143 Responses to “DIY 101: Baking Soda + Vinegar = Not So Much”


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    • pepsigenerationgal

      Whoever this is, regarding your “brain dead” remark, lately it seems like any blog/Web site that allows comments is appended mostly by the percentage of the population that is brain dead (esp. in areas of awareness, enlightenment, reality and English usage), and/or those who fear any form of progress “outside the box” or away from the familiar, or whatever it is that spurs so many people to get vicious while vehemently preserving the (already gone) past … Maybe brain dead means those who don’t see that time only moves in ONE direction (as we perceive/depict it), which is FORWARD.)

      There must be some universal law-reason that we can’t go back and do things over… we can only learn from the past and keep moving on. Repeat the positive behavior and leave the negative crap behind in the dustbin of history, where it belongs. As I like to say, “Don’t beat yourself up for what you did wrong because it’s impossible to go back and change it … instead give yourself credit for what you did right!”

      It’s kind of like that Old Testament story about how Lott and his family were not allowed to look back at the destruction behind them or else they’d be frozen like statues into pillars of salt (this happened to Lott’s wife). Symbolically this is a lot like not letting go of/not releasing one’s bonds to the ugly past, which then creates similar problems in the present and also results in arrested mental growth.

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  20. shanaaz

    Hey there. love your blog. i have used baking soda and vinegar to remove burnt on grease. u need to use the neutralisation reaction itself, not the products. what i do is add dry baking soda onto the grease, and then add the vinegar on top. let it bubble, and then wipe away. do not add water, especially cold, cause the grease will set right away. its a messy process, but it does work. u can do the same with surfaces, dry baking soda, spray vinegar, rub and rinse. you are right in saying if you mix them beforehand nothing will happen

    • pepsigenerationgal

      The removing burnt-on grease item posted here by “shanaaz” is very effective. I’ve used vinegar and baking soda together in exactly this way after several trial-and-error methods to get grease out of ovens, toaster ovens, broilers, stove hoods, etc. It is especially important NOT to mix them together in advance. I found that the easiest way to apply this method is to take an old toothbrush (or nail brush, or whatever scrubbing item you prefer) and dip it in vinegar (poured by itself into a bowl or cup or whatever), then sprinkle the baking soda on top of it from the box, or else use a bowl of baking soda and sort of “scoop” the wet brush into it. NOTE: At some point you’ll have to replenish the bowls with fresh vinegar/baking soda because either they’ll run out or else they’ll neutralize each other. This happens when the fizz effect no longer happens or else it just won’t cut thru the grease itself.

      THE “TRICK” … is to create the “fizz” while the soda is sitting on the grease, which makes it much easier to clean residue with just the brush and a little more dry baking soda. I don’t know why/how, but the “live” chemical reaction combined with scrubbing makes the grease roll up into little dough balls (soda absorbs it) and you can just fluff it away. It’s lots easier than trying to cut thru gooey grease with vinegar alone or with a spray chemical product (if you dare to inhale).

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  26. I love this post. SO helpful. I just started using vinegar to clean, but didn’t really have any recipes for specific uses. One question, if I clean my oven/stove top with baking soda, should I wet the surface first or just sprinkle it on dry?

    • pepsigenerationgal

      See more detailed instructions from me on this, a few entries above yours, as a reply to post by shanaaz…

  27. Adrienne

    Man … a lot of your responses are spam people with their spammy names right in the title.

    You can tell they are spam because of their idiotic responses.

    With that said, I think what a lot of people are missing in the use of vinegar and baking soda is the response of the chemical reaction in and of itself.

    If you mix them together, that important reaction is gone right away. You really cannot mix them together. But you can do the vinegar/conditioner, and then throw in 1/4 cup of baking soda and that would give you what you want.

    I do this in order to get soft water and help combat against iron in my water – of which I have both!

    • pepsigenerationgal

      And although the vinegar/soda thing works well on greasy ovens, etc., you are right that it does nothing for the laundry… separately perhaps, but never together… as they do neutralize each other’s solo chemical benefits.

  28. Kite

    The bubbles in the reaction maaaaayyyyy have some cleaning effect if used straight away, on some surfaces, but really, yeah, no it’s mostly a completely pointless exercise.

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  31. I do my laundry with borax, vinegar, and baking soda. Sometimes i add castile soap. My clothes are always fresh and clean afterwards. ::shrug::

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  33. Katherine

    You’ve actually explained something to me that I found in practice but didn’t understand – AND is a method of cleaning using baking soda and vinegar that works – but .. is messy. You use an old spice shaker bottle to sprinkle baking soda along the grout lines, and pour vinegar over top – and then scrub with a grout brush. Mixed together in advance it’s largely useless, but when the reaction happens ON the grout, it was highly effective (combined with elbow grease, of course). It must be that carbonic acid for the very short time before it breaks down. However, now you’re left with salt ALL over your clean tile, and I had to use tile scrubber that puts down and picks up water to get it off the floor again.. so I don’t recommend it for regular cleaning, but it really works great for once every few years deep cleaning instead of the harsh smelly cleaners.

