In an effort to prevent mold in my humidifier, I added a little white vinegar to the tap water in the tank. This creates a white bloom that floats in the water. It is odourless and, despite its appearance, is not slimy. It feels more like paper pulp. After a while it adheres to the sides of the tank as a transparent sort of gel. Is this a known phenomenon? What is the white stuff?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Did you try mixing vinegar with fresh tap water? // So it isn't a reaction with the tap water itself. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Feb 18 '17 at 15:50

Acidic acid (vinegar) does not react with water, and it is not soluble in water. The gel and white bloom may come from a reaction the acidic acid with minerals such as calcium that may be present in the dehumidifier. the gel could also come from the breakdown of the chitin cell wall of the fungi. If the white bloom appeared within a minute or two of the addition of acidic acid it was most likely a reaction with minerals or other compounds.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Acetic (not "acidic") acid is most certainly soluble in water. In fact, a 5% aqueous solution of acetic acid is called vinegar! $\endgroup$ – bpedit Feb 18 '17 at 19:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.