Baking Soda And ACV Are NOT Effective Cleansers – Now Here Is A Little Proof

Baking Soda And ACV Are Not Effective Cleansers

The lovely ladies over at Black Girl Long Hair did some really great experimentation last week. As is evident from the title of this post I’m sure it will surprise a lot of you who have given up your shampoos in favor of ACV or baking soda. If you refer to their post here you will see that the final conclusion was that ACV and baking soda when used as a means to cleanse hair do not remove oil and buildup as would shampoo. On the other hand a clay cleanser or even a co-wash with conditioner do quite a good job.

We loved the article because it not only gave us conclusions, but gave us visuals. How many times have you heard that baking soda and ACV are natural cleansers and if you wanted a natural approach to the removal of gook and grime, those two are usually high on the list of suggestions. When I first read the article my first thought was…. see, I knew those things couldn’t clean nothing, but then my second thought was, that we typically do not use them to cleanse our hair do we?

We often hear about the non stripping benefits of ACV and baking soda when used to gently clean the scalp. We hear that they are the best natural alternative to shampoo because they kill germs and bacteria on the scalp without removing the natural oils or stripping the hair. It would appear that the entire point of these natural cleansers are not so much to clarify but to kill germs and bacteria.

With that said if you look at the results of the experiment it is highly unlikely that both agents when used to remove added oil (not produced by the scalp) would have done a great job.

The best way to use ACV in particular is as a final rinse because it has a calming effect on the hair strand, closing the cuticles making the hair smooth and easier to handle. We always suggest that if you have a buildup, excessive oils and silicone residue, washing your hair with ACV or baking soda alone will not cleanse your hair, rather you might need to use sulfates in particular to remove silicones or a co-wash along with ACV as a final rinse to remove week to week oily build up.

In regards to those women do actually practice no poo methods of cleansing their hair using only ACV and or baking soda, you will also notice that these women probably do not use silicones, and they do not use heavy oils and butters either. All in all we love to see some proof in the pudding so we are grateful the the Natural Haven took the time to look under her microscope sharing her findings as seen below:

Oily hair becomes completely clean after being shampooed.


Source: BGLH


Baking Soda Wash and ACV wash – Oil remains on the hair


Source: BGLH


Other things to consider

You know by now that not all heads are created equal so the results in the experiment do not have to be your results it all depends on your hair and what you use on it.

Both ACV and baking soda have their benefits and you can use them according to what you know they can do scientifically to your hair. For instance if you need a great way to close the cuticles of your hair strand ACV is great or if you need to temporarily raise the porosity of your hair to aid in better conditioning then baking soda is your guy. If you want to use them as cleansers be aware that they might not be as effective as other natural products like clay that bind to oil or shampoo that actually strip oil.

All in all its your choice, the experiment is at its best, interesting.

Originally posted 2014-07-14 20:00:35.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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  1. Carmella McCoy

    Back and Forth, Back and Forth. These hair pages jump back and forth like a yoyo. One day there is scientific proof that a particular method is effective and the next day there is scientific proof that that same method is not effective smh. Why must hair care be so confusing! I tell you what: Just wash, condition, grease and trim your hair the old fashioned way, Ladies. Smh

  2. Michelle Pinkney

    sorry but acv does work on removing built up from products and dandruff control….i have seen a diffference in my hair as well as mu daughters

  3. Carmella McCoy

    They come up with a method, and then soon as you rush out and get the materials, its no longer good for your hair. Smh.

  4. Raven Marie

    I love it in my hair and cleanse 4 times a month. I have 3b/3c hair and normally have to cleanse often, but don’t want to fully strip my hair. This works wonders for me. I don’t think I’d ever use baking soda because that’s weird to me lol. But ACV….I’m not changing it.

  5. Gea Muhammad

    Ima roll with ACV til my hair falls out… Lol..baking soda will make your hair fall out

  6. Jenny JackJack

    Please, I used the mix for 7 years and my hair stayed healthy and clean…. Shampoo never worked as well as baking soda.

  7. CurlSense

    I just go with what works for me. ACV once a month in conjunction with a creamy conditioning co-wash or detoxing with mud wash. My scalp is clean and free of build up and I no longer have an itchy scalp.

  8. Sonya OhNiique

    I use baking soda not to cleanse my hair, but to help open up my hair shaft so it can absorb moisture. Works amazingly.

  9. Bridgett Nesby

    It does work it mainly for the scalp (ACV). It takes away the build up product and had completely removed dandruff from hair. Now I do follow up with my regular shampoo and conditioner but I never use it alone first of all it stinks and secondly it doesn’t remove the dirt in oil from your strands all the way.

  10. TMW

    I’ve always used ACV as a rinse not a wash. I rinse with ACV and cool water to close my cuticle. I wish they would have shown the co wash picture above. I don’t cowash because I can’t see how it cleanses the scalp. I do use sulfate free shampoos

  11. Marsha Buchanan

    I believe black hair care will continue to evolve and things we once held dear or now hold strain to will go through a series of changes for the simple reason that there is not enough science based authority or documentation on our hair. We are just now trying to catch up with our Asian and Caucasian counterparts who have more info on what works for their hair. It’s a process that will take time. It’s for this reason that we need to take every new bit of information with a grain of salt. What I am thankful for is that there are actually sites like these and people who take the time to make information available as it comes to light. As the article suggests, it’s a matter of individual preference and one’s personal choice, so if you are not heavy handed with butters, oil and silicones continue using your ACV. For those like me who use heavy butters and oils daily, ACV might not cut it.

  12. Sherry Jones Parks

    This is not true. They are great cleansers for the natural hair. You have to use them together as a lightweight paste and add lavender oil or oil of oregano….. when you apply start on the scalp then the hair cap for 30 mins and then shampoo and condition the hair and you will see the difference. The vinegar brings the PH balance back and the baking soda or bentonite clay is a good softner and brings natural shine and the two types of oils are antibacterial. But each person will have their own opinion and this is mine.

  13. Michelle Brewington McCoy

    my grandmother cleansed her face with baking soda until 83 and no wrinkles. i started using years ago and not one wrinkle plus i have very oily skin. so i don’t know what this ad is talking about….. must be a non user.

  14. ShiShi Maze

    when you can DIY…it’s taken as a threat and propaganda kicks in. when you know for yourself the truth (tried & proven) but decide to believe a lie…then that’s just…. never used those two on my hair but household cleaning A+, and for the hair I used AVC & Bentonite Clay-just wondrful.

  15. Priscilla Kobeh

    I think ppl are using baking soda a lot including me but they want to discourage us from using is one of my best scrub ,in fact it has taking away every pimples and dark spots from my face .I love baking side and rice water

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