Baking soda/vinegar shampoo recipe

I have had so many people email me about how to do this that I thought maybe I had better just post it here.  You can read about our experience with it here.  The “recipe” is as follows.

I fill a jar with baking soda and water–making a paste (I store the jar plus a squirt bottle full of vinegar in the shower).  I use that to scrub my hair then rinse with water.  Afterwards I pour vinegar over my head (upside down so it doesn’t get in my eyes) and rinse again.

I have super thick long hair and it takes about 2 Tbs regular shampoo for me to cover my hair.  I have found that the same goes for the baking soda paste:  2 Tbs baking soda/water then a cup or so of vinegar.

I buy a huge bottle of white vinegar at Sam’s club and it lasts me 6 weeks or so.  The thing is that you can wash it less often as well which is also better for your hair.  With regular shampoo I have to wash every other day or so or it gets greasy–this way I can go as long as 5 days without a hint of grease, not to mention no longer needing styling products for my very frizzy wavy hair.  I can now let my hair air dry –I comb it as soon as I get out of the shower and either braid it or pull it back in a low pig tail until it dries.

I know some people who have done this and have had time when their hair got dry or flaky.  Someone mentioned using a bit of brown sugar in the mix to keep the flakiness away.  I have also, in the past, used an egg mixed with some olive oil every 2 weeks or so which deep conditions your hair (leave it on for 3-5 minutes.)  You can also use a fruit smoothie on your hair to condition and clarify (same ingredients you would put in a smoothie–fruit, yogurt, honey–awesome for your hair and also  makes a great facial mask.  One thing that I do is use mineral oil to keep my skin from drying out (I have it in an old Skin-so-soft bottle) –after I rub this into my skin I run my fingers through my hair which seems to keep my hair from being so static-y and lets it dry less frizzy.

You can find lots of recipes for homemade body care products on the Dollar Stretcher.

Update as of June 3, 2009: We are still using this and have made some changes for the better which you can read about here.

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  1. Posted May 19, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Interesting ideas. Thanks for sharing them

    Thanks also for visiting over at my blog. Nice to “meet” another person from PA.


  2. Posted May 19, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I”m glad you shared how you do it because I was wondering.

  3. Hishtafel
    Posted May 25, 2008 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’m curious – does your hair smell like vinegar when you’re done?


    • runeherbologistSAL
      Posted April 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Try adding lavender oil to it or rosemary or some other essential oil as a nice fragrance.Some people like different ones. Tea tree oil will help if you have dandruff.

  4. Posted June 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Cool! I’ve been looking for a poo-free recipe. Love your site! :)

  5. Nicole
    Posted June 23, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    What about using Baking soda and vinegar as a body wash -We use this to clean our washing machine- I didn’t know if it would be too strong to use on our skin?…… Thanks.

  6. Kelly
    Posted September 23, 2008 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Instead of using white vinegar try apple cider vinegar. Not only does it smell better, it also works just the same as regular white vinegar. People vary the shampoo recipe from paste to a liquid substance-does it matter? which one works better?
    love the post though.

  7. Posted October 30, 2008 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the info! You might want to reconsider the mineral oil, though. Mineral oil is a petroleum product, and not really so good for the human body. Jojoba oil or coconut oil or something else plant-based might be a healthier option.

  8. Katie
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I will have to try this…it would be so cheap! I use baking soda and vinegar for a lot of stuff.
    I make a facial scrub from about 1 tb baking soda mixed with about 3 drops of honey. Mix it together to form a thick paste. It is a great defoliant and the honey makes my skin so soft.

  9. Jen
    Posted January 2, 2009 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I keep going back to this baking soda as a shampoo thing, but all I end up with is a lot of liquid, never a paste! Like, I must be doing something wrong! Anyway, since it doesn’t work well as a shampoo, I like it as a rinse. However, I don’t see how this would work for the curly, thick haired gals, as this left me dry like straw! And that was even after I applied a conditioner! I have straight and fine hair that’s short/medium length. If I cut my hair short, I would use it often as it did make my hair shiny! My hair was also less greasy. Now, I did use it, with good results so far, as a deodorant. I applied lotion first and then used a large powder brush to apply the baking soda. The next day, with no additional applying, I didn’t smell. And yes, I can sweat like a pig!

