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Baking Soda vs. Powder for Cleaning: What You Need to Know


Baking Soda vs. Powder for Cleaning: What You Need to Know

Baking soda and baking powder have often been confused as the same, but they each have very special features and uses. While each element is a white, powdery substance that you may discover within the baking aisle at your neighborhood grocery store, there are fundamental differences between them-particularly when it comes to cleaning.

Baking soda is made of sodium bicarbonate while baking powder is a combination of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar, and on occasion, cornstarch. The distinction in composition approach is that baking soda has a stronger alkaline base while baking powder has extra neutral pH stability.

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Baking soda may be very powerful at absorbing odors and stains on surfaces like countertops and home equipment. It can also be used to smooth heavily soiled items, which include pots and pans. Conversely, baking powder is often better applicable for light cleansing obligations such as removing soap scum from sinks and tubs.

Since baking soda has a more potent alkaline base, it is extra powerful at cutting through more difficult messes than baking powder. However, it additionally requires more elbow grease to achieve your cleaning goals. Baking powder does not require much scrubbing, but it'll no longer be as effective at removing hard stains.

Baking soda and baking powder are some of the most easily available cleaning agents around the home.


What is Baking Soda?

Sodium Bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is a natural leavening agent usually used in baking. It is an alkaline powder that produces carbon dioxide while blending with acid and heat, facilitating the rise of dough and batter. Baking soda acts fast, so it needs to be added to other dry elements earlier if you plan on including liquids in the mix.

Uses of Baking Soda

1. Cleaning: Baking soda is a powerful cleansing agent that can address many household responsibilities. It is especially useful in toilets and kitchens, where it may be used to wash away grease and grime buildup. Baking soda is an effective deodorizer that removes musty smells from carpets, couches, and fabrics.

2. Gets rid of stubborn sweat stains: Sweat is undoubtedly one of the toughest stains to get rid of. Thanks to baking soda, you can wear your whites with pride. Soak your whites in baking soda and water mixture in amounts that depend on the bulk of laundry. Let it sit for about an hour then get down to the normal washing techniques.

3. Beauty: Baking soda is a cheaper way to care for your skin and hair. It can be used as an exfoliator or a mask to eliminate dirt and extra oil for pores and skin. When added to shampoo, baking soda eliminates buildup from styling ingredients, resulting in softer, shinier locks. 

4. Removing pet odors: As cute as they are, no one can stand a smelly dog or cat. Their fur tends to stink especially when left unattended for the longest time. Add about 1 tablespoon of baking soda to your pet’s bath water and scrub its fur thoroughly but gently. Do this for about 5 minutes then rinse and pat dry.

5. Removes crayon stains: This is wonderful news, especially for moms with toddlers in the house. They love to draw on walls using crayons whose stains are not the easiest to get rid of. Use baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub the spot gently and watch it give your wall a fresh new look.

6. It's a natural teeth whitener: Baking soda may be used as an effective and gentle enamel whitener, particularly when combined with hydrogen peroxide. Blended into a paste, it allows you to remove plaque and floor stains from your tooth's enamel without causing erosion or sensitivity. 

Young woman with toothbrush and bowl of baking soda on beige background, closeup
Baking soda is a natural solution to dull whites, including teeth.

©New Africa/Shutterstock.com

7. Cleans bathroom mildews: Mildew is bound to set upon your bathroom tiles especially when neglected in terms of care and maintenance. Fear not; you can redeem your bathroom walls that are seemingly hopeless. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and put your best scrubbing skills to good use. It won’t be long before you see bright walls around your bathroom.

8. It's a natural detoxifier: Drinking baking soda combined with water enables ridding your system of pollutants. When ingested, it creates an alkaline surrounding in the belly that can lessen infection and assist in flushing out unwanted waste products.

9. It's a natural deodorizer: Baking soda is tremendous at soaking up odors, making it a terrific choice for removing terrible smells from carpets, garments, and different fabrics. Sprinkle a few baking sodas at the affected location and allow it to sit for a few minutes before cleaning it up.

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Properly storing baking soda helps ensure its freshness and effectiveness when it’s time to apply it.

Baking soda must be stored in an airtight field, such as a glass jar or plastic bag. Keeping it away from warmth and humidity is critical, so avoid storing it close to stoves or different heat sources. Baking soda has a protracted shelf life, but should not be kept for more than 2 years from the buy date. The field should be categorized with the acquisition date to keep track of its age.

Baking soda is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water from the air. When baking soda becomes too moist, it won’t be as effective in cleaning and might clump collectively. It is advisable to keep baking soda from other substances, such as salt or sugar, that could draw moisture out of the air and into the box.

The best temperature for storage is 70°F (21°C). Storing baking soda in temperatures above this could lower its shelf life. Baking soda should not be uncovered to temperatures below freezing point, as it can cause it to emerge as hard and tough to apply.

