A good number of home improvement related blogs and even websites have articles and posts that talk about the immense benefits of cleaning using baking soda and vinegar. Some people have even labeled the combination of these two with lemon essential oil as the ultimate green cleaner. You will notice that every natural cleaning ingredient list there will always be baking soda and vinegar. The trick according to most people is to mix the two for a thorough cleaning process. How true is this?
First of all, baking soda on its own is a very strong cleaning substance. Vinegar, on the other hand, is known to be a very strong cleaning agent that can work on its own. This means that individually, these two substances are capable of doing a great cleaning job. Baking soda is slightly basic and can be used to clean acidic messes as well as grease on the kitchen countertops and stovetops. You can also use it to clean pots, saucepans with stuck-on food because it is a mild abrasive. However, you should avoid using baking soda on aluminum items because it will interfere with the protective coating on the aluminum.
Vinegar, on the other hand, is made of acetic acid diluted in water. The vinegar you use in your home contains approximately 5 percent acetic acid. This means that vinegar has a mild acidic effect and it is the reason why it is considered a useful cleaning agent. Vinegar is great for mirrors and glass tops.
So when you combine baking soda which is a base and vinegar which is an acid, you will create carbonic acid. This is simple chemistry. The carbonic acid then decomposes into carbon dioxide gas and water. This means that after a few minutes, you will only be left with carbonic acid reside and water. Since you will not notice this, you will carry on with your cleaning process thinking that you have the best homemade cleaning agent. But in the real sense, you will only be cleaning using the lemon oil and water.
So the next time you think of creating your all-purpose homemade cleaner, do not mix baking soda with vinegar. Simply use one of them depending on what you are cleaning and they will work just right. These two work better when they are separate than when they are mixed together. You can add a little lemon oil for the scent but mixing natural lemon (acid) with baking soda (base) will not yield effective results. Just use one of them and you will get the desired results.