Experiments With Salt and Vinegar


Experiments with salt and vinegar are inexpensive. Using these experiments to entertain and teach children provides a visual avenue into chemistry. Experiments with salt and vinegar are simple to do and can capture a child's attention. Chemistry lessons are explained, and the hands-on approach uses more of a child's senses than just hearing. The lesson will be more memorable with the addition of touch, smell and taste.

Shine a Copper Penny

  • The combination of salt and vinegar creates sodium acetate and hydrogen chloride. This chemical reaction will take an old penny and shine it like new. Mix a 1/4 cup of white vinegar and one teaspoon of salt in a non-metalic bowl. Once the salt is melted and absorbed into the vinegar, dip the penny in the solution for 60 seconds. Rub the penny clean with a soft cloth. If water is introduced to the mix or the penny is left soaking in the salt/vinegar solution, it will corrode quickly and turn green.

Salt and Vinegar Crystals

  • Add 1/4 cup of salt to 1 cup of boiling water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Place a sponge on a dish and dot it with various drops of food coloring. Pour the salt mixture over the sponge until it is saturated and place it in a sunny window. Crystals will begin to grow within 24 hours. Continue adding the salt mixture to the sponge, and the crystals will grow in the various colors.


  • The green patina that is seen on old copper domes is a chemical result of water, salt and acid. Oftentimes a copper ring will even leave a green mark on a person's hand. This green material is called verdigris. It was used years ago as pigment in green paint. For this experiment, take some copper wire and place it on a plate. Sprinkle the wire with a mixture of a 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Leave the wire alone for about 24 hours. The green patina and green crystals, or verdigris, will form on the wire.

Hidden Salt Crystals

  • In a half jar of cold water, pour 1/4 cup of salt, 1/4 cup of pepper and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir the mixture together and place a teaspoon under a microscope. The pepper is easily visible to the naked eye, but with a microscope of at least 30X, the salt crystals are visible as well.

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