Stopping Vinegar and Baking Soda Reaction
Date: June 2008
Once we combine baking soda and vinegar to cause the
bubbling, is there something we can add to that mixture to
immediately stop the bubbling?
Unfortunately, I would say the only thing that you can do to get the reaction to
stop is to add strong acid or strong base to force the reaction to go to completion
quicker. This would of course create a very large mess, lots of gas evolution,
plenty of heat and quite a bit of danger--so do not do this on anything more tha
a few milliliters if at all! Since the vinegar/baking soda reaction is a simple
acid/base reaction, I do not believe there is anything that you can do to inhibit
the transfer of protons by simply adding something.
Adding a strong base, such as a lye (sodium hydroxide) solution, should do the
trick, because it will turn the carbonic acid to carbonate. You will have to mix
it in, though, because anywhere the solution is locally acidic will continue to
produce carbon dioxide gas. Adding enough additional vinegar (or just about any
acid) to consume the base will re-start the bubbling. Be sure to use eye goggles
and proper safety protection.
Richard Barrans, Ph.D., M.Ed.
Click here to return to the Chemistry Archives
Update: June 2012