Baking soda and baking powder have different reactions when mixed with vinegar, based on the scientific principles of the mixing of a base and an acid. Baking soda and baking powder have multiple uses and have different reactions dependent on the conditions.
Acids and Bases
When an alkaline (also known as a base) is combined with an acid, it neutralizes the acid. An acid is the opposite of an alkaline on the pH scale. Vinegar is an acid.
Reaction with baking soda
Baking soda is a base and and reacts with vinegar, the acid. Combining the two ingredients creates an immediate reaction of carbon dioxide bubbles.
Reaction with baking powder
Baking powder contains baking soda that is already combined with an acid. To activate the chemical reaction with baking powder, all that is needed is moisture. Baking powder is deliberately formulated so that the chemical reaction does not occur until the right temperature is reached.
Baking soda and baking powder are leavening ingredients, which cause dough to rise. Baking soda works quickly, so the dough should be cooked quickly, before the chemical reaction has finished. Baking powder does not react until heated to the right temperature, so it can wait to be baked.
Baking soda is often used as a household cleaner. Baking soda is abrasive enough to remove grime, but fine enough to avoid scratching delicate surfaces. Baking powder is not commonly used as a cleaner. Vinegar is used in cleaning and deodorizing alone and with baking soda.