Many times when I mention I'm a professional green cleaner, people share their "recipe" for an all purpose cleaner: a mix of vinegar and baking soda. I love when people are as excited as I am about cleaning, but I usually have to burst their bubble on this one.
Baking soda is alkaline/ base and vinegar is acid. They neutralize each other. Sometimes the process of them neutralizing each other is helpful (as in the case of the baking soda and vinegar "volcano" unclogging pipes). However, if you are just mixing them together in a bottle to create a cleanser to have on hand, you do not get the pH benefits of each. You are taking a longer and more expensive approach to making a neutral/ water-like cleaner that doesn't assist if the stain actually needed an alkaline or acid cleaner, as most stains do. Meaning you'll have to put out lots more elbow grease to pick up the slack, and it still may not work. Yuck!
Do keep baking soda and vinegar in your green cleaning kit, but use them wisely. Soon, I'll be sharing more recipes and explaining why they work. Stay tuned!
Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning.