If you have ever made your own laundry detergent before, you have probably purchased washing soda. But washing soda isn’t JUST a great laundry booster….it has a number of other great uses throughout your home!
Washing soda, also known as sodium carbonate, soda ash, or soda crystals, is in the same family as baking soda but has been processed differently. It has a much higher alkalinity, with a pH of 11, which helps it act as a solvent to remove a range of stains. While it doesn’t give off harmful fumes, you do need to wear gloves because it can cause skin irritation.
You can find washing soda in the laundry section of most supermarkets, but if you can’t you can also easily make your own. Read “Make Your Own Washing Soda.”
Washing soda is one of those household helpers that doesn’t just belong next to the washing machine. Use it as a cleaner for bathrooms, kitchens and tough dirt all around the house.
Remove heavy stains and grease on cottons or linens by soaking in a strong solution of washing soda (overnight, if needed) then wash normally. Washing soda can remove grease, blood, ink, tea and coffee stains.
To hand wash fine materials use a warm, mild solution. Always test fabrics for colorfastness before using washing soda to soak, wash or remove stains.
Washing soda has long been used to soften hard water. Add half a cup of washing soda to your wash load then use the amount of the detergent you would use for “soft water.” It also improves the efficiency of your machine and reduces the risk of expensive repair bills resulting from lime scale build-up.
Ovens, Range Tops, Broiler Pans
Tackle these messy jobs with a solution of ½ cup washing soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water. Remove burners and soak in solution for at least 30 minutes to banish greasy build-up. Rinse well and dry. For stubborn, crusted soils, sprinkle washing soda dry on a damp sponge and scrub.
Range Hoods, Exhaust Fans
A weekly wash with a solution of ½ cup washing soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water keeps range hoods and exhaust fans grease-free. Rinse well afterwards.
Pots, Pans and Cookware
To remove greasy, burned-on stains from cookware, add a couple of spoonfuls washing soda, hot water & 1 squirt dishwashing liquid. Bring to the boil on the stove, then simmer for 15 minutes. Do not use on aluminum cookware.
Cleaning kettles, cups and vacuum insulated bottles
Tannin can leave stubborn brown stains in kettles or cups. Soak for one hour or overnight in a solution of washing soda and hot water to clean stained items.
Clean and freshen garbage cans, tablecloths, shower curtains and small appliance covers with a solution of ½ cup washing soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water. Wash surface and rinse.
A weekly wipe down with a solution of ½ cup washing soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water will keep your small appliances shining and free of dirt and grease. Do not use on aluminum appliances.
Washing soda is a natural alternative to dishwashing liquids. Use a warm to hot, mild solution. Glasses will come out shiny. Do not use washing soda on aluminum.
Scrub with a regular solution to get rid of lingering smells without tainting food. Rinse thoroughly.
Mops and dishcloths
Soak in a strong solution in hot water to remove dirt and grease.
Washing soda is great for keeping drains stay clear because while it is alkaline it isn’t as caustic as the commonly used lye-based commercial products. Use washing soda on your drains once a week to keep them clear by pouring 1/4 cup down the drain, and then flushing with water.
If you already have a clog, try pouring 1 cup of washing soda down the drain followed by three cups of boiling water. Repeat two or three times.
Baths, basins and showers
Use a regular solution to freshen up baths, basins and showers. Scrub area thoroughly and rinse well. It cuts through grease, soap scum and lime scale.
Flush some washing soda down the drain to clean and freshen, and to help prevent blockages. Use them to clean toilet brushes too.
Floors and vinyl tiles
Clean the bathroom floor with a regular solution. Ceramic or vinyl tiles will clean up beautifully.
Tiles and grouting
Clean wall tiles with a regular solution to leave them clean and sparkling. Washing soda will bring new life to grout too.
Sponges and combs
Freshen them up and get rid of greasiness with a soak in a regular hot solution.
Clean, deodorize, and remove soap scum and mildew from your vinyl shower curtains with a strong, hot solution of washing soda.
Windows, mirrors and tiles
A very mild solution makes windows, mirrors and wall tiles sparkle.
A mild solution of washing soda will help remove dead flies, bugs and grime off windshields. Avoid splashing onto paintwork.
Use a regular solution of washing soda to remove grime and grease. Do not use on aluminium alloy wheels.
Pest control (whitefly and mites)
Spray trees or plants with a solution of 1/2 cup washing soda to two gallons of water.
Mildew and blackspot
Spray roses with a solution of one cup of milk and 1/4 cup washing soda to each gallon of water.
Patios and paths
A good scrubbing with a strong, hot solution will remove the slime left by rotting leaves and moss. Sprinkle directly onto moss, leave overnight and rinse off. Avoid spilling or spraying onto plants.
Stains on concrete
Pour washing soda generously on spills and sprinkle lightly with water until a paste forms. Let stand overnight. The following day, scrub with a damp brush, hose down, and wipe surface clean.
Clean wrought-iron furniture and plastic cushions with a solution of ½ cup washing soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water. For wrought iron, scrub with a stiff-bristled brush, hose off and dry in the sun. For plastic cushions, wipe down with a cloth or a sponge. Do not use on aluminum outdoor furniture.
Dissolve washing soda in hot water and scrub as usual to create a clean surface with reduced slip factor.
Balance the pH in Your Pool
Is your pool too acidic? Dissolve washing soda in water and add progressively, testing as you go. Once your pH is how you want it, jump in!
For easy maintenance of saws, hedge trimmers and clippers, scrub with washing soda on a wet, stiff-bristled brush. Hose off and let dry in the sun. Do not use on aluminum tools.
Barbecue Grills and Utensils
To remove hardened accumulations of grease, scrub with washing soda sprinkled on a wet brush. Or soak items in a solution of washing soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water. Rinse and dry. Do not use on aluminum.
Paintwork and vinyl window frames will brighten after a wipe down with a regular solution of washing soda in warm water. You can prepare wooden flooring for varnishing or painting, make sure that all debris is removed, then mop with a strong washing soda solution.
Make a thick paste of washing soda and water. Smear it on the area; let dry and then rinse.
A regular solution of washing soda and warm water will brighten venetian blinds, and help repel dust. Dip a cloth in a solution of ½ cup washing soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water and wipe blinds. Or fill your bathtub with warm water and add washing soda. Soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse and dry.
Wicker furniture will come clean after a wash with a regular washing soda solution. Washing soda will also help to harden the cane and tighten sagging seats.
Upholstery and carpets
Washing soda is ideal for getting out wine stains. Dab upholstery with a mild solution to get rid of stains or simply to freshen up the fabric. Take care not to scrub wool or other upholstery fabrics as it could damage them. Always test fabrics for colorfastness.
Clean out indoor and outdoor trash cans with a regular solution to keep them clean and odorless. A strong solution will loosen and remove dirt, grime and sludge.
Silverware and silver jewelry
To put the shine back into silverware and silver jewelry, make a solution of 1/2 cup washing soda to one gallon hot water and soak for 15 minutes in a bowl lined with aluminum foil. The tarnish will simply melt away. Rinse off and buff.
Fireplace and soot cleaner
Washing away fireplace smoke and soot, or cleaning the smoke off the glass in wood stove doors, is easy and safe using washing soda. Wash surface, wearing gloves; then rinse.