Baking Soda and Vinegar Hair Wash

It’s time to wash my hair again. That’s not exactly breaking news (!), but I thought it might be a good moment to write a post about how we wash our hair here on the Farmlet.

Since about April this year, I’ve been washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar.

How do you do this?

Just put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in a dish, and mix with enough water to form a soft paste. Once your hair is wet through, apply the baking soda paste to your scalp (only the scalp, not the rest of the hair). Take some time to massage the baking soda into your scalp with your fingertips. Leave for a few minutes, massage a little more, then rinse thoroughly.

After washing out the baking soda, I rinse my hair with a solution of water and apple cider vinegar (about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 3/4 cup of water). I don’t apply this solution to the scalp, only to the hair shaft — especially the ends. You can rinse out the vinegar if you want, but I like to leave most of it to condition the hair. Of course, I smell like a pickle for a while, but the odour disappears once the hair dries.

NB: Baking soda is a strong hair wash. It will probably dry out your hair if you are using it too frequently (I think this is also true of most commercial shampoos). The formula works best if you wait until your hair actually needs a wash — this might be about once a week, depending on your hair and your lifestyle.

This simple baking soda and vinegar formula seems to work fine for me (My hair is normal to slightly oily, with a tendency to get a bit dry at the ends.) Reputedly, baking soda doesn’t work too well on dry hair. People with dry hair might try using honey, which is a natural emollient, to moisturise the scalp. I’ve heard that this works, but have never tried it.

I wish Kevin and I had known before this year that we could wash our hair like this. It’s a simple, inexpensive trick that really works. Admittedly, Kevin and I are not very fussy about the state of our hair. We never bothered with designer haircuts, blow drying etc., even when we were not living out in the wopwops. Still, I think our hair is in better condition than it was when we were using commercial shampoo. And then there are all the dodgy chemicals and additives that we are not pouring onto ourselves and into the environment.

18 Responses to “Baking Soda and Vinegar Hair Wash”

  1. Frugal Babe says:

    I’ve been using vinegar as a conditioner for about a year now, and just started using baking soda instead of shampoo a few months ago. I wash my hair about every five days or so, but I spray it with vinegar every time I shower. My hair looks and feels great, and the baking soda/vinegar combo is a lot cheaper than shampoo and conditioner. Plus, there’s no chemical gunk that I can’t pronounce going onto my head!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Hi Frugal Babe,
    I like your idea of using the vinegar spray whenever you shower. Maybe I’ll give it a try. Do you thoroughly wet your hair with water each time you shower, or just spray the vinegar solution onto dry hair?

  3. Mimi says:

    My baby sis told me she is using this combo on her hair and honestly I wanted to fall over! Those are the same products I use to clean my bathroom! You cant use vinegar on some tile or on any marble, its too harsh. Its acid for goodness sake. And her hair is very dry. I have checked other sites and they say to heavily condition your hair before the baking soda wash. You know, there are so many organic products out there these days. I have allergies to alot of things but I have found environmentally sound products and I still have shiny styled hair. But if you dont care about your appearance like the person who wrote before I did maybe baking soda is a good thing for you.I say you can look good and have a happy healthy planet and not spend alot of money. Dont be lazy!!!!! Be pretty!!!! 🙂

  4. M H says:

    I’ve been using baking soda for years. I am a black female with some what dry hair, this mixture could never dry out your hair. I use it for me and my kids about once a week. You don’t have to mix it with water. I wet my hair and apply the baking soda (right out of the box) to my entire head. I massage it in for a minute then spary on a little a dilluted apple cider vinegar. I continue to massage my head from roots to tips. I love the way the vinegar makes the baking soda foam up. Then I just rinse with cool water.

  5. Kevin says:

    Hi MH,

    I’ve been doing the same exact thing as you for nearly three years. It’s great.

  6. Michelle says:

    I have to tell you that I am allergic to corn, wheat/gluten and dairy. I can not find a shampoo or conditioner that is free of all of these and I am desperate to find something that I can wash my hair with and not break out in hives and swell up. Everyone who is doing this isn’t doing it to save money or the planet but to save themselves (I know some are).
    Maybe your sister was doing it incorrectly or it wasn’t right for her Ph balance.
    I will be using this out of desperation and I pray that it works. The baking soda has been great because I have oily hair. I will be trying the vinegar rinse today.
    One more thing,
    I like to look pretty too!

