Household Uses for Baking Soda
1. Deodorize – Neutralizing smells is baking soda’s claim to fame. However, baking soda is only as effective as you are diligent to use it correctly. That box of baking soda in your refrigerator will absorb odors for awhile, but the humidity will form a crust on the top layer. Stir up the box every two weeks, and replace it after two months. Sprinkle fresh baking soda in trash cans or diaper pails every time you change the liner, in smelly sneakers, litter boxes, musty areas and any other odorous places.
2. Drains – When you replace boxes of baking soda used for refrigerators, throw them down the drain or pour into your toilet tanks to sit overnight before flushing.
3. As a carpet freshener – Use as you would a store-bought brand and sprinkle it on the carpet, wait for about thirty minutes, then vacuum.
4. Salvage books from mildew – Humidity is the enemy of any paper product, but once the damage is done, you can erase the smell by sealing the book in a container with some baking soda for a few weeks.
Cleaning with Baking Soda
5. Stains – Baking soda is a gentle cleanser for stubborn stains in coffee mugs, tea cups, and plastic ice tea jugs, and safer to use than bleach. Make a paste and scrub stains away.
6. Lift grease – Douse baking soda on barbecue grills and let it sit overnight before scrubbing with a wire brush and warm water. You can also use it for grease spills on the garage floor.
7. Clean marble countertops – Marble countertops are easily damaged from ordinary household products like lemon juice, but baking soda is a safe and recommended cleanser. It also reaches those tiny crevices that occur naturally in marble. Use a toothbrush sprinkled with baking soda to scrub the cracks, and wipe the counter with a baking soda and warm water solution. Rinse thoroughly.
8. Clean silver –To remove tarnish from your silver, line a glass casserole or stainless steel pot with aluminum foil. Place the silver on the foil so that each piece has contact, then sprinkle it with 2 to 3 tablespoons each of baking soda and salt. Pour boiling water over it just to cover, then let it soak. Rinse and wipe the pieces dry. Do not use baking soda as a paste to rub on silver.
9. Clean cutting boards – Don’t like to use bleach on cutting boards? Use a paste of baking soda, salt, and water. Rinse with hot water.
10. Microwave – An easy, safe way to clean stubborn splatters is to put 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a glass of water, then heat for 3 minutes. Wipe it clean.
11. Scrubbing power – Use it to gently cleanse porcelain, enamel, tile, fiberglass, and stainless steel surfaces. Safely scour away crayon or marker doodlings on walls and floors.
Personal Uses for Baking Soda
12. Toothpaste – Major toothpaste manufacturers already add baking soda to their products, touting its whitening properties.
Plain baking soda sprinkled on a toothbrush and dampened with water works equally well, though the taste is not preferable. It’s a good alternative for those who are concerned about consuming too much fluoride.
13. Facial scrub – Mix a solution of three parts baking soda to one part water to exfoliate your skin. This home remedy works well to soften skin, but it can be slightly drying if used too often, so modify it to your skin’s needs. Mix baking soda and oatmeal in a blender; the oatmeal seems to offset baking soda’s burning sensation. If you have sensitive skin, try mixing baking soda with Cetaphil for a daily exfoliating scrub.
14. Soothing Bath – For sunburns or itchy rashes from eczema, insect bites, poison ivy, or chicken pox, a tepid bath with baking soda provides some relief.
Using Baking Soda in the Kitchen
15. Produce – Dissolve several tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of cold water to wash your produce. The baking soda is safer than soap, and will neutralize some of the impurities in the water as well.
16. Meat tenderizer – Rub baking soda on the meat for two to three hours before you need it. Rinse the meat thoroughly before cooking.
17. Counteract acid – Oops! Added too much vinegar to a recipe? Add a pinch of baking soda. Be careful - a little goes a long way. Add a pinch to tomato dishes to balance the acid. Your acid reflux-prone family members will thank you, but forego this baking soda use if anyone in your family needs to reduce their salt intake.
18. No more gas – Add a pinch to bean recipes when you soak them to reduce those unpleasant aftereffects. Rinse the beans before cooking.
Slightly Offbeat Uses for Baking Soda
19. Swimming pools – Replace expensive pool chemicals to maintain the alkalinity in the water. The folks at Arm & Hammer say to use one and a half pounds for every 10,000 gallons of water.
20. Kill cockroaches – Mix an equal solution of baking soda and sugar and set out milk jug lids with this concoction in dark corners.
Roaches love it, but it’s a deadly mix. Although baking soda is considered a safe, non-toxic substance, too much can make your babies and pets sick. Keep these roach traps away from your little ones.
21. Camping friend – Take a large box of baking soda on your next camping trip to cut down on packing space. Use it to wash dishes, scrub pots, put out fires, wash hands, brush teeth, and soften those insects when the fish won’t bite.
22. Corroded Car battery terminals – Make a three-to-one baking soda to water paste and apply to disconnected car battery terminals to scrub away the corrosion. When done, apply petroleum jelly to prevent it from happening again.
Arm yourself with a few boxes of baking soda and try out at least a few of these ideas. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to uses for baking soda. Baking soda is not a cure-all, however, and ingesting too much can be dangerous. If used correctly, it is a safe, economical choice which could make a significant difference in the levels of the world’s pollution, and your pocketbook.
Life is good, Life is natural!
1997 CA&J Farm
Mathews County, Virginia