Washing hair with baking soda: Does it actually helps?

Washing hair with baking soda

Are your hair feeling lifeless & weighed down from the product buildup but you don’t want to go for usual clarifying chemical shampoos and other styling products?

What if one of the simplest, cheapest yet very effective remedies was residing right in your pantry? Can you guess? Probably can’t !!!

Without more guessing games, say hello to “Baking soda”!

Essentially a natural clarifying agent, washing hair with baking soda makes it a perfect Diy clarifying shampoo that can easily detox your hair from days and weeks of product buildup.

But before you ransack your pantry to bring out the baking soda container to get started with washing your hair with baking soda, you need to understand a few things like…

How a baking soda dry shampoo works? what are some other baking soda shampoo recipes that you can make to supplement your hair detoxification efforts?

So, if you are planning to washing your hair with baking soda and experiment whether it solves common hair problems like product build-up & dandruff or not, then this is a perfect blog post to read from top to bottom.

What does baking soda do to your hair?

what baking soda does to your hair?

Before you get to learn how does baking soda benefits your hair, you first need to know what is its composition and how it is important for your hair problem?

What is baking soda made up of actually?

Baking soda also known as sodium bicarbonate is a common household item for ages. It is simply a salt of a compound NaHCO3 composed of sodium and bicarbonate ions.

Moreover, having a high pH of 9 make it a good acid-neutralizer and an excellent cleanser for your scalp and hair.

Top benefits of baking soda for hair

benefits of baking soda hair rinse for hair

If you are really concerned about the range of unknown and potentially harmful additives found in OTC available commercial shampoos then you can need to check out a simple baking soda replacement for these harsh chemicals.

Why are sometimes regular shampoos so bad?

So, before you get to know the benefits of baking soda for hair, you might ask what makes regular shampoos so bad? 

The truth is they can contain the following harmful ingredients that are building up on your scalp and taking a toll on your overall head & hair health by stripping your hair of its natural oils, causing your scalp to produce more and more.

Some of the worst chemical-offenders found in them are:

  • sodium Sodium Lauryl
  • Laureth Sulfate
  • DEA/Diethanolamine
  • Parabens
  • Fragrance

The following are some of the benefits that baking soda has to offer for your messy hair.

1. Baking soda helps remove scalp buildup to detoxify your hair

It can easily get dissolved in water to remove away any oil, soaps and other product’s ingredients buildup that is found in a lot of typical hair care products.

By stripping away this buildup, baking soda can leave hair squeaky-clean, shiny, and soft. Regular doing this scalp buildup removal helps maintains overall health & strength of your head & hair.

2. Baking soda helps exfoliate dead skin from the scalp

The fine-powdered nature of baking soda makes it a good exfoliant that can easily strip away dead, dry skin cells from the scalp surface allowing the regeneration of healthy scalp cells boosting overall health.

3. Baking soda can help to treat dandruff

Strong antifungal properties of baking soda can effectively fight the fungus responsible for dandruff.

4. Baking soda restores the scalps’ natural pH balance

Since baking soda is alkaline in nature ( pH of 9), this can disturb the acidic pH of scalp i.e your hair cuticles open and lose moisture, making your hair rough, frizzy, dry, and quite messy.

That’s why combining a baking soda with an apple cider vinegar, can help to restore the scalp’s natural pH balance.

5. Baking soda removes chlorine from the swimmers’ heads

People who spend a lot of time in water like swimmers or beach-goers can benefit from washing their head & hair with baking soda as it can easily remove harmful-chlorine from their hair.

6. It is a good alternative to harsh commercial shampoos

As pointed out earlier, since baking soda is a common kitchen cleansing staple, you simply need to sprinkle some of the baking soda powder in your regular shampoo or mix separately into the water and apply on your scalp and clean it up.

Other daily life benefits of baking soda!

The following are some of the benefits of baking soda in general, according to Healthline.

  • It can treat your heartburn
  • It can help you get some oral hygiene as it makes a good mouthwash.
  • It can be used home remedy for whitening your teeth
  • It acts as a good deodorant to kill bad smells of your sweating & fridge.
  • It is used as a fitness supplement to boost your exercises performance
  • It can help soothe your itchy skin and can treat sunburns
  • It works as an important ingredient of certain cancer treatments
  • It is a safer, cheaper alternative to commercial air cleansers.
  • It is a safer, cheaper alternative for your laundry clean up products.
  • It is a common kitchen staple to help your utensils & floor cleanser
  • It acts as a natural, cost-effective, powerful bathroom cleanser.
  • It can clean up pesticides & insects from your fruits & veggies.
  • It can act an ingredient in a lot of fire extinguishers
  • It is a safer, effective killer of weeds in your home walkaways & cracks

How to use baking soda as DIY clarifying shampoo?

baking soda DIY clarifying shampoo

So, now you know the potential benefits of using baking soda for your hair but you don’t know how to properly use a baking soda dry shampoo for clarifying & detoxifying your head & hair.

