Baking Soda in Laundry: Level Up Your Clothing Care

By: Christine Halvorson  | 
A woman folds a item of clothing next to a full laundry basket.
A few simple baking soda tricks can make laundry less challenging.
Realistic Reflections/Getty Images

Thanks to it's mild alkali qualities, adding baking soda in laundry can enhance the effectiveness of regular laundry detergent dramatically. Dirt and grease are easily dissolved, while clothes are softened. It is especially helpful ­in homes with hard water because it will clean clothes better, and prevent the stain buildup that can come with hard water. In this article, you will see how baking soda can play a role in the care of your clothes. Let's start with the wash.

As you'll see, baking soda is a valuable tool in the laundry room. Help keep your clothes clean and fresh with baking soda.


Detergent, Fabric Softener and Bleach

Add ½ cup baking soda with your detergent to freshen your laundry and help liquid detergents work harder.

Use baking soda instead of fabric softener. Add 1/2 cup at the rinse cycle.


Add 1/2 cup baking soda (only 1/4 cup for front-loading machines) with the usual amount of bleach to increase whitening power.

Perspiration Stains

For perspiration stains:

  • Scrub in a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Let it sit for 1 hour.
  • Launder as usual.

To treat stubborn perspiration stains around the collar:


  • Mix a paste of 4 tablespoons baking soda and 1/4 cup water.
  • Rub it in.
  • Add a little vinegar to the collar.
  • Wash the clothes.

Removing Odors

Clothes can be deodorized by adding 1/2 cup baking soda to the rinse cycle [source: Arm & Hammer].

Remove cigarette smoke smells in clothes by soaking them in a baking-soda solution before washing.


Delicate Clothing

To eliminate the stale smell in handwashables:

  • Soak them in 4 tablespoons baking soda and a quart of water.
  • Rinse well.
  • Squeeze out the solution.
  • Air dry.

Prevent nylon items from yellowing by adding baking soda to both the wash and rinse water.


Yellowed linens can be brightened by adding 4 tablespoons baking soda to the wash water.

Laundry Accidents

If you've washed a crayon in with a load of clothes:

  • Rewash the load with the hottest possible water.
  • Add 1/2 to 1 full box of baking soda.
  • Repeat if necessary.

If you've stained your white clothes by washing them with colored ones, to undo the damage:


  • Add baking soda, salt, and detergent to warm water.
  • Soak the clothing.

Special Stains and Special Clothing

To eliminate alcohol stains caused by perfume:

  • Use a paste of baking soda and ammonia. Test for colorfastness first.
  • Wear rubber gloves, and use this mixture in a well-ventilated area.
  • Dry the fabric in the sun.
  • Then wash them as usual [source: Stain Removal 101].

To remove blood stains:


  • Dampen the area.
  • Rub it with baking soda. Test for colorfastness first.
  • Follow by dabbing with hydrogen peroxide until the stain is gone.

Rinse pool chlorine out of bathing suits in a sink full of water with 1 tablespoon baking soda added.

Remove crayon marks on clothing by rubbing them gently with baking soda sprinkled on a damp cloth.

The chemical finish in new clothes can bother sensitive skin. To remove the finish:

  • Soak the new clothes in water and 1/2 cup to 2 cups vinegar.
  • Rinse them.
  • Add 1/2 cup baking soda to the wash load.

Dry-cleanable Clothing

Some dry-clean-only items can be cleaned with a solution of 4 tablespoons baking soda in cold water. Test for colorfastness first.


Cleaning without Water

To remove a grease spot in polyester fabrics:

  • Rub dry baking soda into the fabric.
  • Brush the solution off. The stain should be gone.

To clean suede with baking soda:


  • Applied with a soft brush.
  • Let it sit.
  • Brush it off [source: Cosmopolitan].

Smelly Hampers

Freshen laundry hampers by sprinkling baking soda over dirty clothes as they await washing.



To remove an ink stain on leather:

  • Lay the item flat.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the stain.
  • Leave on until the ink is absorbed.
  • Brush it off. Repeat if necessary.

Shoes and Socks

To remove black scuff marks on shoes:

  • Rub on a baking-soda paste.
  • Wipe it off.
  • Apply polish.

Clean the rubber on athletic shoes with baking soda sprinkled on a sponge or washcloth.

Sprinkle baking soda into clean socks before wearing to control odor and moisture.

Keep smelly feet at bay by sprinkling baking soda into athletic shoes and street shoes to control odor and moisture.