Online advice about homemade cleaning methods often mentions baking soda. It sounds more or less like baking powder, which could leave you wondering whether it’s the same – and whether you can use baking powder for cleaning.
Baking soda and baking powder are not the same, and while you can use the latter for cleaning, it might not have the same powerful action you might expect from bicarbonate of sodium (aka, baking soda).
That said, baking powder contains bicarbonate of soda and it can be a substitute if that’s all you have in your home.
Can Baking Powder Be Used For Cleaning?
Baking powder is a product found in most pantries. It contains bicarbonate of sodium mixed with a powdered acid, and it is a ready-to-use substitute for bicarbonate of sodium in baking.
Since the main ingredient in baking powder is the bicarbonate of sodium, you can use it for cleaning. However, the acid component reduces its efficiency as a cleaning agent compared to pure bicarbonate of sodium.
That said, you can use baking powder for various cleaning tasks, including cleaning appliances, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, carpets and more.
11 Ways To Use Baking Powder For Cleaning
Baking powder is a worthy substitute for baking soda – commonly known as bicarbonate of sodium.
Here are some of its most common uses in cleaning.
1. Cleaning Kitchen Appliances and Surfaces
Baking powder can be used to tackle tough stains and grease on kitchen appliances like gas ovens and stovetops or countertops. Its gentle abrasive nature helps to remove grime without scratching surfaces.
For this task, you will need baking powder, a damp cloth or sponge, a bowl and water.
To clean the surfaces:
- Create a cleaning paste: In a bowl, mix baking powder with a small amount of water to form a thick paste. Start with a ratio of about 3 parts baking powder to 1 part water and adjust as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
- Apply the paste: Dip a damp cloth or sponge into the baking powder paste and apply it to the surface you want to clean. For kitchen appliances, focus on areas with stains, grease or stubborn residue.
- Scrub gently: Using a cloth or sponge, gently scrub the surface in a circular motion. The mild abrasiveness of the baking powder will help lift away grime without scratching the surface. Pay extra attention to any areas with tough stains or build-up.
- Let it sit: If you’re dealing with particularly stubborn stains or baked-on grime, let the baking powder paste sit on the surface for a few minutes to allow it to work its magic.
- Rinse and wipe clean: After scrubbing, rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water to remove the baking powder residue. Use a clean damp cloth or sponge to wipe away any remaining paste or residue.
- Dry the surface: Once the surface is clean, dry it thoroughly with a clean towel or allow it to air dry.
2. Removing Carpet Stains
Baking powder is excellent for freshening up carpets and removing stains. Simply sprinkle baking powder over the stained area, let it sit for a while to absorb odours and moisture, and then vacuum it up.
The baking powder helps to lift the stain and deodorise the carpet.
3. Refreshing and Deodorising Upholstery
Upholstered furniture can often accumulate odours over time. To freshen it up, sprinkle baking powder over the fabric, let it sit for a few hours and then vacuum it off.
Baking powder helps absorb unpleasant smells, leaving your upholstery smelling clean and fresh.
4. Scrubbing Bathroom Fixtures
Baking powder is an effective cleaner for bathroom fixtures like sinks, bathtubs and toilets. Its mild abrasive properties make it ideal for removing soap scum and hard water stains.
Create a paste by mixing baking powder with water. Follow the same steps highlighted in the first method to clean the surfaces.
5. Cleaning and Brightening Silverware
Baking powder can be used to restore the shine of tarnished silverware. Create a paste by mixing baking powder with water, apply it to the silverware and gently rub it in. Rinse thoroughly and buff with a soft cloth to reveal the renewed lustre.
Remember to always test baking powder on a small, inconspicuous area before using it on a larger surface to ensure compatibility and prevent any damage.
6. Removing Refrigerator Odours
Place an open container of baking powder in your refrigerator to absorb unpleasant smells. This agent acts as a natural deodoriser, neutralising and freshening the air inside.
If the refrigerator smells really bad, empty it up and use a baking powder paste to scrub it clean. Then, fill a dry container with the powder and leave it in the refrigerator to absorb leftover smells.
7. Cleaning Cutting Boards
Baking powder can help remove stains and odours from cutting boards. Sprinkle baking powder on the surface, scrub gently with a sponge or brush and rinse thoroughly. It helps eliminate lingering smells and keeps your cutting board clean.
However, keep in mind that baking powder can’t kill germs. If you’re concerned about bacteria build-up, you should use a combination of sodium bicarbonate and white vinegar or a specific disinfectant for cutting boards.
8. Polishing Stainless Steel
Baking powder can be used to restore the shine of stainless steel surfaces such as sinks, appliances and cookware.
Create a paste with baking powder and water, apply it to the surface and gently scrub. Rinse well and buff with a soft cloth for a sparkling finish.
9. Freshening Up Rubbish Bins
Rubbish bins are notorious for their bad smell. You can odorise them with baking powder.
Sprinkle it at the bottom of the bin or directly onto the rubbish bag to help absorb odours. This is a simple and effective way to keep your trash area smelling fresh.
10. Cleaning Grout
Baking powder can assist in removing grime and stains from grout lines on tiled surfaces.
Make a thick paste using baking powder and water, apply it to the grout lines and scrub with a toothbrush or grout brush. Rinse well to reveal a cleaner grout.
11. Brightening White Laundry
To help whiten and brighten white fabrics, add a small amount of baking powder to your laundry load along with the detergent. It can aid in removing stubborn stains and keep your whites looking crisp and fresh.
However, because baking powder is not as powerful as bicarbonate of sodium, the amount of powder should be about four times higher than the amount of sodium bicarbonate that you would normally use.
When Should You Avoid Cleaning With Baking Powder?
While baking powder can be a versatile and effective cleaning agent for many household tasks, there are certain situations when you should avoid it.
- Delicate or porous surfaces: Avoid using baking powder on delicate or porous surfaces, such as marble, granite, wood or unsealed natural stone. The abrasive nature of baking powder can scratch or damage these surfaces. Instead, use cleaners specifically designed for those materials.
- Aluminium cookware: Baking powder can react with aluminium and cause discoloration or damage to the cookware.
- Electronic devices: Avoid using baking powder on electronic devices or appliances as it can potentially damage the internal components. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended cleaning methods or use a multi-purpose household cleaner.
- Non-removable stains: Baking powder may not be effective for removing tough or non-removable stains, especially those caused by dyes, ink or certain chemicals. In such cases, it’s better to use specialised stain removers.
- Infested or contaminated areas: If an area is infested with pests or contaminated with harmful substances, baking powder alone may not be sufficient to eliminate the problem. In these situations, it’s essential to address the underlying issue and consult with professionals for proper remediation.
- In case of allergies: If you have specific health conditions, allergies or sensitivities, it’s advisable to take precautions and use appropriate cleaning products recommended for your situation. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation when using any cleaning products, including baking powder, to prevent inhalation of particles.
Wrapping It Up
Baking powder might not be the same as baking soda, but it could be an effective cleaning agent. It doesn’t have the same powerful properties as bicarbonate of sodium, but if you only have baking powder at home, you can employ it to get rid of messes and bad odours in the same way as you would use sodium bicarbonate.