Why Do Vinegar & Baking Soda React?

Chemistry, Science, Reaction
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A Very Common STEM Reaction

Baking Soda mixed with Vinegar. Two household products that have been entertaining kids around the world for decades due to their reaction with one another. When teaching science and STEM, the balloon being blown up by this reaction is probably one of the first demonstrations kids will try.

But what is actually going on behind the scenes that causes this visually pleasing reaction?

Vinegar and Baking Soda Reaction Explained

Reaction Explained Simply

The reaction is known as an 'Acid-Base' reaction.

Baking soda is a base, and vinegar is an acid. Vinegar isn't just an acid, it is an acid in water, which is important.

The water in the vinegar acts as a host where the base and acid react. During the reaction, when the baking soda is mixed with the vinegar, the baking soda (Base) takes a proton from the vinegar (Acid). The reaction causes the baking soda to transform into water and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is a gas which is released during the reaction, which gives it the bubbling effect, and it expands which will blow up balloons as you have probably seen in some experiments and demonstrations.

Vinegar + Baking Soda Video

Here is a great video demonstrating the reaction of vinegar and baking soda. It explains what has happened simply, and also demonstrates how the reaction can blow up a balloon.

The Reaction Explained in Complex Form

For the full and detailed explanation of what actually takes place when you mix vinegar and baking soda, we researched from professional scientists.

The best answer we could find was here: UCSB ScienceLine

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate: each molecule of baking soda contains a sodium atom, a hydrogen atom, an oxygen atom, and a carbon dioxide molecule.

Vinegar contains acetic acid, each molecule of which contains a hydrogen atom, and an acetate ion.

When combined, the hydrogen atom in the acetic acid meets up with the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the baking soda to form a molecule of water, while the acetate ion grabs onto the sodium atom and forms a salt, sodium acetate. The carbon dioxide molecule, free of its other chemical bonds, can now escape and bubbles forth as a gas.

perpetua peiris from sri lanka
this demonstration helped me a lot in my school project
Henry Davis
It's safe to say ingesting the two would have deadly consequences? Just looking for more ways to detox the human body...
Very interesting i am actually doing this experiment for school
I was researching why this expirement always ends the way it dose for a school project and now I know why! thank you so much for making this so easy and fun!
This is very nice I like how they explained everything.
Thank you so much for this explanation. I was searching everywhere to get a description of the molecules for my science class and this said it perfectly. I could easily understand it yet it still was scientific and informative. Thank you so much for creating this and know you made my life a whole lot easier.
Thank you so much for the vid!
This is great thank you!
Paul Stevenson
I've heard this before, and what I do not understand is why people believe when these ingredients are mixed that they create a cleaning solution. It appears to me, if mixed together and the outcome is water, then you are simply cleaning with water. ??????
User Comment
This was extremely helpful! Thank you!
thanks! i have to write an explanation text on an experiment about this for school and this was really helpful to gather information!
thanks alot this helped me alot
Thanks for the video! I am trying to do a experiment for school and I think this video helped me! Well..kinda at least!
User Comment
Thank you for this video! Our experiment would be to see what happens if we heat it up.
User Comment
All of these scientific names and chemicals are giving me a headache! LOL

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