Baking soda is a fantastic all-natural, non-toxic cleaner that can clean just about anything in the bathroom. That’s why when soap scum builds up, or I detect a nasty whiff from the toilet bowl, baking soda is the first product I reach for. In this article, I will share with you my 16 favorite uses for baking soda in the bathroom, along with the recipes and how to apply them.
So let’s dive in and find out how to keep your family safe with non-toxic cleaning whilst also keeping your bathroom superbly clean.
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Should I wear Gloves To Handle Baking Soda?
Baking soda is a weak basic (alkaline), with a PH score of 8 and a chemical formula of NaHCO3. The Environmental Working Group scores it an “A” on its scale, so it passes with flying colors, making it safe and non-toxic when handled correctly. It’s very good at absorbing moisture and is also gentle but mildly abrasive; therefore, the use of gloves is recommended but not always necessary.
Dad’s tip: If you want to clean linoleum with baking powder, do not throw the powder high into the air and let it fall. This is because baking powder, although non-toxic, can be an irritant to the eyes when it is in dust form.
How To Clean Bathroom Tiles And Grouting
Many online recipes call for baking soda and vinegar to be mixed when cleaning grout. However, in my opinion, you should steer well clear of these recipes. This combination creates a reaction that looks fun but ultimately; will cancel out the effective cleaning power of both of these ingredients.
Moreover, vinegar can damage grout. Read 5 things you should never mix with vinegar when cleaning; to find out more.
The “fun” fizzing reaction that you see is actually just the baking soda neutralizing the acetic acid in the vinegar. In some cases, the resulting bubbles may lift some dirt or unblock a drain or two. However, the resulting mix only cleans marginally better than just plain water.
A more effective, non-toxic, non-grout damaging substitute for vinegar is hydrogen peroxide. However, please follow the instructions carefully if you wish to achieve the desired outcome.
So What Are My Favorite Grout Cleaning Recipes?
Wall Grout Ingredients: 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp maximum of dish soap (optional).
Method: Mix the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap (optional). Rub the mixture onto the grout and leave to sit for 10 – 15 minutes, then scrub and rinse.
This is the equivalent of letting dirty dishes soak for a while to let the soap penetrate the grease. However, adding too much dish soap will clog the mixture resulting in a gloopy mess that is completely useless.
Unsealed grout is very porous. It is for this reason that dirt, grime, and mold will fix into the pores. These unwanted impurities are what our non-toxic, sustainable mixture will be attacking, dissolving, and removing.
To remove the trapped dirt, you should ideally use a small soft brush or toothbrush to scrub the grout with care. This action may also remove some loose grout, so be gentle. Always let the mixture do the hard work, not the elbow.
Once scrubbed, use a cloth and warm water to wipe and rinse away the mixture, which will leave everything sparkling.
Dad’s tip: Don’t spray down bathroom grout with neat vinegar. It will eventually dissolve any sealer and leave the grout vulnerable to attack.
Hydrogen peroxide is a 100% natural alternative to bleach that whitens and kills bacteria on contact. It is a safer, non-toxic product that will decompose into water and oxygen. This makes it very kind to the environment and an absolute favorite of mine.
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How To Clean Floor Tiles And Grouting
Floor grout is vulnerable to an increased dirt flow, and therefore should be cleaned on a more frequent basis. Please follow the recipe below, remembering the rules on natural stones such as marble and granite.
Items with deep grooves or cracks – Baking soda leaves behind a thin white residue when dry and will be visible.
Marble surfaces – Stone manufacturers advise that repeated use of any mild abrasive can wear away the sealants used on marble, which then leaves it open to etching and wear.
Floor Grout Ingredients: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
Method: Firstly, sprinkle baking soda onto the floor grout, then spray with hydrogen peroxide until wet. Wait for approximately 15 minutes, then gently scrub with a soft brush. Secondly, use warm water and a mop together with a little dish soap to mop the floor clean of all baking soda residue. Thirdly, when almost dry, take a dry cloth and buff up the floor tiles to a brilliant shine.
