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