Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

15 Soda Crystals Uses Around The Home

Image of cleaning products with a blue text box that saysclever ways to use soda crystals around the home

Let me share with you my top 15 soda crystals uses around the home, to help you solve any cleaning problem the eco-friendly way.

Soda crystals are something that I always have to hand. I keep them in my eco-friendly cleaning kit which I use to make my DIY natural cleaning products.  Soda crystals are my go-to green multi-tasker as they can clean practically anything!  

As well as being an eco-friendly workhorse, soda crystals are really easy on the pocket too.  A 1 kg cardboard box of soda crystals can be picked up very cheaply, and can be picked up online*.  Alternatively, bags of soda crystals can also be picked up in any supermarket, hardware store, or bargain store, making soda crystals really accessible.

What Are Soda Crystals?

Before we get into the uses for soda crystals, you might be wondering just what soda crystals are? Well, soda crystals are an incredibly simple, one ingredient product – sodium carbonate. Simply speaking, this is a salt that contains no other additives.

In the past, soda crystals were extracted from areas where trees that had grown in sodium-rich soils had burned down. However, due to the versatility of soda crystals (they’re used in the soap, textile, and glass industries), soda crystals have long since been made commercially. Here sodium chloride (saltwater) reacts with limestone to form soda crystals.

As an alkali, soda crystals have great water-softening properties, making them great in laundry applications. They also have great oil, grease, and dirt cleaning properties. What’s more, because of the simplicity of ingredients, soda crystals are much less likely to cause an allergic reaction, compared to perfumed or enzyme-based products.

15 Clever Soda Crystals Uses Around the Home

Image of green cleaning products with a blue text box that says clever ways to use soda crystals around the home

Now that we are up to speed with what soda crystals are, here are my favourite soda crystals uses to help you stop reaching for synthetic cleaning products:

1.  Washing Machine Cleaner

About once a month it’s worthwhile giving your washing machine a clean.  Simply place a cup of soda crystals in the drum and run an empty 90°C wash (or the hottest your machine will go).  The soda crystals really help to clear soap gunk and any hard water deposits from your machine, prolonging the life of your machine. Find out more in my full guide on how to clean a washing machine.

2.  Dishwasher Cleaner

Again, in a similar manner to cleaning your washing machine, soda crystals can be used to clean your dishwasher.  Simply add soda crystals to the detergent dispenser then run your dishwasher on the hottest wash your dishwasher allows, to give it a right good clean and remove limescale.

3.  Sink and Drain Cleaner

Got a slow draining sink? Never fear, another great use for soda crystals is as a natural sink and drain cleaner. Simply pour a cup of soda crystals down your sink or drain, then pour down a kettle full of boiled water.  This will remove any fatty/grease deposits, making your drain smell sweeter and it will also allow the water to drain away faster. Read my full guide on how to naturally unblock a drain for the full how-to.

4.  Use Soda Crystals to Soften Your Water

If you live in a hard water area then try putting a spoonful of soda crystals in with every laundry load.  This helps soften the water, prolonging the life of your machine.  It also has the added benefit of improving the cleaning effectiveness of your usual laundry detergent.

5.  Wood Burning Stove Cleaner

Number 5 in my uses for soda crystals is as a wood-burning stove cleaner. If the glass of your wood-burning stove is quite sooty then soda crystals will take care of that.  Simply dissolve a quarter cup of soda crystals in a litre of hot water, and use it to clean the soot off of the glass.

6.  Kitchen Cleaner

how to use soda crystals

Greasy cooker hood?  Greasy tiles?  Fear not. Dissolve one part of soda crystals in three parts water.  Wet a cloth with the solution – I’d recommend wearing rubber gloves – and the grease will wipe off with ease.

Did food splatter your hob?  Simply sprinkle some soda crystals on the hob and clean with a damp cloth.

7.  Extractor Fan Filter Cleaner

Number 7 in my uses for soda crystals is an extractor fan filter cleaner. Simply dissolve two large spoons of soda crystals and three large spoons of laundry detergent in hot water, and use this soda crystals solution to clean your cooker extractor fan filters with ease.  I used to dread this job but soda crystals really do make it easier without too much elbow grease!

8.  Use Soda Crystals to Clean Your Toilet

Soda crystals make a good bleach alternative to cleaning stained toilets.  Try two parts soda crystals to two parts water.  Then pour down your solution down the toilet and leave for 15 – 30 minutes before giving it a good scrub with your toilet brush.

9.  Clothes Stain Remover

Stained clothes?  Remove stains the natural way by adding one cup of soda crystals to a pint of hot water.  Next, pre-soak your clothes for an hour before washing as normal.  Soda crystals are especially good at naturally removing stains such as tea, coffee, blood, oil, grease, and ink from clothes.  This is probably one of my favourite soda crystals uses!  I also have more natural stain removal tips this way.

