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Can You Clean with Baking Powder Instead of Baking Soda? Facts & FAQ

baking powder in glass bottle

There is a significant difference between baking soda and baking powder. While baking soda can be used for baking, cleaning, and deodorizing, baking powder is primarily used for baking and should not be used as a cleaning agent.

Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the two and how they are used.

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So, What Is the Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder?

Baking powder and baking soda are leavening or raising ingredients used in baking. Leavening is a reaction that helps batter and dough to expand and rise. Since baking powder and soda have a similar appearance and the names are alike, it can cause confusion for consumers. The difference between the two is the ingredients contained in each one.

Baking soda is a one-ingredient substance. It only contains sodium bicarbonate. When used for baking, it is added to ingredients that provide acid, such as cocoa, sour cream, and honey. Without acidic ingredients, baking soda cannot do its job and may cause unwanted colors, flavors, and odors in your baked goods.

Like baking powder, baking soda is an ingredient that is used in recipes. It is also widely used for cleaning and deodorizing, among other things.

Like baking soda, baking powder is a substance used to fluff up baked goods like cookies and cakes. The difference is baking powder contains ingredients such as cream of tartar and cornstarch; baking soda does not. The added acid in baking powder provides a leavening agent that does not require other ingredients like sour cream, cocoa, and honey for it to help your baked goods rise. The mixture of baking soda and acid react when mixed with liquid.

Baking powder comes in two forms, single- and double-activating baking powder. Since single-activating is used by manufacturers of food and is not available for households, home bakers typically use double-acting baking powder. The double acting kind creates a reaction when added to liquid and again when exposed to heat, creating a gradual rise in the baked goods rather than all at once.

Since baking powder contains baking soda in lesser amounts, it functions as a baking ingredient that contains baking soda along with other substances. One teaspoon of baking powder is equivalent to ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Therefore, it is not as effective for cleaning as baking soda and is not recommended for anything other than baking. Baking soda is three times stronger and will not turn into a gooey mess when mixed with water or vinegar for cleaning purposes.

baking powder
Image By: Azza_Hafizah, Pixabay

Ways to Clean With Baking Soda

In the Kitchen

  • Deodorize Your Trash Can: Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your trash once a week. It will help to eliminate odors.
  • Clean Your Stainless-Steel Sink: Keep your stainless-steel sink clean and shiny by cleaning it with a baking soda and vinegar paste.
  • Clean Your Stovetop: Sprinkle baking soda on the stovetop. Let stand for five minutes, gently clean with a damp sponge. Use a soft cloth to wipe it clean.
  • Clean Your Oven: Mix one-half cup of lemon juice and one cup of vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the bottom of the oven and let it sit for ten minutes. Sprinkle baking soda on the surface and let it sit for another ten minutes. Wipe clean.
  • Polish Your Silverware: Mix one part water to three parts baking soda to form a paste. Using a soft cloth, rub the paste onto the silverware, rinse, and dry.
  • Wash Vegetables and Fruits: Remove wax from fruits and vegetables with a mixture of water, lemon juice, and baking soda.
  • Clean Your Microwave: Apply baking soda to a damp sponge to remove stuck-on food in the microwave.
  • Refresh Your Garbage Disposal: Run warm tap water while pouring baking soda slowly down the drain to eliminate garbage disposal odors.
  • Keep Your No-Wax Floor Clean and Fresh: Mop your floor with a bucket of warm water with one-half cup of baking soda then rinse with clean warm water.
  • Clean Your Dishwasher: To remove stains and odors from your dishwasher, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run the regular cycle.

