Is baking soda same as baking powder for cleaning

Few ingredients in your kitchen cupboards carry as much weight as baking soda and baking powder. Aside from making baking possible, these unassuming powders moonlight as eco-friendly cleaning agents. I don’t know about you, but I usually prefer to use green alternatives to harsh chemicals, whenever possible.

Today, we’ll explore the difference between baking soda and baking powder for cleaning. Are they the same thing? Can you use them interchangeably? Which one is better? Let’s find out together!

In this article:

  • What is baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)?
  • What is baking powder?
  • Differences in taste and pH levels
  • Eco-friendliness and well-being
  • A word of caution
  • FAQs on baking powder and baking soda for cleaning
    • Can baking powder replace baking soda for cleaning?
    • Are there surfaces unsuitable for baking soda cleaning?
    • Can baking powder remove stains?
    • Is it safe to blend baking powder with lemon juice for cleaning?
  • Conclusion

What is baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)?

I’ve written about baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) extensively. It’s a white crystalline powder with alkaline properties. It’s sometimes referred to as baking soda and other times – as bicarbonate of soda (or bicarb soda). But it’s essentially the same thing.

While most people are aware of its baking properties, few are as familiar with its cleaning prowess. If you remember our cleaning science lessons, bicarb soda is an alkaline agent, making it good for removing grease and organic stains.

You can use baking soda to clean all sorts of stains and surfaces, including: 

Baking soda is a versatile green cleaner, though it’s not without its limitations (more on this below). 

What is baking powder?

So is baking powder the same thing as baking soda? Not exactly. While baking powder contains baking soda, they’re not the same thing.

Baking powder combines baking soda and an acidic agent (most often cream of tartar). If you remember from our article about mixing baking soda and white vinegar, this should neutralise, them, right? 

Well, no. In this case, both substances are in their crystalline form, so they don’t react with each other. Only when water is introduced and they dissolve do they begin to cancel each other out.

However, this poses a bit of a problem for baking powder as a cleaner. Since in most cases, you need water to make a paste for cleaning, the acidic and alkaline elements within baking powder react and cancel each other out. This means it’s not as good a cleaner as pure bicarb soda. 

Differences in taste and pH levels

The flavour profile of these compounds reveals more than meets the taste buds. Baking soda leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste, which alludes to its alkaline character. 

On the flip side, baking powder has a neutral taste thanks to the acidic elements in the mix. This positions the pH levels of baking powder at around 7, meaning it’s neutral.

What this means is baking soda is much more effective than baking powder in most cleaning situations.

Eco-friendliness and well-being

The environmental impact of cleaning agents is paramount in the age of eco-conscious living. Bicarb soda is as green as they come which makes it an excellent eco-friendly alternative to many chemical cleaners. Its non-toxic nature ensures a safer cleaning experience for you and your family. Following recommended guidelines ensures both efficacy and safety.

A word of caution

While baking soda is generally safe, mixing it with other cleaning (especially the likes of bleach) can be dangerous. Although, in all fairness, mixing most things with bleach is dangerous. Keep things simple and try not to experiment unless you’re absolutely sure you know what you’re doing.

FAQs on baking powder and baking soda for cleaning

Here are some frequently asked questions concerning baking soda and baking powder.

Can baking powder replace baking soda for cleaning?

Baking powder can play a cleaning role, but it’s not as effective as baking soda due to the acidic elements within the mix. Baking soda’s alkaline nature makes it the preferred choice for effective cleaning.

Are there surfaces unsuitable for baking soda cleaning?

Absolutely! Avoid aluminum cookware, non-sterling antique silver, specific hardwood floors, and delicate surfaces prone to scratching. We have a more complete list of surfaces you want to avoid cleaning with bicarb soda.

Can baking powder remove stains?

It can, in some situations. However, baking soda is much more effective. There’s no point wasting time with baking powder.

Is it safe to blend baking powder with lemon juice for cleaning?

It’s safe, though it’s not effective. Because baking powder has acidic elements, what you get in the end are the acidic elements from the lemon juice. You’re better off just using lemon juice, instead.

If you want to create a fizzing reaction, mixing baking soda and lemon juice or white vinegar on a surface releases carbon dioxide, which can help loosen dirt and stains.


The distinction between baking soda and baking powder is pretty obvious in the realm of cleaning. While baking powder can be better for baking, baking soda is the clear winner in terms of cleaning. Don’t waste your time with baking powder for cleaning. Use baking soda instead.  And, as always, if you need us, we’re never more than a phone call away.

Samyx Cleaning - Branding Consultant, Author - Atanas
Author: Atanas Dzhingarov

Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.