How to clean with a superstar refill: bicarbonate of soda

Kirsty French

You will never again buy expensive cleaning products after learning about the skills of the very underrated sodium bicarbonate aka bicarbonate of soda. It a super gentle abrasive and a great natural deodoriser. It’s helpful in all sorts of cleanliness trouble spots!

More widely know for use as a leavening agent in cooking, it’s a form of salt that causes dirt and grease to dissolve in water, as well as being brilliant at absorbing odours. 

(N.B. not to be confused it with washing soda which is very different.)

Here are 22 spills and stains you can fix with bicarbonate of soda, so stock up from us right now!

1. The most important and effective use EVER – Vomit!

If, like me, you have a phobia of sick, especially in the back of the car, then bicarbonate of soda will be your best friend in the world. Sprinkle liberally over the offending area and let it soak in (#gag). This will help get rid of the vomit odour as it is absorbed. Vacuum up the residue and try to get rid of the memory forever or until next time…..

2. Stained and smelly plastic food containers

Tupperware’s and lunchboxes can often hang on to stains from left overs, take spag bol, for example. So simply soak in a solution of 4tbsp of bicarb and a litre of warm water. To rid them of odours and freshen them up, take a clean sponge sprinkled with bicarb and give them a once over!

3. Funky Fridge?

Leave a small pot of bicarb in the fridge. It will absorb all strong food odours so they don’t linger or affect the taste of nearby foods.

4. Unrinsed fruit and veggies

Chuck them in the sink with a mixture of bicarb and water. Dirt and waxy coatings will be removed.

5. A filthy kitchen?

This is where the magic of the bicarb comes into play! Nearly every dirty spot in your kitchen can benefit from this superstar’s love. Mixed with water, use it to clean countertops, stainless-steel sinks, microwaves, range cooker hoods, cooking utensils and pans.

6. Extra greasy dishes and pans

Give baked on food the heave-ho by boosting the power of your washing-up liquid with a sprinkle of bicarb.

7. Stinky cloths and sponges

Soak these kitchen staples in bicarb and water to freshen them up so you can use them for a little longer.

8. Freshen up upholstery and carpets

If like me, you live in a zoo with 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 teenage boys, sometimes your upholstery and carpets need a bit of help! Simply sprinkle with bicarb, leave for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up. This also applies to mattresses but please remember to vacuum!

9. A smelly pet bed

As above!

10. Grimy toys

Kid’s toys can sometimes be a health hazard and not something that should go near a baby’s mouth. Naturally fight the effects of grubby hands by wiping toys with a sponge dipped in a bicarb and water solution.

11. Writing on the wall?

When your kid’s artistic efforts end up all over that wall you have just repainted, scrub lightly with a damp sponge sprinkled in bicarb. Et voila!

12. Dusty teddies

Teddies collect dust when not loved daily and left on a shelf. Give them a new lease of life by (cruelly) putting them in a large plastic bag with 100g of bicarb and tying the top securely. Take it outside and shake well. The bicarb helps draw out dust. After you remove the poor things from the bag give them an extra shake and hope they forgive you sometime soon…..

13. Grey laundry

Both whites and colours will come out of the washing machine brighter if you add 200g bicarb to your load. Combined with liquid detergent, it helps balance the pH levels to get clothes cleaner.

14. Mildew in the bathroom

Scrub your bath, tiles, sink and shower curtain with a damp sponge and bicarb. Rinse to reveal gleaming surfaces.

15. Clogged drain

Clear a stubborn drain by pouring down 125g of bicarb followed by 125ml of white vinegar (both sold at Unpckd). Cover with a wet cloth, wait for 5 minutes and then flush with hot water.

16. Sweaty trainers

Sick of your kid’s stinky football boots etc, husband’s gym bag? Sprinkle with the magic dust and all will be well!

17. Bins

If your bin makes you gag when open it, place some bicarb at the bottom and this should help fight the yucky odours.

18. An oil spillage in the garage

Got an offending spot on your concrete? Sprinkle over a little bicarb and scrub with a wet brush to make it disappear.

19. Dreading looking at your BBQ this summer?

Help combat last year’s grime by sprinkling some bicarb on your grill-cleaning brush before scrubbing.

20. Dirty patio furniture

Now your friends and family can finally come and see you in your garden, give your patio chairs a little \TLC with a bicarb and water rub down to freshen them up. And, before you put them away for winter, place some bicarb inside the cushion pads’ storage bags to keep them fresh.

21. Musty linen cupboard

Just like in the fridge, keep a little open pot of bicarb near your sheets and towels to keep them fresh.

22. Dull jewellery

When your sterling silver stops shining, get rid of tarnish by making a paste (three parts bicarb to one part water). Apply with a lint-free cloth and rinse.

It is highly recommended for some health benefits too, such as heart-burn, eczema, psoriasis, nappy rash and teeth whitening, to name but a few but we would recommend researching these yourselves :)

So, in conclusion, Bicarbonate of Soda really is the hero of our kitchen cupboard. It can help with the most simple of things before you traipse out to the shops for an expensive remedy.


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