Can We Mix Ammonia And Vinegar? (*Their Uses & Effects)


Household cleaning agents can be a real hassle to buy, store, and use. When you’re trying to clean a spot that’s really hard to reach, or trying to remove some stubborn stains from your clothes, a natural solution is always best. Here I will be sharing some of the most powerful natural cleaning tools you can use in your home.

Cleaning products tend to contain harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach or Ammonia that impact your health and the environment. This is one reason why I try to justify using Vinegar as a household cleaning agent. Vinegar is said to have an acidic pH of 2-3, meaning it will have an ability to etch copper and brass due to the high concentration of acetic acid in the solution, which has proven to be a good cleaner for copper and brass in general when used on their surface.

Vinegar is also said to release Ammonia from hair products such as hair dye, which results in a strong smell and causes headaches around old homes.

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is a highly acidic solution of alcohol, water, and acetic acid. Its other form is that of acetic acid crystals. Vinegar is mainly made from white or red wine and its uses vary. It has been used for thousands of years as a preservative and flavoring agent in cooking and it is still used as such today where applicable. It can also be used as a surface disinfectant or an ingredient in medicinal mouthwashes.

What is Ammonia?

Ammonia: NH3; is a colorless gaseous compound with an unpleasant odor. It is used in the manufacture of fertilizers, dyes, explosives, and the majority of its use is in the production of Fertilizers and pharmaceuticals. The most common types are ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH) and ammonium chloride(NH4Cl). Ammonia gas (NH3) is produced by decomposing an acid called Ammonia salt (NH4+).

Can You mix Ammonia and Vinegar?

Yes, we can. Because of the highly acidic nature of Vinegar, it will help dissolve the Ammonia. There are certain steps you should follow and precautions that must be exercised to avert any possible danger.

What happens when we mix Vinegar and Ammonia?

When Ammonia and Vinegar are mixed, they react to form urea. Urea is a chemical compound consisting of two nitrogen and one hydrogen atom connected by a carbon atom. Urea is produced naturally by the degradation of the urea nitrogenase enzyme that uses Ammonia as an electron acceptor. Urea is then dissolved in water to produce a 5% solution called ammonium hydroxide or can be made into ammonium chloride by reacting with sodium hydroxide.

Vinegar And Ammonia As Cleaning Agents.

Both Vinegar and Ammonia are well known for their cleaning properties. They both have the ability to penetrate dirt and dissolve it and they can both be used as disinfectants. Vinegar is acidic in nature whereas Ammonia is an alkaline compound, but when they are mixed together they produce a substance that has the qualities of both, making it a perfect cleaning agent.

The objective of the experiment was to do a comparison test between the cleaning properties of Vinegar and Ammonia in different materials. To carry out the experiment we used the following materials: white tile, black tile, marble, glass, sandstone, steel, and copper. 

In order to carry out this test, I followed the same procedure for each material testing. First, I thoroughly cleaned each sample with distilled water. After drying each sample, I used a couple of drops of Vinegar on the surface. After that, I sprayed a couple of drops of Ammonia on each stain and waited for some time to see what happened. All the tests were carried out in an environment with temperature and relative humidity set at 25 degrees Celsius and 35-45% humidity respectively.

What do the results indicate?

The results showed that Vinegar is effective in lifting dirt from hard nonporous surfaces. The only exception was the glass surface, where it only showed light cleaning ability. On the other hand, Ammonia did not show much effect on the surfaces I tested. Only on glass and sandstone did it show some light cleaning effect. On marble, steel, and copper it did not have any effect at all.