  10. Jennifer
    Posted May 13, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Does it work for baby fine hair. I have enough hair – it is the texture that is a pain. I HAVE NO, I REPEAT, NO BODY TO MY HAIR. Will Baking Soda help?

  11. Danielle
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been using baking soda with water mixed in (a couple of Tbsp of baking soda with about a cup of water, which is not a paste but works well) and a spray bottle of apple cider vinegar (about 2 Tbsp of vinegar with about a cup of water), as a rinse. But, I have curly hair (which is typically dryer, even if you don’t realize it), so I only use the baking soda mixture once a week. It took a couple of weeks for my hair to adjust to no shampoo (at first it was greasy, but not anymore), so don’t give up. The vinegar rinse I use every day or every other day (some days I just use water), and I try to dilute it enough so it doesn’t leave too much in my hair to smell (it doesn’t smell at all once it’s dried, but if you start to exercise (sweat), the smell comes back if you don’t dilute it enough or rinse it enough in the shower.

    I think the baking soda does help give some body to the hair, and texture. I now use pure aloe vera gel (the clear kind) as hair gel, and about once a week I work a small (very, very small) amount of coconut oil through my hair to keep frizz down (too much makes you greasy).

  12. Hope
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I have been useing baking soda instead of shampoo for a while now. At first I thought I needed the conditioner still b/c I do have thick curly hair, but I decided to go cold turkey completely “poo” free and have had great results. My hair is soft and shiny and no tangles. My children’s hair is easier to comb through too. I love it and would not use “poo” again.

  13. Michael
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I know of the dangers of SLS in shampoo, but are all natural herbal shampoos damaging as well? I buy them at health food stores. I always thought that herbal shampoos without SLS were really healthy. Which is better? No poo or herbal?

  14. Halia
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I love going “no-poo” now using baking soda and a vinegar rinse. I make a runny paste of only 2 teaspoons of aluminum-free baking soda and water. First, I rinse my hair very well to get out the daily grime before putting the baking soda on only my roots and scalp. I use a back and forth motion to gently scrub my whole scalp. Then I rinse well. Afterwards, I pour an apple cider vinegar rinse on the hair, not my scalp. (12 oz. water to 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.) I rinse after one minute. In the beginning I had trouble combing the crown of my head. Remedy? Use a touch of Aloe Gel. It detangles the hair. I blow dry and my hair is thicker and holds a style better. It does take 2 weeks to 2 months before your hair and scalp adjust to this baking soda/apple cider vinegar washing of the hair. But, there are no harmful chemicals! I have many other recipes for hand washing, deoderant, etc. I also scrub my body first with water in the shower and then scrub again with 12 oz. water to 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Rinse well. My skin is soft and very clean. So, GO GREEN AND GO CLEAN!!!

    • Veenaa
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

      You can also use whole green gram powder. It not only acts as scrub but removes the oil and dirt from your skin leaving it soft and supple and not harsh. It also exfoliates well. The natural aroma freshens you in the morning. You may not get the powder in the market, but you buy the gram and powder at home.

      Can anyone tell me whether baking soda with water ( acting as shampoo ) is suitable for dry hair.

    • Rawbert Wood
      Posted April 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Halia. I was wondering what’s the recipe for making a baking soda paste? What’s the soda/water ratio, or something?

  15. Posted March 19, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I know this is an old post but I just came across it. I started using baking soda and vinegar in this exact way, except that I use a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in a pint of water and it takes about a third to a half of that to wash my hair each time. I have long naturally curly hair, too, and I’m really pleased with the way it behaves now. It also doesn’t seem to tangle as much.

    Posted April 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I highly suggest using organic Apple Cider Vinegar instead. White vinegar smells horrible, and continues to smell, even after rinsing out thoroughly. ACV doesn’t smell after it is rinsed out and works exactly the same, maybe even better. (I buy mine from Whole Foods).

    I also buy Organic Coconut Oil from Whole Foods as well.

    • Heather
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I have heard that ACV works well, but in our case (due to my oldest’s severe apple allergy, including ACV) it is absolutely out. I can’t even have it in the house so it is a very good thing that in my case the white vinegar doesn’t leave a smell at all (I have very thick nonporous hair.) I have found that ACV and coconut oil are both available at at a very good price.

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