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Homework Help: Borax and Vinegar

  1. Mar 5, 2013 #1
    Hi. I arrived at this question because I found a some sites offering supposed homemade household cleaner mixtures but was concerned that the ingredients may counteract each other. I was warned for posting this in the Chemistry discussion forum, but the question is not related to coursework.

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I was wondering what mixture results when adding Borax to Vinegar, and what reaction if any occurs.

    2. Relevant equations
    Borax - Na2 B4 O7
    Acetic acid - C2 H4 O2
    1 tsp borax
    2 tsp vinegar

    3. The attempt at a solution
    My guess is that the low pH of the acetic acid will be partially neutralized by the high pH of the borax. The resulting mixture would be a weaker acid or a weaker base, depending on whether an excess of borax or an excess of vinegar was present.

    In a related question, I'd be curious to know how to figure out which product would be favored in this reaction, and possibly what the pH of the resulting solution would be.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2013 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor


    Similar reaction (between borax and hydrochloric acid) is used to standardize solutions used in acid-base titration.

    Final pH depends on exact amounts of both borax and the acid, and on their dissociation constants.

    And I agree with your sentiment that mixing borax with acetic acid to produce a better cleaning solution is counterproductive - actually what you will get will have neither low pH of vinegar nor high pH of borax, it will be relatively close to neutral.
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