12 Household Uses for Washing Soda

Power up your cleaning routines with these handy household uses for washing soda.

| January/February 2015

  • Lend extra power to your cleaning routine by adding washing soda.
    Photo by Veer
  • Use washing soda to clear drains, descale tiles, clean concrete and much more.
    Photo by iStock

Washing soda—the body-builder cousin of baking soda—is a natural, highly alkaline chemical compound. It’s similar to baking soda but harsher, so it’s great for heavy-duty jobs such as descaling bathroom tiles or stripping floors of wax. Its high pH, which grants washing soda cleaning power without the fumes many solvents emit, also means it’s caustic. Wear gloves when handling washing soda, and rinse it off surfaces as a final step. Don’t use it on aluminum, as it can cause pitting or color changes, and don’t leave washing soda on painted or waxed surfaces (unless you intend to strip the paint or wax).

1. Wash It Up: Make your own laundry detergent by mixing 2 cups baking soda with 1-1⁄2 cups washing soda, 1 cup grated castile soap and 1 teaspoon lavender essential oil. Use 1⁄8 cup per load.

2. Coffee Mate: Rid the coffee maker of hard water deposits by adding 1 tablespoon washing soda for every 8 ounces water your coffee maker holds. Run it once with washing soda where the coffee grounds would normally go, then run it two or three times with just hot water to thoroughly rinse.

3. Dishwasher DIY: Whip up homemade dishwasher detergent by mixing 1 cup washing soda, 1⁄2 cup grated castile soap and 1⁄4 cup citric acid. Place a scoopful of the resulting powder in the detergent compartment of your dishwasher, and fill the rinse compartment with white vinegar.

4. Tile Descaler: If your bathroom tiles never look quite clean, despite scrubbing, hard water buildup could be to blame. Descale bathroom tiles with washing soda by mixing 1⁄2 cup washing soda with 1 bucket warm water. Wearing gloves, wash the tiled surface with your washing soda-water mixture, then rinse the surface.

5. Hot Tip: Make a fume-free oven cleaner by combining 1 cup baking soda with 1⁄4 cup washing soda (you can add up to 1⁄2 cup for extra-greasy ovens) and 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap. Add hot water gradually until you have a thick paste. Add a few drops white vinegar, then coat oven surfaces and leave overnight. Wipe off with warm water.

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