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5 uses for baking soda in laundry

Baking soda tends to be a kitchen staple, but it’s also useful for completing household chores like laundry. Whether you’re fighting tough odors or cleaning surfaces and appliances, like cleaning your sink or washing machine, baking soda can be a versatile product to have on hand. 

Adding baking soda to your wash load can boost cleaning ability, help remove stains and also help neutralize odors, leaving your items looking brighter and smelling fresh. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind before you use this versatile product. Read on to learn how to use baking soda in laundry.

Can you use baking soda in laundry?

You can generally use baking soda in a load of laundry. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a mild alkaline compound that works well in freshening and brightening clothing. It’s safe to use in most washing machines and can have deodorizing capabilities for both your washer and laundry. 

Always check your washer’s owner’s manual and clothing care labels before adding baking soda to your wash load. You may want to avoid using it on delicate fabrics.

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What are the benefits of using baking soda in laundry?

Baking soda can be a beneficial laundry aid as it offers stain removal, odor elimination, fabric softening and detergent boosting potential. It’s versatile and eco-friendly, and using a small amount in your wash load may leave your clothing cleaner, fresher and softer.

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1. Pretreat stains

Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that can be used to spot clean a variety of stains, such as sweat, deodorant, grass, grease and oil, dried paint, crayon, ink, nail polish and makeup. In general, you can make a paste with equal parts baking soda and water, apply it to the stain and soak the item in water for around 30 minutes. 

If the stain persists, it may need to soak longer. Then, wash the garment according to your item’s care tag. This process can vary depending on the type of stain and fabric. Before you pretreat any stain, be sure to test the baking soda mixture on a hidden area. You may want to avoid using baking soda on delicate fabrics.

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2. Whiten and brighten

To help whiten white and light-colored items like clothing, sheets and towels, you can use baking soda instead of bleach for a natural laundry boost. Adding baking soda along with your detergent can also help brighten colorful fabrics and may prevent white garments from yellowing.

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3. Neutralize odors

Adding baking soda to your laundry routine can help freshen items and neutralize odors such as sweat or pet smells. Simply make a paste with equal parts baking soda and water to apply on stains or add about a half cup of baking soda along with detergent to your regular load of laundry to help eliminate odors from clothes, towels and linens.

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4. Soften water and fabrics

To help soften fabrics naturally without fabric softener or dryer sheets, you can use baking soda to help balance wash water pH levels. This can be beneficial if you have hard water. By adding a half cup of baking soda to your wash load, you can help prevent mineral buildup on items and reduce the amount of detergent you use.

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5. Enhance bleach and detergent

Baking soda can boost the cleaning power of your detergent and bleach by regulating pH levels in the wash water. A half cup of baking soda can make it easier for these products to work harder at removing dirt and stains. You may even find that you can use less detergent and replace bleach with baking soda.

How do you use baking soda in laundry?

To use baking soda in laundry, simply add it to your washing machine tub. You can also dissolve it in water first to make a paste for targeted stain removal. Keep in mind that while baking soda is generally safe for most fabrics, you’ll want to spot-test it on a small area first, especially on delicate fabrics.

Where do you put baking soda in the washing machine?

You can put the baking soda directly in your washer tub when using it in a load of laundry. Don’t put it in the detergent or fabric softener dispenser, as it may clog your machine.

How much baking soda do you add to laundry? 

Simply add a half cup of baking soda directly to your washer tub—not in the built-in soap dispenser—to help freshen and soften a load of laundry. To pretreat stains, mix equal parts baking soda and water to create a paste and apply it to the area. Before spot cleaning, test this mixture on a small, hidden area of the fabric.

Can you add baking soda and vinegar to laundry?

While baking soda works well on clothing stains and odors, you may want to avoid using vinegar in your washer as it can damage the rubber seals and hoses on some machines. Plus, if you use them together, it may cancel out the cleaning potency due to baking soda’s high pH and vinegar’s low pH.

Before using distilled white vinegar in your washing machine, check your owner’s manual to ensure that it’s safe for your specific model. If unsure, make sure to rinse any vinegar residue from your laundry before putting it in your washing machine.

Tips and tricks for using baking soda in laundry

There are a few things to keep in mind before using baking soda in your laundry: 

  • Check your clothing care tags first. You may not want to use baking soda on certain delicate or sensitive fabrics like wool, cashmere and silk.

  • Add baking soda to your washer tub before a laundry load, but you may want to avoid using it in the rinse cycle as it can cause fabrics to stiffen. 

  • Break down an overflow of suds with baking soda. If you notice your washer overflowing, turn it off and sprinkle baking soda on suds to reduce bubbles.  

  • Refer to your washer’s owner’s manual before adding anything other than recommended products to your machine.

Shop Whirlpool® Washers

Whether you prefer a front load or top load washing machine for your laundry room, Whirlpool® Washers come in a variety of styles with a wide range of features to help you care for your family’s everyday needs. Select models have innovative features like the Pretreat Station for treating stains with baking soda or the Load & Go Dispenser to help make laundry day a breeze. Explore Whirlpool brand Washers for the right appliance with flexible options ideal for your family’s laundry.

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