Can you Mix Ammonia and Vinegar? (Yes, But You Need To Be Careful...)

Nicole J. Holstein
Mixing chemicals can be harmful. They react, forming toxic fumes which may harm those exposed. Ammonia and vinegar are common cleaning agents in our households, and on one if not several instances, you've found yourself in a situation where you want to mix them, but you ask yourself, can you mix ammonia and vinegar? Keep reading to have that answered.

Table Of Contents

Can You Mix Ammonia And Vinegar?

Yes, they can be mixed but the concern is on the effectiveness and effects of the solution formed. While they can be mixed, they are considered better and less harmful if used separately. Most people prefer using vinegar to ammonia or for specific uses, and some combine them. 

The chemicals in cleaning agents like ammonia and bleach can harm your health and the environment when not used properly. Vinegar, on the other hand, is a natural cleaner and milder than ammonia. Both ammonia and vinegar are effective cleaning agents, and their functions are almost the same.

What Happens If You Mix Ammonia and Vinegar?

When a base and an acid mix, the base neutralizes the acid to form a neutral solution. Ammonia is a base, while vinegar is an acid. So what happens if you mix ammonia and vinegar is that they neutralize each other to produce ammonium acetate solution and water, as illustrated below. The neutralization makes the solution weak and thus less effective in cleaning compared to when they’re used independently.


It is also important to note that, during the reaction, some molecules of sodium chloride and hydrogen chloride form, forming a harmful chlorine gas if inhaled in large quantities. However, the toxic chlorine gas is low in molecular weight and thus dissipates quickly. Mixing them should be done cautiously to avoid any harm during the reaction process.

Vinegar and Ammonia as Cleaning Agents

Ammonia and vinegar are the most common cleaning agents. While both are effective, there are areas where each does better. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and is milder than ammonia; hence ideal for routine household cleaning; it can be mixed with fabric softener when washing fabric like carpets and kitchen towels, in dishwashing, and can be combined with warm water when wiping dirt off tables and countertops as it is less harmful.

On the other hand, ammonia is a powerful cleaner used to dissolve tough spots, grime, and grease, which regular detergents cannot handle. It is ideal for kitchen and bathroom uses. Both are good at eliminating odor, but ammonia is more effective for solid smells.

What Can You Clean with Vinegar?

Vinegar is a multi-purpose cleaner. Besides using it to clean fruits and vegetables, it can be used on countertops, glass and chrome objects, dishwashing, things that get calcium buildup, floors, and rags. It is soft on the skin and has no respiratory effect if inhaled, making it the best substitute for harmful chemicals. It is usually mixed with warm water for effectiveness. When using vinegar in cleaning, ensure to rinse well until the vinegar is thoroughly washed off since it can leave slippery floors. Also, it can erode natural surfaces like stone, marble, and granite countertops or floors with time. The best thing about vinegar is that it does not cause damage, is non-toxic, and is soft on the skin.

What Can You Clean with Ammonia?

Ammonia is a versatile cleaning agent. It clears all tough grease and grime stains on tiles, glass, and stainless steel, leaving them spotlessly clean. Besides, it instantly kills germs and bacteria and removes terrible and strong odors. All that said, ammonia can be used everywhere but mainly to clean washrooms, sinks, and countertops since these areas are highly exposed to bacteria. Always remember to keep the site well-ventilated to suppress toxic fumes!

How to Clean with Vinegar and Ammonia

As stated earlier, each of these performs better in some situations. It is recommended to use them separately, but if you must combine them on whichever surface, you should;

Step 1: First, sprinkle some water on the surface.

Step 2: Then spray the desired amount of vinegar drops and let it sit for five minutes before spraying with ammonia. They will dissolve and neutralize, becoming less acidic.

Step 3: Wipe the surface with a dry or damp cloth to remove all dirt.

Step 4: When done, rinse the surface with clean water and wipe it dry.

A Mixture of Ammonia and Vinegar with Other Chemical

Before mixing chemicals, you should first consider their pH level. Remember the pH scale from that chemistry lessons? Well, the scale measures the acidity of a given solution on a scale of 1-14. On that scale, 7 represents neutral solutions, 1 represents extreme acidity, and 14 indicates strong bases. In the case of ammonia and vinegar, ammonia is said to be alkaline with a pH of 10, while vinegar's pH level is around 2-3, thus fairly acidic.

When a base and an acid are combined, the base neutralizes the acid to form a neutral solution which is less effective. So a mixture of ammonia and vinegar with other chemicals relies on the pH level to determine whether they will be functional.

Ammonia and Baking Soda

When ammonia is mixed with baking soda and some water, they form a paste used for cleaning household appliances and removing stains from cast iron pans. Both ammonia and baking soda are bases, but when mixed, they form toxic fumes.

Vinegar and Baking soda

Both vinegar and baking soda are effective cleaning agents. They are used in household cleaning to remove stains, especially on eroded metals. When mixed, they produce carbon dioxide, which is effective in the removal of corrosion.

They can also have side effects like ammonia and vinegar, as discussed below.

What Are the Side Effects of Mixing Ammonia and Vinegar?

What are some of The Uses of Ammonia and Vinegar?

1. As cleaning agents.

Ammonia and vinegar can be used in stain removal on fabric, grass, and ceramic items.

2. To eliminate the smell.

Ammonia and vinegar can neutralize strong odors in kitchens, refrigerators, and toilets, thus eliminating them.

3. As a rat repellent

Are rats and mice terrorizing your fabric and even foodstuff? All you need to do is to apply a mixture of ammonia and vinegar in strategic areas. The strong and pungent smell of ammonia is unpleasant to rodents; thus, they'll keep off.

4. As a dog repellent

Dogs dislike the smell of ammonia, so they'll stay far from it. However, ammonia can harm their skin and eyes once splashed on them. Be cautious about this, or dissolve ammonia in small portions with vinegar.

Does Vinegar Neutralize Ammonia?

Yes, it does. When an acid is mixed with a base, the base neutralizes the acidity, thus forming a neutral solution. The same thing happens with vinegar since it's an acid while ammonia is a base. However, vinegar is less intense than baking soda in neutralizing ammonia, although it is effective. When mixing vinegar and ammonia, ensure to do it in an open area or in a well-ventilated room to avoid inhaling toxic fumes during the reaction.


Ammonia and vinegar are essential in routine household cleaning. Although some people may mix them, it is advisable to use them separately due to the side effects of their reaction as discussed in this article. Generally, chemicals should be used carefully as per the manufacturer's instructions, always at the back of the package or labels inside the package, but if you insist or have doubts on; can you mix ammonia and vinegar, you should take precautions like mixing them in an open area, in a well-ventilated area, wear protective gear like gloves and masking. You can as well contact the manufacturer for expert advice.

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