How To Clean Cleaning Chrome Taps And Accessories
Chromium (chrome); is a very soft metal commonly used as a thin protective coating on bathroom taps and accessories.
Because it is so soft, you will rarely find anything that is made entirely of solid chrome.
The chances are that it will be just an extremely thin layer of chromium applied through electroplating.
The problem is that, whilst it can last for years, it doesn’t take long for it to get dirty, stained, and dull-looking. Therefore as chrome needs to be cleaned frequently, it is important to know how to clean it without damaging it.
One of the best ways to clean chrome taps and accessories is with my favorite cleaning combination. Soap, water, and a soft cloth, combined with a mild to a medium toothbrush, plus a little elbow grease.
Chrome Tap and accessories Ingredients: Baking soda, water, liquid soap.
Method: Add a small amount of water to the baking soda to make a light creamy paste. Follow this by adding a few drops of liquid soap to the mixture and spread it over the chrome with the soft cloth.
Leave this mixture to work for about 10 minutes, then using your soft toothbrush, very gently scrub any harshly stained areas. All other areas should only need to be gently rubbed over with a soft cloth.
Finally, rinse away the mixture with a clean cloth, rub until dry, and buff to a shine.
For those tougher stains and especially where the tap meets the basin, repeated applications may be needed.
Dad’s tip – Hard water can leave mineral deposits, so for a final rinse, use distilled water or club soda to avoid water stains.
How To Remove Hard Water Stains
Lemon is a great natural cleaner and is very effective at dissolving hard water stains.
Hard water stain remover ingredients: 1 Lemon, Baking soda, Distilled water
Method: Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice onto a cloth until soaked. Follow this by rubbing the stain all over and leave it to “sit” on the stain for about 30 minutes.
If the staining is particularly bad, secure the cloth to the item with an elastic band and leave it to work for approximately one hour.
Once the time has elapsed, make a light paste of baking soda and water. Add this mixture to the lemon-soaked cloth and then gently rub the cloth over the item to be cleaned.
Next, use a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub away at the stained area. Upon completion, take a fresh clean cloth and rinse down the item with warm water, dry, and then buff to a shine.
Dad’s tip – Cut a lemon in half, dip it into a bowl of baking soda, and then directly apply it to light stains to speed up the process.
How To Prevent Damp In The Bathroom
Anti damp ingredients: Baking soda – Vinegar
In my house, the bathroom cupboard is the home of cleaning cloths, bowls, dog shampoo, and all the leftover bottles of stuff I have received as gifts over the years. Or to put it another way, the place for all the things I don’t want the wife to find!
However, this is also the perfect environment for damp and mold to grow. If left unchecked this mold will quickly spread into the rest of the bathroom and create health problems.
Method: To prevent this from happening simply leaving a tub (or an open box); of baking soda in the cupboard to absorb the moisture.
Refresh the box every couple of weeks by emptying the top crusty layer to expose the dry powder and extend its lifespan.
However, if the cupboard already suffers from mold forget the baking soda and spray the mold with undiluted distilled white vinegar. The vinegar will kill the mold spores but it must be left to work for a minimum of 10 – 30 minutes. When this time has elapsed you should pop some gloves on and wipe away the mold, repeating the process if necessary.
Alternatively, wipe down the area with a cloth soaked in vinegar to kill and remove the mold spores. To inhibit any further mold growth place an open box of baking powder near the site. And don’t worry, the distinctive vinegar smell will quickly dissipate.
When you clean a bathroom regularly using baking soda followed by a wipe down with vinegar mold will find it difficult to grow.
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How To Clean The Toilet Bowl
Porcelain toilet bowls can stain very quickly from mineral deposits hidden within the water used to flush them. They can also stain from other materials, so it is important to use cleaners to provide a preventative action.
Baking soda provides this long-term protection, and it is a good idea to use it in the cistern as well as the bowl.
Toilet bowl cleaner ingredients one: half to one cup of baking soda (depending on the staining’s seriousness).
Method: Sprinkle your half to one cup of baking soda into the bowl and give a quick scrub around with a toilet brush.
Leave the mixture to sit for an hour, then scrub around once again to clean the bowl and flush.
