Bicarb isn’t just good for keeping your bakes fluffy and well-risen. This inexpensive, eco-friendly and entirely natural item has also long been used as a cleaning agent, whether that’s for the teeth, the body or numerous items and surfaces around the home.
Also known as sodium bicarbonate or plain baking soda, it’s famed for its natural abrasiveness and uncanny ability to absorb odours. You can use bicarb to wipe away grease marks around your hob and even remove water stains on everything from metal to plastic. Plus, it’s highly effective at eliminating pesky mildew off bathroom tiles and even freshening up musty or sweaty fabrics!
Keen to know more about this unsung household hero? Here’s our complete guide to cleaning with bicarbonate of soda.
When it comes to how to clean with bicarbonate of soda, you’ll find it’s incredibly easy to use and very effective for a whole range of household chores.
Bicarb is a very gentle abrasive which makes it fantastic at eliminating tough stains and shifting grime without causing any additional wear and tear. Apply a sprinkle of it directly onto a sponge to help keep your kitchen or bathroom surfaces squeaky clean. Bicarbonate of soda can also be mixed with a little bit of water to create a paste which can then be applied to dirty, stained or greasy objects using a sponge or micro fibre cloth.
And bicarb can be mixed with other natural household items – from lemon juice and vinegar to washing up liquid and even salt – to create a more intense homemade cleaning product. These stronger solutions can be particularly brilliant for:
• Tackling tough stains and getting rid of limescale;
• Removing blockages from sinks;
• Getting rid of thick grease;
• Eliminating the sight and/or scent of mildew.
If you decide to combine your bicarb with other natural items, it’s important to know that some combos are better for certain tasks than others. For example, mixing bicarb (an alkali) with vinegar (an acid) leads to a chemical reaction that’s particularly effective at clearing sink blockages.
The list of things that bicarbonate of soda can help clean is truly extensive! This is especially true when it comes to your home and garden. Here we take a look at a handful of ways to clean with bicarb, from popular tricks to more unusual hacks.
It’s a job that most of us tend to hate. However, giving your oven a regular scrub is vital to keep it free from germs, smelly food residue and excess grease.
Instead of using harsh chemicals which can stink out your kitchen, have a go at using bicarbonate of soda to clean your oven:
1. Make a paste using equal parts bicarb and water, and spread this all over the inside of your oven (remove the shelves first).
2. Leave it for as long as possible (ideally 12 hours) before wiping it all off with a sponge.
3. Next, spray white vinegar inside. This will react with any bicarbonate of soda that’s left and make it easier to then remove any greasy spots or food that’s stubbornly stuck on.
Let’s not forget about those oven shelves. Pop those in hot soapy water for a couple of hours and then scrub them with more baking soda paste. Rinse and repeat if needed.
Ever left something to simmer on the hob and gone back to find it well and truly burnt to the bottom? Instead of going through a million sponges to remove every last scrap of charred food from your pans, let bicarb become your new best friend!
So, how do you clean a burnt pan with bicarbonate of soda? It really couldn’t be easier. First, you’ll want to cover the bottom of your pan with water and then add a cup (approximately 230ml) of white vinegar. Let this simmer for a bit to help loosen any burnt bits of food before tipping it away.
While your pan is still warm, sprinkle it with a good amount of bicarb. When it’s cool enough to touch, you can transfer it your sink and use a damp sponge or a dish brush to scrub off the remainder of the burnt bits.
Fancy dinner party on the horizon? Have a go at cleaning your silver with bicarbonate of soda, whether that’s your cutlery, some platters or even any silver jewellery you might want to wear!
Bicarb may be a very gentle abrasive (you can eat it, after all!), but it still has the ability to remove tough stains. To do this on silver, just dissolve a couple of tablespoons in a bowl of warm water and then drop in your items. Leave them to soak for around 15 minutes before checking if the tarnish will wipe away. If it’s still proving tricky, leave the silver to soak for longer.
Many of us use our showers daily, so it’s really no surprise that soap scum, limescale and even mould can build up in their trays over time.
An awesome ability to breakdown soapy residue makes cleaning a shower tray with bicarbonate of soda a fantastic household hack. Bicarb can also help rid your shower of any mildew, plus you can use it to unclog your drain by pouring a little bit down with some white vinegar.