Step 1: Simple baking soda Hair rinse recipe

What do you need?

  • Just half, ½ a cup of baking soda powder
  • About 3 to 4 times of water as compared to the quantity of baking soda

How to make & use this clarifying recipe?

  1. First, warm up the water in a separate container to increase its dissolution power and then add baking soda powder into it.
  2. Now, get your hair properly wet evenly. This increases the receptive power of your scalp towards the clarifying recipe.
  3. Now, simply pour the baking soda & water mix onto your hair and use your hands to massage your scalp to spread it evenly on your scalp.
  4. After 2-4 minutes, simply rinse it off your head and apply a good conditioner to seal the detoxification benefits gained.
  5. You can use honey, jojoba oil or coconut oil as a conditioner post-baking soda application.

How often should this clarifying rinse be used?

Since baking soda can be harsh, depending on your hair type, you can use it from 1-2 times weekly or fortnightly i.e if you have oily hair, you are okay with using it 1-2 times a week. 

However, if you have already dry hair, minimal usage is always safe i.e once per week or fortnight.


Alternative Baking soda shampoo recipes

For your liking, if you are sensitive about using simple baking soda mixed with water on your head, there are some good alternative/safer/less harsh ways to use it.

These alternatives are:

  1. Add baking powder straight into your shampoo and use as it as a new regular shampoo. OR
  2. Add baking powder into your head after you have leathered shampoo on your head, and then simply rinse this mixture off your head.

Step 2: Follow with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar hair rinse

As pointed out earlier, since baking soda is alkaline, pH 9, it disturbs the acidic pH of the scalp which is 4-5. In this state of pH, your hair will dry out and become brittle & frizzy.

So, to balance out this disturbance in the pH of the scalp, applying an apple cider rinse is a good idea. Combining both baking soda and apple cider vinegar for hair is a simple, quick way to restore your pH balance resulting in smooth & healthy hair.

Moreover, apple cider vinegar in itself has strong anti-fungal & antimicrobial properties that can help against dandruff and also detox your scalp without stripping away its natural oil.

What do you need?

How to apply ACV on your hair?

  1. First, add the ACV into the quantity of 2 cups of water.
  2. After you have rinsed off baking soda & water solution, simply pour the ACV on your hair.
  3. After 2-4 minutes, just rinse it off with cold water which can help seal in the gained moisturizing and detoxification benefits.

How Often to use it?

Whenever you use a baking soda solution Or when used individually, you can safely use it 1-2 times a week or fortnightly.


Beautywised tip!
Vinegar is smelly that you might not like, so you can add lavender, peppermint, and/or rosemary essential oils to the vinegar mixture which would help to remove some of the smell.

Potential side effects/risks with baking soda rinse

baking soda side effects

While there are obvious benefits of using baking soda for cleaning up your scalp but due to the harsh nature of baking powder, there are some serious risks attached too, which you need to take into account.

Potential Risks/side effects of using baking soda on hair include.

1. Dryness

While there is no doubt that baking soda is a good cleansing agent, but it can do something extra cleansing leading to over stripping of natural oils causing dryness.

That’s why typical commercial shampoos contain ingredients that moisturize the hair and keep it clean and never cause too much dryness.

What you can do?Whenever you use a baking soda rinse, keeping in view its ability to dry out, using some natural conditioner like coconut or argan oils can help to restore moisture.

2. Breakage

This is another major problem with baking soda due to the nature of its compound i.e its tiny, abrasive crystals can tear away delicate hair strands which lead to split ends & breakage.

3. Scalp irritation

Scalp irritation is another potential problem with baking soda. That’s why dry skin/dry scalps and people suffering from eczema should always avoid it.


Research evidence:

So far there is no research evidence that baking soda can actually benefit your hair like making it soft and shiny and there is a need for more research in this regard.

However, there is definite research evidence that it can damage your hair and cause skin irritation. According to research, a hair product with higher pH levels can damage the head & hair in the following ways.

This is understandable as the average scalp pH is 5.5 and that of hair shaft 3.67 but baking soda has a pH level of 9.

