Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) is a naturally occurring material. It is present in most organic life forms, however, it can also be made from sodium carbonate, or soda ash. Next to vinegar, baking soda is one of the most natural and health-friendly cleaning solutions and it has more than 100 uses.
Baking Soda vs Baking Powder
If you’ve ever tried to substitute items in a baking recipe, you know that baking soda and baking powder are NOT the same things. Baking powder contains cream of tartar and creates a chemical reaction when it is mixed with water.
To avoid confusion, remember that baking powder must be used in a recipe while baking soda can be used on its own for many things. Although baking soda is also used in some recipes, baking soda has a plethora of other uses in and outside the kitchen. It can also be used medicinally, for cleaning, deodorizing as well as a number of other things. There are over 100 uses for the common household item.
In the kitchen
The kitchen is the most likely place to find baking soda. In addition to baking, baking soda can be used for the following when in the kitchen:
1. Put a box or small bowl of baking soda in the refrigerator, freezer, or any cupboard. It will keep away unpleasant odors.
2. Baking soda will keep away garbage odors if you sprinkle the bottom of the pail and sprinkle again each time you put a new bag in.
3. Grease fires can be put out by sprinkling them with baking soda.
4. To clean surfaces, sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth. Wipe, then rinse with clean water.
5. To remove stale smells from food containers, rinse out with hot water and baking soda. If the smell persists, let the container soak overnight in the baking soda and water mixture.
6. To clean silver, make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to one part water and rub it on to each piece of silver. Once you’ve rubbed each piece with the baking soda paste, rinse it with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.
7. If you have scuff marks or grease spills on your floor you can get rid of them by sprinkling baking soda on them and wiping it with a warm, damp cloth.
8. For burnt-on food in the bottom of pots, sprinkle with baking soda, then add hot water. If you let it soak overnight, the burnt-on food will practically fall off the pot.
9. Clean your refrigerator with a solution of one-teaspoon baking soda to one quart of warm water.
10. Scrub cast iron with a soft nylon brush and a thick paste of baking soda and water to remove stuck-on grease and other food items. You can also clean your stainless steel kitchen items with a soft cloth and 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of water. When you are done, wipe it with a clean, dry cloth.
11. Add a pinch of baking soda to boiled syrup to prevent it from crystallizing.
12. Make a fluffier omelet by adding ½ teaspoon baking soda for every three eggs.
13. Use a pinch in a gallon of freshly-brewed iced tea, to take out the bitterness and prevent cloudiness.
14. Soak stale-smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution to get rid of the mess (4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water). For more thorough disinfecting, use the microwave.
15. Baking soda on a clean damp sponge cleans gently inside and outside the microwave and never leaves a harsh chemical smell. Rinse well with water.
16. Sprinkle baking soda onto the bottom of the oven. Spray with water to dampen the baking soda. Let sit overnight. In the morning, scrub, scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge, or vacuum, and rinse.
17. Use a baking soda paste made with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water to clean your silver flatware. Rub onto the silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry for shining sterling and silver-plate serving pieces.
18. Sprinkle the cutting board with baking soda, scrub, rinse.
19. Sprinkle baking soda on top as you add to your recycling container. Also, clean your recyclable container periodically by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge. Wipe clean and rinse. Learn about how to recycle everything.
20. Use baking soda to deodorize before you run the dishwasher and then as a gentle cleanser in the wash cycle.
22. To deodorize your disposal, pour baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water. Baking soda will neutralize both acid and basic odors for a fresh drain. This will also help keep those nasty smells from resurfacing.
22. Put some baking soda on a damp sponge, scrub and rinse your fruit and vegetables before you eat them.
23. Clean the dishwasher and coffeemaker by running an empty cycle with baking soda.
24. Keep your rubber gloves dry and smelling good by sprinkling baking soda inside them. This will also help you be able to slid your gloves on with ease.
25. Boil two inches of water in a pan with a burned bottom. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and add half a cup of baking soda. Let the pan sit overnight and when you go to clean it the next day, it will be much easier to clean.
26. Use a paste of baking soda (like those described above) to remove red sauce stains from plastic containers.
In the Bathroom
27. Make baking soda a regular part of cleaning your bathroom and keeping it clean. You can use baking soda to keep your septic system flowing freely. Simply add one cup of baking soda in your drains once a week and your septic tank will always work properly.
28.Use baking soda to clean and deodorize your vinyl shower curtains. Put a small amount of baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub the curtain. Hang it up to dry.
29.You can also use baking soda to clean the tub, tiles and sinks in your bathroom. Sprinkle the baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub like you normally would. You can also mix the baking soda with dish soap to add extra cleaning power.
30. To remove stubborn stains from most surfaces, use a baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda, one part water). Apply, let stand, then scrub or wipe clean.
