21 household problems you can easily solve with bicarbonate of soda (2024)

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When it comes to DIY cleaning solutions, bicarbonate of soda is a firm favourite. Combined with water, it creates a thick paste which is abrasive enough to shift all kinds of tricky stains. Mix it with distilled white vinegar, and you get a fizzy chemical reaction which is brilliant for dissolving grease and grime. If that weren’t enough, it’s a natural deodoriser, too.

If you want to get the most out of the cleaning power of bicarbonate of soda, we’ve listed 21 of its best uses below. Make sure you’ve always got access to this staple in your cupboard!

21 cleaning problems you can solve with bicarbonate of soda

1. Stained and smelly plastic food containers

Lunchboxes and food containers are easily stained, especially if tomato is involved! To freshen your containers, wipe with a clean sponge sprinkled with bicarb. Or erase tough stains by soaking in a solution of 4tbsp of bicarb and a litre of warm water.

2. A foul-smelling fridge

Nothing's worse than opening the fridge and being hit with an unpleasant odour. A small pot of bicarb left in the fridge will absorb strong food smells so they don’t linger or affect the taste of nearby foods.

Bicarb is an effective deodoriser because it neutralises odour molecules in the air. According to Dr Joanna Buckley, Education Coordinator at the Royal Society of Chemistry: “Sodium bicarbonate, also known as bicarbonate of soda, is a common deodorising agent because it’s amphoteric, a word which comes from the Greek amphoteros, meaning both. This means it can react with odour molecules that are either an acid or an alkali, neutralising them and forming new compounds that are relatively mild in odour.”

So simply leaving out a small amount of bicarb will have an impact on any lingering odours.

3. Deodorise your dishwasher

Following on from this, bicarb can also help to deodorise your dishwasher; just sprinkle a couple of tablespoons into the base, leave for at least 15 minutes, then run a regular cycle on empty to wash it away.

4. A filthy kitchen

Nearly every dirty spot in your kitchen can benefit from the bicarb treatment. Mixed with water, you can use it to clean countertops, stainless-steel sinks, microwaves, range cooker hoods and cooking utensils.

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5. Extra greasy dishes and pans

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

6. The oven door

When it comes to cleaning the oven, most chemical oven cleaners aren’t suitable for the glass door. Luckily, bicarbonate of soda can come to the rescue here. Simply combine it with water to make a paste, then apply all over the door. Leave it overnight and wipe away in the morning. Test in an inconspicuous area first to make sure the bicarb doesn't scratch the glass.

This is a handy solution for light stains, but heavy stains may need something stronger, like HG Stove Glass Cleaner.

7. Shift tea stains

Stained tea spoons? Reach for the bicarb and mix 2 tsps with a little water to make a loose paste. Rub the mixture into the stained area using a soft cloth, rinse and dry.

8. Musty upholstery and carpets

Deodorise soft furnishings, carpets and rugs by sprinkling with bicarb, letting it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up.

9. A smelly pet bed

The same goes for Fido's favourite spot! Sprinkle, wait 15 minutes and vacuum thoroughly.

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10. Grimy toys

Fight the effects of your little ones' grubby hands by wiping toys with a sponge dipped in a bicarbonate of soda and water solution.

11. A crayon-covered wall

When your child's artistic efforts end up all over that wall you just repainted, scrub lightly with a damp sponge sprinkled in bicarb.

12. Dingy 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.

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13. Mildew in your bathroom

Mildew has met its match! Scrub the tub, tiles, sink and shower curtain with a damp sponge and bicarb. Rinse to reveal gleaming surfaces.

14. Grout

And the uses in the bathroom don’t stop there. A paste of bicarbonate of soda can be used to clean grout too. Simply apply to stained areas using an old toothbrush, then spray distilled white vinegar on top. The chemical reaction will help dislodge any stains before scrubbing it away.

Apply a sealing spray once your grout is clean and dry to better protect it in the future, such as HG Wall & Floor Grout Protector.

15. Clear a plughole

Keep plugholes draining freely by pouring down 125g of bicarb followed by 125ml vinegar down them. Cover with a wet cloth to contain the science fair-like effects (remember DIY volcanoes?). Wait five minutes, and then flush with hot water.

16. Smelly trainers

Freshen up after your gym session by sprinkling some bicarb inside your shoes – and your gym bag, while you’re at it! Just tap it out before you use them again.

17. Rubbish bin smells

Scatter some bicarb in the bottom of your bin to fight odours before you put the bag in.

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18. A messy BBQ grill

Combat a summer’s worth of grime by sprinkling some bicarb on your grill-cleaning brush before you scrub your grill.

19. Dirty patio furniture

Before you pull out your plastic garden chairs, give them a wipe-down with bicarb and water. And before you put them away at the end of the season, place bicarb inside the cushion pads’ storage bags to keep them fresh.

20. A dank linen closet

Just like in the fridge, an open box of bicarb placed near your sheets and towels can fight musty smells.

21. Dull jewellery

When your sterling silver stops shining, get rid of tarnish by making a paste (three parts bicarb to one part water). Apply it with a lint-free cloth (not a paper towel, which can scratch), and rinse.

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Joanne Finney

Consumer Affairs Director and Books Editor

Joanne Finney is Consumer Affairs Director and Books Editor at Good Housekeeping. She writes about everything from the latest best-sellers to where to find the best interest rates for your cash. She has previously been a judge of the Costa Book Awards and runs the popular Book Room Facebook group.

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Katie Mortram

Household Advice Editor

As the Household Advice Editor, Katie looks after all things cleaning and decluttering. She started out as a Junior Tester in the Good Housekeeping Institute 10 years ago, so she’s tested plenty of appliances in her time too, including dishwashers and washing machines. Nowadays, she focuses on keeping our cleaning content up to date and accurate, testing relevant products and learning about the latest methods and trends along the way.

21 household problems you can easily solve with bicarbonate of soda (2024)
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