Ways You Can Use Baking Soda When Car Washing


One of the go-to household items for removing stains is baking soda. You can substitute most cleaning products with baking soda. There is a dedicated car wash cleaning solution for every part of your car. These products can be expensive. So, can you substitute those with baking soda? What can baking soda do when washing a car?

Here are all the uses of baking soda in car washing. I’ll cover all the parts where you can use baking soda to clean your car, leaving step-by-step instructions.

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is an excellent cleaning agent because it’s able to dissolve dirt, odors, and oil stains when mixed with water. It’s abrasive too. You can’t use it on car paint, leather, and upholstery. It can clean almost any fabric in your car. 

7 Uses For Baking Soda In Car Washing

7 Uses For Baking Soda In Car Washing

1. Cleaning Cloth Car Seats

Cloth car seats can withstand the abrasive properties of baking soda. So, you can it use to remove dirt and grease stains. It will also remove the odor of the stain.

To surface clean the car seats follow this.

  1. Make a paste by mixing 1/4 cup of baking soda with a cup of hot water. 
    If the texture is still not thick enough, add more baking soda. Do it slowly though, you want a paste-like texture.
  2. Get a toothbrush.
    You are going to use this for scrubbing. Any old toothbrush will do, even if it has a bit of toothpaste on it, it will be fine.
  3. Apply layer by layer of the toothpaste. 
    You don’t want to just smear the paste over the seat. Start with a layer on one part of the seat that you are going to scrub.
  4. Scrub the seat with the toothbrush.
  5. Vacuum leftover baking soda or wipe away with a clean cloth. 

Here’s how to get rid of heavy-duty stains.

  1. Put warm water in a spray bottle. 
    You are going to presoak the seat, for the best coverage, do this with a spray bottle.
  2. Spray water equally all over the stain. 
  3. Pour baking soda over the stain. 
    You can apply soda here freely. Just make sure that you apply equally over the stain. Also, don’t overdo it.
  4. Let it sit for half an hour. 
  5. Vacuum the seat. 

That’s how you use sodium bicarbonate on cloth car seats. Be sure to check the washing instruction if there are any. Also, for fabric protection and restoration, you can still use a dedicated car product.

2. Cleaning Faux Leather Car Seats

2. Cleaning Faux Leather Car Seats

Now, we are not talking about car seats made from natural leather. I’m talking about plastic vinyl leather seats.

There is a concern that these types of leather can also crack if you use an abrasive. I would still go with a dedicated car cleaning product. You don’t always have that on hand though.

You can try using baking soda. It is a mild alkali, so it shouldn’t damage the faux leather if you use a mild solution.

Here’s how to use it to clean faux leather car seats.

  1. Get a clean and soft microfiber cloth.
  2. Spray it or dip it in cold water. 
    You want the cloth to be damp, just a bit.
  3. Put a small amount of baking soda on the damp microfiber cloth.  
    You still want to have enough so the stain will dissolve easily. But you shouldn’t put too much on. Just enough for the soda to stick to the cloth and not make a mountain.
  4. Rub the stain.
    With the damp cloth, start rubbing the seat, focusing on the stain. Be gentle though, don’t rub too hard, you don’t want to damage the vinyl.
  5. Clean up with a clean damp cloth. 
    Just wipe away that leftover soda with a damp and soft cloth.

3. Cleaning Cloth Car Floor Mats

As I said, you can clean most fabrics in your car with sodium bicarbonate. If you have cloth car floor mats, instead of rubber ones, you can clean them too.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Remove the mats from the car. 
    It’s preferable if you do this outside and not in your car.
  2. Put warm water in a spray bottle. 
  3. Spray water over the mats.
  4. Make a baking soda paste. 
    Just like before, use 1/4 cup of baking soda and a cup of water. Add more soda for a thicker texture.
  5. Apply the paste and scrub with a soft brush or a toothbrush. 
  6. Vacuum the floor mats.

If there are any heavy-duty stains like oil stains, you can just soak the floor mats.

  1. Remove the mats.
  2. Spray hot water over the seats.
  3. Spill baking soda all over the mats.
  4. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Vacuum the mats.

4. Carpets

The carpeting of the car can also be cleaned using the baking soda solution we already talked about.

I’m not talking about car floor mats. I’m talking about the actual carpeting of the car.

Use the same cleaning method for getting rid of stains that we already explained. Maybe you have some grass stains on your carpeting.

Just spray water on the carpet to pre-soak it. Spill baking soda over it. Let it sit for half an hour, and vacuum it up.

5. Seat Belt & Shoulder Straps

5. Seat Belt & Shoulder Straps

Believe it or not, the seat belt in your car is quite dirty. Even if you can’t notice it, after cleaning, a lot of dirt will come off. You can’t notice it because it’s dry dirt.

Here’s how to clean your seat belt and shoulder straps.

  1. Remove the seat belt.
    Check the car manual for instructions. If you don’t how to, you can do it with the seat belt on. It’s just preferred if you remove it. Cover the seats if you are worried about contamination.
  2. Make a baking soda paste. 
    Again, mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with a cup of warm water.
  3. Apply the paste on the seat belt & shoulder straps.
  4. Scrub with a toothbrush or a bristled brush. 
    Whatever you have on hand. A toothbrush is smaller so you can be more precise.
  5. Wipe with a clean damp cloth. 

6. Child Car Seat

Despite the basic car seats, you can clean infant car seats too. It all depends on if the seat manufacturer allows it.

The fabric should be fine but some of these seats have protective layers. So, the soda may ruin that protective layer.

Check the washing instructions the seat manufacturer left. If you can wash it like these, by all means, do it. You can remove that odor from vomit stains.

Just use the paste solution, then vacuum the seats. You can clean the harness straps too.

7. Wheels

7. Wheels

The wheels and the rims are probably the only parts of the exterior that can be cleaned with baking soda. Follow this guide.

  1. Make a baking soda paste. 
  2. Apply the paste to the rims. 
  3. Let it sit for 5 minutes. 
    This is to make sure any corrosion is dissolved too. You can try adding white vinegar too, only a cup of vinegar will add to the cleaning power..
  4. Scrub with a soft toothbrush.
  5. Rinse with warm water. 

That’s all, I’m afraid that for anything else, you may have to use a dedicated car cleaning product.

What Not Use Baking Soda For When Washing Car

  • Don’t use baking soda on your paint job. 
    As we said, it’s abrasive, so it will scratch up the paint finish. Never, I mean never, use it on your car paint.
  • Don’t use baking soda on rubber mats. 
    Rubber mats are easy enough to clean, you don’t need baking soda. More so, it will break apart the rubber.
  • Don’t use baking soda on upholstery. 
    Most of the upholstery can be quickly damaged, so it’s best to clean that with an upholstery cleaner.
  • Don’t use baking soda on car leather seats. 
    The leather seats will start to crack up. Use a car leather cleaner and conditioner.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Is Baking Soda Good For Washing Car

It depends on what type of car washing you are doing. Baking soda is good for cleaning cloth fabric interiors. It’s not good for cleaning the paint finish or car leather seats.

Does Vinegar Harm Car Paint

Yes, vinegar can harm the car paint. It’s a relatively strong acid, so it will corrode the paint finish.

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