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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.

224 comments

+ add your own
10:19AM PDT on Apr 23, 2014

That last statement was news to me!

4:22PM PDT on Apr 16, 2014

good article. thanks for clarifying.

10:31AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Two wonder cleaners and multi purpose ingredients that are staples in my kitchen and bathroom!

10:21AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Thanks.

5:23AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

I am amazed that people don't know this. I thought this was basic school chemistry. I shall remember the part about drainage clearance :-)

7:04AM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

I use this in my shower drain at least once a month...no more clogs

5:52PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

Hubble bubble toil and trouble... etc

I recenty learnt that baking soda doesn't last forever.
Does anyone know how long it does last once it is opened?
And how can you know it is too old to use?

I've enjoyed ALL the comments and extra ideas - thanks everone - smile

2:32PM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

Thanks. Needed this for my bathroom sink drain.

1:08PM PST on Feb 24, 2014

going to try this on the drains!

8:27AM PST on Feb 20, 2014

Baking soda and vinegar work wonderfully in concert, if not together. I scrub sinks with a paste of baking soda, salt and a touch of dish soap, then rinse with a vinegar water combo. The reaction helps loosen soap scum, and the vinegar gets the hard waters stains under control!

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