Prefer baths to showers? Get your tub looking bright and spotless by scrubbing it gently with bicarb. You can also mix bicarb with a little lemon juice to create a cleaning paste that’s good for rubbing on tiles (especially those caked with soapy residue).
While it might get a good dose of detergent every time you put a cycle on, your washing machine still needs a spritz every now and then. And what’s great for this? Yep, you guessed it – it’s bicarb!
When combined with white vinegar, this simple baking ingredient is fantastic at getting rid of grime from your washing machine’s rubber gasket, making the drum come up shiny and even refreshing the detergent drawer!
Noticed the rubber bit around your washing machine’s door is all gunky? One of the easiest ways to clean a washing machine seal with bicarbonate of soda is to add a cupful directly into the drum and then run it on a hot setting. This will also give your entire machine a nice wash and ensure it stays hygienic for future laundry cycles.
Whether you’re a tea lover, a coffee connoisseur or you have a fondness for hot chocolate, it’s highly likely you use your kettle multiple times a day. Unfortunately, constant use can lead to limescale build up. Having hard water can make this ten times worse too.
It’s pretty unpleasant to sip on a brew that’s floating with little white flakes! And limescale can corrode your kettle over time. To prolong its life and keep it free from scales, clean your kettle with bicarbonate of soda. You can do this by:
1. Adding water to your kettle until it’s roughly two thirds full and then mixing in a generous tablespoon of bicarb.
2. Set it to boil and then, once it’s hot, leave it for an hour or so to cool down.
3. You can then pour out the water and rinse your kettle. The heat of the water and the abrasiveness of the bicarb should have helped dislodge a decent amount of those unsightly scales.
If you take pride in having clean, stain-free paving stones in your garden, this next hack is a lifesaver! Plus it won’t cost the Earth – or impact your bank balance.
Cleaning paving slabs with bicarbonate of soda is a much simpler, cheaper and more environmentally-friendly alternative to pressure washers and chemical-filled solutions. To have your patio looking spick and span, simply:
1. Mix one part baking soda to two parts white vinegar in a bucket. Let it settle before spreading it across your paving slabs (ideally with an old mop).
2. Leave this solution on for 30-40 minutes before grabbing a long handled scrubbing brush or a broomstick.
3. Scrub down the stones and then rinse them off with a hose. They should look lighter, brighter and less marked!
Considering we spend over a third of our lives snoozing in bed, it’s logical that all sorts of dirt, dust and bacteria can be absorbed into our mattresses over time. This makes cleaning them every so often a very sensible – and cost-effective – habit.
Baking soda is not only great at removing stains, but it’s also a natural deodoriser. These two factors have made it a popular pick when it comes to sanitising mattresses. But how exactly should you clean your mattress with bicarbonate of soda? With these five easy steps:
1. First things first, strip your bed of any sheets, duvets and mattress protectors. Next, give your bare mattress a quick vacuum to remove any larger bits of dirt.
2. You can then sprinkle it all over with baking soda (add a few drops of essential oil to the mix for a lovely, lingering scent).
3. Rub the bicarb into the fabric and let it sit for an hour or two.
4. Vacuum it off and then gently dab at any stains with baking soda paste (half bicarb, half water).
5. Allow the mattress to air before making it up with fresh bedding.
It may be an icky job, but it’s also unavoidable. Yep, we’re talking about that dreaded chore of scrubbing down the toilet. Luckily, getting rid of bad odours and nasty germs from your loo is another thing baking soda can make short work of.
Ideally, you’ll want to use bicarbonate of soda to clean your toilet once a week. To do this, flush your toilet and then sprinkle the inside of it liberally with baking soda. Leave it to sit for around half an hour before spraying it with white vinegar. You can then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush and flush again.
Is bicarbonate of soda good for cleaning?
Yes! Baking soda is a brilliant, cheap and eco-friendly thing to use for all kinds of household tasks, whether that’s in the kitchen, bathroom or even your garden. Its success is nothing new though. Bicarb has actually been used as a cleaning agent for centuries – even by the ancient Egyptians almost 4000 years ago!
How does bicarbonate of soda work?
Bicarb’s success as a cleaning solution is down to the fact it is a mild alkali. This allows it to easily break down certain organic particles (including grease and dirt). What’s even more amazing about it is its ability to absorb odours. Wondering how it does this? Most nasty smells in the air contain some sort of acid. As an alkali, baking soda reacts with those acids and neutralises them.