Soda crystals and baking soda are both recommended by cleaning pros to get rid of a number of nasties in the home. There is a lot of confusion about these products, alongside baking powder and bicarbonate of soda… are they the same thing? What can you use as a baking soda substitute? Express.co.uk chatted to Lynsey Queen of Clean (@lynsey_queenofclean) to find out which cleaning jobs you can do with soda crystals.
Baking soda, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, and soda crystals are all used in cleaning… but what is the difference between them?
To start, baking soda and bicarbonate of soda are the same thing – they are both sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3).
Baking soda and baking powder are different things, although they are both white powdery leavening agents.
Baking powder contains baking soda, but it also contains cream of tartar, corn-starch, and other ingredients.
Baking soda requires both an acid and liquid to activate whereas baking powder only needs a liquid.
This means if you are substituting baking soda with baking powder to clean, you need to use three times more baking powder because it is weaker.
Are soda crystals the same as baking soda?
No, soda crystals are not the same as baking soda, bicarbonate of soda, or baking powder.
Soda crystals are sodium carbonate decahydrate, which is chemically similar to baking soda but not the same.
Soda crystals are more alkaline than baking soda, so they are better for removing stains and grease.
Soda crystals are for use in the washing machine and are not the same as bicarbonate of soda.
How to clean with soda crystals
Soda crystals can be used to get rid of bacteria, dirt and grime from your washing machine.
Add soda crystals to ever wash, using the soft water dose of your regular detergent and making up the difference in soda crystals.
If your water hardness is medium use 25g of soda crystals, if it is hard use 50g, and if it is very hard use 75g.
Put the crystals in the drum if you put liquid in the drawer and vice versa.
Once a month, run an empty hot wash of 500g of soda crystals and put them in the main drum.
This will get rid of gunk, bacteria, and foul smells.
According to Lynsey, soda crystals can also act as a laundry booster.
All you need to do is add the required amount to the drawer or drum with your washing powder.
This will get rid of stubborn stains and keep your towels fluffy.
Patios and paths
You can use soda crystals to clean outdoor paths and patios, Lynsey said.
Combine half a cup of soda crystals per litre of water and leave the mixture on the surface to remove stubborn dirt.
Brush vigorously with a stiff brush and rinse with clean water.
Burnt pots and pans
Burnt pots and pans are a nightmare to clean, but soda crystals will do the job.
Soda crystals will dissolve fat molecules and make it easier to remove the carbon from the pan.
Sprinkle a fair amount of the crystals onto the bottom of the pan and add some hot water (not enough to fill the pan, as this will dilute the strength).
Let it sit for a couple of hours and then use a scouring pad to get rid of the burnt material.