- What is baking soda?
- Clean your bathroom with baking soda
- Cleaning with baking soda in the kitchen
- Spruce up your living room with bicarbonate of soda
Have you ever tried cleaning with baking soda? It's not just for baking cakes! A cheap box of baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda to some) can effectively clean your entire home. It's extremely versatile and can be used as a mild abrasive, scouring agent and deodoriser to dissolve dirt, tackle odours and cut through grime.
You’ll never spend on expensive cleaning products again once you find out the power of this multi-tasking product! Read on and discover our top cleaning hacks...
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in May 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in June 2019.
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What is baking soda?
Baking soda - also known as sodium bicarbonate - is a leavening agent that is normally used to help baked goods rise - think pancakes, cookies, muffins, and more. If you don't have some in your kitchen cupboards, we'll be surprised!
You can pick up baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, from your local supermarket. It's really inexpensive, and it makes a great natural cleaning product.
Clean your bathroom with baking soda
From the shower head to the toilet bowl, follow the tips below to get your bathroom sparkling with baking soda.
1. Replace your cream cleaner with bicarbonate of soda
Use a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda on a sponge to clean any surface you would usually use a cream cleaner on. It'll work just as well to remove dirt and grime. It won't leave you with that harsh chemical smell either. Finish with a micro fibre cloth for an immaculate finish.
2. Use baking soda to clean your hairbrushes and combs
Your hair tools can get extremely gunky over time. Make sure they last a long time and remain in tip-top condition by giving them a good clean every few months.
Soak them in a mixture of 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 cups of warm water for an hour then rinse and dry.
3. Toothbrushes are not self-cleaning!
Don’t pass on bad bacteria to your mouth - soak your toothbrush heads in a mixture of ¼ cup bicarbonate of soda and a ¼ cup of water overnight and rinse the next morning.
4. Use baking soda to make your own bathroom scrub
Mix a ¼ cup of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent and add some vinegar to give it a nice thick consistency. Use a sponge with a large dollop of this home-made cleaner on all your bathroom fittings and you’ll never need to buy bathroom cleaners again.
5. Whiten your grout
Baking soda is great for whitening teeth, so why not use it to whiten your grout? Clean grout is hard to maintain, but this trick will certainly help.
To make your own grout cleaner:
- Mix together two parts baking soda and one part hydrogen peroxide.
- Use a cloth or an old toothbrush to apply the mixture to the grout.
- Optional step: You can also place cotton wool pads on the tile to hold the mixture in place for longer.
- Leave to sit for between 10-20 minutes.
- Rinse the mixture away with clean water.
Cleaning with baking soda in the kitchen
Ideally, you want to avoid using chemical-based cleaners in a place where you prepare food. They can be highly toxic, and natural cleaners do the job just as well. We've found some easy switches that you can make with baking soda.
5. De-grease your oven door
Cleaning with baking soda has never been more effective than in the kitchen.
Cleaning the oven is a job we all hate to do but it needn't be a chore with bicarbonate of soda. This tried and tested method will leave your glass oven door sparkling:
- Mix 3 parts bicarbonate of soda to 1 part warm water to form a paste.
- Warm the oven for a few minutes and then switch it off.
- Wipe the glass with a damp cloth.
- Spread the paste on both sides of the oven door.
- Leave for 2-3 hours until the paste turns brown.
- Wipe both sides with a damp sponge cloth.
- Use a plastic car scraper to remove any excess.
6. Unblock your kitchen sink
Pour half a cup of baking soda down your sink followed by two cups of vinegar (malt is fine) and watch as the alkaline in the bicarb reacts with the acidic vinegar to create a volcano of froth. Leave to settle and it should help dissolve any built-up grime.
If your sink needs extra help, mix 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda with 2 cups of washing powder (great for de-greasing) then follow with vinegar. Finish with a kettle-full of boiling water.
7. Remove tea stains from mugs
The crystals in baking soda can effectively remove stains in your mugs and help return them to their former glory. Just be prepared to put some elbow grease into it!
Sprinkle some bicarb on a clean scourer and get scrubbing. It should take around 5-10 minutes to lift stains and reveal a good-as-new mug.
8. Freshen up smelly sponges
If your sponges are getting a bit smelly don't be tempted to bin them.
Baking soda works wonders at absorbing smells - soak sponges in a bowl full of warm water with 4 tablespoons of dissolved baking soda. Let them air dry and they should smell like new.
