Will bicarbonate of soda get rid of smells?
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Will bicarbonate of soda get rid of smells?

Household items such a baking soda can be effective odour removers. Find out how to use this homemade remedy to eradicate any nasty smells in your house!

As with many (but not all) of the home-grown bits of cleaning wisdom you pick up from relatives and friends, the answer to the question above is: if you know how to use it, yes. We’ve even collated a list of all the ways you can use bicarbonate of soda to help to remove smells and odours below.

It’s also important, however, to talk about the limitations of this method – and there are limitations. You can use bicarbonate of soda to remove smells – in many cases, just leaving an open container of bicarbonate of soda in a room or container will help to neutralise most odours overnight. But some more ingrained smells will require more advanced solutions, and bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) can actually damage some surfaces.

Baking Soda and Odour Removal – What Works

You can use baking soda to remove a smell 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. Pour a few tablespoons of baking soda into a drain, and run the hot water tap for a few minutes. This will help dislodge, or at least deodorise anything causing a smell. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Why Can’t You Use Baking Powder to Remove Smells?

It’s important to realise that baking soda and baking powder are two very different things!

Baking soda – bicarbonate of soda – can be used to help neutralise odours, as well to clean other surfaces or materials. It’s also used in baking or cooking. However, baking powder is a different thing. Baking powder is mainly used for baking, and while it does contain sodium bicarbonate, it also contains other ingredients that make it less effective for cleaning or deodorising.

Like white vinegar, that other famously multi-purpose household product, baking soda can be an incredibly useful addition to your cleaning arsenal. With the tips above, you can use this simple household product effectively and wisely.

For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here.

Top Tip


Bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) can be used to help neutralise odours around the home and in the fridge. Just put a small bowl or container of baking soda in the refrigerator to help with any unpleasant odours. Remember that you will have to replace it periodically for best results.

Safety Warning


Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.