  7. Rebecca says:

    Hi Michelle,
    Good luck with the baking soda and vinegar hair wash. I really hope it works out for you and will keep you looking pretty!

  8. Rex says:


    What vinegar do you use as a conditioner when washing your hair…. thanks

  9. Rebecca says:

    Hi Rex,
    I use an organic apple cider vinegar than we get from Ceres through our whole foods co-op.

  10. Jessica says:

    I tried the baking soda wash in solution form : 3/4 tablespoon with one cup of water. But now my hair is too dry!!

  11. sadie says:

    ok iv been reading abt this whole deal for a long time n now i feel like sharing my past exp.
    as a kid my mom used to wash my hair cz it was really long n thick not to mention intense black n shiny..she used to massage with olive oil or mustard oil every weekend n i would take a shower the next day,,she just used yougrt at first(it was home made n no chem…milk from our own far)or some times milk alone n massaged it nicely n then she would ask me to wash my self then after like 5 mins she would apply the baking soda paste with water n gently washed all the scalp n finally rinsed with really cold water-all my family n relatives n friends used to b in aww–my hair grew like a was till my knee’s n beautifull healthy n shiny-i never had a spilt end–then as i went to college i switched to was convinient but my hair strted falling n its really dry at ends -its still shiny n black but dznt grow tht fast n thanx to the dandruff i strted breaking out–now im gona go back to my mothers method adding to it-ACV–all the harsh chemicals of shampoo’s have made me pay them a big price–time to giv my self some attention now..

  12. Ruth says:

    Sounds interesting. I have been using baking soda and vinegar to was my hair, but I have never used milk or yogurt. It sounds from what you wrote that your mom’s method really worked.

  13. monique says:

    im helping my niece with a science project on making natural treatment for hair that’s safe and healthy. This is so interesting. we’re definitely using this method on her project. Thanks for all the info.

  14. Bre says:

    I have color treated hair (I use henna to avoid chemicals in comercial hair dyes) will this make my color fade?

  15. Debbe says:

    I have been researching the baking soda for a shampoo and the apple cider vinegar for a rinse and just tried it for myself last night. I followed another woman’s advice and mixed 1/4 cup baking soda into 3 cups water and then poured the solution over my hair and massaged it in. I then followed this with 1/4 cup apple cider and 3 cups water rinse. I did rinse with clean water when I was all done. I went to bed with a wet head and woke up to really soft hair. My hair has been highlighted, so I felt like I wanted a touch of moisture. I rubbed a pea sized portion of cold pressed organic coconut oil into the my palms of my hands and then worked it into the more dry ends of my hair and then styled as usual. Wow!! So soft and clean feeling! I am really impressed. I would have never imagined such results from baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and a touch of coconut oil. Thanks everyone for sharing.

  16. Toni says:

    If you find your hair too dry when doing the baking soda/vinegar wash, go to the store and buy safflower oil cooking oil. use this as a hot oil treatment before the shampoo, and barely scrunch some in the ends of your hair when it’s dry after washing it. A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly when your hair is dry. It is a natural humectant.

  17. Kathy says:

    I just started using this method. I use one Tbl. baking soda to 8 ounces very warm water (to dissolve.) Used it mainly on my scalp but also some on my hair. Rinsed. It rinsed squeaky clean. I followed this with one Tbl. of Braggs ACV and 8 ounces of water and rinsed my scalp and hair with it. I rinsed this out and my hair was nice and clean and did not tangle. I have very naturally curly hair. I put about 1/2 tsp. Jojoba oil in my hand and rubbed my hands together and then rubbed it into the ends of my hair. With what was left on my hands I rubbed the rest of my hair and head. My hair is soft and silky feeling. No frizz and not at all dry. Love this.

  18. dirtylocks says:

    So I’ve read a lot of these comments and I still haven’t heard anything about the “detoxification” results of this baking soda and vinegar method of hair cleansing. I am the target of a preemployment hair follicle drug test and fear for my livelihood. I hope to pass the drug test using this method and some other cleansing products mentioned in a recipe I found doing some research. I will be certain to post the recipe and my results when I learn my fate. All-in-all, this sounds like a great alternative to the modern shampoos we commonly use and I may use it regularly. Thanks.