Climbing the ranks to super ingredient, baking soda has found new fame outside of its starring role in your perfect banana bread. It’s also useful for everything from skin care to fighting inflammation, and as Suzy Scherr points out in The Baking Soda Companion, it’s also part of the path forward to solving all of your laundry woes.
Keep scrolling for the top laundry-fighting baking soda hacks.
1. The trick to combatting super smelly laundry
When you work up a sweat (be it in a barre class or braving the summer humidity) your clothes can come in and out of the wash but still retain an unwearable stench. Baking soda is often used for smell-related situations (à la: your refrigerator) because it absorbs odors instead of masking them.
If you’re washing an especially heinous smelling load of sports bras and leggings, put 1/2 cup of baking soda in with your clothes and 1/2 cup of white vinegar in your fabric softener tray. Then, set your clothes to wash on a regular cycle but do not include detergent.
2. The star ingredient in a DIY fabric softener
You might be interested in a homemade fabric softening option because of a sensitivity to the store bought stuff or just because you’re a DIY maven. Either way you can combine some of your most versatile household items to create a natural and non-irritating fabric softener.
First combine 2 cups of kosher salt with 20 to 30 drops of whatever essential oil you prefer (though I would suggest tea tree oil for its antimicrobial properties). Once you’ve combined and mixed those together add 1/2 cup of baking soda. The whole mixture should make enough fabric softener for five to 10 uses.
3. The easy to get rid of sweat stains
If you own a single white tee, then you know that no matter how much or how little you think you’re sweating—you will eventually develop those unsightly rings around the armpits. Instead of endlessly restocking your white t-shirt supply, you can make a DIY sweat stain remover.
Use 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1/4 cup of warm water to create a paste-like substance. Wet the stain with water and then apply the paste to the area and leave it to sit for 30 to 60 minutes. Finish by rinsing the paste off and then put it through a regular machine wash.
4. The secret to brightening and whitening fabrics
Sleep is everyone’s favorite activity, but it also produces some kind of gross side effects like, you know, sleep sweat or skin shedding. To keep your linens and white tees in pristine condition add 1/4 cup of baking soda to your load if you have a front loading machine and 1/2 cup if you have a top loading machine.
5. The way to clean your washing machine
Did you know that you actually should be cleaning your washing machine? I mean, its whole job is to accumulate sweat, dirt, and germs and get rid of them. To give your washer some TLC, create a mixture using 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of water, and 2 cups of white vinegar. Then, pour your mixture into the detergent receptacle of your machine, set the temperature on the hottest possible option, and run through a regular cycle. Once that’s done, use a rag to make sure you’re removing any gunk that might have been dislodged and then rinse with water and—there you have it—your washing machine will be good as new (or at least less mildewy).
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