Washing Soda is a simple natural cleaner and booster that can be used on its own or in various DIY recipes for natural cleaning. It is available in many grocery stores (and online) but you can also make your own at home from making soda using this simple tutorial.
Why Washing Soda?
Sodium Carbonate (aka Washing Soda or Soda Ash) is a highly alkaline substance that’s unique chemical composition makes it excellent for household uses like degreasing, brightening and cleaning tough messes.
It scores an exceptional safety rating from the Environmental Working Group with the lowest level of concern about its use in household settings and the only warning being to use it safely as you would any highly alkaline substance (not undiluted on skin, not consuming large amounts, etc.).
It is often used alongside Borax in cleaning recipes, and I’ve seen a few websites that have tried to give washing soda a bad rap through guilt by association. Unlike Borax, which does have some potential controversy and safety concerns, washing soda can still be safely included in many natural recipes and, in fact, there are dozens of ways to use it in a natural home.
Uses for Washing Soda at Home
In many ways, washing soda can be used as a turbo-charged baking soda in many types of household uses (just not in baking unless you know what you are doing!). These are some of the ways I’ve personally used it. Grab a box of washing soda at your local store (it looks like this) or make some yourself and try these uses today:
It’s original purpose… Add about 1/2 cup to a load of laundry, especially whites, to brighten, deodorize and get super clean!
Homemade Laundry Soap
Speaking of laundry, (which we pretty much always are as moms-aren’t we?), washing soda is one of the main ingredients in my homemade liquid or powdered laundry soap that I’ve used for years and that is much more budget-friendly and natural than many store bought brands.
Grease Stains and Tough Stains
Its high alkaline properties make this simple white powder a dynamo at removing grease and other tough stains, especially when treated early. I sprinkle some directly on grease stains on clothes right before washing to pull out the stain.
Note: Don’t do this ahead of time and leave on the clothes too long as it can “eat” through the fabric because it is so alkaline.
Washing soda is also a core ingredient in my homemade all-purpose cleaner that naturally cleans almost anything!
We just *finally* removed the very old and very nasty carpet in our living room, but I cleaned that thing more than I’d like to admit. Usually, I’d just use this simple natural carpet cleaning method, but for really bad stains (like melted butter- don’t ask how I know), I sprinkled on some washing soda, let absorb and vacuumed up. Please note that this worked on my white (or formerly white) carpet but it was old and I hated it anyway. Check with the manufacturer instructions on your carpet or ask an expert before using any really strong substance like this on yours.
Really nasty clothes or bad stains? Use Washing Soda as a pre-soak. Fill and start laundry load as usual but before starting, add 1 cup washing soda and let soak about 20 minutes.
Another original purpose of washing soda because it is so alkaline. Add to laundry or other needs to help counteract hard water.
That whole grease-busting benefit makes washing soda wonderful at cleaning outdoor grills. Ours gets a burned on scummy mess after only a month or two. To get things shiny and like new, we remove and soak in a strong mixture of washing soda. Grease and burned on food comes right off!
Want a fast way to clean all the blinds in your house? Fill the bathtub with warm water. Add 1 cup washing soda. Remove all blinds and soak for 30 minutes. Spray or wipe down and re-hang. (From experience, make a note of where they all go before doing this!).
Alternately, dissolve 1/4 cup in 2 quarts of warm water and use to wipe down blinds while they are still hanging.
Cleaning Pots and Pans
Have any pots or pans with stuck on grease or burned on stains? Let washing soda work its magic! Sprinkle on some washing soda, spray with a fine mist sprayer until a paste forms and let sit for 20+ minutes and scrub off. Note: Do NOT do this with aluminum pans (and better yet, just use all stainless steel pans anyway!).
Just as with pots and pans, washing soda can take burned on and stuck on food off of the bottom of the oven. Use the same process and make a paste and let soak on stuck on stains. Just make sure not to get on the actual heating element as it can wear it down and wash all residue out thoroughly before using the oven.
I use washing soda in my homemade dishwasher soap (you can experiment with leaving out the borax if you want).
Nasty tubs or floors? This homemade scouring powder works really well and uses natural ingredients like sodium carbonate.
Tough Tile and Grout Cleaning
When we moved into our first real house, the 1960s tile needed some serious love and the grout was stained and gross. These natural tile and grout cleaners did the trick.
Hard Water Stains
As a natural water softener, washing soda also helps remove hard water stains on sinks, appliances, faucets or anywhere else they are. Just make a paste and scrub until the spots are gone.
Once a week or so, I dump 1/2 cup washing soda down my kitchen sink drain to keep it unclogged and smelling fresh. If I have one, I’ll also throw in a lemon rind and use the disposal to chop it up.
Range Hood Degreasing
A little washing soda sprinkled on a cloth or sponge takes off any grease stuck inside the range hood.
Sprinkle in Trash Cans
I keep trash cans fresh by sprinkling a little washing soda in them every couple of weeks.
Ever used washing soda? Any great uses I missed? Share below!