Baking soda: Why you should NEVER use baking soda on wood

Cleaning hack: Simple method to clean pans with baking soda

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Wood is a sturdy, easy to clean material that is used in lots of furniture and flooring. When mishaps happen, you can normally clean your wood with soapy water or white vinegar. If you happen to spill some baking soda on the wood, that’s another story. Express.co.uk chatted to cleaning expert and owner of Natrie (@natrieclean on Instagram) Lauren Daly to find out why you should avoid baking soda at all costs when it comes to wood.

Baking soda and wood are not a winning duo, in fact, you risk destroying your wood with an accidental sprinkle of baking soda.

If you’re cleaning a stain from your sofa or floor cushion and spill the powder on your wooden floor, you could be in big trouble if you don’t hoover it up immediately.

Cleaning guru Lauren Daly has revealed why you should never let baking soda come into contact with wood.

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Baking soda is highly alkaline and has a very high pH, which is why it is such a great cleaner.

Also known as bicarbonate of soda, baking soda neutralises acids such as old food stuck in a pan or drain, acidic smells in the fridge, and acidic stains on furniture.

Baking soda’s acidic nature is what makes it useful in cleaning – but acids don’t mix well with wood.

Wood contains a molecule called tannins, which are found in the bark of trees to protect the tree from being infected by bacteria or fungi.

The pH of tannins varies from one type of wood to another, but baking soda will normally react with the tannins and stain the wood.

Lauren explained: “Depending on what wood you have, the baking soda can have a chemical reaction with the tannins in the wood.

“This chemical reaction darkens the wood, causing stains which you can’t get out.”

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Oak, walnut, cherry and mahogany are examples of woods that have higher tannin levels, so the staining potential is much higher.

If you have a wood floor with a high tannin content, you should avoid cleaning with baking soda in that room at all costs.

If you must clean with baking soda in that room, make sure you don’t spill any baking soda on the floor.

The chemical reaction is irreversible, so if you’ve already made the mistake you may need to look into sanding down the wood.

Alternatively, Lauren suggests making up a bicarb solution to do some cool wood staining effects on the rest of the wood to make it look intentional.

Maple, birch, aspen and other types of low-tannin wood probably won’t be stained by baking soda, but it’s best to avoid cleaning with baking soda around these woods anyway.

Lauren said: “Unless you are super sure of the type of wood and sure it is low in tannins, avoid cleaning all wood with baking soda.”

You should also bear in mind that baking soda is an abrasive and can scratch the wood as well as stain it.

Bicarb could also react with some laminates on wood too and cause bleached spots.

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