9. Keep your fridge fresh
Smelly fridge? Keep it smelling clean with baking soda!
Bad smells aren't just off-putting when you're looking for a midnight snack, they can actually ruin the taste of surrounding food.
Keep a small bowl of bicarb in your fridge to help neutralise smells. It works like a sponge to soak up any bad odours - just remember to change it every month or so.
10. Remove stains from your Tupperware
Whether it was a leftover curry or spaghetti bolognese that did the damage, you can easily revive your old Tupperware or plastic food containers. If yours are stained, greasy or smelly, soak them overnight in a bowl of hot water with a sprinkling of baking soda to leave them spotless.
11. Use baking soda to clean your dishwasher
Scatter a generous amount of baking soda into your dishwasher then run an empty wash. It'll be clean and fresh again in no time.
12. Remove baked-on residue from pans
Even pan cleaning is easier with baking soda! Shake a generous amount onto any dirty pans or roasting tins, add hot water, a squirt of your usual cleaning liquid, and let sit for 20 minutes. The baking soda will help dissolve any stubborn build-up making it really easy to clean.
13. Clean the microwave inside and out
Has your microwave been neglected?
A small amount of bicarbonate of soda on a damp sponge can effectively clean and cut through any grease in and on your microwave. If you've got a lemon and some vinegar to hand, you can give your microwave a deep clean.
14. Descale a kettle
Limescale is no match for bicarb! You can clean your kettle with it, too. Watch our video to see how it's done.
Spruce up your living room with bicarbonate of soda
You can clean everything from the carpets to the windows with bicarbonate of soda. Keep reading to find out how!
14. Clean dirty rugs and carpets
Dirty carpet? Baking soda can be used for carpet cleaning. Liberally sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, wait at least 15 minutes then sweep as much of it as you can and vacuum as normal.
For the best results, leave the powder to settle overnight. Your carpet or rug should look brighter and smell good - a nice way to refresh your carpet naturally. Just think how much you could save instead of splashing out on expensive carpet treatments.
15. Shine silver ornaments and fittings
Combine three parts baking soda to one part water, mix and rub onto and into your silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly then dry with a clean cloth – they’ll be sparkling!
16. Make your own version of Febreze
Get your fabrics smelling amazing with this clever hack:
- Fill an empty spray bottle with 3/4 hot water.
- Add 4 tablespoons of Bicarbonate of Soda.
- Shake well and allow to cool a little.
- Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
- Once cooled completely, give it another shake to combine the ingredients, and then spray on clothes and soft furnishings.
17. Remove smells from a sofa
Over time your sofa may become a bit whiffy. Sprinkle some baking soda onto a dry sofa and let it sit for 10-20 minutes before hoovering or brushing off.
Use bicarb to clean your clothes
From dull whites to dull jewellery, baking soda will refresh and restore your whole wardrobe!
18. How to brighten whites with baking soda
Are your whites looking a bit dull? Try cleaning with baking soda!
Add 1 cup of baking soda to your next load of laundry along with regular liquid detergent. They’ll emerge much cleaner and brighter than before!
Use this little trick to whiten up the kids' school shirts and polos. It's a great bra-whitening tip, too!
19. How to clean jewellery with bicarbonate of soda
Make a paste using three parts bicarb and one part warm water until it resembles fondant icing. Then, using a cloth or old toothbrush, apply it to your jewellery. Rinse carefully and dry with a clean cloth.
As we said, baking soda is a great degreaser. Did you know you can also use it to get butter out of clothes?
Where can I buy baking soda?
Most supermarkets will sell baking soda or bicarbonate of soda in the baking section. It can come in different packaging, including tubs or boxes.
Are there any other uses for baking soda?
Is baking powder the same thing as baking soda?
Baking soda and baking powder might sound like the same thing, especially given that baking soda can also go by bicarbonate of soda, but they're very different.
Baking powder is baking soda but with an additional acidic ingredient. Because of the additional acidity, baking powder is not suitable for use in any of these beauty treatments.
Is washing soda the same as baking soda?
Although the two are very similar, they are not to be confused for the same product. Washing soda is sodium carbonate with additional cleaning ingredients.
You can make your own washing soda by heating baking soda. Simply spread onto a shallow baking dish and heat at around 200 C. Once cool, you can keep it in an airtight container.
Thanks for reading! Do you have any clever uses for Bicarbonate of Soda?
Please let us know in the comments section below!