Bicarbonate of soda is a great way to naturally clean a multitude of things. It’s often mixed with water or bicarb’s super-powered counterpart, white vinegar, and together they cut through grease, limescale and even stains! But what are the best ways to use bicarbonate of soda for cleaning? And how can you use it to remove stains?
Things to Know First
There are a couple of other names for bicarbonate of soda including baking soda and sodium bicarbonate, but please note that baking powder is not the same thing . Yes, baking powder does contain baking soda/bicarbonate of soda, but it almost always contains cream of tartar and sometimes cornstarch. If you want to use this natural method for neutralising odours or cleaning, then stick with pure bicarbonate of soda.
Dealing with Stains
Most of us will have heard about using bicarbonate of soda for household cleaning but you may not have considered using it for laundry cleaning purposes. Bicarb can actually lift stains from your clothing when mixed with water, so it makes a great pretreatment for any stained clothes before they go into the washing machine.
TIP: Before using this method of stain removal on brightly coloured or darker items, try out a swatch test on an inside seam or somewhere inconspicuous to check the garment for colour-fastness. You don’t want faded patches instead of a stain if it can be avoided.
How to Make a Bicarbonate of Soda Cleaning Paste
Mixing 4 tbsp of baking soda with 60ml of water will give you a paste which you can then rub into any stains before leaving it to sit for around 3 hours. Different ratios of bicarb to water will give you different consistencies which are suited to different jobs. If you’re unsure, base it on a 2:1 ratio of bicarb to water then see how it goes.
TIP: Warm water will work better than cold when making this miracle stain remover paste.
Types of Stains
Bicarbonate of soda will work on a multitude of stains, from simple juice spots to the most stubborn of stains. When bicarbonate of soda mixes with water it forms a froth, this bubbling action is actually why bicarb can really infiltrate fabrics and lift stains from clothes. Bicarb will also take a lot of the odour out of fabrics too.
Some of the stains baking soda will have the best results on are:
- Blood – Dampen the blood stain before rubbing the bicarb paste over the stain. Always use cold water when removing blood stains.
- Smelly stains – Bicarbonate of soda absorbs moisture and smells so works great on any stains which have a scent.
- Wine or juice – Put dry baking soda onto the stain, leave for a little while, then use hot water through the back of the stain (opposite side to where the powder was placed). Where possible, treat wine and juice spills immediately for the best results.
- Sick – Sprinkling dry bicarb onto the areas stained with vomit will help to absorb liquid and potent smells meaning you can come back to it later if necessary (you will probably have your hands full if there’s vomiting going on in the house).
- Sweat – More stubborn stains will need the paste left on for 1-2 hours to absorb the smell as well as remove any stains.
In the Wash
Bicarb doesn’t just have to be a pre-treater to your laundry, you can add it directly into your washing machine alongside your detergent to get great results in the wash. Many people will actually add white vinegar into their wash too to really amp up the natural cleaning power.
Baking soda actually helps to brighten your whites, which is perfect for school or work shirts and white bed linen.
Out of the Wash
Bicarbonate of soda actually acts as a deodoriser as well as a cleaner, so you can even use a sprinkling of dry baking soda in your laundry basket to keep any nasty pongs at bay. This same technique can be used for your rug, carpet or sofa, just leave the soda on for about 20 minutes before sweeping and vacuuming it up.
Another way to use bicarb for deodorising is to make your own ‘Febreze’ by mixing 4 tbsp of our magic ingredient (B.o.S) with hot water in a spray bottle – shake this mix well and allow to cool before adding your favourite essential oil. This is a great way to shift any smells from your soft furnishings.
In The Wash is your guide to the best laundry and cleaning products, tips and tricks. Our mission is to solve the UK’s cleaning and laundry dilemmas!