Soaking Clothes In Baking Soda Overnight (everything you need to know)

Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) is one of many kitchen ingredients that have so many uses around the home. Baking soda makes a great cleaning agent and can be used to remove some really dirty messes. 

It is also a great addition to your laundry where it can be used to remove many stains and bad odours. Keep reading for all the information you need to successfully get your clothes clean by soaking them in baking soda overnight.

How Do You Soak Clothes Overnight In Baking Soda?

Before you can use baking soda to soak your clothes overnight, you’ll need to know exactly how much to use and whether a baking soda overnight soak is suitable for your clothes.

How Much Baking Soda Should You Use To Soak Clothes?

You should use 1 cup (236 ml) of baking soda in 1 gallon (4.5 litres) bucket of warm water. The baking soda should be stirred into the warm water until it dissolves.

The clothes should then be fully submerged into the bucket to ensure that the solution soaks into every fibre of the soiled clothing.

Before Soaking Clothes In Baking Soda You Should Always

  • Separate clothes of different colours
  • Only soak clothes of a similar colour at a time
  • Clean the bucket to remove any dirt, grime or chemicals

Are There Any Materials That Shouldn’t Be Soaked In Baking Soda?

There are many fabrics that will benefit from a baking soda overnight soak. But there are some that could become damaged if exposed to baking soda. These include;

  • Cashmere
  • Wool
  • Silk

All of these materials are protein based and should be cleaned using specialist materials. To ensure that your clothes don’t get damaged when using baking soda, you should always do a spot test.

How To Spot Test Clothes With Baking Soda

Mix up a paste from baking soda and water and dab the paste onto a small unobtrusive part of the clothing – Somewhere like an inner seam, bottom of a shirt tail or under the collar.


Why Soak Clothes Overnight In Baking Soda?

There are several reasons for soaking clothes overnight in baking soda. Which include;

Treating Stains

Soaking heavily stained clothes in a baking soda solution overnight will help to break down the stains and remove them from the material. 

If the stain isn’t completely gone by the morning, it will at least be loosened enough that a run through in the washing machine will remove it.

Removing Smells

Soaking clothes that are particularly odorous overnight in a baking soda solution is a great way to neutralise those bad smells. By the following morning those clothes will no longer stink. 

Which means they can be washed in the machine with other clothes without any worry about the transference of bad odours. This is a particularly good way to remove the smell of smoke from clothes for example.

Restore White Garments

The main problem with white clothing is its tendency to become dirty and grey looking at such a fast rate. Once white clothes become off white or light grey, they often get relegated to the back of the cupboard or thrown into the recycle bin.

Soaking greying white clothes in a baking soda solution overnight and then running them through the washing machine is a great way to restore their whiteness naturally (without using bleach). For more ways to get white clothes white again click here.

If you’re using this method to restore whites back to white, we recommend adding ½ a cup of baking soda into the drum with your washing alongside using your regular detergent.

Refresh Your Clothes

If you have clean clothes that haven’t been worn for a while, soaking them in a baking soda solution overnight is a great way to freshen them up.

It will remove any odours that the clothes have absorbed and remove any bacteria as well.

Neutralise Acid Spills

If you get any type of acid spilled on your clothes, soaking overnight in a baking soda solution is a great way to neutralise that acid and prevent it causing any damage to your clothes.

There are many everyday items that contain acid which include;

  • Drain cleaner
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Car batteries
  • Vomit
  • Urine
  • Wine
  • Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes

To prevent any of these acids from damaging your clothes, the spill should be rinsed immediately in water before soaking in a baking soda solution.

If the acid has had enough time to dry, it can still be neutralised by an overnight soak in a baking soda solution.

Fabric Softener

If some of your clothes have become stiff and starchy, soaking them overnight in a baking soda solution will soften the fabric and restore it to its original softness.

This also works well for cuddly toys (check the care label before soaking).

Which Problems Will Benefit From An Overnight Soak With Baking Soda?

An overnight soak with a baking soda solution will help to revive many clothes. Some of the problems that an overnight soak in a baking soda solution can help with include;

  • Faded whites clothes
  • Sweaty sportswear/gym wear
  • Shirts with sweat patches
  • Clothes stored in a damp room
  • Dusty, damp clothes
  • Clothes covered with vomit or urine
  • Smelly pet blankets

Can You Mix Baking Soda With Regular Detergent In The Washing Machine?

It is perfectly safe to use baking soda along with your regular detergent unless specifically advised differently on the packaging. If you intend to use baking soda directly in the washing machine and not as a soak, it should be placed directly onto the laundry in the drum.

Whilst putting the detergent in its usual dispenser and washing in the regular way.

Is Baking Soda The Same As Baking Powder?

Baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing although they share some ingredients. Baking soda is also known as bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate.

Baking powder is made from baking soda with cornstarch and cream of tartar added. Baking powder is used as a raising agent in cooking and not as a cleaning agent.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you soak clothes in baking soda?

It is advisable to leave your clothes soaking in a baking soda solution for at least 5 hours. Overnight is better.

Should I soak my clothes in baking soda?

You should soak your clothes in baking soda if they are heavily soiled, smelly or just need refreshing. You should not, however, soak any protein based clothes like wool, silk or cashmere in baking soda as these could become damaged.

Can I soak smelly clothes in baking soda?

You can soak smelly clothes in baking soda. In fact, it’s a great way of neutralising smells to prevent them from spreading through the rest of your laundry in the washing machine.

What does baking soda do to dirty clothes?

Baking soda helps to dissolve dirt and grime which has stained your clothes. Soaking clothes overnight in a baking soda solution is a great way to loosen stubborn stains.

Will baking soda bleach coloured clothes?

Baking soda will not bleach coloured clothes. It can, however, brighten white clothes.

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