Vinegar and Baking Soda: The Smell Lifters

smell remover baking soda and vinegar

When water goes places it shouldn’t, mold and mildew happen. The by-product of this unfortunate incident is a smell that may not make a person gag, but it is difficult to inhale and definitely unpleasant. It is a lingering, earthy, rotten scent that permeates everything it contacts. Regular cleaning products don’t cut it when it comes to mildew. However, two fairly simple products will clear out the smell: vinegar and baking soda.

Combining Baking Soda and Vinegar to Resolve Smell

Anyone who has ever made a volcano science experiment knows that the explosion only happens when you add the baking soda to the vinegar. However, you might also remember that “explosion” was very anticlimactic. Instead, mixing baking soda and vinegar causes more of a bubbling reaction. However, this bubbling does not necessarily result in a cleaning effect. Instead, mixing baking soda and vinegar can neutralize any cleaning capabilities of either product. The acid from the vinegar neutralizes the base from the baking soda, and the cleaning effect is nullified.


The main effective ingredient in vinegar is acetic acid. Because it is an acid that is fermented from ethanol. There are many variations of vinegar. The most commonly used for cleaning is white distilled vinegar. Everyone knows vinegar smells like rotten eggs. However, this amazing product leaves everything neutralized. Because most odors are basic, or alkaline. The acidity of the vinegar balances out or neutralizes the smell. You are basically mixing that egg smell and whatever basic smell to create…no smell.

  • Boil to remove odors from the air
  • Use in laundry to remove odors
  • Add to a spray bottle for spot cleaning
  • Add to the carpet cleaning solution

Baking Soda

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, or sodium hydrogen carbonate, which is a base. Contrasting with vinegar, baking soda absorbs acidic smells. Such as spoiled food, which makes them excellent choices for refrigerators. It will absorb smells and can even be used as a breath freshener.

  • Abrasive cleaner if applied dry
  • Put a box in your refrigerator to neutralize odors
  • Add to laundry

Better Separate than Together

Like ice cream and broccoli, baking soda and vinegar are better used separate together. However, both compounds make effective and “safe” cleaning products that get rid of smells but don’t have all of the dangers of caustic chemicals. If you are dealing with a mildew issue, one or both of these products may eliminate the scents, but don’t use them together if you want effective results.