Do Not Use Chemical Blocks In The Cistern.
When dropped into a cistern chemical blocks can break down and form a chemical sludge. This chemical sludge can clog the flushing mechanism and cause damage to the rubber flapper.
It is also chemically dangerous to the environment, so why use them?
It is far better to sprinkle a half cup of baking soda into the cistern, wait for one hour and then flush. Do this twice a month, and you will be cleansing the entire system. Furthermore, you will be extending the overall life of the flushing system.
If you are trying to eliminate limescale deposits in the cistern, you will need to turn off the water and drain the cistern. Clean the cistern by spreading a baking soda and water paste over the limescale deposits and leave to work overnight. Follow this by scrubbing and flushing in the morning.
Toilet cleaner ingredients two: 1 cup of baking soda, 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. (half this mixture if the bowl is unstained).
Method: This method has been recommended to me, but I don’t use it.
Firstly, sprinkle the baking soda around the inside of the bowl and the water then let it “sit” for about half an hour.
Secondly, pour 2 cups of distilled white vinegar into the bowl, close the lid and leave for a further half an hour.
Thirdly, using a toilet brush, scrub the bowl thoroughly clean with the baking soda and toilet water mix, then flush.
How To Clean Shower Doors
Ingredients: Baking soda – Vinegar
Method: Shower doors can be effectively cleaned by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda onto a wet cloth or sponge. Follow this by rubbing the mixture gently over the surface to be cleaned.
For particularly stubborn stains, mix up a light paste of bicarbonate of soda and water, apply to the stain and let it sit for five minutes.
Then return to the stain and rub gently until the stain is removed. Baking soda is very good at removing unsightly soap scum, toothpaste, and general dirt from most bathroom surfaces.
Warning, baking soda has very mild abrasive qualities and therefore can etch into soft materials over time. For this reason, I don’t clean glass accessories or shower doors with baking soda but choose vinegar instead. I reserve the baking soda for the tough stains and make up the paste recipe, followed by a reduction in elbow grease power.
To minimize the risk of etching or dulling a high shine, it is best to apply the baking soda paste and let it “sit” for a while before rubbing.
Dad’s tip: Shower doors and glass mirrors can show a white film of baking soda once they are dry. To prevent this, simply spray a 50/50 mix of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice over the surface and wipe until dry.
How To Clean Shower Curtains
Bathrooms are largely damp environments, and shower curtains tend to attract moisture.
For these reasons, they are prime targets for mold and mildew growth and should be cleaned regularly.
Light mold and mildew Ingredients: Baking soda, water, distilled white vinegar
Method: If your shower curtain only has a few drops of mold or mildew on them, then this can be removed with a light paste of baking soda and water.
Apply the paste to the area to be treated and scrub gently until the stain is gone. Finally, spray down the area with the neat distilled vinegar to prevent any mold regrowth.
Heavy mold and mildew Ingredients: Baking soda, washing detergent, distilled white vinegar
Firstly, wash the shower curtain in a washing machine with two bathmats on a low-temperature setting. Secondly, add one cup of baking soda to the detergent during the wash cycle. Thirdly, add one cup of vinegar during the rinse cycle.
Finally, remove the shower curtain from the washer, rehang it and allow it to drip dry. The shower curtain should now be stain-free and smelling fresh. The bathmats are important to prevent folding and provide a rubbing action to the shower curtain whilst in the wash.
Depending upon the washing machine’s internal seals, it may need a further rinse cycle to clear the system of any remaining vinegar. This will prevent a mild acid from “sitting” on the rubber seals within the machine and invalidating the warranty.
How To Clean And Unclog A Drain
Ingredients: 1/2 cup baking soda, liquid soap
Many people will tell you that the best combination for unblocking drains is baking soda and vinegar. However, I believe this to be wrong.
There are many youtube videos and websites which combine these two elements. However, frothing and fizzing is only the chemical creation of water and salt. (H2O) & (C2H3NaO2).
Whilst this activity may dislodge something, all you are really getting is a mild soft scrub and some fizzing, not an effective cleaner.