According to another study, an alkaline soap (pH 9.5) could decrease the skin’s fat content and cause severe irritation in the upper protective layer of skin.

Potential Risks/side effects of using baking soda on hair include.

Final words: Does washing your hair with baking soda help?

While it is very much true that baking soda can benefit the hair initially but the fact is that the long list of benefits of baking soda is a lot of self-reporting.

So, if you continue using for a long time, you are definitely going to do more harm than good to your general overall hair health.

What about the “No poo method”?

No Poo methood

The no-poo method says that since the very alkaline nature of baking soda disturbs your head’s normal pH balance, diluted an apple cider vinegar rinse afterward a baking soda scrub can help rebalance your scalp’s pH level.

Le’s evaluate this method’s claim and find the truth about it.

No poo Claim 1:  Dissolving baking soda in water can dilute its pH.

Ans: No, it’s not true. The pH level of baking soda won’t change.

No-Poo claim 2: Baking soda can remove oil & buildup from the scalp

Ans: Yes, it is true. It can but repeated use can cause serious damage.

No-Poo claim 3: Apple cider vinegar can help rebalance pH levels.

Ans: Maybe & May not be. So far, research has not proven this.

No poo claim 4: Coldwater used to rinse off can seal the cuticles

Ans: No, there is no such evidence to support this claim. In Fact, oils could be better suited to do this job.

Completely avoid “No Poo” if you have the following concerns.

  • you have dry or brittle hair
  • you use chemical/color treatments on your hair.
  • Use a lot of heat styling tools
  • you have sensitive skin


The No Poo method cannot be validated by research evidence, in fact, it could be the opposite i.e combining a high & low pH level source together can stress your scalp.

If you have to use it, proceed with caution and patch-testing on your skin before actually using it could be the best and safest way to go.

Other baking soda replacement natural shampoos

So, given the limited research evidence supporting the benefits of baking soda and the efficiency of the “No-Poo” method, you might want to look for healthy natural alternatives to baking soda called natural shampoos.

Definitely there are a number of other hair detoxing recipes that merits your attention and a must-try. 

Best homemade natural hair detoxing shampoos

The following are the natural products that are suited for most hair types to help them detox their hair and scalp from excess oil, dirt and damaged skin cells.

1. Lemon juice hair shampoo

lemon juice hair shampoo

Lemon juice is another potential anti-scalp easy to do home remedy that has very good scalp cleansing properties thanks to its acidic nature.

Just like apple cider vinegar, its acidic properties which are proven to be helpful against dandruff can be useful against buildup too due to its pH balancing properties.

How to make this remedy?

  1. Take lemon juice and water in a 1:2 ratio ( 2 water, 1 lemon juice) and mix them well and collect it in a spray bottle.
  2. Now, using this spray bottle, start spreading all over your scalp with the help of your fingers and let it sit for about 15 minutes before you rinse this off with a clarifying shampoo to clean up any leftover buildup.

Why does Lemon juice work against scalp build up?

  • Rich in Vitamins C, it is effective against the free radical damage of your scalp skin and improving collagen production to treat stunted hair growth.
  • Lemon has strong antifungal properties which effectively counters any infection growth on your scalp and control hair fall and dandruff
  • It helps the opening up of clogged pores to stimulate the growth of dormant hair and regulate the overproduction of sebum which is one of the main contributing factors for scalp buildup.

2. Lemongrass oil hair shampoo

Lemongrass hair oil shampoo

Lemongrass oil is another potential anti-scalp build-up remedy that you should check out. 

A recent research study found that lemongrass oil is a very good remedy for dandruff, however, it’s anti-dandruff benefits can be translated to the removal of scalp build up too. 

3. Jojoba oil

jojoba oil hair shampoo

Jojoba oil can also be helpful for balancing out the scalp oil production to treat dryness of hair which saves your hair from getting severely dry and scalp build-up.

4. Bentonite Clay and Aloe

Bentonite clay and Aloe vera natural shampoo

What do you need?

What do you need to do?

  1. Simply mix up the three ingredients bentonite clay, aloe gel and the ACV quantity mentioned. Stir well to get a smooth paste.
  2. Now, simply lather this mixture over your scalp and hair and cover-up for 20-30 minutes to protect it from drying.
  3. After this much time, simply rinse the mixture with a cup of ACV and wait on for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Finally, after this much time, simply rinse this off with cold water and use a good conditioner to seal the gained benefits.

Why this natural detoxification works?

