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There's a popular hair cleaning regime circulating in the 'green' blogs called the "no 'poo method." Rather than using shampoo, one rinses the hair with a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water, rinses with clean water, then does the same again, only with a tablespoon of vinegar.

Example:

It might sounds like the recipe for a hair volcano, but baking soda and vinegar work great as shampoo and conditioner substitutes.

How does this method clean hair? There's a more common cleaning routine that only uses vinegar. What is the purpose of rinsing with both baking soda AND vinegar? I'm curious as to whether the baking soda cleans, or whether it simply neutralized the acidity of the vinegar. Is there real chemistry behind it, or is this just an old wives' tale?

(I tried it last night, and it worked pretty well. My hair feels clean and silky, for what it's worth.)

  • Maia, welcome on Skeptics! Are you asking for using vinegar and baking soda to gether or separately? – Carlo Alterego Feb 2 '13 at 13:37
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    @Carlo: Maia explains that it is one followed by the other, with rinsing in between. – Oddthinking Feb 2 '13 at 14:16
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    Hello @Odd, thank you. You are right. Yes, I have read again the question and at the end I understood that one is followed by the other. It was the "AND" (in capital letters) that confuse(d) me. – Carlo Alterego Feb 2 '13 at 14:21
  • Baking soda is well known for neutralising smells when used as a household cleaner. I would guess it'd have the same effect on hair. – Jem G Feb 4 '13 at 5:21
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    Isn't baking soda and water a basic solution? That would make it good at stripping oils and such from the hair. Vinegar would be an acidic solution that would get rid of protein buildup and dead skin. I don't know how well it would work, but it's a plausible method. – William Grobman Feb 4 '13 at 18:06

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