While you’ll almost always find washing soda in the laundry aisle at the store, it doesn’t just belong next to your washing machine! Washing soda makes a useful cleaner (or cleaning ingredient) for use in bathrooms, kitchens, and more! Today I’ll be sharing some of the very best ways to put washing soda to work all around the house. But before we do that, let’s talk a little bit about what washing soda actually is, and why is makes such a useful cleaning agent!
What Is Washing Soda?
Washing soda (also known as sodium carbonate, soda ash, or soda crystals) is related to baking soda but has been processed differently. With a pH of 11, washing soda is highly alkaline, which makes it an effective solvent for a wide range of stains. It’s safe to use and doesn’t give off any harmful fumes (though you may want to wear gloves when handling washing soda, because it can cause minor skin irritation.)
You can find washing soda in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores. You may have to look on the high or low shelves to find it, but it’s usually there somewhere. If you can’t find it in stores, you can always buy it online, or you could even make your own washing soda at home! (I wrote a whole blog post about how to do it, and you can check that out at the link below.)
Related: How To Make Your Own Washing Soda
So now that we’re clear on what washing soda is and where you can get it, it’s time to talk about how to use it! Here are 11 clever and helpful uses for washing soda around the house!
11 Brilliant Uses For Washing Soda
1. Laundry Stains
To help dissolve heavy stains on cotton or linens, you can soak them in a solution of warm water and washing soda. This process can help remove stains made by grease, blood, ink, tea, coffee, and more! Just fill a bucket or your sink with warm water, add 1/2 cup or so of washing soda, and give it a stir. Once the washing soda starts to dissolve, add the stained clothes and let them soak for an hour or two (or even overnight, if needed.) Remove the items from the washing soda solution and wash as usual.
2. Water Softening
One of the most popular ways to use washing soda is as a water softener in your laundry. The washing soda competes with the calcium and magnesium ions in the water, which helps prevent the minerals from binding with the detergent and your clothes. Add 1/2 cup of washing soda to your wash load, then add the amount of detergent recommended for soft water. (This can also help prevent limescale buildup on the inside of your machine, which will help extend its lifespan!)
3. Ovens, Range Tops, & Burner Pans
Washing soda can help make some of your toughest cleaning tasks easier. For instance, you can use a solution of 1/2 cup of washing soda dissolved in 1 gallon of warm water to clean your oven, range, and broiler pans! (Note: This particular solution is very common when using washing soda for cleaning. To keep things more brief, from this point on I’ll use the phrase “regular solution” to refer to 1/2 cup of washing soda in 1 gallon of hot water.)
Remove smaller items like burner pans and soak them in the regular solution for at least 30 minutes. Dip a damp sponge into the solution and use it to scrub the inside of your oven and your range top too. (If you’re dealing with really stubborn gunk, you can sprinkle some washing soda directly onto a damp sponge and give the gunk a good scrub.)
4. Pots, Pans, & Cookware
I frequently use washing soda to help dissolve tough food messes in my pots and pans, and it works like a charm! Just add a couple of tablespoons of washing soda and a small squirt of dish soap to the pot, pan, or dish, then fill it with hot water and let it soak. For pots and pans that need a lot of help, I’ll put the filled pot on my stovetop and bring the cleaning solution to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, and that mess will come away easily! (Do not use this method on aluminum cookware.)
5. Cutting Boards
Use washing soda to keep your cutting boards fresh and clean. It’s quick and easy, and doesn’t leave residues behind so it won’t affect the taste of your food. Use a damp sponge and a regular solution of washing soda to scrub the cutting board clean, then rinse thoroughly.
6. Baths, Sinks, & Showers
Use a regular solution of washing soda with a sponge or scrub brush to scrub your bathtub, sink, or shower clean. Washing soda will help to cut through soap scum, greasy residues, and limescale!
Sprinkle a handful of washing soda into your toilet and flush it. The washing soda will help clean and freshen your toilet bowl, while also preventing blockages. You can also use a washing soda solution to soak and clean your toilet brush!
8. Shower Curtains
Mix up a strong solution of washing soda, about 1 cup of washing soda dissolved in 1 gallon of hot water. Use the solution and a sponge to scrub down your vinyl shower curtain and shower curtain liner. The washing soda solution will help remove soap scum, mildew, and unpleasant smells.
You can also wash your vinyl shower curtain liner in your washing machine. Just place it in your washing machine, along with a couple of clean bath towels and 1/2 cup of washing soda. Run a gentle cycle, then hang to dry.
9. Upholstery & Carpets
Washing soda is great for spot cleaning carpet stains (including tricky ones like wine stains!) Dab upholstery with a regular solution to eliminate stains and refresh fabrics. It’s always a good idea to test fabrics for colorfastness in an inconspicuous area first!
10. Trash Cans
Use washing soda to clean out your indoor and outdoor trash cans. Use a regular solution with a sponge or scrub brush to give the inside of your garbage cans a good cleaning and remove dirt, grime, unpleasant smells, and anything else that’s lurking at the bottom.
11. Silverware & Silver Jewelry
Washing soda can help you restore shine to your silverware and silver jewelry! Soak your silver in a regular solution of washing soda for about 15 minutes or so. The tarnish will melt away before your eyes! After soaking, rinse the items thoroughly and buff with a clean microfiber cloth.
What’s your favorite way to use washing soda around the house?