Can You Use Baking Soda to Lighten Your Hair?

If you’re looking to lighten the color of your hair — minus a trip to the salon — baking soda might do the trick, too.

Here’s a look at how to use baking soda to lighten your hair color as well as other benefits.

How does baking soda lighten hair?

While it’s possible to lighten hair with baking soda, it’s only effective under certain circumstances.

Baking soda is an abrasive cleaner and a natural cleansing agent. This is why some people use it to remove tough stains on hard surfaces and fabrics.

Baking soda can also remove stains from hair. It’s sometimes used as a natural remedy to remove semipermanent hair color. So when it comes to lightening the hair with baking soda, the method is most effective on dyed hair.

Since baking soda is a scrubbing agent, washing your hair with it can gradually strip the dye from your locks. Baking soda can lighten all hair colors, but it might take a few washes to get your hair to the desired color.

Baking soda and selenium sulfide

Some people use baking soda with an anti-dandruff shampoo for faster results. These shampoos include the ingredient selenium sulfide, which is known to fade hair color.

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

Baking soda can also lighten hair that isn’t dyed, but not when it’s used by itself. To lighten nondyed hair, you have to use baking soda as a base with hydrogen peroxide. This is a bleaching agent that lightens hair.

How do you use baking soda to lighten your hair?

Here are instructions for how to use baking soda alone, with hydrogen peroxide, and with anti-dandruff shampoo to lighten hair.

Using baking soda alone

To lighten your hair using baking soda alone, create a paste by combining:

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) of baking soda
  • a small amount of water

Add enough water to achieve a medium-thick consistency. It shouldn’t be too thick or too watery.

Next, gently massage the baking soda paste over your hair. Allowed the mixture to sit on your hair for 15 to 20 minutes, and then rinse or wash your hair.

Using baking soda with hydrogen peroxide

To lighten your hair with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, create a paste by combining:

  • 2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp of hydrogen peroxide

Apply the paste evenly over your hair. Leave it in for 1 hour if you have dark hair or 30 minutes if you have lighter hair. Rinse your hair with cold water.

Using baking soda with an anti-dandruff shampoo

If you want to mix baking soda with an anti-dandruff shampoo to speed the lightening process, make a paste by combining:

  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of shampoo

Apply the paste evenly over your hair. Allow the paste to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing it out.

Can baking soda damage your hair?

Although baking soda can remove hair dye and lighten the color of hair, it’s not right for everyone.

Baking soda is a great cleansing agent for removing product buildup on the hair and scalp. But the high alkalinity of baking soda can also leave hair dry, frizzy, and brittle. Baking soda doesn’t contain moisturizing ingredients that you’ll find in shampoos and conditioners.

And unfortunately, if your hair becomes too dry and brittle, it can break off. If you have sensitive skin, using baking soda can also irritate your scalp. So if you have problems with eczema or a dry, itchy scalp, this home remedy might worsen your condition.

The best way to avoid problems is to add water and dilute the baking soda before applying to hair or scalp.

You should also include deep conditioning as part of your wash day routine. This helps restore lost moisture and keeps your strands hydrated.

Also, be sure to use baking soda sparingly. Try using it 2 to 3 days in a row to get your desired hair color, then wait a few weeks before reapplying it to your hair.


Salon visits can be costly and time consuming. The good news is that several DIY home solutions can safely lighten the color of your hair.

Baking soda is a great option for removing semipermanent hair dye and lightening dark hair. It can be used alone or combined with other ingredients.

It’s worth noting that baking soda can have a drying effect on your hair, so it’s important to deep condition your hair and use the paste sparingly.

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