All good housekeeping involves innovative hacks that save time, money, and effort. Mixing vinegar with bicarbonate of soda is a viral cleaning hack that’s taken kitchens and bathrooms by storm. This TikTok racked up over 6 million views – more importantly, we all know someone (or are the culprit ourselves) who uses these pantry staples in our housekeeping regimen.


simple steps to get rid of bad odours from the sink 💫 #learnontiktok #cleaninghacks #tiktokhacks #asmr #cleantok #cleanwithkayleigh #foryou

♬ original sound – ✨clean with kayleigh✨

But, the chemists regret to inform us that this hack is bogus.

Why it doesn’t work

This is because vinegar and bicarb of soda basically cancel each other out. Bicarb is basic, while vinegar is acidic. This means that when they mix, you mostly create … well, water.

The bubbles are a result of carbon dioxide being released. This can act like a mild abrasive in things like drains to dislodge things physically. However, if this is what you’re aiming for, a mixture of bicarb and water would actually work better.


Replying to @spiropyran

♬ original sound – Ann Russell She/Her

Also, mixing vinegar with bicarbonate of soda and storing it in a sealed container can cause the container to explode. The mixture isn’t toxic, so don’t panic. However, the cleanup of that situation really defeats the purpose of homemade cleaning mixtures.

Don’t throw out this dynamic duo, though

Vinegar is loved by many because it dissolves mineral deposits (like the ones that make your glass shower panels murky), dirt, and grease. It also kills bacteria. It’s a wonderful addition to any cleaning supply cupboard, but only when diluted with water or added to other detergents.

Bicarbonate of soda is also a wonder ingredient. The feather in its cap is that you can use it for scratchless cleaning. Many abrasive cleaning methods, like steel wool, scrub effectively but damage the surface. Bicarb’s chemistry means it won’t scratch your surfaces. It also absorbs odor – but again, not when mixed with vinegar.

Next time you’re on a cleaning spree or facing down a smelly sink, resist the urge to follow Pinterest and TikTok’s favourite but ineffective mixture and rather use these two separately.


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