Four Ways to Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

DIY with baking soda and vinegar

And no…not for a paper mâché‎ volcano.

All right, there’s a LOT of talk out on the Interwebs about how washing your hair with a baking soda/water mixture and conditioning with apple cider vinegar is like, way better for your hair than traditional shampoos that strip your hair of natural oils (and especially those loaded with sulfates, fragrance, yadda yadda). I have also heard that this method helps your hair grow faster. That’s always a plus, eh? The “basic” (pun intended) idea is that baking soda is a basic cleansing agent. Following with acidic ACV helps neutralize your hair while holding in moisture. Not one to be left behind, I did some research and decided to use this recipe:

  • 1 part baking soda, 3 parts water mixed in a squeeze bottle
  • 2 parts ACV mixed with 4 parts water

It seems easy enough…yeah?

Well, I tried it, and gosh darn it. Boy oh boy. I wish someone would have told me this strips COLOR from yo’ head! I am a bottle red head – I admit that – that’s my thing, has been for years. My calling card, so to speak? Yeah, it’s an acting thing…I can’t change, I’m like Dorian Gray! (At least for now…) After looking online, it seems this method works for some color-treated gals, but it sure didn’t work for me.

After rubbing the baking soda mixture deep into my scalp, I rinsed it off and poured the ACV mixture all over my head and let it sit while I reeked of a salad and longed for a Karen Silkwood type of shower to get this smell off my flesh. I wanted to feel really awesome about this after I got out of the shower and let my hair dry. Instead, my color was wonk, my strands felt like a barrel of hay, and I smelled like I had been marinating inside of an Easter egg. I gave it a few more tries over the course of a week, and maybe I gave up too fast…I’m glad I tried this method, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. I have an appointment with my colorist, and am still on the search for a good smelling, non-stripping, healthy for the environment, and chemical-free shampoo that’s safe for fraudulent gingers like myself.

I love the idea of using just two ingredients and water to wash your hair – I so wanted that to work for me, and I have a feeling it will once I get older and let my hair get back to its natural shade, when I am a memaw and don’t have sassy parts to land.

Until then…I wanted to show you how to use baking soda and vinegar for other DIY projects! Here are some fixes for every day problems.

I have used this method (thank you, Crunchy Betty) in both my kitchen and my bathroom sink, and it is SUCH a better choice than Drano. Non-toxic, and just as effective, you just need a little more patience. If your drain is clogged, pour a pot of boiling water down your drain. Add ½ a cup of baking soda and let that sit for a few minutes. Then add a mixture of 1 cup vinegar (white or ACV) and 1 cup hot water and pour that down the drain. Let that sit for 10 minutes. Let it sit longer if it’s a really bad clog. Then flush one more time with another pot of boiling water. Voila! Clear drain!

DIY with vinegar

This one really excites me because I could spend hours in the natural cleaning aisle, smelling products and reading their labels until I am blurry eyed. Don’t go to Whole Foods with me because if you do, WE ARE NEVER LEAVING. Pack an extra pair of socks! But in the meantime, you actually have all the cleansers you need right in your cabinet. Put dat wallet down, friend!

Everyone’s shower head gets build up over time. Mold, mineral build up, and general blech can be blocking that water from coming out full blast. Plus, who really wants to bathe in a mold cocktail? Oh hayyy, girl – how do ya like my MOLD today? (keels over, dies)

This one is SO simple. Take a baggie (ziplock, small plastic bag, etc.), a rubber band, and white or apple cider vinegar. Pour the vinegar half way up the bag. Secure the bag with the rubber band making sure the vinegar is touching your shower head. Leave the bag there overnight. When you wake up for your shower in the morning, remove the bag (don’t spill that nasty on your face, though, not a good look) and you will have a sparkling clean shower head! I do this once every other month, or as needed.

You can do this several different ways. You can just dip your current toothpaste into the baking soda for an extra boost of breath neutralizing power. Baking soda doesn’t cover up bad smells – it will neutralize them so they are actually gone! Or, you can making a pasty mixture of baking soda and 3% hydrogen peroxide to clean and whiten your teeth without all the gunk and bleach in drugstore teeth whiteners. Just note that hydrogen peroxide can cause teeth and gum sensitivity in some, so I wouldn’t do this everyday…but maybe after you’ve had a lot of wine…er…coffee, to get those stains gone!

OK, once you have done all of the above, you can go ahead and make that science fair volcano. I won’t tell Mom, your secret’s safe with me!

Photo credit: Henna Lion and CJMartin on Flickr

Have you tried the “No ‘Poo” method with baking soda and vinegar, or any other DIYs?

  • Katie

    Kathryne – I totally feel your pain. I tried the no-poo method, too, and I finally gave up in December. The baking soda + ACV was the worst. It’s hard to find middle-of-the road haircare – it’s either use detergents and silicones or go no-poo. Maybe you know of some better brands to explore? // As for good DIYs, coconut oil + baking soda works wonders as a facial exfoliator. Just figured that out this winter and it’s been a lifesaver!

    • Kathryne

      Ooooh! Good idea, I have never come across that specific recipe! Awesome! Great tip! I have recently found a pretty cool shampoo/conditioner combo in Greenbody Greenplanet, and am doing a post on that company soon! So far so good- they are free of every harsh chemical, silicone, etc. So I think that I may have found a solution! Haha, I felt so silly when that baking soda totally didn’t work for me. I am not as crunchy granola as I thought, lol! Oh well, can’t win them all! :0)

  • Veronica

    Every once in a while, I’ll mix water and some apple cider vinegar in a big bottle, take it in the shower, and just pour it all over my head (I still shampoo right afterward, though, which may negate the whole thing). I find it makes me feel extra clean, especially when I’ve been an itchy/greasy mess. It stinks up the house, and people complain, but damn it… I kinda like the smell. :x Ha.

    Your blog is great btw! You make me lol.

  • Ashley Rose

    Hey! I have tagged you to take part in The Going Green Tag. Ashley x

    • Jennifer

      Thank you, Ashley! (most belated reply ever)