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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?

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, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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12:34PM PDT on Oct 12, 2014


7:48PM PDT on Aug 18, 2014


10:00AM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

thanks for good info

6:28AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

Thank you

12:34AM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

Thanks for sharing!!

9:36PM PDT on Jul 6, 2014

i've used the combo of white vinegar and baking soda for drains [especially the garbage disposal side of the sink] for a long timd. it really cleans and gets rid of any odors. i've used it tn pots that had burnt-on food residue. Letting the 'volcano' [and a bit of dish soap] & let the pot soak soak for and hour or so makes it really easy to scrub the pot clean. ty!

11:49AM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

I always use a combo of baking soda and vinegar to clean my bath and kitchen like a charm and sure takes away any sour or musty odor in the drains, especially in the summer! I wouldn't be without either!

12:59PM PDT on Jun 11, 2014


3:28AM PDT on Jun 5, 2014

Well, Dear Annie, you may think it does no good for other cleaning purposes, but it works wonders for me when I've had to recover burned pans. It cleans them off quite nicely if you combine them in the right way.
Besides, you make it sound as if an acid and a base automatically go to neutral. This, as far as I remember is not really so as according to Bronsted-Lowry theory you get conjugated acids or bases, and their strength vary. I'm not sure how you apply your mixture to the drain, but I'd say if you first pour the baking soda and then you pour the vinegar, you're submitting the drain to the action of the base and then provoke the reaction by adding the acid (and releasing the conjugates); it's not really as if you mixed both things together and then poured them down the drain.

3:03PM PDT on May 28, 2014

Quite agree and this combination actually leaves hands quite soft. The mixture is very good for removing some stains (trial and error, lolol).
Last year, where I live, we had a very humid Winter and a pair of very heavy off-white cotton curtains got moldy. So my solution was actually a combination of sodium bicarbonate sprayed with vinegar on which, when it became less visible, I sprayed some gently bleach, which is strong hydrogen peroxide, that we can find in supermarkets (here they call it delicate bleach). It was a lot of work, but it really worked!
Vinegar, added to the detergent you use to clean a wooden floor, also leaves in a beautiful condition - and it is a safe disinfectant.
You can also use sodium bicarbonate as a very safe facial exfoliater. How about that? :-)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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