10.  Tea and Coffee Cup Stain Remover

You know those pesky stains you get in the bottom of mugs?  To remove them add half a teaspoon of soda crystals per mug and fill with boiling water.  Leave to soak until cool, and then rinse and wash as normal.  The stains should wash out easily.

11.  Cleaning Pots, Pans, and Baking Trays

If your pots have burnt on food that just won’t budge then add a quarter cup of soda crystals and fill the pan with boiling water.  Leave to soak overnight and clean as normal.  The food should shift quite easily with very little scrubbing. This is one of these great uses for soda crystals that’s really handy to have up your sleeve! Avoid using soda crystals on any aluminium pans or bakeware though.

12.  Use Soda Crystals to Clean Your Oven

Cleaning the oven is my least favourite job.  Thankfully soda crystals can make life a little easier.  Simply run a shallow amount of hot water into your bathtub, and add a cup of soda crystals.  Place your racks and grill tray in the soda crystals solution, and leave for 30 minutes.  Then give them a quick scrub and they should come up lovely and clean without too much hard work!

See my full guide to homemade oven cleaner for more tips and tricks.

13.  Washing Clothes

For a really thrifty take on laundry, you can use soda crystals to reduce the amount of detergent you use by half.  Use 50% detergent and 50% soda crystals in the drawer for really clean fresh-smelling clothes.

14.  Floor Cleaner

For an eco-friendly floor cleaner, simply add 1 tablespoon of soda crystals to a mop bucket of hot water.  You can add essential oils too.  My favourite combination is 10 drops of tea tree oil for its disinfectant properties and 20 drops of orange essential oil for a fresh and clean citrus aroma.

15.  Removing Crayon Marks From Walls

Kids run amok? Worry not!  Simply add an equal part of water to an equal part of soda crystals and mix to form a paste.  You can then use this paste to scrub the crayon mark off of the wall.  However, don’t use this on wallpapered walls.  It’s also advisable to spot test on a hidden part of your wall (maybe behind some furniture).  This is because soda crystals can remove some of the paint on brightly coloured walls.

A Word of Warning For When You Use Soda Crystals

Whilst soda crystals are a natural product, it is still a chemical, and therefore care has to be taken. I would always recommend wearing rubber gloves when cleaning with strong concentrations of soda crystals as it can irritate the skin when used in a concentrated manner.

I would also avoid using soda crystals on aluminium products, such as aluminium pans, utensils, or window frames. This is because soda crystals can corrode aluminium so it’s best to avoid using it to clean anything made with this metal.

Lacquered surfaces are also a no-no. Soda crystals can damage the lacquer – leaving a dull finish.

Finally, I would advise against mixing soda crystals with vinegar. Whilst not a safety concern, much like mixing baking soda and vinegar, mixing soda crystals and vinegar yields a weak salt water solution that is totally ineffective to clean with.

What are your favourite soda crystals uses?  Have I missed any?

PS: if you liked this, then you might also be interested in these uses for borax, and how to make your own homemade cleaning products. I have also written a book on green cleaning – packed full of recipes for natural cleaning for all around the home.  It includes heaps of recipes made using soda crystals.  You can check it out here!

Ethical Fashion, Life & Style

The Best Ethical Trainers & Trainer Brands for 2022

veja ethical trainers

On the hunt for sustainable and ethical trainers? I’ve got nine of the best ethical trainer brands for 2022 here for you today.

Did you know that trainers have been rated the most popular shoe in Britain? It’s an odd popularity contest to win but behind this left-field statistic are some shocking facts. Namely, that people aged 25 to 34 own on average, nine pairs of trainers each.

It’s not just the 25 to 34 years old that are trainer hoarders. Global Action Plan says that UK teenagers collectively own a staggering 58 million trainers. Almost a third of these shoes – 19 million – were unworn in the last three months. 

Why are we so compelled to buy so many pairs of trainers? Are we a nation of fitness fanatics? Maybe. However, a more likely explanation is that the trainer industry has a massive advertising budget to encourage people to buy their trainers. In 2020, for example, Nike alone spent $3.59 billion USD on advertising. Meanwhile, over the past five years reports have been circulating that some trainers are a better investment than gold.

Needless to say, we’re clearly sitting on a trainer mountain, that comes with consequences. Global Action Plan says that the CO2 emissions produced to create 58 million trainers is over 409 Million kgs CO2e. This is the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe in a medium-sized car almost 50 thousand times. 

The Best Ethical Trainers for 2022

Whilst it’s undeniably clear that buying fewer trainers is the best for the planet, and for our pockets, buying ethically when we really need a new pair of trainers is also a good step forward. Thankfully, in 2022 there’s no shortage of ethical trainers or sneakers to suit all preferences and budgets.

The price range key for this guide is £ = Under £50 | ££ = £50 – 100 | £££ = £100+

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. This income helps keep this site running.

