Cleaning hack: Simple method to clean pans with baking soda
Baking soda, more commonly known as bicarbonate of soda to Brits, is traditionally used to help cakes rise. Today, the abrasive powder is used as a DIY cleaning product by people across the world. Baking soda is used for a whole range of tasks from getting rid of smells from your fridge, removing stains from fabric, and even cleaning your oven. But what is it about baking soda that makes it such a good cleaner? Express.co.uk reveals the science behind cleaning, with help from household cleaning and laundry producers Dri-Pak.
The science behind cleaning with baking soda
Baking soda’s proper name is Sodium Bicarbonate and its chemical formula is NaHCO because it is made from the elements sodium (Na), Hydrogen (H), Carbon (C) and Oxygen (O).
Dri-Pak’s Paul Brook said: “Bicarbonate of Soda is a simple but effective cleaning product with no added chemicals.
“It has excellent natural deodorising properties and also makes a great scouring paste for tough marks on tiles, sinks and other surfaces.”
Baking soda isn’t a disinfectant, so if you are cleaning something you should clean the area first. Dri-Pak’s advice is to use a disinfectant like Mrs Hinch’s favourite, Zoflora, before cleaning with baking soda.
If you mix them together instead, you’re reducing the disinfectant properties of the Zoflora.
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Baking soda is also an excellent cleaning product because of its place on the pH scale.
For those of you whose GCSE science revision isn’t ingrained in your mind, Dri-Pak has provided a refresher.
Mr Brook said: “Most cleaning products are based on either an acid or an alkali.
“One of the reasons our products are so popular is that they are a simple acid or alkali.”
White Vinegar and Citric Acids are acids, and baking soda or bicarbonate of soda, liquid soap, soda crystals and borax substitute are alkalis.
Baking soda is an eight on the pH scale, making it simple alkaline.
Something with a pH of seven is neutral, anything less than seven is acid, and anything more than eight is alkaline.
Mr Brooks explained: “Both acids and alkalis are good for general cleaning and bacteria struggles to thrive in either environment.”
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Baking soda’s alkaline properties mean it reacts with acidic substances, and you should make the most of this when you’re cleaning.
Mr Brooks added: “The alkaline properties of bicarbonate of soda can also be used to react with acidic substances like White Vinegar.
“By mixing white vinegar and bicarb, you are causing a reaction and the two will neutralise each other.
“In some instances, the reaction may be desirable and have benefits – such as chemistry experiments for kids or dislodging debris in sink drains.”
However, the tips about making a paste with bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar are “misguided” according to Mr Brooks.
He said: “Bicarb is an excellent deodoriser and surface cleaner on its own.
“It can be used neat with a damp cloth or if you do desire a paste, just add a little hot water.”
Baking soda cleaning hacks
The word ‘hack’ insinuates that a cleaning tip isn’t typical, so it’s important to be careful when reading cleaning ‘hacks’ online.
Mr Brooks said: “There seem to be lots of ‘hacks’ right now, advising people to mix product X with product Y.
“In almost all cases, this is NOT sound advice and can indeed be dangerous.
“If it truly improved the performance (safely), then the manufacturer would make them like that.
“But as with many tips on the internet, sometimes you have to take them with a pinch of salt.”
It is perfectly safe to clean with baking soda and vinegar, and Dri-Pak advises you pour three tablespoons of baking soda and 100ml white vinegar into your plug hole to dislodge blockages in drains.
Dri-Pak recommends using baking soda to clean the following:
- Work surfaces
- Microwave ovens
- Waste bins
You can use bicarb cream, which is a liquidised version of baking soda, to clean the following:
- Work surfaces
- Cooker hobs
- Cooker extractors
- Microwave ovens
- Toilet bowls
- Toilet exterior
- Plastic furniture
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