Baking Soda

Using Baking Soda for Fresh and Clean Clothes in Laundry

Doing laundry is a never-ending chore. No matter how many loads you do, it seems there’s always more dirty clothes piled up. While laundry detergent alone can get your clothes clean, adding baking soda to your wash routine can take your laundry to the next level.

Baking soda is a laundry hack that effectively removes stains, odors, and residue from fabrics. It’s also an extremely affordable and versatile household staple ingredient. Read on to learn how to harness the cleaning power of baking soda for fresh, clean clothes every time.

Benefits of Using Baking Soda in Laundry

Before we get into the different ways to use baking soda for laundry, let’s overview the many benefits it provides:

  • Natural cleaning – Functions as a gentle but effective cleaning agent without harsh chemicals.
  • Removes odors – Baking soda neutralizes and absorbs foul odors trapped in fabric fibers.
  • Whitens clothes – Helps brighten whites and prevent graying or yellowing over time.
  • Softens fabrics – Leaves clothes feeling softer without static cling or stiffness.
  • Cleans residue – Breaks down stubborn residue left by detergent, sweat, and skin oils.
  • Fights stains – Lifts and lightens stains caused by dirt, food, grass, grease, and more.
  • Non-toxic – Safe to use on baby clothes and for people with skin sensitivities.

Keep reading for instructions on how to take advantage of these laundry benefits of baking soda.

How to Add Baking Soda to Laundry

There are a few different ways you can incorporate baking soda into your regular laundry routine:

Laundry Detergent Booster

  • Add 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup baking soda along with your regular detergent into the washing machine drum before adding clothes.

Soak Treatment

  • For badly stained or smelly clothes, soak in warm water mixed with 1⁄2 cup baking soda for 30 minutes prior to washing.

Whitening Boost

  • For dingy whites, soak clothes in a bucket or bathtub with 1 cup baking soda dissolved into 1 gallon warm water for 2-4 hours before washing.

Odor Remover

  • Hand wash clothes prone to odor (athletic wear, towels) with 1 tablespoon baking soda and water. Rinse clean.

Fabric Softener

  • Skip the fabric softener and add 1⁄2 cup baking soda to the rinse cycle instead.

Play around with different amounts of baking soda depending on load size and soil level until you find your ideal laundry formula.

When to Use Baking Soda in the Wash

While baking soda can be added to any load, it’s especially helpful for laundry situations like:

  • Towels – Remove musty smells
  • Gym clothes – Eliminate sweat odors
  • Kids clothes – Clean stains from food, grass, dirt
  • Work clothes – Fight grease, oil stains
  • Undergarments – Sanitize and deodorize
  • Sheets – Brighten dingy whites
  • Baby clothes – Gently clean without chemicals
  • Socks – Deodorize and soften

For most loads, adding 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup baking soda is sufficient. Increase the amount for larger or heavily soiled loads.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these simple steps for using baking soda in your laundry:

1. Check Clothes

Inspect clothes for stains and treat any spots with a pre-wash stain remover. Turn clothes with intense odor inside out.

2. Add Baking Soda

Add 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup baking soda to empty washing machine drum before adding clothes. For extra cleaning power, you can also make a paste with baking soda and water and use it to pretreat stained or smelly areas 5-10 minutes before washing.

3. Add Clothes

Load clothes into washing machine. For highest efficacy, load clothes loosely to allow room for circulation.

4. Add Laundry Detergent

Add your regular amount of laundry detergent on top of the baking soda already in the drum. Select desired settings.

5. Wash Clothes

Run wash cycle as normal. The baking soda will get activated and bubbly, helping to lift stains and odors from fabrics.

6. Dry Clothes

When washing is complete, either machine dry clothes or hang dry as you normally would.

That’s all it takes to enjoy the odor and stain-fighting power of baking soda in your laundry!

Baking Soda Laundry Tips

  • Smell clothes first – more baking soda may be needed for smelly loads.
  • Use warm or hot water to activate and dissolve the baking soda.
  • For best results, load clothes loosely, leaving room for circulation.
  • Add baking soda at beginning of cycle so it has time to work.
  • White vinegar also works to brighten and deodorize laundry.
  • Avoid adding baking soda directly on clothes as it can leave white spots if not dissolved.
  • When machine washing, use detergent first then baking soda to prevent residue.
  • Clean your washing machine by running a hot cycle with 2 cups baking soda but no clothes.

Troubleshooting Baking Soda Laundry Issues

Having some issues using baking soda for laundry? Try these tips:

Clothes Have a Smell After Washing

  • Increase the amount of baking soda used based on load size. Make sure it dissolves fully with warm water.

Baking Soda Left White Residue on Clothes

  • Don’t pour directly onto dry clothes. Make sure baking soda dissolves fully before adding clothes.

Baking Soda Isn’t Lifting Stains Well

  • For tough stains, try soaking in baking soda water first. Or, apply a pretreat stain stick then wash with baking soda.

Clothes Feel Stiff and Rough

  • Add the baking soda to the drum first before clothes and make sure it dissolves fully to prevent residue.

Harnessing the cleaning power of baking soda can save time and money on laundry. With some trial and error, you’ll get the hang of how to maximize its freshness and stain-fighting abilities. Say goodbye to dingy, stinky clothes!

Baking Soda

Frequently Asked Laundry Baking Soda Questions

Still have questions about using baking soda for laundry? Here are some frequently asked questions:

Is baking soda safe for all laundry?

Yes, baking soda is gentle enough for all fabric types when used properly. Avoid pouring it directly onto clothes.

Does baking soda really help remove odors?

Yes, baking soda effectively neutralizes and absorbs stubborn odors trapped in fabrics leaving clothes fresh.

How does baking soda lift stains?

It helps break down and dissolve staining compounds through saponification. Be sure to dissolve it fully in warm water first.

Can you use baking soda and laundry detergent together?

Absolutely! Using baking soda along with your regular detergent provides extra cleaning power.

How much baking soda do you need per laundry load?

A good rule of thumb is 1⁄4 cup for average loads, 1⁄2 cup for large or heavily soiled loads.


If you aren’t already using baking soda in your laundry routine, it’s time to start! This inexpensive pantry staple packs some serious cleaning power. It tackles stains, odors, residue, and dinginess in fabrics. Simply add 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup per laundry load for fresher, cleaner clothes. Adjust the amount based on load size and soil level. Soak or pretreat clothes with a baking soda paste for extra strength odor and stain removal. Follow these tips to troubleshoot any issues with residues or smells. In no time, you’ll be a pro at harnessing the magic of baking soda for laundry. Enjoy the fresh, clean feel of your clothes without spending a fortune on laundry products.

Do you have your own tips and tricks for using baking soda as a laundry booster? Share your best practices in the comments to help other readers!


I'm Brayan, an architect and gardener. Join me as we uncover the beauty of ordinary life, find inspiration for cozy homes, and find peace and contentment in our homes. Let's love our houses and find life's tiny pleasures.

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