Author

Wendy Graham

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Cleaning With Sodium Percarbonate – Everything To Know

Got questions about cleaning with sodium percarbonate? Here’s almost everything you need to know about this more natural cleaning product – from what it is, how to clean with it, what not to clean with it, where to buy it, and more.

You might have heard about sodium percarbonate on social media, but been put off by the name. I promise sodium percarbonate is not as scary as it sounds. To help put your mind at ease, here is almost everything you need to know about cleaning with this green cleaning product. From laundry to using it around your home, and all the questions you might have about this natural cleaning wonder.

Everything You Need To Know About Sodium Percarbonate

Image of amber spray bottle, scrubbing brush and sodium percarbonate with a blue text box that says everything you need to know about cleaning with sodium percarbonate.

What Is Sodium Percarbonate?

Sodium percarbonate is a white crystalline powder. It is made from sodium carbonate, which is more commonly known as soda ash or soda crystals, and hydrogen peroxide, a bleaching agent. 

When dissolved in water, sodium percarbonate releases a mixture of oxygen, water, and soda crystals. This makes sodium percarbonate particularly great when used for laundry applications. It’s brilliant at gently removing stains on both white and coloured clothing. And it acts as a great natural whitening agent for white or light clothing, without releasing any harmful chemicals that can contaminate our water.

Sodium percarbonate also has a deodorising action. This means it helps get bad smells out of your laundry. Meanwhile, the presence of soda crystals also softens the water and boosts the efficiency of regular laundry detergents.

Whilst sodium percarbonate is best known for its use in laundry, it does have lots of other natural cleaning applications around the home.

Is Sodium Percarbonate The Same As Oxygen Bleach?

Sodium percarbonate is the same thing as oxygen bleach. Some brands use the term oxygen bleach as it is easier for consumers to understand what the product does, compared to using the more scientific term sodium percarbonate. Rest assured it is the same thing!

The only thing to note is that some brands of oxygen bleach can be mixed with other ingredients. Sodium percarbonate is incredibly effective on its own, without the use of additional ingredients. So do check the label that you are only buying pure sodium percarbonate.

Is Sodium Percarbonate The Same As Bleach?

Whilst sodium percarbonate is a bleaching agent, it is not the same as chlorine bleach.

In sodium percarbonate, the active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide. When dissolved in water, this quickly breaks down into oxygen and water. Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used in dental products, such as mouthwashes. As such, it is generally considered safe for use at low doses.

Meanwhile, in chlorine bleach, the active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite. This is a corrosive disinfectant that even at low doses can be harmful to health.

In terms of laundry, chlorine bleach may remove dye from clothes. Repeated use of chlorine bleach can also cause fabric to deteriorate. However, sodium percarbonate does not remove dye from clothes. Instead, it whitens whites and brightens colours, without causing damage to the fabric.

How Do I Use It In My Laundry?

is oxygen bleach eco-friendly

Sodium percarbonate has many uses when it comes to laundry. As sodium percarbonate is generally suitable for use on white, light, and dark coloured clothing, it’s a real multi-tasker.

To boost the performance of your laundry detergent, simply add 1 tablespoon of sodium percarbonate to the drum of your washing machine. For tough stains, add an additional tablespoon. Next, run your usual wash cycle as normal, adding your usual laundry detergent.

For whitening clothes, you will get the best results by using sodium percarbonate as a pre-soak. In this case, add 2 tablespoons of sodium percarbonate per 4 litres of warm water, and then soak your clothing for six hours. Then wash your clothes as normal.

To spot tackle stains on clothing, mix a little sodium percarbonate and warm water into a paste, and leave the paste to sit for 15 minutes. Next, apply the paste directly to the stain and gently rub the fabric. Then wash your item of clothing, following the washing instruction on the care label. Always spot test on an inconspicuous area of the clothing first, to ensure it won’t cause any damage to your clothing.

Can I Use Sodium Percarbonate As A Cleaning Product?

cleaning kitchen with sodium percarbonate

Whilst sodium percarbonate is predominantly used in laundry, it can be used as a cleaning product around your home. Here are some uses for all around the home.

For each use, do note that sodium percarbonate does bubble up when mixed with water. So do always make sure you use a large enough container to mix it up in!

