14 uses of bicarbonate soda as a cleaning agent

… or travelling up and down the pH-scale.

Well, obviously it is also edible. You can add it to your baking and it is even supposed to help with reflux or heartburn. It is possible to use it as a water softener, odour remover, scrubbing agent and/or mild abrasive. You can use it in the kitchen, the bathroom, on carpets and for your laundry. It also helps to unclog drains, so there is no need for highly potent and toxic drain cleaners.

The other advantage is: it will save you lots of money because it is cheap and of course you wouldn’t want your baby or toddler reaching for it, but if they do spill it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Also, you will cut down on your plastic waste as it comes in cardboard boxes when you order it, preferably in bulk.

baking-soda-768950_1280

It truly is a wonder-weapon against grease and stains rivalled only by white vinegar, which is at the other end of the scale and acidic, while bicarbonate soda is alkaline. So, mixing these two together can lead to some bubbly surprises. You have got to be especially careful once you start taking it a bit further and add citric acid as an ingredient. It made me feel a bit like the Goethe’s “Zauberlehrling (sorcerer’s apprentice)” as it just wouldn’t stop foaming.

Therefore I cast my mind back to my chemistry lessons at school in the 1990’s (yup, a while ago…) and asked myself, WHY does it do that?

In short, below is somewhat of an explanation, and if you want to know more, visit here.

Basically, it all has to do with hydrogen ions (H+). As a small number of the molecules split up in water, some of them lose a hydrogen and become hydroxide ions (OH). The positive ion His then married up with another water molecule to form hydronium ions (H3O+). To simplify matters, these are also known as hydrogen ions H+. In pure water, there is a balance between the numbers of hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions, which makes it neither acidic nor basic.

And the difference between an acid and a base?

⇒ An acid donates hydrogen ions. Therefore, there are more hydrogen ions than hydroxide ions in the solution.

⇒ A base or alkaline solution receives hydrogen ions. Therefore, there are more hydroxide ions than hydrogen ions in the solution.

Acidity and alkalinity are measured with a logarithmic scale called pH. Because the numbers of either hydroxide or hydrogen ions can vary so significantly, in fact, a one-unit change on the pH-scale means a ten-fold change in hydrogen ion concentration. Pure water has a neutral pH of 7. pH values lower than 7 are acidic, and pH values higher than 7 are alkaline (basic).

Have a look at the table to learn more about which substances are acidic or alkaline:

Screenshot (2)
(after Decelles, 2002; Environment Canada, 2002)

You can also use the pdf I have compiled to download and as a free printable (see below).

pH_scale

 

And now 14 ideas to use it in your house and to keep it fresh and clean smelling without any strong detergents or toxins:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda on your rugs to give them a thorough clean and fight dust mites, leave it on overnight, then sweep it away and hoover
  2. Pour 75g/3oz baking soda down a drain cleaner and 250 ml/ 1/2 pint of vinegar, leave for 10-15 min and follow with hot water
  3. Use as a mild abrasive to clean bathtubs and sinks, rub them with a damp cloth and liquid soap. Rinse well.
  4. Use a paste of baking soda and water to clean your oven. Sprinkle baking soda over the bottom surface of your oven. Spray with a water bottle to dampen the baking soda. Let this mixture sit overnight and then scrub in the morning. Rinse thoroughly.
  5. Use as an ingredient to make your homemade washing up liquid (look out for the recipe in my up-coming resources!)
  6. Use as an ingredient for your homemade dishwasher powder ((look out for the recipe in my up-coming resources!)
  7. Use as an ingredient for a mild scouring paste to use on your cooker top (look out for the recipe in my up-coming resources!)
  8. Use it as a simple air freshener
  9. Polish silverware Another simple paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water can be rubbed onto silver flatware with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse and dry.
  10. Use it as a simple floor cleaner on tiles: use 75g/3oz baking soda in a bucket of warm water
  11. Soak cloth nappies: dissolve 75g/3oz cup of baking soda into 2 l/ 4 pints of warm water and soak the dirty nappies thoroughly before you put them through the wash
  12. Use it as a disinfectant to clean cutting boards. Sprinkle with soda, scrub and rinse.
  13. Leave an open box of bicarbonate soda in the fridge to absorb the odours. Cover the bottom of the bin with the soda.
  14. Boost your homemade laundry liquid. Add about 75g/3oz to it. Put it directly on your laundry.

Look here for metric to US measurement and/or Imperial measurement conversions.

Look out for the next post when I’m going to share a few more ideas on how to use it in the bathroom for your personal care regimen.

Josephine xx

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