Friday Cleaning: Washing Soda Tests

Isn't this pretty? It has nothing to do with cleaning. It was my dividend for cutting back the roses along the gazebo. I got so many roses off the prunings that I have four vases full scattered around the house. This is the biggest. The scent is positively filling the place.

On to today's topic!

We're always trying for two things around here:

  • healthier living...
  • ...and saving money

It's why we go through so much vinegar and baking soda. We use vinegar to clean our unfinished wood floors and our windows, as well as in the laundry, and we use baking soda in the laundry and elsewhere.

I read an entry on sew green on making laundry soap, and of course I'm interested in trying that at some point soon. But Nikki also wrote about using washing soda, one of the main ingredients in the laundry soap, as a hand dishwashing agent.

As it happens, we have a HUGE bag of washing soda, aka soda ash, in the basement. I use it for dyeing cotton, and it was a component in the dishwasher powder I used to make back when we had a roll-around dishwasher. So we got a jarful out of the basement and conducted some quick dishwashing tests.

We found that it does work for handwashing dishes, but it takes a LOT of water to rinse. It also leaves a film of grease on the water itself. The best results we got were on pans with some burnt-on grease. Right now we can only recommend it as an emergency dang-we're-out-of-dish-soap measure.

Last night we conducted a test of how well it would clean the bane of my existence, the stove pans. I put a heaping soup spoon of washing soda in very hot water and put the pan in to soak. To the top left is the "before" picture, and here to the right is the "half-after" picture. John took a copper scrubber to half the pan, and you can see it removed the burned-on gunk quite well. He says he didn't have to scrub that hard, either.

The big flaw in the experiment, of course, is that we didn't put a pan to soak in plain hot water as a control. We'll try that in the next couple of days. God knows we've got stove pans that need cleaning. And we're going to keep experimenting with washing soda around the house and see where we get results and where we don't.

Update: More on washing soda.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 


Guest's picture

do you use anything to add a fresh scent to your laundry? do you make a laundry detergent?

experimenting and wondering if a mix of hydrogen peroxide, soda ash and lemon zest would clean my cloth diapers? any suggestions

Myhousemf's picture

We use Dawn Power Dissolver and it is the best thing ever!

Julie Austin's picture

Your comment about cleaning you unfinished wood floors caught my eye. We have finished wood floors that need to be re-finished. Now I am thinking they don't need to be re-finished, just sanded?

Jilsyt's picture

Just wrap those puppies with foil, and if you spill on them, rinse them off and recycle the foil, and use another piece. OR, my solution was to buy a gas stove that didn't have any burner pans to clean!!

Lynn's picture

But we're specifically testing less-toxic natural homemade stuff. :) Interesting to see you here! You're out of context! :)

(Myhouse followed me over from my other site.)

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

Lynn's picture

Lining the pans is a fire hazard.

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

Myhousemf's picture

oops, sorry. ;)

Add new comment