Allbirds

Allbirds shoes UK

Price range: ££ – £££

Allbirds* say that a standard pair of trainers emits 12.5 kg of carbon dioxide.  They also say that their average pair of trainers emit 7.6 kg of carbon dioxide, and they want to lower that further.

As such, Allbirds ethical trainers are made from natural materials, such as ZQ Merino accredited merino wool grown under strict sustainable farming practices. These include social responsibility, animal welfare, and traceability through the supply chain.

Other materials include recycled plastic bottles, which are used to make their shoelaces, and castor bean oil which is used to make the insoles.

Cariuma Ethical Trainers

cariuma eco friendly trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Brazillian ethical shoe brand Cariuma makes timeless trainers transparently made from natural materials.  Their materials include cork, recycled PET, mamona oil, and leather and suede which is certified by Leather Working Group.  What’s more, to ensure worker safety, no hazardous chemicals are used in their manufacturing process.  Instead, they use Bluesign-certified chemicals (an independently verified scheme) to dye their materials.

Find them for sale in the UK at Selfridges & Co.

Ethletic

ethletic vegan trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Ethletic footwear is proud to offer an ethical alternative to leather trainers. Their vegan trainers are made with organic and Fairtrade certified cotton, the rubber soles are FSC certified and sourced responsibly, and the rubber is fairly traded. Seeking to tick every ethical box for footwear, Ethletic is a fair-trade company, with the environment and sustainability at the core of what they do.

In addition, the pioneering Fairtrade rubber project pays a Fairtrade social premium for every kilo of rubber used in the production of these trainers. The rubber tappers then decide how to use their income to improve their living and working conditions.

Find them on sale in the UK at Ethical Superstore*, from £54.

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather

vegan trainers uk

Price range: ££ – £££

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather* is a cruelty-free and sweatshop-free ethical shoe brand.  The brand uses vegan ‘leather’ or vegan ‘suede’, and manufactures its shoes in Portugal in a fairtrade environment.

Good News Ethical Trainers

vegan trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Good News* are a small footwear brand on a mission to improve the environmental and social sustainability of their products.  They aim to do this by decreasing their carbon, chemical, and water footprint whilst also caring about the people involved in the making of their shoes.

Their signature low-top ethical vegan trainers are sustainably made from organic and recycled materials.  The uppers are made from bio-degradable natural oatmeal organic cotton sourced. Meanwhile, the organic cotton laces are threaded through recycled metal eyelets. And what’s more, the soles are made from recycled material – a mix of car tyres and old rubber shoes!

Find them at Young British Designers* for £80. Use the discount code YBD10 to take 10% off at Young British Designers. Please note this cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Novesta

novesta shoes uk

Price range: ££

Novesta’s ethical vegan trainers are made with a cotton upper and a natural rubber sole. What’s more, they are made in Slovakia, given them a lower carbon footprint. Find them on sale in the UK at Toast for £55.

TOMS

TOMS ethical trainers

Price range: £ – ££

As a certified BCorp, TOMS Shoes* invests one-third of its profits in grassroots efforts, like organizations creating change at the local level.  Their funding priorities are promoting mental health, ending gun violence, and increasing access to opportunity.

Check out their sneakers range* for their range of ethical trainers, including vegan trainers.  TOMS is also currently working towards more sustainable materials for its shoes, such as organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyester.  They’re also exploring an end-of-life recycling programme for their shoes, definitely making them one to watch.

Wills Vegan Shoes

Wills Vegan Shoes ethical trainers brand

Price range: ££ – £££

Wills Vegan Shoes make ethically made eco-friendly vegan trainers and shoes, which are made in Italy & Portugal under European Union employment, discrimination, and health & safety laws.  These ensure, amongst others, that workers receive equal pay, maternity, and parental leave for example.  

The shoes themselves are made from vegan leather created with bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops grown in Northern Europe.  The rest of their products are manufactured from Ecolabel certified vegan leathers and suedes made in Italy and Spain that meet Oeko Tex 100 and REACH regulations.  Meanwhile, most of their outer soles are made from natural rubber, and their insoles are made in Spain from recycled rubber.

What’s more, their online store operates a plastic-free Carbon Neutral supply chain using sustainable materials.  It’s no surprise that Ethical Consumer has ranked Wills Vegan Shoes as one the most ethical shoe retailers out there.  

Veja

veja uk

Price range: ££ – £££

This organic, fairtrade, and ethical brand uses eco-conscious fabrics such as recycled and organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles, and sustainably harvested wild rubber to make their ethical trainers. What’s more, workers are paid a fair price. If you are vegan, then it’s important to note that not all of Veja’s trainers are vegan. However, they do have a huge range of vegan ethically made trainers. This means that if you are specifically looking for vegan trainers then you are well catered for.

Find them for sale in the UK at Working Class Heroes.

Looking for more ethical footwear ideas? Check out my post on stylish ethical shoes and my post on ethically made vegan shoes. I also have ideas on ethical wellies and ethical slippers for all your sustainable footwear needs!