It is no secret that baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) is a cure for many ills. Almost the perfect go to for most any common household situation. My husband even mixes it with warm water and drinks it to sooth his upset tummy.
I will be sharing some beneficial laundry uses for this little powder magic. People often use it as a main ingredient in their home made laundry soaps because it is a natural softener. It softens the clothes and the water (if you happen to live in an area with hard water like I do). I also use it as a natural deodorizer. It doesn’t mask the odor like other products, it absorbs them. Much like the reason people use them to absorb odors in the refrigerator. Again, another good reason to use it in laundry soap.
Baking soda also acts as a whitener. People have been using it forever to whiten their teeth, why not there laundry? Of course, you need a little help from some hot water, but it is still effective. You can add it directly to your washing machine during the wash cycle, or for really dingy whites, you can soak them in a basin of hot water and a cup of baking soda prior to washing as normal.
Some other ways I have used it are not as common. I have made a paste out of it with some juice of lemons and applied it to the yellow under arms of white shirts (vinegar works well too). When a customer had a fresh grease stain (food or oil), I would sprinkle the baking soda directly onto the stain for half an hour or longer to absorb the stain, then clean as directed (either dry clean or wash). It worked most of the time.
It has also been somewhat effective on the treatment of tannin stains (coffee, tea, grass). Usually I would make a paste of baking soda and water and let it sit again for half an hour or so. White vinegar added to the baking soda to create a fizzy chemical reaction that can be useful in breaking down stains like the tannin stains mentioned above.
People tend to think scrubbing is the thing you need to do in order to get stains out. That can be damaging on a few counts. Like I mentioned before, baking soda works by absorbing the stain, that takes time. Sometimes we are in a hurry and we want to speed things up by scrubbing and crushing the gritty particles into the fabric.
If you do scrub, you run the risk of rubbing the color right out of the material or damaging the fibers, then there is not fixing that. If you must apply any force, I suggest a tapping motion with a soft brush. This motion acts as a lifter of the stain, much like the baking soda itself, and there will be minimal if any damage to the fabric.
Just like any stain, be careful to test an inconspicuous place before you “have at” the stain. Materials vary greatly and the different combinations of fabric and dyes makes each situation unique when it comes to stain removal.