31. Hairbrushes and combs can be cleaned in a baking soda solution.
32. To avoid clogged sink drains, pour 1/4 cup baking soda down weekly. Rinse through with hot water.
33. If you were unable to avoid the clog, baking soda can get rid of your clogged drain as well. Pour a cup of baking soda into the opening of your clogged drain and then add a cup of hot vinegar. After a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water and your drain will be as good as new.
34.If you’re having a problem with smells coming from your drains, pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup vinegar. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clean residue. Don’t mix this with other cleaning agents.
All Around the House
35. To remove those pesky scents from your carpet, sprinkle it with baking soda. Let the baking soda stand on the carpet for about 15 minutes. Vacuum the remaining baking soda up and repeat as needed.
36. Surround your dog’s food bowl with baking soda. It will keep bugs away.
37. If you are a smoker or there’s a smoker in your house, put baking soda in the bottom of each ashtray. This will help keep the smell of stale cigarettes out of your home.
38.If you have a cat, sprinkle baking soda in the litter box to help keep the smell to a minimum. You can also make your own litter by mixing a small box of baking soda with sandy clay.
39.If you have a baby you know their skin is sensitive and oftentimes odor and stain fighters have harsh cleaning agents in them. Instead you can use baking soda. Use 1/2 cup of baking soda to your liquid laundry detergent, or a 1/2 cup in the rinse cycle for deodorization.
40. Remove dirt and grime from your floors with 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water. Simply mop and rinse clean for a sparkling-clean floor. Do not use this on wax floors.
41.Furniture often needs polishing. You can make a homemade lemon furniture polish as well as remove marks from walls and painted furniture by applying baking soda to a damp sponge and rubbing it lightly. Rub the baking soda off with a dry, clean cloth.
42. Do you use cloth diapers? If so,dissolve 1/2 cup of baking soda in 2 quarts of water and soak diapers thoroughly to clean them.
43.If you’ve got a sports player in the family, use baking soda to neutralize their smelly sports equipment. Sprinkle baking soda into gym bags, golf bags and other sports equipment for a fresh scent.
44. Lunch boxes can become smelly after being used so often. Between uses, place a spill-proof box of baking soda in everyone’s lunch box to absorb lingering odors.
45. If you use baking soda to deodorize your carpets, it will also help deodorize your vacuum cleaner.
46. Place a box on the shelf to keep the closet smelling fresh, then follow these tips to organize your closet in an eco-friendly way.
47. Keep favorite cuddly toys fresh with a dry shower of baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on and let it sit for 15 minutes before brushing off.
48. Eliminate odors from your pets bedding by sprinkling liberally with baking soda, wait 15 minutes (or longer for stronger odors), then vacuum up.
49. Keep odors from spreading in smelly sneakers by shaking baking soda into them when not in use. Make sure you shake them out before you wear them.
50. Use baking soda to brush your pets’ teeth.
51. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle for fresher sheets and towels. You can also make homemade lavender linen water with this formula.
52. Baking soda in the litterbox will help prevent odors spreading throughout the rest of your home.
53. To quickly clean pets and remove “wet dog” odor, sprinkle with baking soda and brush out their fur.
54. Use baking soda when you have a spill on your carpet. Blot the baking soda on the spot and then vacuum it. This helps get the spilled item will up from the carpet and prevents odors from the spilled item lingering in the carpet.
55. Use 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart warm water to clean you child’s toys. Put the toys in this mixture then rinse with water.
In the Laundry
56. Replace half of your laundry detergent measurements with baking soda. This will help keep your clothing fresh and the colors in your clothing stay brighter longer.
57. To remove grease stains, add baking soda to your laundry load or pre-treat the stains with a baking soda paste.
58. Pre-treat your baby’s cloth diapers in their pail with baking soda. This will keep odors from becoming overpowering between each wash.
59. Add 1 / 2 cup of baking soda to your laundry, along with the normal amount of bleach. Baking soda will help increase the effectiveness of the bleach.
60. Add some baking soda to your laundry hamper every day to keep the hamper from smelling between each time you do laundry.
Outside the House
61. During the winter months, sprinkling baking soda on your front steps will provide traction and melt any ice present. Unlike rock salt, baking soda will not cause damage to the surfaces inside or outside your home, nor will it damage your shoes.
62. If you are trying to keep insects like carpenter ants, silverfish and roaches from getting inside, lay down a barrier of baking soda under sink-pipe openings and along basement windows. They eat the baking soda and die.
63. A light baking soda paste on a damp cloth will remove bugs and tar from cars without damaging the paint. Let paste sit for a few minutes before wiping and rinsing clean.
64. Baking soda can be used to help clean up grease spills on your garage floor or driveway.
65. To remove burnt food from your grill, sprinkle it baking soda and let it soak. After several hours, the charred pieces will practically fall off the grill grate.
