Using Baking Soda for Hair Washing

Clean and no Chemicals

Photo: Hair Washed With Baking Soda is Shiny and Looks Lighter.
Photo: Hair Washed With Baking Soda is Shiny and Looks Lighter. | Source

Tired of Shelling Out for Expensive, Chemical-Laden Shampoos?

I don't know about anyone else but I balk at the cost of everyday items, including such things as shampoos and conditioners. Beauty products are becoming increasingly expensive. On top of that, consumers are becoming more savvy about the chemicals they are exposing themselves to by using these products.

I've been gradually "greening" my home by replacing my chemical-laden cleaners with everyday items (baking soda, vinegar, peroxide) I have on hand and have found that this is much more feasible both from a health standpoint and financially, too.

I mean, come on, who wants to spend close to $10.00 for a bottle of shampoo? I certainly don't and hence I'd been buying the cheapy shampoo for around $3.00 a pop; however, I discovered there was a downside...

One evening, I had the strangest reaction in my scalp. It starting itching terribly and I almost wondered if I'd picked up head mites or lice, such was the severity. I checked in the mirror and couldn't see anything but the itching wouldn't stop and was so bad, I rinsed my hair with water--and almost immediately, the itching stopped. This seemed to help until the next time I used my shampoo and again, later that same day, my scalp started up and nearly drove me mad! What on earth was going on and why was this terrible itching occurring?

At that point, I started to suspect that my shampoo was the culprit. It was the only thing I was using on my hair. I checked the bottle and the shampoo contained a veritable cocktail of ingredients most people would be hard-pressed to even pronounce.

If these chemicals were affecting my skin so negatively, what other dangers did they pose? After all, our skin is an organ, whereby chemicals can be absorbed into our bodies.

Who Would Have Thought You Could Use Baking Soda for Hair Washing?

Photo: Sodium Bicarbonate--Baking Soda
Photo: Sodium Bicarbonate--Baking Soda | Source

My Quest for DIY All Natural Shampoo

I knew the time had come to do something about the shampoo I was using. I did a search for shampoos containing all-natural ingredients. I found what appeared to be good-quality products on the market such as Dr. Bonner's soap but...

I found that some natural shampoos, unfortunately, were every bit as expensive or even more so than their chemical cousins in the grocery store aisles. Trying to be health-conscious would be costly!

I'm a great believer in simplicity. As I've gotten older, I've realized that so many of the products I thought I had to have on hand to clean my home with were just so much stuff. A few simple, non-toxic cleaning products are all that is needed, in most cases, and these items are good for the environment and for the humans who use them.

I remember the days when I had drain cleaner, oven cleaner, bleach, Mr. Clean, Comet, and Windex, sitting under my kitchen sink. I went through my home and got rid of all of these items. I found I could do almost all my cleaning tasks with my fav three: baking soda, vinegar, and peroxide.

With that In mind, I did a search online to see how to make my own shampoo using, hopefully, one of my favorite three.

No More Episodes of Itching

As time went on, the real proof was in the pudding. I did not have any more episodes of itching.

Baking Soda to the Rescue

I soon found that baking soda could be used to wash hair. This surprised me. I'd never heard of someone using it for this purpose. Would it make hair gritty? I wondered. While it seemed a tad odd to me, with my scalp still burning and itching and no local natural products store nearby, I thought I would give it a whirl.

I washed my hair and almost immediately the itching stopped. I noticed that my scalp felt better and that my hair felt soft.

And a couple of days later, I realized I hadn't had to wash my hair and it didn't look greasy. What a difference from shampoos! I discussed this with a friend of mine and she mentioned she had been using baking soda to wash her hair and once her hair had been stripped of all the stuff built up from store-bought shampoos and conditioners, she could now go a week between hair washings.

My second washing with baking soda must have removed some of the built-up gunk because this time, my scalp felt even better and my hair came out wonderfully shiny. Wow! I was sold. It is the oddest sensation but my head feels lighter, as if my scalp is able to breath somehow, without all the build-up.

Most important of all, no re-occurrence of that terrible, relentless itching!

What You May Notice

When you start washing your hair with baking soda, you may notice your hair feels sticky. All the built-up gunk on your hair will start to come out, so it may take a couple of washings and a bit of patience before this resolves.

First 2 Weeks: My Hair Is Shinier and Lighter!

Okay, so after washing my hair 5 times now, just using baking soda, what results do I see? My hair is shinier and looks lighter.

I'm finding it is much easier to rinse my hair after washing it.

One thing worth mentioning: you should use a conditioner because hair can a bit harder to brush through at first, as the baking soda breaks down shampoo residues.

3rd and 4th Weeks: Hair Is Even Shinier!

