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Everyday Cheapskate: 10 Brilliant Ways to Use Washing Soda That Will Make Your Life Easier

Mary Hunt on

It looks and feels for all the world like laundry detergent. White. Coarse. Powdery.

A mineral mined from vegetation in dry lake bottoms in the Middle East, kelp from Scotland and seaweed from Spain, it's used to make glass, bricks, paper, rayon and toothpaste. It cleans silver and softens water.

Its real name is sodium carbonate, but this stuff also goes by soda ash, Na2CO3 and good old Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.

Washing soda and I go way back. For years, I have added washing soda to the washer for cleaner, whiter, brighter laundry. More recently, it has become one of the ingredients in our homemade laundry detergent.

Best of all, washing soda (aka sodium carbonate) is cheap. Depending on the source, expect to pay around 10 cents per ounce.

More recently, I have discovered that washing soda is much more than a laundry detergent booster. With a powerful pH of 11, washing soda acts as a solvent all around the house and garage. It removes dirt, grime, greasy buildup and a range of stains.

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Remove the burners. Sprinkle dry washing soda on a damp sponge, and scrub that stovetop, broiler pan and oven, making sure to avoid the heat element. Soak the burners in a solution of 1/2 cup washing soda dissolved in a gallon of warm water for at least an hour. This will soften and break down all of the greasy gunk and grime. Scrub as needed. Rinse well. And dry.


To remove greasy, burned-on stains from cookware (do not use on aluminum cookware), fill the pot with hot water. Add a spoonful of washing soda and a splash of dishwashing liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then simmer for 15 minutes. Caution: DO NOT use on aluminum cookware.


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