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Can You Mix Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide? (Explained)

Hydrogen peroxide, a chemical that typically takes the form of a colorless liquid, has many different applications in the fields of cosmetics, personal care, medicine, and water purification.

On the other hand, vinegar is an acidic liquid made by acetic acid bacteria from the fermentation of ethanol. Not only is it a flavorful addition to food, but its chemical properties also make it useful in the kitchen.

Both of the chemicals are very much useful in our daily activities. But one thing we need to know is how we should use them and the proper ways of using these chemicals.

Let’s find out about whether or not we can mix Vinegar and Hydrogen peroxide and also discuss about if we can use these two products together.

Mixing vinegar and hydrogen peroxide

It is strongly advised that you should not mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Together it changes into peracetic acid, which is an unstable acid with dubious potency. In fact, they produce a very strong side effect. You need to be careful about your safety as it may become harmful.

It’s obvious for many to believe that combining vinegar and hydrogen peroxide will increase their effectiveness, but the reality is that, doing so is more likely to put your life in danger.

Vinegar comes in many different varieties and applications. Let’s see what happens when we combine them with some hydrogen peroxide.

White vinegar and hydrogen peroxide:

If you want to keep the surface of different objects like wooden furniture, dining table etc. clean and disinfected without spending a lot of money, disinfecting them using white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide is a fantastic idea.

It is very important to keep in mind that, these two chemicals can be used individually for cleaning purposes, not combined. Therefore, you should not combine the two liquids.

Because the mixture eventually transforms into peracetic acid, which is a harmful acid that is unstable and may not be as powerful as it initially appears to be.

Apple cider vinegar and hydrogen peroxide:

When combined, apple cider vinegar and hydrogen peroxide offer increased efficacy as a treatment for various conditions.

They are lethal to bacteria and viruses. Because apple cider vinegar contains a low percentage of acid, the two can be combined without any problems.

In a bottle that has been thoroughly cleaned, put two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide that has a concentration of three percent.

Now, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a separate bottle that has been thoroughly cleaned. Therefore, if you maintain this measurement, you will be able to balance them together without putting your health in danger, and vice versa.

Distilled vinegar and hydrogen peroxide:

For cleaning purposes and as a disinfectant, distilled vinegar can work out great for you. Besides, as mentioned before, hydrogen peroxide is also a great disinfectant.  

The important surface of your furniture in the household will last longer if you use these two chemicals for regular or occasional cleaning.

However, it is highly recommended to combine them for use, as the mixture can produce peracetic acid, a potentially lethal acid that is unstable and may not be as potent as it seems at first glance. Caution is warranted.

Is it safe?

It is not safe to mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together. When hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are mixed together, a powerful oxidizing agent called peracetic acid is created (also known as peroxyacetic acid).

Although it shares some similarities with the reactant acetic acid, peracetic acid is otherwise distinct. Peracetic acid is frequently used as a sanitizing product because of its high oxidizing potential.

Acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide are considered safe and environmentally friendly, and it is effective against a wide variety of bacteria when used in food.

This opens up possibilities for using the element in the sanitation of food-preparation hard surfaces, in wine and beer production, in greenhouses, and even on food products like vegetables, fruits, and meat.

Highly concentrated forms of the element are very corrosive and can cause irritation to the respiratory tract, eyes, and skin. Chronic inhalation of this element can cause permanent lung damage.

What happens if you mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide?

Peracetic acid is the name given to the byproduct of the reaction between acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Let’s see what happens if you mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.

Peracetic Acid:

In most cases, the acetic acid content of the distilled white vinegar sold in grocery stores is 5 %, and its pH ranges between 2 and 3.

When you combine it with 3% hydrogen peroxide, which is a stable and powerful disinfectant, it creates Peracetic Acid.

Produces a cleaning solution:

If you take two clean spray bottles and fill one with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and the other with hydrogen peroxide diluted to 3%, you can make a cleaning solution.

In the experiments that were carried out, the use of these together terminated almost all of the Salmonella, Shigella, and E.coli bacteria that were present on contaminated surfaces and foods.

These bacteria could be found on contaminated surfaces and foods. This demonstrated that the combination of the two veils of mist separately was more effective at terminating bacteria than chlorine bleach or other commercial kitchen cleaners.

Health risk:

The reaction that takes place when you combine hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, it produces such a solution that is very much harmful to health.

In some instances, the solution that is produced is very acidic, whereas in other instances, it may produce gasses that are highly toxic.

When do you mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide?

It is highly recommended for you to avoid combining vinegar with hydrogen peroxide.

But in special cases or for experimental purposes, many of us might need to mix these two chemicals together. However, you need to make sure that you have adequate safety.

Thus, the suggested procedure is to put white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in one clean sprayer and 3% hydrogen peroxide in the other sprayer.

In experiments that had been carried out so far, it has been proven that the use of these two chemicals have simultaneously terminated almost all of the salmonella, shigella, and E.coli bacteria that were present on contaminated surfaces and foods.

This demonstrated that the combination of the two veils of mist separately was more effective at terminating bacteria than chlorine bleach or other commercial kitchen cleaners.

Moreover, combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide produces peracetic acid. Even though peracetic acid is highly corrosive and toxic in nature, it can be used as a bleaching agent, sterilizing agent and reagent.

Furthermore, it can also be used as polymerization catalyst for polyester resins, which is a fungicide and bactericide used mostly in food processing.

How do you mix white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide?

If you maintain proper cautions, you can mix it with hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide is effective on its own, but the combination of the two compounds is even more powerful, sometimes toxic as well.

If you follow some steps, you can mix it together for a cleaner recipe. Here are some of them-

Gather all the equipment and chemicals:

It is very important to gather the necessary equipment and chemicals at first. Pay a visit to your nearby store which sells different lab products.

1 spray bottle equipped with a nozzle is required for this task. You might also want to bring along an additional spray bottle just in case.

Don’t forget to buy the necessary chemicals i.e. white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide if you don’t have available in your home.

Put on safety equipment:

Wear protective gear when cleaning, such as gloves, a mask, and eyewear. You don’t want any of that on your skin, face, or eyes if a splatter happens.

It’s also a good idea to wear old clothes so that you don’t have to worry about damaging your good stuff from spills or using some products like vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.

Take proper measurement:

It is very much important to take the proper amount of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar while you are mixing them.

It is recommended to mix 3% of hydrogen peroxide solution and 5% of acetic acid from distilled or white vinegar.

Fill a spray bottle:

Pour the white vinegar into a spray bottle. If you like, you can also add a few drops of tea tree oil and shake the bottle.

Now, pour the estimated portion of hydrogen peroxide in the spray bottle and mix it well with the vinegar. It is highly recommended to use it wisely as its byproduct is toxic in nature.

Final Thoughts

It is strongly advised not to combine vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together. It changes into peracetic acid, an unstable acid whose potency is uncertain. It may become harmful for your health. In fact, they have an highly potent side effect. Thus, pay close attention to your safety.