Wow! The baking soda must still be removing built up gunk. I've never seen my hair this shiny. I haven't washed it for almost a week and it is in great shape.

1-2 Years Now

I've become so used to using baking soda now to wash my hair, I never give it a thought. I simply keep a box in my bathroom beside my jug.

I will never go back to buying shampoos

What I Like About Using Baking Soda for Hair Washing

  • inexpensive
  • rinsing is a snap
  • longer time between washings

How to Wash Hair With Baking Soda

Okay, for the uninitiated, how does one use baking soda to wash hair? First off, forget about bubbles. You don't need these to achieve clean hair.

  • 1 tsp baking soda (Make sure to use aluminum-free.)
  • 1-2 cups warm water
  • a jug with a handle
  1. Put 1 tsp.-1 tbsp. of baking soda (depending on whether you have short or long hair) into a jug and add warm water, then twirl the mixture with your hand to dissolve the baking soda.
  2. Pour this mixture over the top of your head. You don't have to worry about your ends, if you have long hair (as I do), because if you use enough liquid, it runs down your hair.
  3. Proceed as you would if you were using shampoo, working it through your hair and rubbing it in.
  4. Rinse with warm water. Because there is no soap and bubbles to rinse out, rinsing is a snap. (I use two jugs of water.)
  5. If you want to give an area extra attention, simply sprinkle on some baking soda and scrub your hair.

Cautionary Note

Some people feel their hair becomes somewhat dryer and are concerned about this. I occasionally use apple cider vinegar--another chemical-free way to condition hair.

Have You Tried Using Baking Soda for Hair Washing?

  • Yes
  • No
  • This is a Great Idea, Can't Wait to Try it!
See results without voting

Wake-up Call

In hindsight, I am thankful that my itching scalp gave me a wake-up call, as to the chemicals I was putting on my hair and scalp. I was forced me to reevaluate the expensive, chemical-laden shampoos on the market. Who would have thought that something as simple as baking soda could do such a bang-up job of hair washing.

© 2012 Athlyn Green

Comments 10 comments

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 6 months ago from West Kootenays Author

After using baking soda now for a long time, the easiest way to do this is to fill a jug with warm water, dump in about a tsp of baking soda and swirl to mix, then pour over your head. Work your fingers through your hair, as you would with shampoo, then rinse with 1-2 jugs of water. So easy. I will never go back to shampoo now.

Alissa 3 years ago

can i usit the bakin soda with shampoo or just with a wotter?

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 4 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Carrie,

Great tip about the coconut oil--can't wait to try that.

ICarrie profile image

ICarrie 4 years ago from Georgia

I use this with ACV (apple cider vinegar) as a shampoo and coconut oil as the conditioner. Completely eliminating shampoo & conditioner costs! Occasionally I will shampoo w/Dr. Bronners. This is also a great remedy for Psoriasis and other scalp conditions. Great hub!

Jess 4 years ago

I've been using baking soda shampoo and an ACV rinse for about a year now with great results! Plus saving money and helping the environment.

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 4 years ago from West Kootenays Author

I was talking to a friend who mentioned that store-bought shampoo actually triggers oil-prodution in hair and this is why we have to wash it so often. She wrote: When you shampoo, it strips the oil and signals the vgland to make more, on the double. So it's a demand/supply thing, the more you use soap to strip, the more oil will be made.

This made sense to me. Companies that produce shampoo would, of course, want consumers to have to use their product more often, thus generating the need to buy more.

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Dolores and Earth Angel.

Earth Angel 4 years ago

GREAT Hub Athlyn! I have long blonde hair that hangs far below my waist! I tried your baking soda idea yesterday! I was shocked at how easy it was to wash/rinse my hair with no residual! I did not shampoo afterwards but did condition from my neck down! You were right! My hair came so clean and shiney! After spending thousands of dollars on high-priced shampoos like Caviar, I am a convert! Thank you so very much for sharing! Blessings Always, Earth Angel!

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Just to let you know that I used the baking soda instead of shampoo, and though I sorta missed the bubbles, it worked very well! And the peroxide...must confess to using a bit of that in the winter!

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 4 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Delores,

I notice with this second washing, my hair is lighter. The first washing, my hair felt a little stiff or sticky but I think that was because some of the previous build-up was coming out of my hair.

I'm so thrilled to have taken another step to a safer environment in my home and for my health.

Another neat trick if you want to lighten your hair is to spray it with peroxide. This does a great job and is far cheaper and safer than dyes.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

I can't wait to try this! As a natural blonde, I often wondered how come my hair sometimes looked darker than others - and not just the winter/summer difference. I started using a super cleaning shampoo and noticed that my hair looked lighter. Many of the cheap shampoos leaves that build-up of gunk you mentioned.

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