67. Lawn furniture can be cleaned with a rinse of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart warm water.
68. A children’s pool can be cleaned and have mildew removed by washing with baking soda in warm water.
69. Before packing away your camping gear after a trip, sprinkle it with baking soda. This will help keep your camping equipment fresh.
70. Gasoline and oil odors can be removed from your clothes easily. Simply put your clothes in a trash bag with baking soda for a few days before washing them.
71. Baking soda can be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars, mowers, etc. Disconnect the battery terminals and apply a 3 parts baking soda, 1 part water paste to the battery with a damp cloth.
72. Before you store your patio furniture for the season, scatter baking soda under chair cushions. This will keep them fresh as well as keep the cushions in good condition while they are stored away.
73. Use baking soda when you go camping as a dish washer, pot scrubber, hand cleanser, deodorant, toothpaste and fire extinguisher. It is a cheap alternative for many of these things and you don’t have to cart a ton of stuff to use it – just a box of baking soda.
74. Eliminate the odors in your vehicle by sprinkling baking soda directly on fabric car seats and carpets. Wait 15 minutes and vacuum up the baking soda. You can wait longer than 15 minutes prior to vacuuming for strong odors.
75. Sprinkle baking soda into the cracks on your driveway and walkways to stop weeds from growing there.
76. Perspiration stains on clothing can be embarrassing. To remove these stains, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub paste into the stain and let it sit for an hour. After an hour, wash the piece of clothing as you would normally.
77. If you have a sweet tooth, you can curb your cravings with baking soda. Put one-teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water. Swish it around in your mouth and spit it out. This will make your sweet cravings disappear.
78.Use baking soda in place of dry shampoo.
79. Add 1/4 size baking soda to your normal amount of regular shampoo. It will add volume to your hair and remove any impurities.
80. Try a mixture of baking soda and honey to help clear skin. Apply the mixture for 15 minutes and rinse. It is a cure for acne.
81. Mix baking soda, strawberries and lemon juice together for a natural teeth whitening agent. Combine the ingredients and use the whitening paste to brush your teeth.
82. Your hair brush can get dirty with oil and product buildup over time. Place your brush in a bowl of warm water mixed with three tablespoons of baking soda. You can also add bleach to the mixture to disinfect the brush.
83. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to your usual facial cleanser and form a paste. Wash your face in a small, circular motion. This will help exfoliate your skin and leave your face feeling soft.
84. If you have discolored nails, you can get rid of stains by mixing baking soda and peroxide and scrubbing it on your nails.
85. Mix dish soap with baking soda and apply it to your hair to help restore color. Make sure you follow up this treatment with a good conditioner since this treatment can leave your hair dry.
86. Mix two to three tablespoons of baking soda with water for a foot soak. You can add an oil to the soak to add a scent. Soak your feet for 20 minutes and then scrub your feet with a baking soda paste to get rid of rough spots.
87. Mix baking soda with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a few drops of olive oil. After cleansing skin, apply this paste to your face and rinse after 10 minutes. This will help brighten your skin.
88. Add baking soda to your bath water to relieve sunburned or itchy skin. You can also make a paste and apply it directly to the affected area.
89. Exfoliate your skin with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to one part water. You can use this on any part of your body that needs exfoliation.
90. Mix a little baking soda into your conditioner. Lather it on your hair and rinse. This will help prevent split ends.
91. Soak toothbrushes in baking soda and warm water overnight to clean bristles.
92. Replace your shampoo with baking soda for a few weeks to fight dandruff.
93. You can wash your hands with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, or 3 parts baking soda to gentle liquid hand soap. Then rinse clean. This will help with the harsh affects of some soaps that are often used on hands.
94. Baking soda mixed with ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter make a deodorant that works better than most commercial deodorants.
95. Most over-the-counter antacids contain some form of baking soda in them. The baking soda neutralizes stomach acid, which helps relieve heart burn and indigestion. Baking soda has also been known to help relieve ulcer pain. Mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a half a glass of water, taken every two hours as needed. You shouldn’t exceed more than seven doses within 24 hours and should not be used for chronic conditions.
96. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a small glass of water to soak out your splinters. If you use this treatment twice a day, most splinters will come out on their own.
97. Baking soda is known to increase the pH of acidic tumors without affecting the pH balance of healthy tissues and the blood. Because of this, baking soda can be used as a means of nutritional and immune support for people with cancer.
98. Baking soda can help improve your exercise routine. The kitchen staple can absorb the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles during your workout. Drink a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water and watch your performance at the gym increase.
99.As previously stated, baking soda neutralizes acid in your body. If you have low-functioning kidneys, baking soda can help. Often times low-functioning kidneys cannot get rid of the acid in your body and consuming baking soda will fix that problem.
100. Add one-half cup of baking soda to bathwater to soothe psoriasis. You can also use it to soothe other skin conditions like sunburn, insect bites, etc.
Photo: Flickr: Aqua Mechanical