Baking Soda Laundry Hacks for Cleaner, Softer Clothes

Baking soda is a natural, alkaline substance that can soften water and deodorize fabrics. Learn how to use it in the laundry for a better clean, and softer clothes.

How to Use Baking Soda in Laundry


How to Use Baking Soda in Laundry

Baking soda does more than keep your fridge smelling fresh. It’s an inexpensive and effective product that can break down stains, remove odors, and balance the PH level in hard water. Break out your box of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and try one of these hacks to boost laundry performance.

Use Baking Soda as a Fabric Softener

To use baking soda as a fabric softener, add ½ cup to your washing machine during the rinse cycle. It will prevent the water from being too acidic or alkaline, keeping minerals and detergents from settling into the clothes.

Boost Your Detergent’s Cleaning Ability

If your clothes don’t feel clean after washing, adding baking soda to the wash cycle can help. This baking soda laundry back is best for those with hard water.

  • Add ½ cup of baking soda to the wash with your regular detergent

The baking soda will balance the water’s PH level, boosting your detergent’s cleaning power.

Put Baking Soda in the Washing Machine for Odors

Baking soda is best known for its ability to absorb and neutralize odors. And just like a box of baking soda can remove bad smells from the fridge, it also works on clothes.

If you have clothes that smell like sweat or smoke, soak them in baking soda water before washing them.

  • Fill a sink or bucket with warm water.
  • Add 2 cups of baking soda and allow it to dissolve
  • Put your clothes in the baking soda water and let them soak overnight
  • Launder as usual

Use Baking Soda As a Stain Pretreatment

Because of baking soda’s mild abrasiveness, you can use it to scrub stains from clothes. It can remove blood, sweat, grease, and coffee.

Baking soda stain remover directions – place a small amount of baking soda in a bowl (about ½ cup) and add water until a thick paste forms. Rub the paste on the stain with your finger or a soft-bristled brush and allow it to dry. When dry, wipe the baking soda off and launder the garment.

If the stain persists, try an alternate stain removal method. (Never wash blood stains in hot water, it will set them in.)

Remove Musty Smells from Your Front Load Washing Machine

Musty smells are common in front load washers since moisture gets trapped in the drum and seal when the door is shut. Eliminate these odors by cleaning your front-load washing machine with baking soda and vinegar once per month. 

  • Add ½ cup of baking soda to the drum.
  • Fill the detergent cup with ½ cup of vinegar
  • Run the washer with hot water.

Make Bleach Work Better

Bleach works best in balanced water. If you have hard water, adding baking soda to the washing machine can create that balance. Simply add ½ cup of baking soda for every ½ cup of bleach.

Whiten Dirty Socks

If your kids are anything like mine, they walk outside in white socks, leaving them covered in dirt. You can use this baking soda hack to remove the stuck-on dirt and brighten your whites. (As a bonus, it eliminates stinky sock odors.)

  • Fill a sink or bucket with warm water
  • Add 2 cups of baking soda and let it dissolve
  • Add the socks and let them soak overnight
  • Wring out the socks and launder as usual

Refresh Smelly Towels

Towels that have been wet for too long develop a musty smell you can remove with baking soda and vinegar.

First, wash the towels with hot water and one cup of vinegar. (Don’t add detergent or fabric softener to the load.) When finished, wash the towels with hot water and ½ cup baking soda. (Again, don’t add anything else to the washer.)

When finished, dry the towels on high heat.

Using Baking Soda in a Front Load Washer

Never add baking soda to the detergent or fabric softener cups in a front-load washer. Instead, add it to the drum before you start the washing machine. 

Since you can’t add baking soda to the dispensers, you can’t use it as a fabric softener in your front-load washing machine. You can use vinegar, though – just add it to your fabric softener dispenser.

Washing Clothes with Baking Soda Only

Using only baking soda to wash your clothes is similar to washing them in only water. While baking soda can boost a detergent’s cleaning ability and remove odors, it doesn’t break down dirt.

How Much Baking Soda in Laundry

Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the washer’s drum at the start of the wash cycle to boost laundry detergent or bleach. To use baking soda as a fabric softener, add 1/2 cup at the start of the rinse cycle.  Don’t put baking soda in your dryer.

Tips for Washing Clothes with Baking Soda

  • Vinegar and baking soda deodorize, remove stains, and act as natural fabric softeners. 
  • Baking soda doesn’t disinfect laundry, but washing in hot water and drying on high heat will.
  • Use baking soda to remove excess suds from the washer – turn off the washing machine and sprinkle baking soda over the suds to absorb them.
  • Do not add baking powder to the laundry – it’s not the same as baking soda.