Bathroom

To clean the grout between your tiles, simply mix a little sodium percarbonate with just enough warm water to make a paste. Wait for 15 minutes for the sodium percarbonate to activate, and then apply the paste with an old toothbrush. Then rinse off for super clean grout.


Remove mould and mildew from your shower curtain by soaking it for six hours in a solution of two tablespoons of sodium percarbonate per 5 litres of hot water. Then wash it in your washing machine on your regular wash cycle.


To clean your toilet, add six tablespoons of sodium percarbonate to your toilet bowl. Then wait 15 minutes, and then scrub clean with your toilet brush.

Kitchen

For tackling tea or coffee-stained mugs with ease, simply add 1 – 2 teaspoons of sodium percarbonate to each mug. Then fill each mug with freshly boiled water. Leave to soak for at least 15 minutes, pour out the solution, and then wash your mugs as normal for mugs that gleam!


Got a dirty or stinky fridge? To kill mould and mildew and tackle food stains, again, mix half a tablespoon of sodium percarbonate with 250 ml of warm water. Next, decant the solution into a spray bottle. Spray your fridge and let the solution stand for around 15 minutes. Then rinse and wipe down with a damp cloth.


If you have any fridge cleaning solution left, then this same solution can also be used as a general cleaning spray to naturally clean and deodorise your kitchen. Simply spray, allow to sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse and wipe down with a damp cloth.

Do note that this cleaning solution shouldn’t be used in the long term to clean your kitchen. Sodium percarbonate loses its effectiveness after about 6 hours after first being dissolved in water.  Therefore, making up a cleaning spray for longer-term use is impractical. Use a citric acid cleaning spray, vinegar spray, or a liquid castile soap cleaning spray instead for this purpose.


Got a stinky sink or drain? Put the plug in, and then sprinkle one to two tablespoons of sodium percarbonate in your sink. Add hot water, and leave to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the time is up, take the plug out, and wipe down your sink, followed by a rinse of water. This will freshen up both your sink and drain.

Living Room

To tackle upholstery stains, mix half a tablespoon of sodium percarbonate with 250 ml of warm water and decant it into a spray bottle. Spray the sodium percarbonate solution onto the stain, and gently scrub with a stiff brush. Leave the solution on the stain for 5 to 10 minutes, and then pour a little fresh water over the stain, and blot with a clean towel or cloth.

Do note, that it is always important to test an inconspicuous area first before using this solution on your upholstery. It isn’t suitable for use on wool-based carpets. And do note that fabrics that are prone to water stains will not be suitable for this cleaning method.

What Should I Not Clean With Sodium Percarbonate?

Sodium percarbonate is generally safe to use in most applications. However, it should never be used to wash wool or silk. See my guide on how to wash wool instead.

Is It Eco-Friendly?

Sodium percarbonate is made from soda ash. To produce soda ash, the naturally occurring minerals nahcolite and trona are mined from the ground, and these are then refined into soda ash.

Opencast mining doesn’t tend to be used to extract raw materials. Instead, water is injected into the ground. This then returns the saturated water to the surface, and the raw materials can be extracted by evaporating the water.

Having to mine the raw materials does sound problematic. However, whilst trona and nahcolite are non-renewable resources, they are not fossil fuels. This means their usage does not emit greenhouse gases.

The Solvay Process

Soda ash is also often produced in large quantities in an industrial process called the Solvay Process. Here, salt obtained from either salt mines or the sea is combined with limestone, derived from limestone quarrying, to produce soda crystals. Unfortunately, it’s not an altogether environmentally friendly process. The Solvay Process is energy-intensive, and it has been associated with widespread pollution and water contamination near Solvay Process plants.

Should We Not Boycott Soda Ash?

In reading this, you might think the answer is to avoid all-natural cleaning products containing soda ash. However, boycotting natural cleaning products won’t make a blind bit of difference. This is because it isn’t just natural cleaning products that use soda ash. Soda ash is actually a fundamental yet invisible ingredient in all of our daily lives.

Over half of all soda ash production is used in glass manufacturing. It is also an integral component in soap, textile manufacturing, and the making of rechargeable batteries. And it is ubiquitous in the food, cosmetics, cleaning products, and pharmaceutical industries. It’s even in products such as toothpaste. There’s simply no way to avoid it.

Soda ash is also increasingly being used to reduce air pollution. It is used to remove sulphur dioxide and other harmful chemicals from exhaust fumes in shipping and other industrial gas emissions.