  • This powder is rich in minerals, including silica, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, and potassium. These minerals help to purge away dirt and open up clogged pores from heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals.
  • On the other hand, Aloe Vera gel, due to its powerful nourishing properties, it can soothe any potential irritation. It’s also a great conditioner and prevents itching.

How often to use it?

You can safely use this natural detoxifying clay recipe once in a fortnight and if you would like to use it more often then you have to minimize the use of harsh vinegar in it.

5. Sea Salt & shampoo

sea salt and shampoo natural shampoo

What do you need?

How to use it this detoxifying remedy?

  1. Simply mix up the sea salt and shampoo well to get a good mix.
  2. Now simply spread it on your hair and using your hands try to create a good lather.
  3. Finally, after 3-4 minutes, simply rinse this off with cool water and apply a good conditioner after that.

Why this natural detoxifying shampoo works?

Sea salt would work as a natural scrub to help you exfoliate while shampoo would help you supplement your exfoliating efforts as an additional cleansing agent.

How Often to use it?

You can safely use this natural detoxifier once a month.

6. An oil-based scalp massage

oil based scalp massage

If you have a sensitive type of scalp, especially if you have been recently hair treated, an oil-based scalp massage is the way to go.

How to do it?

  1. Simply choose any of the below-listed oil depending on your hair type & concern, dilute them with water and start deeply massaging onto your scalp for 10-20 minutes.
  2. After this, simply cover up your head to let them sink in your hair well. Else, just sit out in the sun to allow the heat to open your pores and make them more receptive to the treatment.

Why this oil massage works?

  • coconut: moisturizes damaged hair
  • olive: moisturizes thick, processed, damaged hair
  • jojoba: moisturizes damaged hair, itchy scalps
  • argan: helps in improving overall scalp health and provide protection against hair damage & loss
  • essential oils: boosters for targeting growth, acne, itching, and more

7. Coconut Milk natural Shampoo

coconut milk natural shampoo

What do you need?

How make this natural shampoo?

  1. Simply mix all the ingredients mentioned in the list and store them in a separate bottle to be used after again.
  2. Now first get your hair properly wet and use the mixture just like your normal shampoo on your scalp and spread evenly from tips to roots.
  3. Leave it for 10-15 minutes, after which simply rinse it off with cold water.

Why does this work?

  • The castile soap in itself is a powerful natural cleanser that can easily remove away all the product buildup.
  • Coconut milk is a natural exfoliator and deep moisturizer that not only help you clean up your hair but its deeply moisturizing properties would help to impart some much needed deep moisturization to dry hair types.

How Often to use it?

You can use this natural shampoo recipe 2-3 times a week without any potential side effects.

8. Cinnamon Detox Mask

Cinnamon hair detox mask

What do you need?

  • About half, ½ tbsp of cinnamon
  • About 1 tbsp of baking soda
  • About 2-3 tbsp of olive oil

How to use it natural detoxifier?

  1. Simply mix the raw ingredients in a clean bowl and stir well to get a smooth consistency.
  2. Now simply massage the mixture onto your scalp and through apply over your roots to tips by sectioning your hair strands.
  3. After 20-25 minutes, simply rinse this off with cool water.

Why this natural remedy works?

Cinnamon can easily pull out the dirt and grime from your head while its natural antioxidant properties can prevent further hair damaged to keep them overall healthy.

How often to use it?

You can safely use this detoxifying mask 1-2 times a week without risking any potential side effects.

Other Best hair detoxification tips

Please follow these tips to further boost your hair detoxification efforts.

  1. Always choose a shampoo according to your hair type
  2. Always try to comb with the right brushes
  3. Make the use of natural oils a habit for your hair hair
  4. Try out hair butter to increase your hair softness 
  5. Avoid chemicals, heat, and processing at all costs.

Baking soda alternative home remedies for dandruff

dandruff removal natural remedies

While the powerful natural antiseptic of baking soda can help you treat the fungal infection causing dandruff, but if you don’t want to use, there are really good other home remedies for dandruff too.

The following are some of the best ways to remove dandruff from home without spending a fortune on drugstore products.

1. Apple cider vinegar for dandruff

Apple cider vinegar for dandruff

Like its long range of other health benefits, it can be used as an effective anti-dandruff strategy too.

  • The high acidity level apple cider vinegar triggers the shedding and falling down of dead skin cells and thus preventing dandruff
  • It is a great PH balance of the skin which easily fights off any sort of dandruff-causing fungus.

How to use it?

