with a name like “washing soda”, sodium carbonate has a reputation to stand up to. best known for its work in the laundry room as a multi-purpose booster, washing soda increases your detergent’s efficiency by removing stains, dirt & odors like nobody’s business.
a close relative to baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), washing soda packs a higher pH which makes it a great, eco-friendly DIY solution to some of your toughest housekeeping pain points. here’s just a few of my favorite washing soda uses:
- dinner cookware disasters: put down the brillo pad--this DIY solution is scrub free! add a few tablespoons of washing soda & a drop of dish soap into the pot or pan in need, bring to a boil on the stove & let simmer for 15-20 minutes to get rid of the burned on gunk you loathe.
- silverplate, silverware, & silver jewelry: line your kitchen sink (or a large bowl depending on the size of your items) with aluminum foil. dissolve ½ cup of washing soda in one gallon of boiling water, pour into sink & give your silver a soak until the water is room temp. remove your pieces gently buff the tarnish away with a damp microfiber cloth. for ornate pieces with small crevices, i use a toothbrush to get into all the nooks & crannies (you can sprinkle a pinch of washing soda on it for super stubborn stains, but use caution as it is abrasive).
- cleaning your sneakers: remove all visible debris from your shoes & take out the laces. soak them in a sink with a 1/3 cup of washing soda & a squirt of laundry detergent for 30 minutes. use an old toothbrush & scrub the sides/bottoms to get them looking good as new!
- drain maintenance: to keep your drains clog-free & smelling fresh, flush ¼ cup of washing soda down them weekly. the high pH will break down build up in your pipes & keep things running smoothly.
- kettles, mugs, thermoses & other reusables: going green by using coffee thermoses & stainless steel water bottles is always easy until the stains & smells come through. tannins in coffee & tea products stain mugs, carafes & thermoses while the lack of airflow in leakproof water bottles can leave things musty. soak them overnight in a solution of washing soda (i shoot for a teaspoon per 16 oz of water) & hand wash thoroughly with a bottle brush for best results.
- spot cleaning carpets, rugs & upholstery: this DIY must be used with caution, as it can discolor some fabrics & colors, so always spot check before going crazy with it! mix up a standard washing soda solution (a teaspoon per 16 oz of water to start--add more later if you need more cleaning power) spray directly onto stains & dab up (don’t scrub!) even the toughest pet & food stains.
you can find washing soda in the laundry aisle or by the pool supplies (it’s used as an alkalizer!) at your favorite retailer--that is, if you’re lucky. it can be tricky to hunt down, but if you want to take your DIY cleaning to another level, you can actually make washing soda from baking soda using your oven!
let’s get sciency for a moment, shall we? the chemical formula for baking soda is NaHCO3 (1 sodium, 1 hydrogen, 1 carbon & 3 oxygen molecules) & the chemical formula for washing soda is Na2CO3 (2 sodium, 1 carbon & 3 oxygen molecules).
if you sprinkle baking soda on a cookie sheet & heat it at 400 degrees, the baking soda will release some water & carbon dioxide, leaving sodium carbonate in its place. shoot for a half hour of cooking time with some intermittent stirring to keep things even, but you’ll know the transformation has occurred when the powder is grainy & doesn’t clump together like baking soda does.
once you start experimenting with all of the ways washing soda can make cultivating your space easier, we’re certain that, like us, you won’t want to be without it.