In the Bathroom

  • Grout Cleaner: Mix baking soda and lemon juice to make a paste. Cover the grout with the paste and wipe it off after several minutes. This can also be done using three quarters of a cup of baking soda and one-half cup of bleach.
  • Remove Soap Scum from Bathtub and Sink: Sprinkle baking soda onto a wet sponge and wipe down sink and bathtub. The soap scum will disappear.
  • Clean Your Shower Curtain: Apply baking soda to a damp sponge, scrub and rinse the shower curtain clean.
  • Clean Combs and Brushes: Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with warm water and soak combs and brushes overnight.
brushing tile grout with baking powder
Image By: Serenethos, Shutterstock

In the Bedroom

  • Keep Drawers Fresh: Fill a cloth bag or sock with baking soda and place it in the corner of your drawer to keep odors out.
  • Freshen the Closet: To keep your closet smelling clean and fresh, place an open box on the floor or on the shelf.
  • Deodorize Your Mattress: Vacuum the mattress. Cover the mattress with baking soda and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Thoroughly vacuum the surface again.


  • Clean Outdoor Furniture: Clean your lawn furniture with a mixture of one quart of warm water and one-half cup of baking soda. Rinse and dry.
  • Grill Cleaner: Cover the grates of the grill with baking soda and clean using a brush, rinse, and dry.
  • Battery Cleaner: Clean the battery of your lawn mower, car, or other equipment with baking soda. Mix one part water to three parts baking soda. Once the battery is disconnected from the terminals, apply mixture to a damp cloth to clean the corrosion.
  • Remove Oil Stains: Do you hate those awful oil stains on the driveway and garage floor? Clean them up with baking soda and a brush with stiff bristles.
  • Repel Bugs: To avoid getting ants and cockroaches, apply a line of baking soda around doorways and basement windows.
  • Chrome Polisher: With a mixture of water and baking soda, make a paste to wipe down chrome. Rinse and let dry.
  • Soften Paint Brushes: Boil your stiff paint brushes in one-half gallon of water, one cup baking soda, and one-half cup of vinegar.
  • Ice Melt: For better traction and to melt ice, sprinkle baking soda on walkways and steps.
  • Control Annoying Weeds: Sprinkle baking soda in the cracks of the driveway and sidewalk to help eliminate weeds.
baking powder
Image By: klaus nielsen, Pexels

For Use on Pets

  • Dry Shampoo: Sprinkle your pet with baking soda and massage gently. Your furry friend will love the massage and you will love the fresh smell of your dog.
  • Brush Your Canine’s Teeth: Using a paste of water and baking soda, give your dog’s teeth a good cleaning. It will also freshen its breath.
  • Deodorize the Litter Box: Add baking soda to your cat litter to help reduce the odor.
  • Deodorize Pet Bedding: Sprinkle your pet’s bed with baking soda. After 15 minutes or so, vacuum it or take it outside to shake it out.

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General Cleaning

  • Rug Deodorizer: Sprinkle your carpeting with baking soda. Let sit for 15 minutes and vacuum.
  • Remove Stains from Carpeting: Apply a mixture of one cup baking soda, one cup vinegar, and one cup of salt to the stain. Once dry, vacuum.
  • Drain Cleaner: Clean your drain with one-half cup of vinegar and one-half cup of baking soda. After the fizz, pour about six cups of hot tap water down the drain.
  • Repair a Small Hole in the Wall: No spackling. No problem. Mix baking soda and white toothpaste, fill in the hole, smooth, and let dry.
  • Deodorize Vacuum Cleaner: Do two jobs in one. Apply baking soda to the carpet and vacuum. It will deodorize the vacuum and the carpet.
  • Remove Water Spots: Do you have a piece of furniture with a water spot? Mix baking soda, toothpaste, and water to form a paste. Using a soft cloth, rub the spot with the paste until the spot or ring is gone.
  • Brighten Laundry: To help fight stains and keep colors bright, add one-half cup of baking soda to your laundry.

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As you can see, baking soda has a lengthy list of uses. Whether it is being used for baking, cleaning, or deodorizing, it is a staple in most households. Baking powder, on the other hand, is a great baking ingredient and is not meant for cleaning. We use it in our baked goods to give them the lift they need to make them airy and light and is not recommended for cleaning purposes.

Featured Image Credit: Gv Image-1, Shutterstock


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