Bi-Carbonate of Soda – My Top Ten Uses Around the House

I LOVE bi-carb soda – it is pretty much my go to cleaner around the house.

What is it? 

The knowledgable Wikipedia tells us that sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate). The natural mineral form is nahcolite. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs.

Since it has long been known and is widely used, the salt has many related names such as baking sodabread sodacooking soda, and bicarbonate of soda. In colloquial usage, its name is shortened to sodium bicarbbicarb soda, or simplybicarb. The word saleratus, from Latin sal æratus meaning aerated salt, was widely used in the 19th century for both sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. The term has now fallen out of common usage.

Where do you buy it?

Bi-carb is found in the bakery section of the supermarket. I tend to by McKenzies brand rather than home brand version as I think it is better.

I have noticed in the cleaning aisle of the supermarkets they are selling “cleaning bi-carb”….this is nothing special or different to the ordinary so don’t waste your money on it!

Note that bi-carb has a limited shelf life so don’t buy too much as it will become inactive if not used within a specified period (some have used by dates on them).

  1.  Odour neutraliser – smelly fridges, cars, kitty litter, stinky shoes – the list goes on. In fridges add a container with bi-carb and place in it absorb smells. Sprinkle a layer of bi-carb the bottom of a cat litter tray before putting down fresh litter. Also to keep the smell under control you can put a little on the surface to absorb the smell in between litter changes. Sprinkle in shoes over night to absorb odours…..the list goes on!
  2. Stainless steel cleaner – quite a while ago I ran out of the store bought stainless steel cleaner for my saucepans. Not only is it not really cheap to buy, I kept forgetting to buy it. So instead you can sprinkle in some bi-carb and using a damp cloth polish and then rinse.
  3. Tea/coffee stains and brightening old crockery – put some in the stained cup, plate etc and polish with a damp cloth and rinse. I recently bought some antique crockery that looked pretty ordinary but polished up amazingly doing this.
  4. Scouring – for baked on food on plates, dishes etc wet the dish, sprinkle on some bi-carb and some cooking salt and wipe clean. No need for steel wool or scouring pads any more!
  5. Stain removal on benches – for wine stains etc on laminex benches or to give them a general brighten up – sprinkle bench with bi carb – spray on some vinegar and then wipe down. Wipe with a fresh clean cloth.
  6. Grease/oil removal from washing – if you have grease stains/oil spit marks on clothes, bi-carb is brilliant for lifting oil and grease. For a general wash of greasy/oily clothes just add a cup of bi-carb to the wash. IF you have stain marks – make a paste of bi0carb and water – put paste on the stain and leave for a few minutes before washing as normal.
  7. Fabric softener – normal store bought fabric softener can cause a greasy build up in the machine. To make your own fabric softener that cleans your machine while you use it you can do either of the following: in an empty container add 1 litre of water and 1 cup of bi-carb – shake before you use – adding about 1/4 cup for front loaders and 1/2 a cup for top loaders. Alternatively you can mix 1/2 a cup of bi-carb with 1/2 a cup of vinegar (be careful it will fizz and may overflow) and then 2 cups of water. Add the same amount as described for the previous mix. You can also add 5 drops of your favourite essential oil if you like.
  8. Cleaning grout – to clean shower/tile grout make a paste of water and bi-carb and apply with a old toothbrush – scrub and then rinse off with clean water.
  9. Ingredient in home made washing powder click here to go to the recipe
  10. Cleaning shower glass – put some bi-carb in a container and dip a damp cloth into it. Wipe down shower glass and rinse.

I would love to hear if you have any great tips for using bi-carb around the house!



  1. I use it as shampoo also. 1 tsp in 1 cup of water and give yourself a gentle scalp massage. Rinse well.

    I have voluminous hair and a lot of flyaways, and this has helped settle them down. The first week was all it took for my scalp to adjust. Now i don’t have any itchies or dandruff either!
    I just use normal white vinegar occasionally… so I might try apple cider next time!

    • hi Mel, I will def have to try it for my hair. I have such fine hair and I have yet to find a shampoo that gives it real volume. So I have nothing to lose!

  2. I too have used it for indigestion. It’s the same as buying Eno or those other indigestion fixes.

    I also use it in place of shampoo. I make a paste of bicarb and water and scrub it into the scalp. I rinse thoroughly then condition with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. Just make sure the bicarb paste is totally rinsed out of you will get fizzing on your scalp. It’s great to de-oil your hair without using chemicals or expensive shampoos and it leaves your hair super soft and silky.

  3. 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with water relieves indigestion.
    2. Baking soda and vinegar will flush your drains if you are out of Drano or other drain cleansers.

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