1. How to I neutralize the smell of (VERY) spoiled milk
  2. How do I make slightly sour milk palatable again?

These 2 questions were asked recently. IMO, the answer should be "Don't do such things! Just throw it and buy a new one. These habits are unhealthy and unhygenic". The OPs are "apparently" seeking "some chemical methods" which makes the questions apparently chemistry related. But, I don't think these are full-fledged chemistry questions. Even if it is a chemistry question, it might get closed as the questions are kind of "opinion-based" (as OPs are seeking advice, thus the answers will vary according to the answerer's opinions), ultimately making them off-topic.

Now, the tags , and can be appropriate for above questions but the on-topic questions of these tags here starts with "Why...?" or "What causes ...?" because the OPs are seeking for a scientific explanation on something (good examples: here and here).

So, are the said questions on-topic? If yes, why? Is cooking.SE appropriate for that?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I also believe these questions should be considered off-topic as they are related to personal health. And as you said, Cooking SE would be a better platform to know if your milk is "edible" and if any remedies are present. On the other hand the question you mentioned later should be considered on-topic as they are related to the chemistry behind "food" and can be categories under food chemistry. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ @NisargBhavsar Neither question is asking about whether milk is still edible. I think personal medical question is not the best close reason. It is off-topic, I think that is all there is to it. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 15:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maybe a new close reason would be useful: "Questions on everyday phenomena must explicitly ask about the chemical principles behind such occurrences, and must not simply be focused on finding a solution to a problem." or something similar. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @orthocresol Yes that would be actually the best option for such questions. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 16:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, the second question has been edited, and I think it's on-topic now. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ The 3rd Q from the same author What happens if you add pure food grade lactic acid to fresh pasteurized milk $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented Apr 30, 2021 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


The amount of "chemistry" involved in both of the questions is rather small. I can understand about people asking for a scientific explanation of a phenomenon, but in my opinion, questions like these are better suited at Lifehacks.SE. They aren't interested in the chemistry but rather how to achieve an aim.

For example: How do I get rid of sour milk smell from a plastic container seems to be on-topic there.

I don't consider "an acid reacts with a base" to be particularly insightful chemical knowledge, nor do I find that a particularly compelling reason why such questions should be on-topic here. If we were to field questions about literally any acid-base reaction then we would be here for ages.

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    $\begingroup$ (+1) And I would upvote 10 times, if I could, just for your last sentence! At least we are not asked why chemistry is depicted on television as involving colored water and dry ice in Erlenmeyer flasks. I hope it stays that way. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ But …, but …, we're still gonna be here for ages though, aren't we?! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ @EdV I don't want to burst bubbles, (because bubbles are great,) but we have a tag for that: chemistry-in-fiction. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン A chemistry-in-fiction tag?! Oh, no! I don’t dare look at anything with that tag. I could only watch one episode of Breaking Bad because of that “mercury fulminate” rubbish. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ @EdV You need to develop better suspension of disbelief ;> $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron All the Star Trek series were hard enough: I loved the shows, except for cringing every time they mentioned deuterium, dilithium, trilithium, gold-pressed latinum, etc. I have no problem with fiction messing with physics, just not chemistry! ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 2:17

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