Does Bicarbonate Of Soda Stain Clothes?

Many of us have bicarbonate of soda tucked away in our kitchens, not just for baking, but also for tackling odours and even cleaning dingy surfaces. It has even found its way in our laundry rooms, due to its ability to remove pesky stains. However, is it possible that it can also leave a stain on our clothing?

The simple answer to this is that yes, bicarbonate of soda can cause staining on clothes if used excessively due to its alkaline nature. However, there’s no need to stop using it, as long as you use it correctly, it is an extremely wonderful tool to use in your laundry routine. 

Let’s learn how to use bicarbonate of soda correctly without it staining your fabrics. 

How To Use Bicarbonate Of Soda Without Staining Your Clothes

Bicarbonate of soda, also called “baking soda” in the US, is a wonderful laundry aid when used properly. Since it has a high pH level, using too much of the product can alter the dye of your clothing, especially for those that are dark-coloured. Bicarbonate of soda can also leave a powder residue that will cling to the fabrics and make them more difficult to clean. 

Baking Soda

The reason why bicarbonate of soda is popular is that it is gentle on the clothes compared to other shop-bought products, and is a much cheaper alternative to commercial stain removers. As long as you use it correctly, you won’t have to worry about bicarb stains. 

Here are some tips for using bicarbonate of soda in your laundry:

Read The Care Labels

Before sprinkling bicarbonate of soda on your garments, take a moment to check their care labels. The labels on your clothing will tell you what to do to clean, dry, and store your clothes without damaging them.

wash care label with no tumble dry

Make sure that you’re not using bicarbonate of soda on delicate fabrics, especially those made of cashmere and wool. The properties of bicarbonate of soda can be too harsh on these fabrics and cause them to shrink or pill. 

Spot Test

Before applying bicarbonate of soda to your entire garment, do a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area. 

This helps ensure that it won’t cause discolouration or damage to the fabric. If you ever find the spot has some fade marks, discontinue use and find a colour-safe detergent or stain remover. 

Use In Moderation

Using too much bicarbonate of soda can lead to residue buildup, which might result in staining. A few tablespoons to a cup added to your regular detergent is usually sufficient for a full load of laundry.

As long as you use just the right amount, there’s no need to worry about stains. This could be a trial and error, especially if your laundry loads are large. 

Use Warm Water

Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in warm water before adding it to the wash. This helps it to integrate more effectively with the water and detergent, reducing the risk of leaving powdery marks on your clothes.

40 Degree Wash Cycle

As always, check the label to see whether your clothing can handle warm water to avoid shrinkage. 

Avoid Mixing With Vinegar

While both bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are popular cleaning agents, combining them in the laundry can neutralise their effectiveness. 

Use them in separate wash cycles to avoid any unwanted chemical reactions.

How To Use Bicarbonate Of Soda On Your Clothes

Now that you know what to do and to how to avoid bicarbonate of soda stains on clothes, it’s time to use them in the wash. 

Here are some methods for using bicarbonate of soda: 

To Pre-Treat Stains

Pre-treating mild stains is a breeze when using bicarbonate of soda. All you have to do is create a paste using a mixture of the powder and a bit of water, then apply it directly to the stain.

wine stain on a dress

Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes, rinse with cold water, and wash as normal. For more stubborn stains, leave the paste to sit overnight. 

To Enhance The Cleaning Properties Of Detergent

Due to its ability to regulate the pH level in water, bicarbonate of soda can boost the cleaning effects of your detergent by allowing it to remove dirt and odours more efficiently. 

bicarbonate of soda in the washer

Just add half a cup of bicarbonate of soda to your laundry along with your regular amount of detergent, then run a cycle. 

To Freshen Up Your Clothing

For smells that have a bad odour, bicarbonate of soda will come to the rescue. 

person smelling clothes

Just dissolve one cup of bicarbonate of soda in a basin of warm water and soak smelly clothes before washing them as normal. Doing so will neutralise odours, removing annoying sweat and stinky smells. 

TIP: You can sprinkle a bit of bicarbonate of soda on your stinky shoes overnight and they will smell fresh in the morning!

The Benefits Of Using Bicarbonate Of Soda In Laundry

Bicarbonate of soda is excellent at tackling a wide range of stains, as long as it’s used in moderation. Its mild abrasive properties help to gently scrub away surface stains without highly damaging your fabrics. 

From grease and oil to food and drink spills, a pre-treatment paste of bicarbonate of soda can make a significant difference. It’s no wonder that many of us keep a box in our homes for nasty situations. 

Aside from removing stains, here are its advantages:

It Removes Foul Odours

One of the standout qualities of bicarbonate of soda is its ability to neutralise odours. This makes it perfect for freshening up gym clothes, towels, and other fabrics that tend to hold onto smells. 

By adding it to your laundry, you can get rid of unpleasant odours, leaving your clothes smelling clean and fresh.

It Brightens Whites

Over time, white clothes can become dull or yellowed. Bicarbonate of soda can help restore their brightness. 

Its natural whitening properties can lift dullness and restore the crisp, clean look of white fabrics without the harshness of bleach.

It Softens Hard Water

Hard water can make it difficult for detergents to work effectively, and may lead to mineral buildup on clothes, making them feel stiff. 

Bicarbonate of soda can soften the water, which enhances the effectiveness of your detergent and results in softer, cleaner clothes.

And there you have it! Using bicarbonate of soda brings so many benefits, making it a valuable cleaning partner for your household. 

How do you use bicarbonate of soda in your home? Feel free to leave a comment below!

SEE ALSO: How To Make White Clothes Whiter With Baking Soda

Frequently Asked Questions

Is baking soda and bicarbonate of soda the same thing?

Yes, baking soda and bicarbonate of soda are the same thing. They are both terms for the same chemical compound, sodium bicarbonate, and are used interchangeably depending on the region.

Does bicarbonate of soda cause discolouration?

Bicarbonate of soda can cause discolouration if used excessively, especially on dark or coloured fabrics, due to its alkaline nature. 

What stains does bicarbonate of soda remove?

Bicarbonate of soda is effective at removing a variety of stains, including grease, oil, food, and drink spills. It also helps in lifting surface stains due to its mild abrasive properties. 

How do you remove bicarbonate of soda stains?

To remove bicarbonate of soda stains, you should shake off any excess powder, rinse the area with cold water, and then wash the fabric as usual. 

Does sodium bicarbonate bleach clothes?

Sodium bicarbonate does not bleach clothes in the traditional sense of causing colour loss but can brighten whites and remove stains, making the fabric appear lighter. 

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