Baking soda is an all-round workhorse. You see people using it everywhere from their stinky shoes to their bathrooms.
For sure, baking soda has its advantages, for instance, when added to an acid like vinegar, baking soda can loosen tough stains. This is all down to the way baking soda reacts with acids.
Without vinegar, baking soda can help remove stale and nasty smells. When sprinkled on upholstery or carpets, the baking soda and air work together to grab the odor producing molecules.
It cannot, however, clean in the sense of removing harmful germs and bacteria. This is why we would say, no, baking soda cannot clean your couch. It can deodorize it, but it cannot clean the couch.
To truly clean your couch, you’ll need to use a steamer. Steamers get hot enough to kill bacteria and remove germs, baking soda does not.
The best way to keep your couch clean is to vacuum it regularly. This prevents particles and bacteria from taking hold. You should supplement the regular vacuuming with annual steam cleans to kill germs.
Can Baking Soda Damage a Couch?
Dry baking soda won’t damage your couch, but it can be difficult to remove.
The active ingredient in baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. This is not a bleaching agent, or an oxidizing agent. In essence, this means that there is nothing in baking soda that can cause damage to your couch when applied dry.
What some people find is that they struggle to remove the baking soda. This is particularly common if your couch fabric is textured or grooved. Often people find that the baking soda gets stuck in the gaps and the crevices.
This won’t cause damage to your couch, but it is definitely annoying. It can make your couch appear pale or blotchy if the baking soda isn’t evenly distributed.
When mixed into a paste with water, some people find that the baking soda tends to dry into flaky patches. This is usually a result of the paste not being wiped away properly. We wouldn’t recommend using a baking powder paste on fabric sofas because it is difficult to remove.
The other thing to be aware of is vinegar. People tend to pair baking soda with vinegar because the reaction can lift stains. However, putting undiluted vinegar on your sofa can damage the fabrics and leave stains.
Can I Leave Baking Soda on a Couch Overnight?
You can leave baking soda on your couch overnight, but it may be unnecessary.
If you’re using baking soda on your couch, it is because you want to remove odors. When using it this way, most people recommend leaving the baking soda for about 20 minutes.
In those 20 minutes, the baking soda should fuse with the odor particles. Once fused, it is easier for the odor particles to be removed by the air.
Baking soda also draws odor particles out of the deeper folds of the fabric. The longer you leave it sit, theoretically the more odor it draws out.
Of course, once the odor particles are removed the baking soda can’t do anything else. It is not an antibacterial agent, nor is it a bleaching agent. This means that it literally can’t do anything after it has removed the odor.
Unless you have an exceptionally stinky couch, it is unlikely that the baking soda will be working overnight.
It might be convenient to leave the baking soda overnight. If this is the case, you don’t have to worry about it harming your sofa.
What you might have to worry about is pets or children spreading the baking soda over the house. We definitely don’t recommend leaving baking soda out overnight if you have free roaming pets or young children.
How Do I Clean My Couch with Baking Soda Without a Vacuum?
Normally when you clean your sofa with baking soda, you vacuum the baking soda up after a few minutes. However, if you haven’t got a vacuum, you can find yourself in a bit of a pickle.
In order to clean your couch with baking soda but no vacuum, you’re going to need a few stiff bristled brushes, a cloth, a dustpan, and a lot of patience.
First things first, remove any debris, dust, and pet hair with one of the stiff bristled brushes. You might want to brush this stuff into a dustpan.
Once you’ve brushed off the couch, give it a wipe down with a cloth. This cloth has to be dry. If you make the couch damp, then the baking soda will stick.
After cleaning the sofa, sprinkle baking soda lightly over the sofa. You don’t want large mountains of baking soda on your sofa. A light covering will be more than sufficient. Leave the baking soda to do its job for about 20 minutes.
When it comes to removing the baking soda, you’ll need the stiff bristled brush again. Patiently brush the soda off your sofa. This might take a while, so you’ll need some patience. It is best to try and brush the baking soda into your dustpan to save you cleaning the floor after.
Once you’ve removed the bulk of the baking soda, you can use a cloth to get the rest. Only at the very end of the process, can you introduce a bit of water to the cloth.
Will Baking Soda Discolor My Couch?
Baking soda will not bleach or discolor your couch in the traditional sense. By this we mean that baking soda won’t leach any color dyes or bleach areas of your couch.
What might happen is that the baking soda gets caught in the textured or grooved areas of your sofa. This can cause your sofa to look pale or faded. In reality, the issue is that the white baking soda is covering up the colors of your couch.
The best way to deal with this is to use a vacuum, brush, or cloth to wipe the baking soda away. You may have to make multiple passes if the baking soda is persisting.
You don’t want to add water to the baking soda because this will cause the baking soda to clump and form a paste. This can cause discoloration if the paste dries because the paste is often much harder to remove.
We still recommend that you spot test your baking soda before dumping it on the entire couch. Try putting a light sprinkling of baking soda on the underside of the couch cushion or somewhere equally inconspicuous.
Will Baking Soda Ruin My Couch?
Ultimately, baking soda will not ruin your couch. It has a single active ingredient which is sodium bicarbonate which does not pose a risk to your couch materials.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a leather, fabric, or natural material couch, dry baking soda is safe to use.
What can appear to cause damage to your couch is water. If you use a damp cloth or spray your couch with water, you might notice discoloration. This is likely dirt rising out of the foam or padding of the couch.
Rising dirt isn’t an issue as it can be removed, but it can look alarming initially. You can’t remove dirt with baking soda because it is simply a deodorizer. You will need to use an upholstery cleaner or warm water to remove the rising dirt.
The other thing to be aware of is that if you use baking soda and vinegar on your sofa, you need to make sure you dilute the vinegar. Undiluted vinegar can cause bad smells and discoloration because it is highly acidic.
If you do want to use vinegar and baking soda to spot clean, you’ll need to add water and some dish soap. This will neutralize some of the acidic qualities but still allows the baking soda to react with the vinegar.
What is far more likely to be ruined is your vacuum. Some vacuums struggle to suck up large quantities of baking soda. This is especially true if the baking soda is wet. Wet baking soda clumps and can totally choke up your vacuum.
Where possible try to use a wet/dry vacuum as these are better adapted to thick or difficult materials.