All products have an impact. However, given that soda ash is used ubiquitously in many products that we depend on then it will be extracted anyway. Calls to clean up the soda ash industry should be supported, but boycotting one tiny part of the market won’t make an impact on production levels.

Sodium percarbonate is effective at cleaning our clothes and our homes. As one box can replace a myriad of toxic cleaning products and many plastic bottles, I personally consider it eco-friendlier than any conventional cleaning product. Of course, do make your own judgment on this.

Is It Harmful To Humans?

Although a natural cleaning product, it is always important to remember that natural cleaning products are not ‘chemical-free’. However natural it sounds, sodium percarbonate is still a chemical, that can cause harm if handled incorrectly.

Sodium percarbonate is generally a safe product to use, and it has not been found to be carcinogenic. However, there are some safety considerations to make when cleaning with it.

If breathed in, sodium percarbonate can upset your respiratory tract. To help prevent any respiratory upset, use sodium percarbonate in a well-ventilated room.

Sodium percarbonate can also irritate your eyes. As such, you should take care not to rub your eyes before washing your hands.

Prolonged contact with the skin can also cause irritation. I would wear rubber gloves if you are using sodium percarbonate on a daily basis, or if you have particularly sensitive skin.

Sodium percarbonate should also be kept away from children and pets, as it should not be consumed.

The safety concerns do sound a little scary. However, with some general common sense, sodium percarbonate poses no more risk than using any conventional cleaning products – many of which carry the same warnings.

Is Sodium Percarbonate Safe For Use Around Pets?

Using sodium percarbonate in your laundry or to clean your home should be safe for pets, as it quickly breaks down into oxygen. However, I would encourage you to do your own research on this to double-check that it would be safe for your circumstances and for your pet.

What I would say is that as sodium percarbonate can be poisonous when ingested, don’t use it when your pet is in the room.

Where Can I Buy Sodium Percarbonate?

If you’ve been convinced to start cleaning with sodium percarbonate, then the good news is that it can be cheaply picked up on the internet.

Big Green Smile, for example, sells it in a variety of sizes. A 500 g tub costs just £4.85* whilst a 2 kg tub costs £12.77*. If you’d rather avoid plastic, they also sell a 1 kg plastic-free paper bag for £6.30*. If that is out of stock, then &Keep sells a 750 g plastic-free bag of sodium percarbonate for £5.95*.

Hopefully, this post gives you the information you need to start cleaning with sodium percarbonate. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. And for more green cleaning inspiration, do check out my guide to natural cleaning products to DIY.

Babies, Families

Best Organic Baby Shampoo For A Happy Bathtime

Don’t get in a lather trying to find the best organic baby shampoo. Here are my favourite brands for an eco-friendly bath time.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links.

I’ve written a lot about eco-friendly shampoo and solid shampoo bars. However, if you have young babies you might be looking for something specifically formulated for their delicate skin.

That’s where organic baby shampoo comes in. However, it’s a bit of a tricky market to navigate. Even in the baby shampoo market, there is a lot of greenwashing going on. And not only that but clever tricks to make you feel like you’ve made a green purchase, when really your purchase may be no different to a conventional baby shampoo. Just perhaps with a higher price tag.

The Heatlh Beauty Product Problem

When brands use the word organic on their products, this means that they contain ingredients that are grown organically. In short, this means the ingredients have been grown without the use of harsh chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides.

This move is great. However, particularly in the UK, there is currently very little in the way of regulations around beauty product labelling. This means that there are no regulations around the minimum quantity of organic ingredients your baby shampoo should contain, in order to be able to say that the product is organic. Any brand or beauty product could technically label its product as natural or organic. This is even if the product contains as little as 1% organic or natural ingredients.

What To Look For

Whilst it is a minefield, there is some help. There are things to look out for to ensure that your baby shampoo (or any other health or beauty product for that matter) is the real deal.

Independent COSMOS Organic certification, spearheaded by the Soil Association, for example, is a good one to look out for. This certification guarantees that 95% of all physically farmed ingredients are organic. It also ensures that at least 20% of the total ingredients are organic. Although, do note that for rinse-off products, such as shampoo, at least 10% of the total ingredients must be organic. 

The Best Organic Baby Shampoos

Image of a baby being bathed, with a blue text box that says the best organic baby shampoo for a happy bath time.