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  35. Jen

    It’s so funny you spoke about your own fabric softener. Although it is environmentally bad, I’m too brainwashed to give it up! So I dampen a BRIGHT ORANGE wash cloth with softener and water. I never wah this cloth. I toss it in the dryer. It lasts several loads, then I repeat.
    BUT now that I read YOUR idea, that might all change! I love eucalyptus! Didn’t know you could buy it in essential oil, though!

  36. citizen127

    You do realize that fabric softener is not a cleaning agent, don’t you? It coats the fabric, it doesn’t clean it. Your statement in the second paragraph about fabric softener doesn’t have anythig to do with what follows.

  37. CleaningCrazy

    Well, you’re somewhat right. That neutralizing reaction which, yes, does create mostly water, is why cleaning with baking soda and vinegar is so effective. The trick is to not mix them together beforehand (creating the chemical reaction without actually using it) but to mix them on whatever it is you’re cleaning. So, generally, give whatever you’re cleaning a good scrub with a baking soda/water paste, then rinse with vinegar.

    As for using baking soda to boost laundry detergents, and vinegar as a fabric softener, so long as your washer has a dispenser for softener the two products will be released at completely separate times. The baking soda is released during the wash cycle with the detergent, it is then completely rinsed out and the vinegar is dispensed during the final rinse. It truly does work, too. I ruined multiple towels and tech-shirts by using conventional fabric softener on them (they became rough and poor quality and the odors lingered permanently), not to mention the electrifying static I used to experience. Since using only vinegar, my tech-shirts and towels are soft and odor-free, and I don’t get shocked when removing them from the dryer. Seriously, it only took two washes to ruin one of my old tech-shirts, whereas I’ve now had eight tech-shirts last through many, many, many washings with vinegar and still are in good enough shape I can wear them as both workout and non-workout shirts. It even seems to remove more pet hair (though this part may be placebo effect).

  38. DS

    In my experience, putting a moderate amount (quarter cup max) of baking soda in the detergent dispenser and a splash of vinegar in the fabric-softener dispenser of my washing machine (and no manufactured detergent at all), gives me absolutely clean, odor- and static-free clothes. It works better than anything.

    I think the whole “baking soda and vinegar doesn’t work” thing is utter nonsense, ginned up by detergent makers and propagated by know-nothing bloggers, like, frankly, you.

  39. Ann

    I use baking soda and anhydrous citric acid. It foams and you end up with sodium citrate. It has been used to replace phosphates in household cleaning products. No vinegar smell either.

  40. DougR

    I want to thank you so much for bring a little rational thought to the crazy tips and tricks you see all over the internet. I am a huge fan of natural and safe ways of doing things, but just declaring something natural doesn’t actually mean it is safe or it will actually work.

    My personal crusade is to get people to stop following the advice to use olive oil to fix every woodworking problem out there. Some sites have people coating entire antiques with olive oil to make the nicks and scratches go away. In 6 months when the olive oil has gone so rancid that you can’t even have the furniture in the house you will figure out it wasn’t a smart idea.

    Thanks for this article and keep it up.

  41. So I accidentally drank the residue of soda and water in a cup of water…don’t ask me how but it was the middle of the night and was going for a cup of water. I realized it after I had gulped it down and could taste something weird, but I was too sleepy to do anything about it except spit out the last remaining mouthful. I didn’t die…but was a little worried because that was washing soda, not made for baking, but I only have a headache and had to poo several times. In short I don’t recommend this to drink, even if it is supposed to be mostly water. =-)

  42. Adrienne

    Well it cleaned you out well … so … bonus!! LOL!!!!


  1. […] Why: Baking soda is basic, vinegar is acidic. When you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really just mostly water. […]

  2. […] Why: Baking soda is basic, vinegar is acidic. When you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really just mostly water. […]

  3. […] point I strayed from the recipe, which called for vinegar instead of water. Here’s why: Crunchy Betty – DIY 101: Baking Soda + Vinegar = Not So Much. (Washing soda is sodium carbonate, not sodium bicarbonate like baking soda, but … […]

  4. […] vinegar and baking soda.  I haven’t been too excited about that recipe ever since I read this article on the Crunchy Betty website that explains that vinegar and baking soda basically neutralize each […]

  5. […] DIY 101: Baking Soda + Vinegar = Not So Much | Crunchy Betty – What childhood would be complete without the baking soda and vinegar volcano science project? Remember how it exploded up into a creamy, bubbly, overflowing blob that …… […]

  6. […] Why: Baking soda is basic, vinegar is acidic. When you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really just mostly water. […]

  7. […] Why: Baking soda is basic, vinegar is acidic. When you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really just mostly water. […]

  8. […] Why: Baking soda is basic, vinegar is acidic. When you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really just mostly water. […]

  9. […] reaction produces water and sodium acetate. This is an ineffective homemade cleaning solution of water with a tiny amount of salt in […]

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