My favorite way to unblock a drain is this.
Method: Pour half a cup of baking soda and a squeeze of liquid soap down the drain. Follow this up by probing the blockage with a flexible curtain rod or similar item. (Nothing sharp or stiff).
Once the liquid soap has reached the blockage, pour a kettle of boiling water into the drain and leave to sit for 30 minutes. The backup can now be quickly cleared using a plunger and running hot water to clear the u bend trap.
Dad’s tip – Be gentle as the excessive force used on any drain can lead to permanent damage to your pipes and fixtures.
However, if you want to use a combination of baking soda and distilled white vinegar to unclog a drain, follow this recipe.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
Method: Dump half a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by the half cup of distilled white vinegar.
Leave this mixture to “sit” for about 30 minutes and then pour down some very hot water. (leave baking soda and vinegar overnight if required).
The Big Guns!
Ingredients: 1 cup of washing soda, liquid soap, boiling water
To unblock a stubborn drain, then washing soda, liquid soap, boiling water, and a plunger is a great combination. Just be sure to cover the overflow first so that the air pressure is not released.
Method: Use a cup of washing soda and a squirt of liquid soap to dissolve the grease and grime in the drain. Leave this mixture to work for 30 minutes and then follow this up with some very hot water.
Washing soda is an even more powerful version of baking soda and should only be handled with rubber gloves on.
Although non-toxic and easy on the environment, washing soda is a strong alkaline classed as an irritant. Therefore you should not breathe in the dust or allow it near the face.
How To Clean Bathroom Traps
Ingredients:(A solution of one part bicarb to 4 parts water should suffice).
Method: If you have removable traps in the shower, washbasin, or bath, remove them along with the gunk collected within them. Secondly, mix up a solution of water and baking soda in a container large enough to hold the units and drop them in.
Finally, leave the traps to soak overnight, then use hot water to rinse away the solution in the morning and replace them.
How To Clean A Bath And Washbasin
Baths and washbasins can easily scratch, so use a soft cloth/sponge and a gentle scouring action when working on these items.
Due to the higher levels of soap scum and mineral deposits, it’s always a good idea to give these items a quick pre-wash before the real work begins.
Bath and washbasin Ingredients: 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of dish soap; citrus essential oil (optional).
Method: Make up a light paste in a shallow bowl with all of the ingredients. Rinse the area to be cleaned so that it is damp, as this will allow the mixture to cling to the sides easily.
Next, rub the mix all over the area to be cleaned and leave to “sit” for about 5 minutes.
After the time has elapsed, take the gentle abrasive part of the cloth/sponge and work the mixture all over the bath/basin. This should remove the grease, dirt, and soap scum. Follow this up by rinsing the bath/basin with warm water and rub dry.
The citrus oil will help remove the soap scum and add a pleasant fresh smell to the bathroom.
Dad’s tip – for heavy mineral stains, add 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the mix and leave out the essential oil.
Quick Washbasin Cleaner
Sometimes you just need a quick clean, and this recipe is perfect for that. It leaves the bathroom smelling fresh, clean, and fragrant for the next user to walk into as a bonus.
Ingredients: 4 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of liquid soap, 6 drops of essential oils.
Method: Mix the baking soda and liquid soap to form a paste. You may need to adjust this slightly depending upon the density of the soap. Add 3 drops of orange plus 3 drops of lemon essential oil to the mixture, and stir until completely mixed.
Next, dab a soft cloth or sponge into the mixture and rub around the washbasin. Apply light pressure to mild and stubborn stains.
Allow this mixture to “sit” for five minutes, then simply rinse and rub away and give a light rinse.
How To Clean And Deodorize Body Scrunchies/Sponges
Scrunchies/sponges left in the bathroom’s damp atmosphere can get very “gross” pretty quickly.
Not only do they look unsightly and quickly start to smell, but they are also a breeding ground for bacteria.
If you find yourself throwing them out more often than you’d like, there’s an easy way to make them last longer; and smell fresher.
Ingredients: 4 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 liter of water
Method: Drop the Scrunchies/sponges in the solution of baking soda and water. Leave them to soak for about 10 to 15 minutes, or longer if heavily greased.
