WE all love a good old fashioned cleaning hack to make our lives easier – but some of them just aren’t worth your time.

In fact, if you use the wrong product in the wrong place you could actually be doing more harm than good.

The Secret Cleaner sees people every day talk about the bicarb of soda and vinegar cleaning hack

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The Secret Cleaner sees people every day talk about the bicarb of soda and vinegar cleaning hack
April says the hack is completely useless

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April says the hack is completely uselessCredit: @TheSecretCleaner
Science shows it doesn't work

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Science shows it doesn’t workCredit: @TheSecretCleaner

And with others, you might be pouring money down the drain….or toilet.

The Scottish Sun Online has teamed up with cleaning expert The Secret Cleaner to bring you the best cleaning tips each month.

April, 49, is a mum of two living in Scotland and shares science-based cleaning hacks and myth-busts the latest trends with her 33,000 Instagram followers (@TheSecretCleaner).

From the popular products that do or don’t work to the dangerous trends people should avoid, April’s got you covered.

This month, it’s all about the “cheap and easy” cleaning tip which is wasting your time…


“Bicarb and vinegar are a great cleaning combination.” 

As a cleanfluencer I see people every day on social media and even TV sharing this ‘tip’ regularly.

Millions of people seem to have been fooled into thinking that mixing vinegar or lemon and bicarb is a great way to clean all sorts of things in the home.

But the science behind this hack tells a different story – it’s actually useless.

We know that bicarb is a base on the pH scale and vinegar is an acid, and when opposites on the pH scale are mixed together, they neutralise each other, or cancel each other out.

What you see when you mix the two is a pretty cool fizzing mixture. But that’s just the vinegar reacting to the bicarb. 

The bubbling motion doesn’t have enough power to shift dirt or grease on its own.

And the liquid you are left with is common salt water, which isn’t exactly renowned for its cleaning properties.

ACTUAL USES

Before you throw away your bicarb and vinegar, here are a few ways they can be used individually around the home…

Pop a tray of bicarb in your fridge or sprinkle on carpets before vacuuming to tackle any bad smells.  

Spray vinegar and wipe away to tackle hard water stains in the bathroom or add a half cup to your washing instead of fabric softener.

What the science says…

There are a lot of myths surrounding cleaning with bicarb and vinegar. So let’s look at the basic chemistry.

Bicarb is a base and vinegar is an acid. Acids and bases are great at cleaning and tackling odours on their own.

But when a base and an acid are mixed together, they react to or neutralise one another creating a pH neutral solution.

Some chemical stuff happens. CH3COOH + NaHCO3 = H2O + CO2 + CH3COO- + Na+.

In plain English, vinegar + bicarb = water, carbon dioxide gas (bubbles), and salt.

What you see is a fizzing mixture. That bubbling is the acid/vinegar reacting to the base/bicarb. They are breaking each other down.

The bubbling motion is weak and doesn’t have enough power to shift dirt or grease, and the liquid you are left with is a pH neutral salt water.

  • You can follow @TheSecretCleaner on Instagram and check out her book The Little Book of Cleanfulness on Amazon, WH Smith, and Waterstones. 





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