Cleaning Copper and Brass Surfaces with Vinegar Solution

Cleaning deposits left on the copper and brass surfaces can be easily removed with a Vinegar cleaning solution, but the Ammonia that is released from hair dye is quite strong and can be quite irritating to the skin when used as a Vinegar rinse. Many have opted to use Vinegar as a safer alternative and have safely used a cloth to clean the copper and brass. Follow these simple steps on how to clean your brass using Vinegar:

  • The first color the brass surface you are cleaning with a soft cloth to remove any lingering dirt and debris that have been left behind from previous cleaning procedures. Be sure to use mild dishwashing soap and rinse it clean before starting.
  • Second, apply a dime size amount of Vinegar directly onto the brass surface(s) you want to dry prior to wiping. At this time, be sure to dampen the cloth you will use to wipe the surface so that it is not too dry.
  • Apply a quick, but thorough, wipe to your cleaning cloth and wipe the Vinegar onto the brass surface. This step is extremely important because if you do not do so correctly then your brass surface(s) will begin to turn black very fast which is a very strong indicator that an acidic environment has been created on your brass surface. This can create the need for a more intensive cleaning process.
  • After you have wiped, simply rinse off the solution from your brass surface with a wet cloth. If you find that your brass surface is getting stained, then simply reapply a Vinegar and water solution to clean it off and apply another wipe to dry.
  • Remember that cleaning deposits from your brass surface must be removed with a Vinegar solution because this will allow the products to begin reacting with the solution to etch away the surface of your brass without affecting its overall appearance.

How Do You Clean With Vinegar And Ammonia?

The method is the same for each surface. First, you spray the surface with water to make it wet, then you spray a couple of drops of Vinegar on the surface and wait for it to soak in, then spray a couple of drops of Ammonia and let it dry. Because Ammonia is an alkaline solution, it has a neutralizing effect on Vinegar which makes it less acidic than before.

The next step is to take a dry cloth and wipe it on the surface in circular motions. Doing this will remove any dirt that is adhered on the surface. you should wait for a while and then rinse the area with water and wipe dry.

Mixture Of Vinegar And Ammonia With Other Chemicals.

The first thing to consider in any cleaning mixture is the pH level. The pH scale measures the acidity of a solution on a scale of 0 to 14. A 7 is considered neutral, while both 1 and 14 are extremely acidic or alkaline. Vinegar has a pH level of 2-3, meaning it’s fairly strong at being an acid—it’s much stronger than lemon juice (pH 2-3), for example. Ammonia has a pH of about 10, making it alkaline. Since these cleaning solutions have the potential to damage surfaces, I recommend testing them on a small area first.

Ammonia and Baking Soda

Mix a few drops of Ammonia with baking soda (about 1 tsp.) to make a paste. Use it to clean sinks, tubs, showers, and floors.

This mixture is similar to the water and Vinegar solution listed above, except that it does not require rinsing and will leave behind a residue. Using this mixture on clay or ceramic surfaces may cause permanent damage over time.

Getting Rid of Odors in the Bathroom With Ammonia and Baking Soda Mixture

Spray down the toilet, sink and bathtub with water. Sprinkle baking soda on the surface and let it sit for a couple of minutes to soak up the odor. Scrub with an old toothbrush, then wipe clean.

If you have a stronger smelling odor, try adding 5-10 drops of lemon or orange essential oil to your spray bottle filled with water.

Ammonia and Vinegar Mixture as Dog Repellent

Ammonia is a dog repellent and will deter dogs from areas where this solution has been applied. This is because the scent of Ammonia is offensive to dogs, just like dog pee.

But be careful! Ammonia can burn your skin and eyes if it’s splashed on them, so not only should you avoid getting it on your dog, but also any children or pets in the area as well.

Ammonia and Vinegar Mixture as Rat Repellent

The smell of Ammonia is offensive to all rodents and will keep rats and mice away from areas where it has been applied. This too, is because the scent of Ammonia is offensive to rodents, just like rat pee.

Using Vinegar and Baking Soda to Remove Stains from Stainless Steel

Neutralize the Ammonia with 1 tsp. of baking soda, and wipe with a damp cloth. Scrub away tarnish with a soft toothbrush to prevent scratches on your stainless steel appliances.

