18 Uses for Washing Soda

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18 awesome uses for washing soda
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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:

Laundry Booster

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.

All-Purpose Cleaner

Washing soda is also a core ingredient in my homemade all-purpose cleaner that naturally cleans almost anything!

Carpet Stains

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.

Turbo-Charged Pre-Soak

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.

Water Softener

Another original purpose of washing soda because it is so alkaline. Add to laundry or other needs to help counteract hard water.

Grill Cleaner

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!

Blind Cleaner

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!).

Oven Cleaner

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.

Dishwasher Soap

I use washing soda in my homemade dishwasher soap (you can experiment with leaving out the borax if you want).

Scouring Powder

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.

Drain Cleaning

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!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


46 responses to “18 Uses for Washing Soda”

  1. Karen Avatar

    Thanks for this article, I’ve just discovered washing soda and loving it in the laundry.
    I’m interested to know how it would affect a cast iron pan, I have one with some burnt on parts and I want to reason it, so I’m not worried about that, I just don’t want to damage it. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks 🙂

  2. Linda morris Avatar
    Linda morris

    Washing soda and borax get hard if stored for a while. I use both to make laundry detergent about twice a year, but the big box get hard. Anyway to prevent this ?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      They typically get hard because of moisture getting into the product. Storing them away from high humidity areas and in a sealed container can help. Some people will also put a moisture absorber into the container, like a breathable bag with white rice in it.

  3. Nicola Avatar

    I’m seeing a trend of using washing soda (“baked baking soda”) in boiling water to make regular spaghetti noodles more like ramen noodles. Apparently this can also be used for pretzels. Is this safe?

  4. Robert Pinder Avatar
    Robert Pinder

    Hand washing??
    In this time of Coronavirus epidemic when many cleaning and disinfectig products may become unavailable could washing soda be used for washing hands in place of bar soap?

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      Washing soda is just a very alkaline compound that has great uses in cleaning but doesn’t work as a disinfectant or a hand soap. I’m personally stocking up on concentrates and liquid castile soap to be able to make homemade hand soap if needed.

  5. Linda Prout Avatar
    Linda Prout

    I read in another blog post on eczema that drinking a glass of water with 1/4 tsp washing soda + 1/4 tsp baking soda together eliminates eczema breakouts, helps with fungi, candida and other parasites. Could 1/4 tsp in water be toxic?

    1. Sandra Hackaray Avatar
      Sandra Hackaray

      I just read up on it and the only thing that was popping up was putting a bit of baking soda in with bath water to help with the skin. washing soda is a caustic base (able to burn, destroy, or damage organic tissue slowly by chemical action). It is not edible, should not be inhaled, and can damage eyes (flush the exposed areas with large quantities of water). While there’s no definitive research proving that taking a baking soda bath for eczema is beneficial, many people who have eczema find relief with the treatment.1 Baking soda cannot cure eczema, but it does offer natural antibacterial capabilities that may help keep skin clean as it heals.

  6. diana Avatar

    i used washing soda to clean my silver jewelry.
    you must line the tub or pan with aluminum foil first.
    Add the items to the pan.
    Sprinkle washing soda over the items. (about 1 tsp.)
    Add boiling water to cover the items.
    They come clean in a just a minute. Pull them out. The water is filled with all the tarnish.
    which is why one reader had marks i think, on her flue.

  7. Abu Avatar

    Baking it makes it more alkaline and effective. It causes a chemical reaction where the chemical structure of the baking soda changes. Unbaked baking soda isn’t even the same compound before its baked as after. It becomes washing soda which is much more alkaline and much more effective as a cleaner.

  8. Avil Avatar

    It could be simply a pH matter. Our skin is naturally slightly acidic, and alkaline cleaners are the opposite of that. Try adding vinegar to your rinse water and I think you’ll see a difference. Vinegar also helps rinse out detergent/soap/cleaners in addition to correcting alkalinity, so should help on both fronts.

  9. Avil Avatar

    Yes. I used washing soda for years in my front load washer (which I had to leave when we moved). It works wonders on whites (think men’s underwear, socks, undershirts) and really helps keep them from getting dingy. Use vinegar in the RINSE (I put mine in the “softener” dispenser, but only do this if you NEVER use that dispenser for liquid softener) and you’ll have a one-two punch fighting greasy dirt and odors.

  10. Alison julie Carrivick Avatar
    Alison julie Carrivick

    A shallow bowl, lined with kitchen foil and about 1/4 cup of washing soda. Pour over boiling water, place your dirty jewellery in. leave for a minute. Shake the jewellery around in the mixture for a few seconds. rinse and polish with a soft cloth.

  11. Kenneth Avatar

    Would washing soda damage heating elements in kettles or water boilers.

  12. Angel Avatar

    Baking soda is the best for cleaning shower doors, they come up like new.in fact as stated above its a great all round cleaner but wear gloves even though its a natural product. Happy safe springcleaning?

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