuff and I hated to do that, but my upstairs bathroom sink is so problematic, yet I rarely use it. The chemical stuff didn't work so well either, so I really hope the baking soda and vinegar works.

3:15AM PST on Nov 12, 2014

Interesting combination for cleaning sink drains will try that one

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