  • Wear gloves when cleaning with Ammonia. Ammonia can damage bare skin and eyes.
  • When using a spray bottle, dilute 1/2 Vinegar with 1/2 water before you begin to avoid damaging the plastic parts of the bottle. 
  • Scrape away any dirt on the surface by using a toothbrush or a microfiber cloth. Rinse thoroughly and dry.
  • Prepare a cleaning solution of 1:1 Ammonia and water, and spray the surface until it is damp. Let it soak, then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.
  • Finish by wiping away any remaining residue with a damp cloth or paper towel.

This mixture is similar to the water and Vinegar solution listed above, except that it does not require rinsing and will leave behind a residue. Using this mixture on clay or ceramic surfaces may cause permanent damage over time.

FAQ about Mixing Ammonia with Vinegar

Can I mix Ammonia, Vinegar, and Baking Soda?

For small cleaning jobs, it’s a good idea to have a mister ready. Simply fill the bottle with water, add your Vinegar and Ammonia, then fill up the rest of the bottle with warm water. Seal the bottle tightly and shake it vigorously to mix to combine all ingredients.

Can I microwave the mixture of Vinegar and Ammonia?

No, you can not. Because of the electric properties of these substances and because they are both volatile they can burn you when mixed together if microwaved.

Why does my Ammonia smell like rotten eggs?

The smell is from the Ammonia gas that is created by mixing these two chemicals together. The gas rising from the solution will cause a rotten egg scent and irritation in your eyes and lungs. Ammonia is a gas that can be smelled at high concentrations, but even at 0.5% (0.5g/100mL of water), it is enough to cause irritation. The low odor threshold for Ammonia is about 3 ppm.
You can reduce the smell by using a fan to circulate the air, and by keeping a window or door open. Keep Ammonia away from your eyes, skin, and mouth as it could be harmful.

What are the uses of Ammonia?

Ammonia is used as a disinfectant and bleaching agent. It is also used as a fertilizer, in chemical synthesis, and in the manufacture of amino acids, hydrazine, and hydrogen sulfide among others. Ammonia was once widely used in agriculture to induce plant growth.

How can I use Ammonia?

Ammonia can be used to kill germs on clothes to prevent the scent from sticking and to eliminate odors that linger on clothes or other items.

How to clean a carpet with Ammonia and Vinegar?

Ammonia is best for getting rid of germs on carpets, but it works best in high-traffic areas where the same carpet is used over and over again. For example a kitchen or family room. You can use hydrogen peroxide instead of Ammonia.
Soak up all the Vinegar and water mixture with a wet paper towel in an area with your high-traffic carpet. Allow the area to dry completely first, then vacuum up any remaining Vinegar mixture before you vacuum again.

Can Vinegar and Ammonia Mixture Clean Tile Floors?

Vinegar and Ammonia are both good for cleaning floors but there are a few important things to remember. Vinegar is a great cleaner but it can leave behind a film over your tile that can be unsightly and difficult to remove. If you have polished tile floors make sure to remove any Vinegar residue with acetone before you vacuum up to avoid leaving behind an unsightly film.

Can you mix Ammonia with Bleach?

No, it is not recommended to even try. Doing so, the mixture can release dangerous gases like chloramines which can cause your death also. Moreover, you can suffer from various diseases like Coughing, Nausea, Shortness of breath, Watery eyes, Chest pain, etc.

Final Thoughts

Vinegar and Ammonia are common chemicals used in many places, especially in the kitchen. Many people use them for cleaning purposes. Their strong acidic and alkaline qualities allow them to be effective cleaners, though they should always be used with care. The first step toward an efficient cleaning solution is to understand the chemical makeup of the Vinegar and Ammonia you are using. This will help you determine what type of surface you are cleaning and how best to use the solution.

So there you have it! In this article, I’ll mention natural cleaning agents that can be used to clean your copper and brass. I hope you’ve found this article helpful.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us.


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