Myth busters: Baking soda cleaning hacks

This article debunks myths around using baking soda to clean and highlights some handy baking soda hacks.



Using baking soda to clean has been a common technique for generations. Baking soda hacks range from eradicating odours to getting sparkling surfaces. But is this just an old wives’ tale or can you in fact use baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda) for cleaning? In this article we discuss bicarb soda cleaning for a range of household surfaces, bust some common baking soda cleaning myths and answer another key question: can you use baking powder to clean, too?

Baking soda is great for cleaning jewellery, just be sure not to confuse it with baking powder or leave it combined with vinegar in case of chemical reactions.

Baking soda versus powder

First of all, it’s important not to get mixed up between these different household powders all touted for their cleaning potential. It’s easy to confuse baking soda with baking powder, but essentially soda is the purer of the two, used as a leavening agent in baking. Baking powder contains baking soda so some do advocate baking powder for cleaning, but in general baking powder uses beyond actual cooking are more limited and it’s better to stick with baking soda.

So now that’s settled, what can you really use baking soda for?

Baking soda cleaning myth 1: Using baking soda to clean jewellery

Can you really get your necklaces and bracelets into tip top shape with this simple powder? The fact is: you can! Baking soda is ideal for removing built-up tarnish from your silver. Just make a thick paste using ¼ cup of baking soda and two tablespoons of water. Apply the mixture gently with a sponge, then rinse clean.

Safety Warning

Avoid using the baking soda jewellery cleaning technique on pearls or gemstones as it risks damaging their finish.

Baking soda cleaning myth 2: Baking soda eradicates odours

While it may sound strange, this second supposed myth is also true. Baking soda is an old-fashioned but surprisingly effective way of getting rid of any unwanted smell. Pour around five centimetres of baking soda into a bowl and leave it uncovered in the offending room. It works by absorbing nasty vapours, so give it a few days and your home should start smelling a whole lot sweeter.

Baking soda cleaning myth 3: Baking soda mixes well with vinegar

While bicarbonate of soda for cleaning can be handy and vinegar is also useful for eradicating dirt, this one actually is a myth. Using baking soda to clean alongside vinegar is often helpful but you should never store a mixture of the two together. That’s because, when combined, baking soda and vinegar cause a chemical reaction which creates a gas that could potentially explode. So, if you want to use baking soda and vinegar, mix them up right before use.

Those are our top baking soda hacks for cleaning. Just remember to be clear on the differences between baking powder and soda and to take care when combining with vinegar, but that ultimately it’s a cost-efficient, handy household product that can be used in a whole host of different ways.

Key steps

  1. Baking soda is acidic so it can eat away at grime and dirt.
  2. Check online for other helpful ideas on how to use this handy powder.
  3. Just remember when you’re using bicarbonate of soda to clean something for the first time to do a patch-test first to check for any unusual reactions.

Originally published