What Is Baking Powder?

Baking powder is a mixture of three additives – an acid, a base, and an inert filler. The acid and base integrate when delivered to liquid substances during cleaning, reacting with every element to give off carbon dioxide gas bubbles which help remove tough stains when increasing an upward thrust. The inert filler helps in separating the acid from the base to react collectively only while the liquid is added.

How Does It Work?

Baking powder starts to work immediately when mixed with wet substances. The acid reacts with the baking soda (the bottom) to give off carbon dioxide gas bubbles. The gas bubbles enlarge, causing it to rise and expand, as the gas escapes during cleaning exercises.

Uses of Baking Powder

1. Deodorizing smelly shoes: Smelly feet are inevitable for some people and can be quite embarrassing. The good news is that there is a simple solution to neutralize this sickening odor. Measure 2 tablespoons and pour them onto a piece of cloth. Wrap it up and fasten it using a rubber band. Place it inside one shoe and do the same for the other shoe. Let it sit in the shoes for as long as possible depending on the degree of the smell they emit.

portrait of woman with yellow gloves rubbing silver object. Horizontal forma
A baking powder and vinegar mix restores the shine of your favorite silverware.

©Diego Cervo/Shutterstock.com

2. Polishes silverware: As much as silverware is appealing to the eyes when new, the bad news is that the shiny appearance only lasts for a short while. On the bright side, you can restore their shiny appearance by using baking powder. Combining it with vinegar makes it even more effective. Boil the mixture to the highest temperatures then pour it into the silverware. This gets rid of the stains that make your silverware look worn out, leaving it looking sparkling. 

3. Air freshener: Put together various components such as essential oils and herbs and mix them up with baking powder as the main ingredient. Place the mixture in the area of your home that’s notorious for emitting unpleasant smells. Baking powder will suck up all the odors and instead replace them with all the fresh-smelling scents from your mixture. 

4. Shining agent: Got any pots and pans that just won’t yield to your other cleaning agents? Worry not, baking powder’s got your back. It’s known to deal mercilessly with stubborn stains that come about as a result of rigorous cooking processes that leave ugly stains on the pans. Mix baking powder with a little water and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub the stains off gently and watch your pots and pans shine beyond your wildest imagination. 

5. Cleaning agent: Finally, baking powder can be used to help clean your kitchen. It may be used to clean messy countertops and leave them looking sparkling. 

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Benefits of Baking Powder

1: Baking powder is an easy-to-use product that saves time when cleaning your teeth. Those who value their oral hygiene may want to embrace baking powder tighter than ever before. It acts as a mouthwash that reaches deep into every corner of your mouth. This leaves you feeling fresh and confident about your breath and smile.

2: Baking powder also acts as a deodorant. This means it’s safe to use it on your armpits, which are known to produce a pungent smell on a hot day. Mix baking powder with natural condiments such as shea butter or coconut oil and apply it on your armpits. Careful not to overdo it but only use amounts that will leave the pores in your armpits to breathe.

3: Baking powder helps in neutralizing foul odors in your fridge. Your refrigerator accommodates different types of foods, snacks, and drinks. This sometimes causes it to give out unpleasant smells that may leave your kitchen unapproachable. Fill up a tiny cup with a tablespoon or two of baking powder and place it in a safer position in your fridge away from other food items. This helps neutralize all the choking odors that may linger in your refrigerator.

4: Whitening agent. Baking powder plays the significant role of a whitener. When doing your laundry, gather the whites and clean them separately using baking powder. It removes all stubborn stains and restores the dazzling white color of your clothes. Moreover, it also whitens teeth. It contains antibacterial properties that help discard all the stubborn molecules that contribute to staining your teeth.

5: Carpet cleaner. Baking powder helps fight off stubborn stains that may get stuck on the carpet especially when left on for too long. Red wine seems to be the greatest headache when trying to give your carpet the much-desired sparkle. Mixing baking powder with vinegar helps rid your carpet of this and other stains.

Close-up Of Vacuum Cleaner Cleaning Dirt On Carpet
Both baking powder and baking soda can be used as carpet refreshers and deodorizers.



The first and most crucial factor in storing baking powder is temperature. Exposure to high temperatures can cause the components in baking powder to interrupt, resulting in a decrease in potency. Keeping the powder away from any heat or direct sunlight resources will help ensure its effectiveness while baking.

Preserving baking powder tightly sealed inside its container or bag is also crucial. This will save you access to any moisture that could result in the substances breaking down and losing potency. Additionally, it's most advisable to keep the baking powder in a cool, dry region far from strong smells of spices or other food odors.

