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Old 22 September 2018, 07:20 AM
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Default The efficiency of using baking soda and vinegar for cleaning

Iím always arguing with my wife regarding the efficiency of combining vinegar and baking soda to make a cleaning solution. She swears by it, (itís on the internet, so it must be true), but I think itís bunk. About the only subject at school where I did well was science, and I know that mixing the two cancels each other out, leaving you with mostly water. Can I get an expert opinion here please, other than my wifeís.

PS, in case the name varies, I'm referring to sodium bicarbonate.
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Old 22 September 2018, 10:08 AM
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Nothing expert about this opinion, but I do use them for cleaning.

I usually clean with one or the other, not both in combination; but the combination does seem to be useful for cleaning drains. You want the reaction to take place in the drain: put the baking soda in and then the vinegar, so that the bubbling from the reaction helps break loose any crud stuck in there. You don't mix them beforehand and pour the results into the drain after the reaction's finished; I don't think that would do anything much.
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Old 22 September 2018, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
About the only subject at school where I did well was science, and I know that mixing the two cancels each other out, leaving you with mostly water.
FWIW, these sites agree with you:
https://crunchybetty.com/diy-101-bak...r-not-so-much/
https://brendid.com/why-you-should-n...logged-drains/
https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/ed...imate-cleanser

They were all on the first page of a google search for "vinegar baking soda."
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Old 22 September 2018, 06:46 PM
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The reaction loosens up stuck-on food particles and unclogs a mildly-clogged drain (when followed by a hot water rinse -- or heat up the vinegar before pouring it over the baking soda). If people are mixing the two together beforehand and then, like, using the result to wipe down their shower...it's not going to do much.
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Old 22 September 2018, 07:29 PM
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After I empty the garbage can and it's really stinky, I sprinkle a good helping of baking soda into the bottom, then pour in vinegar and hot water and swish it around. Then I wipe down the insides of the garbage with a little bit of the liquid and it seems to completely remove the odor of the garbage "juice."
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Old 22 September 2018, 09:17 PM
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Having looked at Beejtronic's second link:

They seem to think that the only thing clogging a kitchen sink drain would be grease, and that the grease would all be in one largish lump. I think what partially clogs mine is often bits of food particles, which may or may not be greasy. There may also be hard water sediment buildup.

-- the other two links seem to assume that you first mix the vinegar and baking soda, and then try to clean things with what results after the reaction dies down. There may be people doing this; but it's the first I've heard of it. Everything I've seen or been told about mixing the two has said that you want the reaction to take place inside the thing that you're cleaning. I always assumed that the bubbling effect is what's doing the job.
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Old 22 September 2018, 10:37 PM
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Vinegar is dilute acetic acid, typically about 5~10% acetic acid. Baking soda powder is pure sodium bicarbonate. Mixing the two will form some acetate ions and some carbonic acid (H2CO3). Carbonic acid is unstable and decomposes to water and carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 will bubble out of solution if the concentration is high enough. There are a couple of cleaning formulations that use the bubbles of CO2 formed to help break up solids.

Similar formulations are also used in bubble making candies and foods. In foods though the acid is often citric acid.
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Old 22 September 2018, 11:58 PM
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Wasn't this how we made a volcano erupt in 6th grade?
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Old 23 September 2018, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
Wasn't this how we made a volcano erupt in 6th grade?
It would have been.
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Old 23 September 2018, 11:39 AM
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Individually they're good cleaners (vinegar because it's acidic and bicarbonate of soda because it can be made into a slightly abrasive paste for souring).

Together they're only really useful in the way Cervus described. The foaming reaction can loosen moderate amounts of gunk. I've found out it's not particularly good for unblocking sinks if the plug hole is blocked with grease or soap scum, but the foaming can bring up bits of hair and other debris.

I used to have the same mistaken belief as your wife. It's worth pointing out that water itself is an effective cleaner, so if the bicarb/vinegar combination is as effective as water then it's doing something. The extra steps taken to make that water-like product feel like you're doing something more efficient, but really you might as well use tap water.

Don't let your wife feel dejected about using greener cleaning methods!
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Old 23 September 2018, 04:29 PM
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Splashing some vinegar in the washing machine is a great way to get the musty smell out of it. But I wouldn't use baking soda in it at the same time.
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Old 23 September 2018, 08:52 PM
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Vinegar is great for cleaning up epoxy spills.
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Old 26 September 2018, 10:08 PM
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Wiping up that weird white stuff the dishwasher sometimes leaves on things, too. Soak the "powdery" objects in a solution of warm water and some vinegar for a few minutes and it should wipe right off. Careful with delicate painted items you want to maintain, as the vinegar can strip the paint.
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Old 27 September 2018, 02:27 AM
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I came across instructions for de-funkifying a front-loading washing machine by pouring vinegar in the drum and baking soda in the detergent slot. It worked for me, though I didn't experiment with either ingredient alone or with plain water. It occurs to me that vinegar sometimes leaves behind its own smell (and, in plastic food receptacles, taste), which baking soda might neutralize.
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Old 27 September 2018, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I came across instructions for de-funkifying a front-loading washing machine by pouring vinegar in the drum and baking soda in the detergent slot. It worked for me, though I didn't experiment with either ingredient alone or with plain water. It occurs to me that vinegar sometimes leaves behind its own smell (and, in plastic food receptacles, taste), which baking soda might neutralize.
I've used vinegar in my dishwasher alone to marvelous effect.

And, I've never had a problem with a vinegar smell afterwards. It seems to be diluted and rinsed away quite well.

I've never tried the baking soda, might have to give that a try.
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Old 27 September 2018, 03:28 PM
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Watching one of those "did you know" shows they maintain that you don't need to use detergent to wash your clothes because it's the agitation of the clothes moving about in the water that does the cleaning. I have my doubts on this one, if only because of the times I've had to rewash and spot clean stains. Does anyone know how valid this argument is?
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Old 27 September 2018, 04:40 PM
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Sue, I would guess that some people are generally washing clothes that aren't all that dirty; and in that case just sloshing them around in some water might work well enough.

I can guarantee you that it won't work on work clothes smeared with tractor grease, though; not even to get them to feel clean the next time you put them on. (Getting them to look clean would take more than detergent, or even detergent and degreaser; but as I'm just going to wear them around the tractor again, and/or out in a muddy field, I don't bother trying to get them to look clean. Feeling and smelling clean will do.)
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Old 27 September 2018, 04:41 PM
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I've accidentally run a load of laundry without detergent before.

There's a big difference.
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Old 27 September 2018, 05:28 PM
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Sadly, back in my university days, I was desperate to not spend money, and I did just that. I washed my clothes without detergent.

I also tried hand soap, dish soap, shampoo, anything to be cheaper than laundry soap.

In the end, no soap was only good for removing very light soiling, like sweat and spilled cola.

It wasn't even that good at removing the smell of the clothes (eg, spill some spaghetti sauce, and you'll have a laundry basket of "clean" laundry smelling like marinara)

Dish soap did quite well. Shampoo and hand soap, meh.

But the best was laundry detergent.

But, I found out last week, that a product I used in the '90s for handwashing stuff no longer exists. There is no handwash laundry soap any more. I was devastated.
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Old 27 September 2018, 05:38 PM
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Wow I admire your persistence in the drive to save money! The cheapest I've gotten with laundry is buying the knock off brands. I found they really didn't save me anything in the long run because (a) I needed to rewash the clothes, and more importantly, (b) they made me itch!

The show I watched was so matter of fact about imparting this tidbit of info though that I admit I wondered if I'd been snookered by the laundry detergent industry even though my own personal experience was saying "no you need soap!".
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