I have found many websites recommending a paste made from vinegar and baking soda as a household cleaning agent. I have used it to remove stains on porcelain and other bathroom and kitchen surfaces with some success. My question is: what exactly are the chemical benefits of using these two ingredients together, in terms of stain removal, disinfecting, and general cleaning? What prompted my question is that I know vinegar is a mild acid, and I had thought that it was this acidic property that provided some of its cleaning and disinfecting properties. However, I also thought that baking soda neutralizes acid, so isn't combining the two going to neutralize the benefits of using each one on its own? It does make a very satisfying fizz when the two are combined. Does this fizzy reaction actually provide any benefit to the cleaning process, or does it just look cool and dupe me into thinking it is doing the scrubbing all on its own? There are hundreds of suggested uses for this combo out there, from unclogging drains to washing your hair. Is there any real science behind this magic fizzy cleaning formula? Thanks so much!
No scientist I, but I found this from what seems to be a reputable source.
(I'm a biology major from 1977, and forgot about 90% from what I learned in chemistry classes!)
"When baking soda is mixed with vinegar, the acid breaks down baking soda, releasing carbon dioxide gas that can help lift dirt from the surfaces being cleaned."
Oh, and I use vinegar and baking soda together and separately in household cleaning.
Our living room carpet hasn't been cleaned in 2 years, and I am finding vinegar/baking soda together and separately excellent in removing stains and odors. Along with dish detergent (with claim as degreaser) in the rug shampooer.
Again, I am not a scientist!