Bicarbonate of soda is a naturally occurring mineral and is found dissolved in many mineral springs. It has been used throughout history as a cleaning and hygiene agent, before finally being commercially manufactured in the mid-1800s by two New York bakers, who used it as a leavening agent in their baking.
We want to highlight the many uses of bicarbonate of soda as an everyday cleaner in your household, avoiding the use of many harsh chemicals. Our cleaning tips our outlined below.
In the kitchen
- Use it as a deodoriser – keep a small bowl or box of bicarb in the fridge, freezer or cupboard to prevent any unwanted odours. Or sprinkle a small amount in the bottom of the bin before sprinkling more in after you’ve put the black bag in.
- Use bicarb to clean baked-on food in casserole dishes by adding a little bicarb to a damp cloth and rubbing or adding bicarb directly to the dish and scrubbing for tough stains.
- Another useful cleaning tip is to soak stained tea or coffee mugs in bicarb and water and the stains will disappear.
- Clean surfaces with a damp cloth sprinkled with bicarb, and then rinse the surface with clean water after wiping.
- To remove scuff marks or grease spills on floors, sprinkle with bicarb and then wipe with a warm, damp cloth.
- After cleaning the oven, brush the inside with a light bicarb and water paste – when you next come to clean the oven the dirt will come away easily.
- Bicarb can also be used to remove stale smells from food containers, rinse them with hot water and bicarb or for strong smells, leave to soak overnight in a water and bicarb mixture.
- DO NOT use on aluminium surfaces or non-stick pans. The chemical reaction or abrasive qualities of bicarbonate of soda will damage both.
In the bathroom
- To avoid clogged drains pour ¼ cup bicarb down on a weekly basis, then rinse through with hot water.
- To remove stains from most surfaces, create paste using three parts bicarb to one part water, apply to the surface, let it stand and then scrub or wipe clean depending on the surface and stain.
- To remove mildew on a shower curtain make thick paste using bicarb and water, smear it on the curtain and leave overnight until dry. Wash the curtain normally and the mold will disappear.
- For stained mattresses make a thick paste using bicarb and water; spread it on the stain and leave to dry. Later brush off the bicarb, which should have absorbed all the stain.
- Replace half your usual measure of washing detergent with bicarb to keep clothing fresh.
- Dishcloths and flannels left to soak in bicarb and water are fresher than if washed using most commercial products.
- To remove perspiration stains from clothes make a solution of white vinegar, bicarb and water, leave to soak overnight and then wash as normal. Always make sure to check for colour fastness and DON’T use on dark colours for this reason.
- Sprinkle bicarb on carpets, leave to stand for 15 minutes and then vacuum as usual. (Always check colour fastness first – you can do so by applying a mixture of half cup water and half cup bicarb to a small, hidden spot on the carpet – let dry then sweep/vacuum as normal- if the carpet didn’t show signs of colour damage you know you’re ready to go!)
- If you have a smoker in the house, put a little bicarb at the bottom of the ashtray to keep away some of the stale smoke odour.
- Bicarb in a litter box also helps to prevent odours.
- Car enthusiasts can use bicarb to polish chrome fittings.
- Children’s paddling pools can have the mildew cleaned off, by washing with bicarb and warm water.
- A pinch of bicarb in a vase of water will keep flowers fresher for longer and prevent the water from going stagnant.
- Use half a teaspoon of bicarb in a glass of water as a heartburn reliever.
- If you’ve run out of toothpaste, dip a toothbrush in bicarb for sparkly, white teeth!
Bicarbonate of soda is non-toxic, so is a safe product to have with small children in the household. A versatile and cheap alternative for all your domestic cleaning needs, we hope these cleaning tips help in your household.