Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Why Citric Acid?

This week: a series of blog posts by Legoboy himself. :) 

Legoboy recently did a research project. 'Project' is a term used somewhat loosely in Montessori - in this case, he had a question, he looked up information and he reported his results. For the project portion, he is reporting his results here:


Question: Why does citric acid and white vinegar clean off more than baking soda and any kind of vinegar?

Observation: Our toilet, faucets and drains have been building up calcium deposits and Mama uses borax, washing soda, baking soda and vinegar in combinations. I think they look clean but she says they're not. The toilet did have a lot of black and gray in it.

Last week, Mama soaked the toilet in citric acid (she uses it to make dishwasher soap) and white vinegar and closed it up tight. We went out to lunch and I had to use the bathroom at the restaurant because she said I couldn't use the bathroom at home until that evening.

When we opened the toilet, chunks of calcium were floating in the water. I had a choice to clean up my room or scrub the toilet. I am happy I had a choice, because the toilet was gross to look at. A few minutes later Mama asked me to come see the toilet. It was white! She showed me that as she flushed the toilet while cleaning it, chunks were falling off under the rim. I saw them. She wasn't even scrubbing. I thought maybe I should have cleaned the toilet instead of my room. She was done first. I told her it was all the particles in the air inside the toilet that pulled the calcium.

The next day, I could only use the kitchen sink because she cleaned the bathtub and the bathroom sink. This time I helped to sprinkle the citric acid, spray with vinegar and sprinkle some more citric acid. But it didn't work. I had used our bottle that has apple cider vinegar and Mama said that only white vinegar works. I filled my other spray bottle with white vinegar and just sprayed all the citric acid. It worked! Everything is sparkling now!

On Saturday morning, we set up the kitchen sink the same. I remembered to take pictures. They are in this blog post. When we came home from visiting with Aunt Sarah (my godmother) at her bridal shower, we took turns wiping down the kitchen sinks and I took more pictures that are also here.

I asked my mama why the baking soda and vinegar we usually use didn't get the crusty stuff off, or even the brown spots around the bathroom faucet that aren't there anymore because of the citric acid. She told me I could use the internet to find out.

Answer: Citric Acid comes from citrus fruits and likes to grip onto gunk, then the white vinegar rinses it away. Baking soda is a base not an acid and it reacts with the vinegar to bubble up and pull some gunk off - it likes to blow things apart. I don't understand the ph stuff but Mama says I will soon. White vinegar is also an acid with a ph of 2.4. Apple cider vinegar isn't the same ph (4.25-5) so is almost neutral. So calcium particles break apart easier in two acids, not something neutral and not a  base. I thought acids burned my skin. They do when I eat a clementine and the juice gets into a cut. Ouch!

Mama cleaned it with baking soda and vinegar first
to make sure it was clean the usual way

1 comment:

  1. He did a great job with that "report". I even learned a few things I didn't know. :)