Once soaked, you should rinse them thoroughly with warm water. Next, squeeze out the excess water and leave them to dry naturally. The offending smell will now be just a distant memory, and your breeding ground for bacteria will be gone.
How To Clean And Disinfect Your Toothbrush
Your toothbrush picks up a lot of bacteria and food debris from your mouth. For this reason, it is very important to keep it germ-free, clean, and hygienic.
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 cup of water
Method: A simple way to do this is to mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda into 1 cup of water. Drop your toothbrush into this solution and let it soak for a few hours. Give your toothbrush a quick rinse in clean water before use and you are done.
Dad’s tip – You can also use this solution as a totally organic mouth wash!
Do Not use washing soda as this is not a safe product to ingest.
How To Clean The Bathroom Walls
You can remove crayon and ink marks from painted surfaces easily by following this method.
Ingredients: Baking soda, water
Method: Apply a creamy paste of baking soda and water to a soft cloth, and then gently rub the mark until it has gone.
Once the task is completed, rinse the area with hot water to remove the white residue.
How To Clean And Deodorize A Bathroom Carpet
Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and will absorb and neutralize smells rather than just covering them up.
It’s also completely non-toxic, making it the ideal product to put down on any bathroom carpet. After all, this is where your little ones will be running around naked, so we need it to be as safe as possible.
Ingredients: Baking soda
Method: Simply shake the baking soda directly and evenly onto the carpet until it has a light dusting. Be careful not to create a dust cloud as baking soda is an eye irritant.
Then leave it for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight; the longer, the better. Follow this up with an effective vacuuming before the bathroom becomes humid again.
The carpet odors will be neutralized, and as a bonus, any light staining will be lighter or may even have disappeared altogether.
Dad’s tip: To Deodorize a bathroom without carpets, simply tear off the lid of a box of baking soda; and place it in an open spot. The baking soda will absorb the odors effectively for about six weeks. However, you will need to agitate the powder regularly.
How To Clean A Hairbrush
Hairbrushes and combs can get full of grease, hair, dirt, grime, and bacteria and should be cleaned and sanitized regularly. The more often this is done, the easier this cleaning task will become, and the time taken will reduce.
I am all in favor of cleaning tasks taking a shorter time!
Ingredients: Tablespoons of baking soda, a small bowl of water,
Directions: Firstly, using closed scissors get under the trapped hair and pull the hair up and away from the brush.
Secondly, cut the raised hair on the brush, then pull away most of the hair with your hands.
Thirdly, drop the hairbrushes/combs into the bowl of water and baking soda mix.
During the soaking process, the baking soda will dissolve the grease and hair lacquer build-up.
This will also release the build-up of dirt, grime, and fluff whilst sanitizing the items.
Once again, the longer you leave these items to soak, the more effective the mixture will be.
When you take them out of the water, use the toothbrush to clean between the gaps and prise away any remaining hair. If the items are still holding clumps of hair, then repeat the process from the beginning.
Personally, I don’t get hung up on the small stuff, and I like to clean in a man’s way. To me, if it’s comfortable, clean, and safe for the family, then it’s clean enough.
That also means fast enough and thorough enough; to do it just once. I never want to have to come back to it a day later.
For me then, baking soda is magical stuff, and every house needs to have this on hand.
Remember, though, that baking soda begins to lose its effectiveness and is almost inert after 60 days. So If you want to clean your entire bathroom with baking soda use it wisely and restock it often!
A Word Of Caution
I would advise with all cleaning products and solutions to test out the product in a small, inconspicuous area. I make all the following suggestions in good faith as they work for me. However, due to the vast amounts of materials, conditions, and surfaces available, I cannot be held responsible for any unforeseen adverse effects.
Mark Aspland is a proud father of two boys, an amateur actor, and a green living enthusiast. He has been sharing hints, tips, and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019.
He now has an army of like-hearted individuals passionate about the environment and positive change through peaceful action. For a little inspiration on this, check out the articles and videos referencing sustainability quotes that can be found on the site. Enjoy