The green clean: 10 genius uses for baking soda you probably haven't heard of

From getting out carpet stains to making a DIY air freshener, baking soda is your lean, green, eco-friendly cleaning machine.

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bowl with baking soda and spoon on wooden table

We do love a multi-tasker here at Cleanipedia and baking soda is a real ‘do-it-all’ wizard. Baking soda is mildly abrasive, so it’s good at getting stains out of carpet and off kitchen surfaces. It’s also a natural deodoriser, which means it’s great at getting rid of unpleasant smells (like sweaty trainers and eau de cat wee). Now, before we get stuck in, you might be wondering whether baking soda is the same as bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate. In short, yes. They’re three different names for the same thing. However, baking powder is slightly different, as it also has extra ingredients (great for fluffy cakes, not so great for cleaning).

1. Get stains out of carpet with baking soda

We reckon the best cleaning hacks are the ones that require the least amount of work. This is definitely one of them. Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, leave overnight and then vacuum. Simple. The bicarb acts like a mini sponge – soaking up pet smells and other odours. It can also help to remove light stains from the carpet, although you may need to roll up your sleeves and attack the stains with a scrubbing brush for the best results. Top tip: If the bicarb is too clumpy, tip a cupful into a sieve and use that to coat the carpet evenly.

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2. Brighten clothes

White clothes tend to look a bit dingy over time, whether it’s school shirts, taekwondo trousers or your favourite top. To get them looking white again, add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to your regular laundry detergent and then dry clothes outdoors in full sun.

3. Remove stains from plastic tubs

It’s not just clothes and carpet that get stains; tupperware is another common victim. Try filling your plastic tubs with hot water, adding a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and leaving the tubs to soak overnight.

4. Get your dishwasher smelling sweet

Dishwasher smelling musty? Empty it and check there’s no food clogging the filter, then run a hot wash with a cup of baking soda.

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5. Use baking soda to keep your bin smelling fresh

Each time you change your bin bag, add a spoonful of baking soda to the new bag to help absorb odours.

6. Make a DIY air freshener

You know that laddered pair of tights you’ve been meaning to bin? Cut the toe out, add a handful of baking soda to it and tie a knot. Then just hide your homemade air freshener behind the loo, in a wardrobe or anywhere else that needs some deodorising action.

7. Deodorise trainers

Sprinkle a little bicarb in your trainers after each use. Just remember to empty it out before your next run.

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8. Clean your oven with baking soda

First off, make sure the oven is cold (we don’t want any trips to A&E). Then add enough water to the baking soda to get a thick paste. Smooth it over all the surfaces inside your oven (avoiding the heating elements). Leave it overnight and then wipe it off with a damp cloth. Warning: This is a dirty, sticky, grubby kind of a job, but the results are well worth it.

9. Keep pet odours at bay

Sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda into a litter tray before you add the cat litter. It’ll help to absorb the delightful aroma of eau de cat wee. You can also use baking soda to freshen a dog bed - just sprinkle it on, leave for an hour and then vacuum off. While baking soda contains no harmful chemicals, it can be dangerous to dogs if ingested in large enough quantities, so keep your pooch at bay while you're cleaning their bed.

10. Unblock your drain, naturally

Pour a cup of boiling water down the sink. Once it’s almost drained away, add a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar. It’ll fizz like crazy but should help to clear the blockage. If your sink is still blocked, you might need to turn to a heavy duty product like Domestos Sink and Pipe Unblocker.

Originally published