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What Is Baking Soda Called in the UK?

UK version of baking soda

You may have heard of baking soda if you’ve been researching DIY cleaning solutions. It’s widely available because it cleans well, doesn’t cost much, and has many uses around the home.

In the United Kingdom, you might call it bicarbonate of soda, but in the rest of the world, it’s more commonly known as baking soda. 

It’s primarily used for its leavening capabilities in baking, which allow it to react with acid and produce carbon dioxide, causing the mixture to rise. Carbon dioxide is driven off by the heat, and the remaining air makes for a fluffy loaf of bread.

People in the UK usually call it “bicarbonate of soda”, while those in the United States call it “baking soda,” – but they are the same thing, and serve the same purpose.

Other common names for baking soda in the UK include sodium bicarbonate (or “bicarb” for short), and sometimes mistakenly it gets called baking powder, which is different – we’ll get into that in a bit. 

How is Baking Soda (bicarbonate of soda) Used for Cleaning?

cleaning grease with bicarbonate of soda

While most people are familiar with baking soda as a leavening ingredient in baking bread, cookies, and cakes, you could be surprised to learn that it can be used in a variety of other ways around the house.

Baking soda, despite its seemingly insignificant white powder appearance, is a vital alkaline that can tackle the toughest cleaning tasks. Furthermore, it is one of the most environmentally friendly methods of powerful cleaning the toughest dirt and stains. 

Here’s an oven cleaning example…

Heavy chemicals have a foul odour and do not help the environment, so no one like having to use them. The best way to clean an oven is using a homemade paste prepared from baking soda and water and rubbed onto the surfaces. 

White vinegar spray is used to create foam that can be used to remove stubborn dirt from the paste. Spray as often as necessary until the baked-on food is removed with a damp cloth.

This paste mix of baking soda and white vinegar spread over thick grease and grime breaks it down, making it easy to scrub away with a cloth.

You can clean steam irons with baking soda too…

Limescale deposits on the base or inside of your iron are a sign that you are using hard water. Similarly, if you leave the iron on a garment for too long, burn marks can form, potentially ruining an otherwise spotless garment.

Save your money for a new shirt and clean the bottom of your iron with common household objects.

There are a few different options available for giving your iron a new lease on life and ensuring it continues to perform at its best.

Baking soda can remove just about everything, from limescale to baked-on dirt.

The bottom of your iron can be cleaned with a paste made from two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of water.

Rub the paste all over the iron plate, being careful not to let any of it fall into the steam holes. Once you remove the paste, your iron’s sole should be as shining as new.

Is baking soda the same as baking powder in the United Kingdom?

No, baking powder and baking soda are two different products. Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda. In order to create a baking powder, baking soda is combined with cream of tartar and cornstarch. If you don’t have any baking soda on hand, you can substitute baking powder by increasing the amount of baking powder by a factor of three.

Although baking powder and soda have a similar name and appearance, they are two distinct things. As a leavening or raising ingredient, baking powder has no place in cleaning.

Alternatively, bicarbonate of soda (often known as baking soda) is an excellent cleaner. And although bicarb can be used in baking, it requires an acidic component to initiate a reaction in order to get the same results when used alone.

Because without the acid, the bicarbonate of soda wouldn’t react in the way that baking powder does when coupled with it.

It’s possible to use baking soda in place of baking powder, but you’ll need to make a few other adjustments along the way. It is important to keep in mind that baking soda is three times as powerful as baking powder when making substitutions.

Where Can You Buy Baking Soda In The UK?

Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is widely available in shops and online. 

Some of the best brands are Arm & Hammer which do a 907g box for under £5, and Dri-pak. Additionally, store-brand alternatives can be found in all major supermarkets – Asda, Aldi, Amazon, eBay, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Co-op, and Watros. You’ll also be able to find some in hardware and home stores like B&Q, Wilko, and The Range. 

Branded and non-branded baking sodas all do the same job. It’s only when you get into themed products with baking soda as an additional cleaner that brand may play a part in quality. Such as baking soda toothpaste, or spray cleaners. 

If you plan on using baking soda to clean multiple objects, however, you should consider purchasing this product in bigger quantities, either in-store or online. On top of that, you’ll end up saving effort and money by doing this. 

Dri-Pak Bicarbonate of Soda is the best option if you want to stock up on bicarb. You won’t have to worry about running out any time soon because these boxes are available in large 500g packs. And because Dri-bicarbonate Pak’s of soda is designed for cleaning rather than cooking, you can rest assured that it will remove even the most stubborn stains.