Now let’s wash that greenwash out of our hair. Here are my favourite organic baby shampoo brands that, when it comes to their ingredient labels, aren’t hair-raising.

Green People

Green People’s Organic Babies Baby Wash & Shampoo* (£9.50 for 150 ml) is a scent-free and ultra-gentle organic shampoo, bubble bath, and body wash in one. Its gentle ingredients make it suitable even for newborn babies.

Containing 85% certified organic ingredients, it’s gentle and non-irritating for daily use. Aloe vera helps to naturally protect delicate skin from dryness and irritation. Meanwhile, the gentle natural cleansing properties of German Chamomile and Yucca help to retain natural skin and scalp oils. This means it’s suitable for even the most sensitive skin. This includes skin prone to eczema, psoriasis & dermatitis.

As well as being certified organic, this baby shampoo is also certified vegan and certified cruelty-free.

In terms of packaging, this baby shampoo is packaged in plastic. However, the plastic Green People use is derived from recyclable and renewable sugarcane, rather than fossil fuels. Some biodegradable plastics do interfere with the recycling process and should be avoided. However, Green People say that sugarcane-based plastics can be easily recycled at any Local Authority run plastic kerbside recycling scheme.

Whilst it is on the expensive side, I’ve found the shampoo to be very concentrated. As such, a little does go a long way.

Buy Green People’s Organic Babies Baby Wash & Shampoo* for £9.50 directly from Green People.


Odylique Organic Gentle Wash & Baby Shampoo

Odylique organic baby wash and shampoo

Odylique’s Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo* (£11.50 for 200 ml) contains 70.3% certified organic ingredients of natural origin. In plain English, this includes aloe vera juice, coconut and corn-based cleansers, as well as extra virgin olive oil, and palm oil-free vegetable glycerine. Meanwhile, chamomile and calendula herbs, as well as chamomile and lavandin essential oils, provide a soothing scent that can also help calm any skin irritation.

Suitable for babies over 3 months of age, this extremely gentle and moisturising bath wash and shampoo helps to maintain the natural oil and acid balance of a baby’s skin.  Its olive oil content also helps to naturally tackle cradle cap.

As well as being certified organic by the Soil Association, this baby shampoo is also COSMOS Certified Organic. Additionally, it’s also certified cruelty free and is vegan friendly, and palm oil-free.

Although it does come in a plastic bottle, this is made from recycled plastic. It is also fully recyclable at your kerbside.

Buy Odylique’s Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo* from Ethical Superstore for £11.50.


Beaming Baby

Beaming Baby’s Organic Shampoo and Bodywash* (£11.99 for 500 ml) contains 80% certified organic and vegan-friendly ingredients.

Hypoallergenic and PH balanced, each bottle contains over 70 ml of organic aloe vera that heals, moisturises, and nourishes baby’s sensitive skin. And free from alcohol, parabens, sodium Laureth sulphate (SLS), perfume, and colourings, it’s gentle enough for use every day. It’s also particularly soothing for babies with nappy rash, eczema, or sensitive skin.

Whilst you do get more for your money with Beaming Baby’s shampoo, I would say this one is quite thin and watery compared to other brands.

Again, Beaming Baby bottles are packaged in plastic. However, Beaming Baby says that the bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic, and can be recycled again.

Buy Beaming Baby shampoo* from Amazon.


Neal’s Yard Baby Bath and Shampoo

Neal's Yard baby bath and shampoo

Whilst not certified organic, Neal’s Yard Baby Wash and Shampoo* (£8.50 for 200ml) does contain a decent percentage of organic ingredients.

This gently cleansing wash for skin and hair blends organic lavender and chamomile essential oils with mild, vegetable-based cleansers. These tend to the delicate skin and hair of babies without irritation. Just a little is needed to create a gentle foam.

Do note that some labels recommend using this shampoo only on babies aged 3 months and over. Neal’s Yard says that this shampoo is gentle enough for newborns who weigh at least 3kg / 6lb 10oz. However, they say their labels will be updated accordingly.

Buy Neal’s Yard Baby Bath & Shampoo* from Naturisimo for £8.50.


As always, I will keep updating this list as I come across any more great brands. And do let me know if you have any organic favourites.

Do also check out my eco-friendly baby essentials if you are looking for more eco-friendly baby ideas.