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Baking powder vs baking soda cleaning: how to disinfect with household ingredients

When you think about uses for baking soda, cleaning may not be one of them, but it should! Learn more about bicarbonate of soda and vinegar cleaning tips for some handy and hygienic household hacks!

Updated By Cleanipedia Team

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Baking soda has long been hailed as a cleaning miracle, a great natural alternative to commercially made products. But what can you actually use baking soda for when it comes to cleaning?  Does baking soda disinfect? Are baking powder cleaning tips handy? Read on to find out!

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 for cleaning something for the first time, perform a patch test first to check for any unusual reactions.

Baking soda vs baking powder cleaning

Before we explain how to use bicarbonate of soda for cleaning, it’s important to clarify that baking soda and baking powder are very different when it comes to cleaning.

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.

Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar cleaning tips

When it comes to uses of baking soda, cleaning is one that probably doesn’t come to mind, using bicarbonate of soda for cleaning is a great natural solution for many cleaning problems.

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.

Guide to cleaning oven with baking soda

Whether you’ve run out of your regular oven cleaner or are looking for natural cleaning products for your oven, baking soda is a great way to get your oven sparkling again.

Although knowing how to clean an oven with baking soda is a useful hack, a specially formulated cleaner such as Cif Oven Cleaner is often the quickest option.

Warning: This is a dirty, sticky, grubby kind of a job, but the results are well worth it.

7 steps for cleaning ovens with baking soda:

  1. Turn off your oven, including the gas.

  2. Make sure the kitchen is well ventilated, from turning on your extractor fan to opening the windows.

  3. Remove everything from your oven, including the oven racks.

  4. Mix ½ a cup of baking soda with three tablespoons of water, or enough water to create a paste.

  5. Rub the paste over the interior of your oven. Ensure you take care to avoid the heating elements.

  6. Allow it the paste to rest for approximately 12 hours or alternatively leave it overnight.

  7. Use a damp cloth to wipe away the grease and left-over mixture (which will likely be brown in colour now).

Once you have finished cleaning oven with baking soda, there may still be some stubborn grease marks leftover. When it comes to these stubborn stains, spray white vinegar onto them as it will help shift the grease as it reacts with the baking soda.

Always keep your kitchen well ventilated while using a baking soda and vinegar oven cleaner.

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How to unblock drains with baking soda

Slow-moving drains in the bathroom and kitchen can be a nightmare. Unclog drains with baking soda and vinegar to get rid of blockages naturally.

  1. Prepare drains

    First, pour a full pot of hot water down the drain.

  2. Add baking soda

    Add a glass of baking soda and warm white vinegar and let it fizz. The ratio of baking soda to vinegar to clean drains should be a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to a cup of white vinegar.

  3. Finish cleaning

    Rinse with hot water again.

How to get rid of a smelly drain

So now you know you can unblock drains with baking soda. But did you know a baking soda vinegar drain cleaner mix can also help get rid of a smelly drain?

  1. Prepare drains

    Pour a few tablespoons of baking soda into a drain and warm white vinegar.

  2. Run the hot water tap for a few minutes

    This will help dislodge, or at least deodorise anything causing a smell.

  3. Serious blockage?

    For serious blockages, you may have to resort to a commercial cleaning product though – like Domestos Sink & Pipe Unblocker. Just read and follow the directions and safety guidelines on the label.

For more information, check out this guide on how to unblock a sink.

Does bicarbonate of soda get rid of smells?

As we have seen, the options for using baking soda for cleaning are endless but there are limits to what it can do. When it comes to using bicarbonate of soda for smells, just leaving an open container of bicarbonate of soda in a room or container can help to neutralise most odours overnight, but some more ingrained smells will require more advanced solutions.

You can use bicarbonate of soda to remove smells in dozens of ordinary household contexts. The best-known use is placing a small bowl or box of it in the fridge, which will keep the appliance smelling fresh in-between more in-depth cleanings. But you can also do the following:

  1. Smelly shoes

    Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda into your shoes if they’re becoming unbearable. This works almost as well as commercial odour removal products. Let them rest overnight, and then just empty them into the bin or sink in the morning. Just be careful with this method if you have sensitive skin, as the product could irritate your skin.

  2. Hoover smells

    If your hoover smells, you may be able to help the problem by simply sprinkling a little bicarbonate of soda onto the carpet before you use it.

  3. Dishwasher

    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.

  4. Bins

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

  5. Household surfaces

    You can neutralise bad smells from most household surfaces by making a solution with baking soda and scrubbing them down gently. This even works on carpets when they’ve been badly stained.

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Cleaning mould with vinegar and baking soda

If mould and mildew have taken over your bathroom then mixing vinegar and baking soda, or baking soda and warm water will do the trick.

  1. Make a paste from the ingredients and apply it to tile grout, showers or bathtubs.

  2. Use a brush to scrub away at the mould and then rinse.

  3. You can even use an old toothbrush to reach all those crevices and corners!

Does baking soda kill germs?

As you can see, if you’re looking for eco friendly cleaning products, or fancy making some DIY natural cleaning products, then using bicarbonate of soda is a great alternative. But can is baking soda a disinfectant? Sadly, the answer is no, you cannot disinfect with baking soda - it is ineffective against most bacteria, including salmonella, E. coli. and staphylococcus.

What about adding it with vinegar? Does baking soda and vinegar disinfect? Sadly, still no, although it is marginally better than using baking soda alone. Instead, opt for a proven, trusted antibacterial spray, such as Cif Anti-Bac and Shine. For more natural cleaning products, check out the range at Seventh Generation.

Using baking soda: Cleaning 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.

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

There you having it, your ultimate baking soda cleaning guide! Whether you’re looking for environmentally friendly cleaning products, or fancy some natural solutions to common problems, baking soda has you covered.

Originally published