When shopping for baking powder, looking at the label for an expiration date is crucial. Baking powder can handiest stay effective for a certain quantity of time, mostly 1-2 years from the date of manufacture. If there is no expiration date on the packaging, using the product within six months or sooner is recommended.

Lastly, baking powder should never be stored in a fridge or freezer. Although prolonging the product's shelf life could appear beneficial, drastic temperature modifications can motivate the elements to break down and lose efficiency.

Can you Substitute Baking Soda for Baking Powder for Cleaning?

The solution is yes, however, with a few restrictions. Baking soda is a lot more powerful than baking powder, so if you’re going to use baking soda as a substitution for baking powder, you may need to apply ⅓ much less of it than the amount of baking powder needed when cleaning. 

Additionally, you'll want to feature an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar in the mixture to react with the baking soda. This strengthens its cleaning abilities regardless of the messy area in your home.

Are Baking Soda and Baking Powder the Same Thing?

No, they're not. While these two materials may also seem comparable initially, some key variations between baking soda and baking powder lead them to unique elements.

Baking Soda:

Baking soda, also called sodium bicarbonate, is a base component that elevates baked items when mixed with an acidic ingredient and lemon juice, vinegar, or yogurt. It’s a single-aspect leavener, meaning it does not need to be blended with anything else for it to react.

Baking Powder:

Baking powder is a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar, and, every so often, cornstarch. This makes it a double-performing cleaner, meaning it begins to react while an acidic ingredient is brought forth. 

This gives most baking powder-based cleaning agents more lift and prevents them from turning too dense or heavy. Because baking powder consists of a moderate acid, it'll not overpower delicate surfaces and clothes like a baking soda can.

What are Substitutes For Baking Powder?

Yogurt or Buttermilk

If you've got yogurt or buttermilk available, you may use both as a powerful alternative to baking powder for cleaning. Combine a cup of plain yogurt with half a teaspoon of baking soda with an option of one teaspoon of baking powder. Buttermilk can also be used similarly, but you may want to modify the quantity of baking soda for cleaning depending on how acidic it is.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Combining vinegar with baking soda is another exceptional alternative to baking powder. For every teaspoon of baking powder used, mix a quarter teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 a teaspoon of vinegar. 

This aggregate will create bubbling and fizzing because it reacts, so you should add the dry elements to your desired area of scrubbing or cleaning immediately as soon as you've combined them.

Cream of Tartar

In search of a substitute for your typical go-to cleaning agent? Use cream of tartar. For every one teaspoon's worth you need in your cleaning exercise, combine equal parts – a quarter teaspoon each – with your trusty standby: Baking Soda. The icing on this cake? Cream Of Tartar eliminates any potentially unwanted levels of acidity that might come from combining Vinegar with baking soda.

Baking Soda and Cornstarch

For those who prefer other options besides using baking powder, this combination is worth exploring. In place of one teaspoon of baking powder, try combining a quarter teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of cornstarch instead. 

This approach has been found to be quite effective and eliminates stubborn stains and dirt effortlessly and within a short time.

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What are Substitutes For Baking Soda?

1. Plain yogurt: This is another valuable alternative to baking soda when cleaning. It functions as an acidifier that creates bubbles that leave surfaces sparkling during cleaning when used effectively. Like baking powder, it's crucial to remember that yogurt should be used for cleaning purposes only after thorough research on matters such as application.

2. Cream of Tartar: Mixing it with acidic options such as lemon juice and vinegar increases its cleaning strength. Add water of course and ensure you wear protective cleaning gloves on your hands as the mixture might be too abrasive to handle with your bare hands.

Swigs of raw corn on a burlap napkin and cornstarch in a glass dish.
Added to baking soda, cornstarch is a powerful stain remover.


3. Club Soda: This one is especially useful when it comes to cleaning messy car upholstery. It may not be possible to detach upholstery from some cars but this doesn’t mean they should stay dirty. Club soda is easy to use since you only need to spray a bit of it on the affected area depending on the intensity of the dirt in question. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes then dry it up by patting the surface with paper towels or a clean cotton cloth till it’s dry. It’s indeed a worthy option when you’re out of baking soda.

Safety First

While baking soda and baking powder are generally safe for cleaning, you ought to continually examine the labels on each product earlier when using them collectively. Some combinations of those two substances can cause dangerous chemical reactions that lead to pore and skin irritation, or even breathing problems.

A Quick Comparison: Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder for Cleaning

Infographic comparing baking soda and baking powder.
Baking soda is a more effective cleaner when it comes to tough stains.

When you're looking to get rid of tough stains around your house, baking soda and baking powder can both have your back. Baking soda will require extra effort on your end, but it will be effective at fighting extremely tough stains. Baking powder is sufficient for moderate stains. Baking powder has a more complex ingredients list, while baking soda is pretty basic. It's always a good idea to have both of these items on hand.

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