A little box of baking soda goes a long way toward making your house look and smell fresh. While other multipurpose grime-fighters cost a pretty penny, humble baking soda gives you the best of both worlds: It’s effective and affordable!
This sodium bicarbonate salt does everything from making cakes rise to neutralizing odors in the refrigerator. Consider it the miracle solution that no pantry should be without.
“Baking soda is the utility player of the cleaning world,” says Bryn O’Connor, chief cleaning officer of MyClean, an eco-friendly cleaning service available in New York City and Chicago. “It strikes the perfect balance between being gentle and effective.”
O’Connor says most commercial cleaning products “contain harsh chemical ingredients that are harmful to the environment and detrimental to our health.” Baking soda, however, achieves the same results (if not better!). And it does more than clean, too.
Household uses for baking soda
Here are 20 ways you can use baking soda to scrub, deodorize, and freshen your home and everything in it.
- Remove stains in bathrooms: Sprinkle a little baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub the tub, sink, tiles, and fixtures. Rinse and wipe off the residue, then dry.
- Dissolve grease and gunk: Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to soapy dish water, and soak pots and pans covered in baked-on food. Then scrub pots and pans with a sprinkle of baking soda on a damp sponge.
- Clean the microwave: Sprinkle baking soda on a sponge and gently clean the inside of your microwave. If that doesn’t work, boil a cup of water in the microwave; the steam will loosen stubborn food stains.
- Remove coffee stains: Say goodbye to coffee and tea stains on mugs and pots by washing them with a solution of ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 quart warm water. If stains remain, soak overnight in the solution, or sprinkle baking soda on a sponge and scrub.
- Wash walls: Apply baking soda to a sponge, and gently scrub off crayon art, food stains, and scuffs from walls.
- Remove floor scuffs: A little baking soda on a damp sponge will make floor scuffs disappear.
- Neutralize carpet smells: Sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet or rug, let set overnight (or for as long as you can stand it), and vacuum.
- Remove food stains from the oven: Spread baking soda on the bottom of your oven, spray with water or white distilled vinegar, and let set overnight. Then scrub and rinse.
- Boost laundry detergent: Add ½ cup baking soda to liquid laundry detergent to brighten and freshen clothes.
- Deodorize refrigerators: Store an open box of baking soda in the back of your fridge, which will neutralize odors.
- Freshen drains: When a foul odor rises from you sink, pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by warm tap water.
- Get rid of funky smells in sponges: Soak your sponge in a quart of water mixed with 4 tablespoons baking soda. If the sponge still stinks, place it in the dishwasher during your next cycle.
- Freshen musty closets: Place an open box of baking soda on a closet shelf.
- Fight fire: If a small grease fire breaks out, douse the flames in baking soda. Heated baking soda emits carbon dioxide that smothers flames. Leave the area and call the fire department immediately if the flames get out of hand or you feel unsafe.
- Fight bad breath: Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 8 ounces of water. Swish (don’t swallow), and spit.
- De-stink your trashcan: Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of smelly trash cans to cut the smell.
- Shine teeth: For an every-so-often whitening boost, add a sprinkle of baking soda to your toothpaste, and brush.
- Gently exfoliate: To remove dead skin cells and revive a healthy glow, make a baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda to 1 part water), and gently rub on your face or body in a circular motion. Rinse and dry.
- Soothe bug bites: Make a paste of baking soda and water, and dab on the swollen areas.
- Substitute for dry shampoo: Sprinkle a little baking soda onto your hair roots and brush, to cut the grease.
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