Baking Soda Laundry Hacks You Need To Know About

Chances are you have a box of baking soda in your fridge right now, absorbing wayward smells. And you probably use the ingredient quite a lot if you're a frequent baker. But baking soda has benefits outside the kitchen, too.

So why is this such a multifunctional product? Baking soda, which is the more common name for a natural substance called sodium bicarbonate, can neutralize acids and bases, meaning it doesn't just cover up odors — it absorbs and gets rid of them, per The Spruce. It's somewhat abrasive, so it can be used as a gentle cleaning scrub, and when mixed with water, it also dissolves dirt and grease. In baking, baking soda releases carbon dioxide, which makes baked goods rise.

And you should see what it can do for your clothes. Those seeking a natural way to do laundry have already discovered the myriad ways baking soda can be used in the laundry room. Keep reading to find out the best baking soda laundry hacks.

Effectively tackle your laundry the natural way

Sometimes, regular laundry detergent doesn't fully eliminate odors. But because baking soda neutralizes odors, it's a great antidote to a load of smelly laundry, such as athletic gear or workout clothes (via Well + Good). To really tackle those tough stinks embedded in your clothes that your detergent wasn't able to destroy, add half a cup of baking soda with a load of laundry, and pour half a cup of white vinegar in the fabric softener tray. Skip the detergent altogether, and run the cycle like normal. The result is fresh-smelling clothes sans detergent.

Baking soda is also great at tackling stubborn sweat stains, like the kind that appear around the armpits on a white or light-colored shirt. Mix a quarter cup of warm water and four tablespoons of baking soda, making a paste. After wetting the stain with water, place the paste over the stain, and let it work for 30 to 60 minutes. Rinse off the stain remover in the sink, and run the item through the wash like normal.

Finally, it's always a bummer to buy a set of crisp white sheets and watch them become yellow and dingy over time. Luckily, you can brighten and whiten fabrics simply by adding a quarter cup (for a front-loading machine) or half a cup (for a top-loading machine) of baking soda to a load of laundry and washing it like normal. 

Scent-free softener for sensitive skin

Love to make your clothes and linens feel extra soft, but not a fan of overpowering perfumes? Baking soda can actually be used as an unscented fabric softener! Baking soda is a natural mineral that's safe for people with sensitive skin and babies' delicate clothing. Baking soda is alkaline, so it can balance the pH of your washing machine cycle and lift rough dirt and grime from your clothes. 

To use baking soda as a natural cleanser and fabric softener, pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda directly into the washer during before its final rinse cycle. Commercial fabric softener leaves a waxy residue on your clothes and can clog up your machine over time. "Overuse of fabric softeners over time starts to build a film and deposits [which] start to slow down drain time," James Copeland, director of technical services for Prism Specialties, told Today, adding, "... then you get other dirt, debris, grime, and things from the clothes." Unlike fabric softener, baking soda actually removes the impurities from the fabric instead of smoothing them over with wax, and works double-duty by cleaning the inside of your machine.

Gentle and effective machine cleanser

Did you know that baking soda is a great non-toxic way to clean your washing machine? For a top-loading washing machine, add one cup of baking soda to the drum and start the machine on a heavy-duty setting with hot water. When the machine is filled with water, pause the cycle, add four cups of white vinegar, and allow the mixture to soak and dissolve grime for up to an hour. You can also add a few essential oils at this time if you'd like. Finally, continue the cycle on a hot water setting. When the cycle is finished and the drum has drained, open the lid to allow the washing machine to air dry and prevent mildew. 

For a front-loading washing machine, mix baking soda with water until you get a fine, runny paste. Add the paste to the detergent dispenser slot in the machine. Next, pour two cups of white vinegar into the washer drum, then start the cycle on a long and hot setting. After the cycle has churned and mixed for a few minutes, pause the cycle to let the solution soak for up to an hour, then continue and drain.