In the UK, the terms ‘Baking Soda’ and ‘Bicarbonate of Soda’ are interchangeable; they refer to the same product. The following terms are other UK synonyms for Baking Soda:
- Bicarbonate of Soda
- Soda Crystals
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate
- Washing Soda
- CAS 144-55-8
- Simmering Granules
Can You Use Bicarbonate of Soda for Cleaning?
Bicarbonate of Soda can be used in a wide range of cleaning situations. Here are just a few ways people use bicarbonate of soda for cleaning:
- Spruce up Shower Curtains: soak dirty or mildewed shower curtains in a dilution of bicarbonate soda in warm water then rinse to restore original colour and freshness.
- Deodorise Dishwashers: add baking soda to an empty wash to clean and deodorise a smelly dishwasher.
- Shine Silverware: for sparkling silverware and silver jewellery, create a thick paste of bicarbonate of soda and water. Rub the paste into the silverware until sufficiently shiny, then rinse and dry.
- Remove Bad Bin Smells: to effectively remove foul odours from bins, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda into the bottom of bins.
- Purge Stains from Pots and Pans: to easily remove stuck-on grime from years of cooking, create a thick paste of baking soda and water and scrub hard. If stubborn stains remain you could try adding a few drops of lemon juice.
- Revitalise Vacuum Cleaners: after some time, vacuum cleaners begin to suck less and smell more. Vacuum cleaner hoses are notoriously tricky to clean inside. Hoover up a small pile of powdered sodium bicarbonate after each vacuuming session to quash bad odours.
- Sanitise Stuffed Toys: cleaning children’s stuffed toys couldn’t be easier! Find a large, strong bag (rubble sacks work great), add a liberal amount of dried bicarbonate of soda, seal and shake for 20 minutes. Remove contents, vacuum off excess powder and finally wash normally.
- Rinse Worn-in Stains from Rugs: shake a very liberal amount of sodium bicarbonate over the affected area and leave for at least a few hours. If it’s a non-greasy stain (such as soil), you can gently rub the stain with a damp cloth. If the stain is greasy, don’t introduce any moisture or rubbing. Instead, blot the stain after a few hours, then hoover up any remaining powder. The longer a stain is left untreated, the tougher it can be to remove – you may have to repeat this process multiple times for particularly tough marks, scuffs and stains!
- Wipe Washrooms Clean: Instead of purchasing expensive bathroom cleaning products, make your own for just a fraction of the cost! Dilute powdered bicarbonate of soda in a bucket of warm water. Use a sponge or mop to wipe over any hard surfaces, including tiled floors, porcelain, showers and bathtubs, then rinse with clean water. Bicarbonate of soda breaks down dirt and grime on hard bathroom surfaces, making cleaning quicker and easier.
- Disinfect Dirty Dentures and Toothbrushes: Objects that come into contact with the mouth or teeth can harbour bacteria. Over time, a musky smell can develop. Toothbrushes, braces, gumshields, mouthguards and dentures can be deodorised with dilute bicarbonate of soda in water.
Can you get baking soda in the UK?
Absolutely! Baking soda can be purchased from practically all major UK supermarkets and hardware stores, most convenience stores as well as some petrol stations and newsagents.
Where to Find Baking Soda in UK Supermarkets
In supermarket cooking isles, newsagents and convenience stores, baking soda is usually sold in small, round, cardboard tubes (~180g). Small bags or boxes of pure baking soda may be available in the healthcare/toothpaste aisle (i.e. Arm and Hammer Baking Soda 227g).
Larger bags of baking soda (500g+) can be found in the cleaning aisles of most supermarkets. These are intended for use in washing machines, dishwashers and other home cleaning situations.
Why is Baking Soda in Toothpaste?
Many toothpastes contain baking soda; it’s cheap, odourless, stable at room temperature and mildly abrasive. The tiny particles of baking soda trapped in the toothpaste brush against the teeth and gums, dislodging food and bacteria.
According to the British Dental Nurses’ Journal, baking soda toothpastes can fight against plaque buildup, helping to keep teeth healthy, enamel strong and breath fresh.
Baking soda is also a mild stain remover; it’s a common ingredient in whitening toothpaste. A recent study concluded that baking soda toothpastes were, on average, slightly better at preventing plaque formation than “normal” toothpastes.
Baking Soda Toothpaste: Potential Side Effects
As with all products, there are potential side effects to using baking soda toothpaste.
People with sensitive teeth, or other oral health complaints, are sometimes advised against using baking soda toothpaste. The baking soda particles are noticeably gritty and abrasive, which can increase tooth pain if they rub against teeth with little or no enamel.
Baking Soda is also alarmingly high in sodium. Just like table salt, consuming baking soda may increase the concentration of sodium in the bloodstream. This can elevate blood pressure to dangerous levels and may cause serious harm.
Excessive baking soda consumption has been associated with irregular heart function; always follow professional medical advice.
Buy Baking Soda in UK Hardware & DIY stores
Large, sturdy plastic tubs of baking soda (1kg+) are found in many UK hardware stores, UK home improvement stores, UK DIY shops and UK trade retailers.
Read the packaging carefully, as many larger bicarbonate of soda tubs are not safe for human consumption; these are not produced to food-safety standards and may contain traces of toxic metals, including aluminium.
These industrial-sized baking soda products are instead marketed as cleaning agents (particularly for bathrooms and kitchens), drain unblockers or miscellaneous use trade chemicals.
What is Baking Powder? (Is It the Same as Baking Soda?)
In the UK, baking powder can contain any number of unique ingredients. Baking powder is significantly different to bicarbonate of soda and baking soda.
Some websites, including British baking forums, incorrectly imply that baking powder is a “weaker version” of baking soda or that it’s “baking soda with added cream of tartar “ – this simply isn’t true!
In truth, there’s no widely-accepted consensus on what ingredients go in UK Baking Powder. Baking Powders sold in the UK generally contain Sodium Bicarbonate. However, manufacturers aren’t legally obliged to do so.
Some baking powders contain other raising agents, like disodium diphosphate or potassium tartrate (cream or tartar). Many baking powders also contain filler ingredients like wheat flour or cornstarch.