There are a lot of harsh chemicals and strong house cleaners on the market, which may not be safe for every household. If you are concerned about health and safety when it comes to house cleaners, you can substitute some products with natural remedies. While vinegar and baking soda cannot be used to clean everything in your home, it can be a safe alternative to some harsher chemicals. Keep reading to learn how to clean with vinegar and baking soda, including what to avoid cleaning with baking soda and vinegar.
Can you Clean with Vinegar and Baking Soda?
There are many surfaces and items in your house that can be effectively cleaned with vinegar and baking soda. These two common household materials can serve as natural cleaners to remove grime and keep your surfaces clean. Because vinegar and baking soda are on opposite ends of the pH scale, they can be combined and used as effective cleaning solutions.
Baking soda is a base, so it is able to dissolve some compounds, including grease and dirt. Baking soda can also serve as an abrasive cleaner without scratching your surfaces. Vinegar is an acid, and it is able to break down some minerals, including those that form hard water.
How to Guide: Mix Vinegar and Baking Soda to Clean
When you clean with vinegar and baking soda, there are very specific ways to combine the materials. You cannot use equal parts of vinegar and baking soda because the mixture needs to be either acidic or basic in order to be effective. Vinegar breaks down baking soda to release carbon dioxide gas. This gas can effectively remove dirt and grime when cleaning.
It is best to clean with vinegar and baking soda while the mixture is still bubbling. You should put the mixture directly on the surface while it’s bubbling and slightly basic to cut through grime and dirt. Once the mixture stops bubbling, it will not be as effective. Letting your mixture sit until it stops bubbling will be similar to cleaning with plain water.
How to Use Vinegar and Baking Soda for Cleaning
For general cleaning, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle to mix the solution thoroughly.
Spray the vinegar solution onto the surface you want to clean. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes to penetrate and break down any dirt or grime.
Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe away the vinegar solution, taking care to scrub any stubborn spots.
For more heavy-duty cleaning, mix baking soda and water into a paste. Use a soft cloth or sponge to apply the paste to the surface you want to clean.
Scrub the surface gently using the baking soda paste. Rinse the surface thoroughly with water and wipe away any remaining paste with a clean cloth.
To clean drains, pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain with a plug or cloth to prevent the foaming mixture from coming back up.
Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for tougher clogs. Then, pour boiling water down the drain to flush out the debris.
What to Clean with Vinegar and Baking Soda
There are plenty of surfaces and items that can be effectively cleaned with baking soda and vinegar. Keep in mind that the same mixture or combination of ingredients will not work across the board. You may have to create different mixtures for different surfaces.
- Kitchen Sink: If you have scum or grease buildup on your kitchen sink, vinegar and baking soda can be effective. For the sink, sprinkle baking soda on the surface before scrubbing and rinsing it off. Soak paper towels in white vinegar and let them line the sink for 20 minutes before wiping the surface down.
- Kitchen Drain: The kitchen drain is also a magnet for scum and grease. Use 4 tablespoons of baking soda and two cups of vinegar to clean the sink drain. Wait until the mixture stops bubbling before flushing the drain with boiling water.
- Refrigerator: Vinegar is great from cleaning your fridge and keeping odors at bay. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water to wipe down your surfaces in the fridge.
- Dishwasher and Coffee Pot: You can run a cycle of baking soda to clean your dishwasher and coffee bot. You can also run a cycle of vinegar once a month to prevent residue buildup and remove hard water and calcium deposits.
- Bathroom Surfaces: Baking soda and vinegar can help cut through soap scum on bathroom surfaces and prevent mildew. Combine 1 2/3 cups of baking soda and ½ cup of liquid soap in a bowl. Mix ½ cup of water with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Combine the two mixtures and stir thoroughly to remove any lumps. Put the mixture into a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the mixture on your bathroom surfaces and scrub it with a nylon-backed sponge. Rinse all surfaces with water.
- Showerheads: Vinegar can effectively remove minerals that clog up your showerhead. Combine ½ cup of vinegar with one quart of water. Soak your showerhead in the mixture for 15 minutes before rinsing and replacing the showerhead.
- Carpet Stains: Vinegar can also help lift stains from your carpets. Combine 2 tablespoons of salt with ½ cup of white vinegar and lightly rub into carpet stains. Wait for the solution to dry before vacuuming.
- Laundry Detergent: Baking soda can boost your laundry detergent. Add ½ cup of baking soda to your liquid laundry detergent to soften the water and brighten your clothes.
When Not to Clean with Vinegar and Baking Soda
Baking soda and vinegar cannot be used in all situations. There are some surfaces that can be damaged by these ingredients. Also, vinegar and baking soda may not always be effective. It is best to choose other cleaning materials in the following situations.
- Sickness and Heavy-duty Jobs: Vinegar and baking soda are not harsh cleaning products. They may not be very effective when it comes to preventing the spread of sickness or deep cleaning your home.
- Mirrors: You should never use anything acidic on your mirrors because these products can corrode the backing of your mirrors.
- Granite or Stone Counters: Natural stone surfaces can be damaged by baking soda and vinegar. Vinegar can cause these surfaces to lose their shine, so it’s best to use liquid cleaner combined with water.
- Wood Floors: There are some who preach using vinegar on hardwood floors. However, vinegar can damage the finish of your wood floors. It is always best to use cleaning products formulated for wood floors.
Alternative Solutions to Vinegar and Baking Soda
While vinegar and baking soda can be effective cleaning solutions, they may not be the best choice for every cleaning task. Here are some alternative solutions for cleaning different types of surfaces:
Wood surfaces: Avoid using vinegar on wood surfaces as its acidity can damage the finish. Instead, mix a small amount of dish soap with warm water and use a soft cloth to wipe the surface.
Stainless steel surfaces: While vinegar can be used to clean stainless steel, it may leave streaks or marks. Try using a mixture of warm water and dish soap, or a dedicated stainless steel cleaner, to achieve a streak-free shine.
Carpet and upholstery: Instead of using baking soda to clean carpets and upholstery, try using a steam cleaner or renting a carpet cleaner for a deeper clean. You can also sprinkle baking soda onto carpets before vacuuming to help eliminate odors.
Mold and mildew: While vinegar can help kill mold and mildew, it may not be strong enough for severe cases. Try using a commercial mold and mildew cleaner, or a mixture of bleach and water, for more serious infestations.
While vinegar and baking soda are generally safe to use for cleaning, it’s important to take some safety precautions to ensure that you’re handling and using them properly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Avoid mixing vinegar and bleach: Mixing vinegar and bleach can create toxic chlorine gas, which can be extremely dangerous. If you need to use bleach for cleaning, make sure to rinse the area thoroughly before using vinegar.
Wear gloves: Baking soda can be abrasive and may irritate the skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. Consider wearing gloves to protect your skin while cleaning with baking soda.
Don’t use vinegar on certain surfaces: As mentioned above, vinegar can damage some surfaces such as wood, natural stone, and grout. Before using vinegar to clean any surface, make sure to test it in an inconspicuous area first to avoid any damage.
Avoid using baking soda on aluminum: Baking soda can react with aluminum and cause discoloration. If you need to clean aluminum, try using a dedicated aluminum cleaner.
Ventilate the area: While vinegar and baking soda are safe to use in most cases, it’s always a good idea to ensure proper ventilation while cleaning to prevent inhalation of any fumes.
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