Don’t directly apply apple cider vinegar to your skin rather, add a few tablespoons of it to your daily shampoo or any other hair oil and then apply directly onto your hair and scalp.

If you’d like to give apple cider vinegar a try, add a few tablespoons to your shampoo or combine it with other essential oils and spray directly onto hair.

2. Controlling your stress levels can help dandruff

stress control can help your dandruff

You might wonder, what the hell my stress levels have to do with dandruff. But to your surprise, there is definitely a link according to 

While obviously there is no direct linkage between stress and dandruff, but what you need to know is that it can exacerbate symptoms like itching and dryness which directly relates to your dandruff on the head.

Moreover, a prolonged period of stress badly affects the activity level of your immune system which can diminish your body’s capacity to fight off new fungal infections and other related skin conditions which are directly responsible for promoting dandruff.

According to one study of Healthline which involved people suffering from dermatitis, more than 80% of people were found to have stressful life events.

How to control stress?

There are many easy to do stress control strategies like meditation, deep breathing aromatherapy and yoga which can be effective in getting your stress under control.

3. Try medication like Aspirin

Aspirin for dandruff controle

A drug like aspirin could be another source of surprise for you as a home remedy for dandruff but it is actually true.

Like I have mentioned for a number of times, anything which fights off fungus is one of the best recipes for fighting dandruff and the same is true for Aspirin.

An acid named Salicylic acid is a major component of aspirin and no doubt it has strong anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.

 Also, by virtue of these properties, it helps you fight against dandruff and other skin concerns by scaling, flaking and loosening of skin which can be removed by then easily.

That’s why if you have carefully read the common ingredients of a common shampoo, you would find salicylic acid mentioned there. Salicylic acid works by helping get rid of scaly skin and loosening flakes so that they can be removed.

According to a study lasting for 4 weeks, in Healthline, those people who were using a shampoo containing salicylic acid in it were more effective in dealing with the severity of skin scaling and hence dandruff than other shampoos that contain other than salicylic acid.

How to use it?

To use it as an effective anti-dandruff treatment, crush two simple tablets of aspirin and add the resulting powder to your shampoo and then wash your hair normally.

4. Try out Zinc for dandruff

zinc for dandruff

Zinc is a very important mineral that helps maintains the healthy body’s immune system and promotes cell growth. We get zinc from animal proteins, nuts, and whole grains.

Research evidence:

According to a study by the NIH, severe zinc deficiencies have been linked with hair loss, diarrhea, impotence, and skin lesions.

IN another comprehensive review from 2016 found zinc deficiency as a potent contributing factor for seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.

That’s why many dandruff shampoos contain zinc pyrithione because it simply prevents fungal growth and removes away excess skin cells from the scalp.

5. Include a lot of vitamins & minerals in diet

Minerals and vitamins for dandruff

Food actually has dominant effects on the body. Food may not be the root cause of dandruff, but it may make any problematic symptoms worse.

While there is currently little research on how food aggravates dandruff. However, a growing body of research is supporting an association between diet and inflammatory skin disorders, such as seborrheic dermatitis.

So since fruits and vegetables contain a lot of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may significantly help reduce inflammation.

Research evidence:

According to an observational study involving 4,379 people found that people who reported eating a lot more fruits & vegetables were less likely to have seborrheic dermatitis.

The results also found that typical Western diets may actually increase the risk of seborrheic dermatitis in females.

Moreover, a  2018 review found that a biotin deficiency could lead to several skin disorders like seborrheic dermatitis. Biotin or also called vitamin B7, plays a crucial role in supporting healthy hair, nails, and skin.

These are biotin-rich foods include:

  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • nuts
  • salmon
  • nutritional yeast

6. Include a lot of Probiotics in your diet

probiotics food for dandruff

What are Probiotics anyway?

They are a type of beneficial bacteria that are good for your health.There are many potential probiotic benefits, including protection against allergies, lower cholesterol levels and increased weight loss.

Moreover, probiotics can also boost your immune function, which could aid the body fight against the fungal infections that cause dandruff. In fact, one study found that taking probiotics regularly for 56 days significantly minimized the dandruff severity in 60 people.

Furthermore, probiotics have also been shown to suppress the symptoms of skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis, especially in infants and children.

While probiotics are readily available in supplement form for a quick and convenient dose. However, they are more commonly found in many types of fermented foods, such as kombucha, kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut, and natto.

How to use baking soda shampoo for dandruff and hair detox?

Further readings: 

  1. Lice vs dandruff: how to differentiate?

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