How To Make White Clothes Whiter With Baking Soda

If you’re reading this article, it’s because you don’t want to use bleach to whiten your clothes. There are several alternatives to bleach that you can use to get your whites white again. One of which is baking soda.

Baking soda or Bicarbonate of soda as it’s also known is a product that most homes have in the store cupboard. It is a non-toxic, odour preventing and inexpensive way to whiten your clothes.

It is great at breaking down ingrained dirt and stains which are the cause of your white clothes looking tired and dingy.

How To Whiten Clothes Using Baking Soda

There are several ways to use baking soda to whiten clothes which include;

Soaking Clothes Overnight In A Baking Soda Solution

This might sound like a lot of fuss and bother, but soaking white clothes overnight in a baking soda solution can really work wonders on removing stains. All you need to do is;

  1. Mix 1 cup of baking soda into a gallon bucket of hot water.
  2. Put the white clothes into the bucket and make sure they are fully submerged.
  3. Leave the garments soaking for at least 5 hours (overnight is better).
  4. Place the clothes in the washing machine and wash as normal using your regular detergent.

Using Baking Soda To Whiten Clothes In The Washing Machine

This is the method that most people choose when using baking soda to whiten washing because it’s so easy. All you need to do is;

  1. Put your dirty white clothes in the washing machine.
  2. Sprinkle ½ a cup of baking soda onto the clothes.
  3. Add your usual detergent in the normal quantity.
  4. Wash using your usual wash program.

Using Baking Soda To Remove Stains (Spot Removal)

If you have a stain on a white garment you can treat it with a paste made from baking soda and water. All you need to do is;

  1. Make a paste using 2 parts baking soda to 1 part water.
  2. Apply the paste directly onto the stain.
  3. Ensure the paste is completely covering the stain.
  4. Leave it to soak in for at least 1 hour.
  5. Wash the garment in the usual way.

Using Baking Soda With Hydrogen Peroxide To Remove Stains

If the stain is extremely stubborn you can mix an even stronger stain busting paste. All you need to do is;

  1. Make a paste using baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and water.
  2. Apply the paste to the stain.
  3. Allow the paste to dry on the stain.
  4. Using a soft brush, remove the paste from the clothing.
  5. Wash the garment in the usual way using your normal detergent.
Baking Soda

How To Keep White Clothes White

Once you’ve returned your white clothes to their former brilliance, you need to know how to stop them from becoming faded and off white again.  

Below are a few tips to help prevent your whites from becoming off white. You should;

  • Never wash whites with any other colours.
  • Soak white clothes in baking soda overnight to maintain their fresh whiteness.
  • Dry white clothes outside in direct sunlight whenever possible, because sunlight has natural bleaching qualities.
  • Always use detergents designed specifically for white clothes.
  • Spot treat stains as soon as possible to prevent  them from becoming ingrained.

Are There Any Materials That Should Not Be Exposed To Baking Soda?

Baking soda is generally a safe ingredient that can be used to help whiten clothing. But you should never use baking soda on the following materials;

  • Wool
  • Cashmere
  • Silk

This is because the pH of baking soda could be too high for these delicate materials. Which could lead to the fibres breaking down – leading to the appearance of holes.

Plus the baking soda could cling to the material even after washing which could be unsightly to say the least.

As with all cleaning agents, you should always perform a spot test if you are in any doubt. This should be performed on an inconspicuous part of the clothing (an inside seam, inside the sleeve or under the collar).

Is Baking Soda The Best Way To Whiten Clothes?

Baking soda is an effective way to help whiten clothes. However, bleach is the most effective way to get clothes white. 

If you decide to use bleach, we recommend using oxygen bleach as it is kinder to the material and the environment.

For alternative ways to whiten white clothes click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does baking soda whiten white clothes?

Baking soda can be used to whiten white clothes. All you need to do is add ½ a cup of baking soda as well as your usual detergent and wash in the normal way.

How long does baking soda take to whiten clothes in a soak?

You should allow at least 5 hours for the baking soda soak to work on white clothes, overnight is better.

Where do you put baking soda in a washing machine?

Baking soda should be put on top of the laundry in the drum. Then put your regular detergent in the dispenser and wash as normal.

Will baking soda discolour clothes?

Baking soda is a great ingredient to help whiten clothes and remove odours. But it is not strong enough to cause any lasting bleach damage to your clothes.

Is baking soda and bicarbonate of soda the same?

Yes, baking soda and bicarbonate of soda are exactly the same thing. It’s just a question of geography, in the US they call it baking soda, while in the UK they call it bicarbonate of soda.

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