Baking soda (often called ‘bicarbonate of soda’ in the UK) is one of the most versatile cleaning products you can have in your cupboards.
We have loads of articles on In the Wash singing the praises of baking soda or bicarbonate of soda. However, if you overuse baking soda on organic fibres, it could be an extremely costly mistake.
Baking soda is a great non-toxic stain remover. It is extremely powerful thanks to its high pH level. Baking soda is alkaline, but the same quality that gives it its powerful stain removal can damage delicate fabrics.
While using baking soda on protein-based, natural fabrics can certainly remove stains and odours, it can also damage delicate fabrics like wool, cashmere and silk if you use too much.
How Can Baking Soda Damage Clothing?
Baking soda should always be used in moderation on any organic, protein-based garments such as those made from wool, cashmere or silk.
If you don’t use baking soda with care, you may be damaging your garments rather than removing stains from them.
Baking soda can leave a white residue behind when used in high quantities. This residue is very difficult to remove, and nearly impossible in some cases.
It can also fade natural fibres and dyes. Due to the high pH level of baking soda, it can discolour and fade the keratin protein in organic fibres such as wool, cashmere and silk.
It can also react with dyes in the fabric and leave them looking dull and discoloured as a result.
Some fabrics can also respond to baking soda during the wash, leaving the fabric feeling a lot rougher.
If you are using baking soda and vinegar in the wash to act as a softener, you may want to skip the baking soda entirely for wool and cashmere. Otherwise, that cosy jumper may feel more like sandpaper.
How to Use Baking Soda to Remove Stains on Clothes
When using baking soda to remove stains on clothes, always use it diluted in warm water. Add plenty of warm water to a bowl, then add the baking soda and give it a good stir.
Then add the garment and leave it to soak. This ensures that you have the cleaning power of baking soda, but it won’t pool on the surface of the garment and leave any residue.
If you prefer using baking soda as a spot treatment, ensure it is diluted as well. Baking soda is plenty strong enough to work well even when diluted, and it won’t leave a residue on your clothes.
And, of course, if you really aren’t confident using baking soda on wool, cashmere or silk, don’t. There are stain removal products available for these fabrics that are designed to be delicate to the fabric but tough on stains.
If this look at baking soda staining clothes has been helpful, why not explore In The Wash further?
We have loads of articles about baking soda and its many uses around the home. We also have loads of other articles about the best cleaning products and methods to help you speed up your cleaning routine.
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