How to Use Baking Soda for Stain Pretreating

How to Use Baking Soda for Stain Pretreating

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

In This Article

A baking soda paste is a great option to use to pretreat even the toughest stains. Making a baking soda paste requires only water and baking soda. To make it, mix a two to one ratio of baking soda and warm water in a small bowl. If you use 1 cup of baking soda, you'll only need 1/2 a cup of water.

This pasty mixture can be applied to stained clothing before laundering. A baking soda paste helps draw the stain out of the fabric to be trapped and held in the baking soda. As the paste dries, it removes the stains. Before using baking soda, be sure to check for colorfastness first. Don't be afraid to change up the amount of water you add to make a paste to the consistency that you like working with.

Smelly Stains

Stains that have a really bad odor benefit from baking soda as a pre-treater. Dried baking soda sucks up moisture and laundry odors as it sits in contact with them. Pouring baking soda on a wet stain and allowing it to sit can help remove both the stain and the odor. Be sure to brush off the baking soda into the sink or the trash before washing through the regular cycle.

Using baking soda to treat odor
The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

Blood Stains

Use a baking soda paste rubbed onto a dampened blood stain. Allow it to sit for up to an hour. It can help lift the stain from the fabric. Because baking soda also can whiten, it will help to remove the color or dye portion of the stain as well.

using baking soda to remove blood stains
The Spruce / Danielle Holstein


A baking soda paste can be useful in banishing sweat stains and odors on clothing. Rub the paste onto the stained area of the clothing before laundering. Tough stains may need to let the paste sit for one to two hours. Just brush the baking soda off into a sink or trash before washing normally. Once again, the baking soda also works to absorb any odors from the clothing that may be lingering.

using baking soda to remove odors
The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

Fruit and Wine Stains

Fruit and wine stains need to be treated right away, but if you're in a hurry, pour a little baking soda on the stain, and then later run hot water through the back of the stain. This is an emergency pretreating method that really works. The baking soda soaks up any liquid remaining on the clothing as it sits and dries.

baking soda used to treat red wine stains
The Spruce / Danielle Holstein


Usually, a lot is going on when you have someone throwing up in your home. Trying to deal with the laundry at that moment is not easy. And even if you did deal with it right away, the smell of vomit can linger even in clothing that has been washed. Sprinkling baking soda on the site and rubbing it in can help remove the smell when it is washed. This is especially helpful with spit-up when washing baby clothes. You can even pour baking soda on the stained area and then come back to it later when life calms down and you actually have the time to work on the stain. The baking soda will have absorbed the remaining liquid and helped to absorb odors, too. 

baking soda used to remove vomit stains
The Spruce / Danielle Holstein