Baking soda and vinegar are often touted as the ultimate natural cleaning solution for various household chores. From unclogging drains to removing stains, many people swear by the fizzing power of this combination. But is it really as effective and safe as it seems? Here are some reasons why you might want to think twice before using baking soda and vinegar for your cleaning needs.
Baking soda and vinegar cancel each other out
One of the main drawbacks of using baking soda and vinegar together is that they essentially neutralize each other. Baking soda is a base, while vinegar is an acid. When they are mixed, they produce carbon dioxide gas and water, which reduces their cleaning ability. According to Dr. Andrew Stapleton, a science communicator and chemist, this reaction makes the mixture less effective than either ingredient alone.
“When you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really, just mostly water,” he explained in a video on his YouTube channel.
“Plus, vinegar and baking soda are not surfactants, so they do not help water carry oil and grease away the same way that detergents can.”
Baking soda and vinegar can damage some surfaces
Another reason to avoid using baking soda and vinegar is that they can cause damage to some surfaces over time. Baking soda is abrasive, which means it can scratch delicate materials like marble, granite, or hardwood. Vinegar is acidic, which means it can corrode metal, stone, or grout. Using them together can create even more problems, as the gas produced by the reaction can build up pressure and cause pipes or containers to burst.
“Baking soda can cause etching on marble countertops if left too long,” said Melissa Maker, a cleaning expert and host of the Clean My Space YouTube channel.
“Vinegar is very acidic and can cause damage to your grout and also to natural stone tiles.”
Baking soda and vinegar are not effective for all cleaning tasks
Finally, baking soda and vinegar are not the best solution for all cleaning tasks. While they might work well for some simple jobs like deodorizing or removing light stains, they are not suitable for more challenging or specific tasks like disinfecting or removing grease. For these tasks, you might need to use other products that are designed for the purpose and have proven efficacy.
“Baking soda and vinegar may be cheap and natural, but they are not miracle workers,” said Chantel Mila, a home hacks expert and TikTok star.
“There are some things that they just can’t do, like kill germs or cut through tough grease. For those things, you need to use products that are tested and approved for the job.”
What are some better alternatives to baking soda and vinegar?
If you are looking for some better alternatives to baking soda and vinegar, here are some suggestions:
- For unclogging drains, use a plunger or a drain snake instead of baking soda and vinegar. These tools can physically remove the clog without causing any chemical reaction or damage to your pipes.
- For cleaning glass, use a microfiber cloth and water instead of baking soda and vinegar. This will give you a streak-free shine without leaving any residue or scratches on your glass surfaces.
- For disinfecting surfaces, use a product that contains alcohol, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide instead of baking soda and vinegar. These products can kill 99.9% of germs and viruses when used correctly.
- For removing grease, use a dish soap or a degreaser instead of baking soda and vinegar. These products can emulsify and lift the grease from your surfaces without leaving any film or residue behind.
Baking soda and vinegar are not the miracle cleaning solution that many people think they are. They have limited cleaning power, can damage some surfaces, and are not effective for all cleaning tasks. Instead of relying on this combination, you should use other products that are more suitable and safe for your cleaning needs.