Many websites have crowned the mixture of vinegar and baking soda as a top DIY cleaning agent, but the truth is…it isn’t.
The volcanic fizz this mixture initially produces is more show than substance. Once the chemical reaction between acid and base slows down and neutralises, you’re left with a simple salt solution. The aforementioned initial fizz still works great on stains though. But while the violent reaction helps to lift and break up dirt from stains, the best way to clean is to use its components separately. Vinegar removes stains and mildew but is safe enough for your hands. Baking soda powder is an excellent scouring agent and helps absorb moisture, including fresh stains.
How to Use Vinegar and Baking Soda
To clean drains: Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let it fizz till you can see grime floating up. Once it settles, pour boiling water down the drain to wash away the mixture.
As an air freshener: Baking soda is able to absorb odours. If your closet smells musty, clean it out and sprinkle baking soda inside. Leave it overnight and then vacuum it up; the offensive pong should disappear. You can also sprinkle it in your shoes to sop up sweat and odours.
To clean a greasy microwave: Rather than trying to scrape away stubborn stains, microwave a cup of water and two tablespoons of vinegar in a glass bowl for five minutes. The steam should make it easy to wipe off the grease. Add a drop of lemon juice for an invigorating smell!
To clean carpets: Remove stains with vinegar and baking soda. If someone has spilt wine or, horrors, thrown up over your carpet, quickly cover the area with some vinegar and then sprinkle tons of baking soda over it. Once it’s quite dry, sweep or vacuum up the mess and you’re done.
Fun Fact! During the Manhattan Project that oversaw the development of the atomic bomb, scientists discovered the uranium oxide that stuck fast to cotton could be removed only with baking soda, not detergent! Just 170g of baking soda to seven litres of water is enough to wash out uranium particles from clothes.
Not only are these products powerful but their cheap too! Win-win!
If you prefer to go with store bought products, we’ve got a list of great home cleaners here.
By Amanda Jayne Lee, Home & Decor, February 2015