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
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
Greasy cooker hood? Greasy tiles? Fear not. Dissolve one part of soda crystals in three parts of 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 tea stains from cups, 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!