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natural cleaning

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

15 Soda Crystals Uses Around The Home To Solve Any Cleaning Problem

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 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 is around a few pounds 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.

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!

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 they can irritate the skin when used in a concentrated manner.

And don’t use soda crystals on aluminium. Soda crystals can corrode aluminium so it’s best to avoid using it to clean anything made with this metal.

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.

PPS: I have 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!

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Homemade Cleaning Wipes Solution For Speedy Cleaning

Want to know how to make a homemade cleaning wipes solution? Read on!

What household chore do you hate the most? Cleaning the bathroom is the least favoured task in our house. My partner and I split the household chores, and that works well for us. That is until it comes to cleaning the bathroom. Specifically, our upstairs bathroom frequented by our children. Honestly, the state they leave it in would make you weep sometimes. Weep, I tell you!

I’ve been thinking about how we can make cleaning the bathroom easier. But also give my children greater autonomy. And I thought cleaning wipes. I could make a non-toxic homemade cleaning wipes solution, and leave a jar in the bathroom. This means anyone in the house (including my kids) can wipe down the surfaces in between big cleans. That’s the dream, anyway!

The wipes turned out to be so useful, that I made an extra jar for the kitchen. And so useful, that I wanted to share the recipe for my homemade cleaning wipes solution with you today. Sharing is caring, after all!

homemade cleaning wipes solution uk

What’s Wrong With Conventional Cleaning Wipes?

Why I am not just buying a packet of wipes from the supermarket?

For a start, I’m trying to reduce the single-use plastic we use in our house. Many conventional cleaning wipes are made of non-biodegradable plastic. Even the wipes marketed as biodegradable and flushable shouldn’t actually be flushed. These flushed wipes are behind 93% of blockages in UK sewers. In short, they’re an environmental disaster.

And secondly, scientists have warned that some conventional cleaning products could be as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. This homemade cleaning wipes solution means I avoid single-use plastic and reduce the number of harsh chemicals in our home. Double win!

How to Make A Homemade Cleaning Wipes Solution

homemade cleaning wipes solution

Please note, this cleaning wipes solution isn’t suitable for use on granite, marble, quartz, or any other kind of natural stone. This is because vinegar can be corrosive to natural stone. Keep reading if you have natural stone because I’ve got a stone-safe recipe for you further down the page.

You Will Need

  • A 750 ml jar or similar airtight container
  • 125 ml cooled boiled water
  • 125 ml white vinegar (this is where I buy my white vinegar in bulk)
  • 5 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops of lemongrass essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
  • Clean dry reusable cloths

Depending on the size of your jar and the size of your cloths, the number of cloths you will need will vary. I used some old Cheeky Wipes terry squares I had leftover from when my daughter was little. Here I found nine Cheeky Wipes fit in my jar perfectly. However, you could use any fabric scraps or kitchen cloths to hand. You could even cut up an old towel that’s seen better days.

Method

In a measuring jug, mix the water, vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and essential oils together.

Place your dry cloths into the clean dry jar.

Next pour the solution over the cloths, making sure you try to cover the cloths evenly. Job done!

If the cloths feel too dry, make a little more solution and pour over. The goal is that your cloths feel moist to the touch, not completely sodden.

How To Use

Whenever you want to clean, simply take a cloth from the jar. You may need to squeeze out some of the homemade cleaning wipes solution if it feels too wet.

Wipe down surfaces (remember, not any natural stone surfaces). Once you’re done, pop the wipe in the wash with the rest of your laundry.

When the jar is empty, make up a new batch of solution.

Because the cleaning wipes solution is made using water, it does have a relatively short shelf life. I therefore wouldn’t use water straight from the tap – boiling the water helps prolong the shelf life. As such, the wipes should last up to four weeks or so in the jar. If the solutions starts to smell bad, or the cloths start to look mouldy before then, then wash your cloths and start again.

A Stone Safe Cleaning Wipes Alternative

cleaning wipes solution

If vinegar isn’t your thing, or if you have natural stone, then let me show you how to make a vinegar-free homemade cleaning wipes solution using liquid Castile soap. Washing up liquid also works fine if you don’t have any castile soap.

  • 250 ml cooled boiled water
  • 2 teaspoons liquid Castile soap or washing up liquid
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil

Follow the same steps as before, again making up a little more solution if your cloths feel too dry.

Do The Homemade Cleaning Wipes Disinfect?

These homemade wipes don’t disinfect, they are cleaning wipes. This means they are ideal for wiping down dirt and dust from surfaces, such as toothpaste smears and soap scum. However, they don’t kill germs in the same way that disinfectants do.

The good news is that I am currently working on some homemade disinfecting wipes using 70% isopropyl alcohol. I’ll be sure to share the recipe on Moral Fibres once I’m happy with it.

I’m really big on natural cleaning, so I have a ton of other natural cleaning products to make. Right this way my friend!