Although much more expensive products have been developed over the years to do the same jobs, baking soda can work for you just as well, if not better, in a variety of cleansing, deodorizing and maintenance situations.
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a naturally occurring substance found in all living things, that helps regulate their pH balance. Baking soda is made from soda ash (sodium carbonate). To produce baking soda, the soda ash is mined and then dissolved into a solution through which carbon dioxide gas is bubbled. The sodium bicarbonate is dried out of this solution.
Baking soda helps regulate pH— keeping a substance neither too acidic, nor too alkaline. When baking soda comes in contact with either an acidic or an alkaline substance, its natural effect is to neutralize that extreme pH and to resist further changes in the pH balance. This means it combats lots of different types of smells created by chemical reactions which occur with sweat, mold, fungus, etc.
It’s fantastic for many uses around the house. Be careful not to make your baking soda solutions too concentrated as you will leave a residue behind which can be more difficult to get rid of than the original complaint !
103 Fabulous Uses
- Use baking soda in baking to make things rise. It is used when an acidic ingredient, such as buttermilk or yogurt, is included in the recipe as this triggers off the chemical reaction to release carbon dioxide. It is used instead of yeast, usually because yeast takes too long to rise (leaven ).
- Baking powder contains its own acidic component. It is used in recipes for biscuits, muffins, cookies and cakes. It provides instant bubbles of carbon dioxide. To make your own baking powder, stir and sift together 2 parts of cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda and 1 part cornstarch. Make sure to mix all of the dry ingredients together and then add the liquid. That keeps the baking powder from reacting until the end of the mixing process.
- Keep an extra box of baking soda by your stove in case of grease or electrical fire. Scatter the powder by the handful to safely put it out. The baking soda produces a suffocating gas, carbon dioxide, which deprives the flames of oxygen and extinguishes the fire. Since carbon dioxide is heavier than air and does not support combustion like oxygen does, it smothers the fire while the water that is formed cools the fire to below the ignition temperature. Don’t use it on deepfat fryers — it can splatter.
- Keep a container of baking soda in your garage as well, perhaps in your car, to put out a fire. It’s good because it won’t damage anything it touches.
- Baking soda will also put out fires in clothing, fuel, wood, upholstery and rugs.
- Clean vegetables and fruit with baking soda. Either sprinkle the soda into water, soak and rinse the produce, or sprinkle the powder on a cloth and scrub the produce. Finish by rinsing.
- Wash out garbage cans with baking soda.¼ cup to a quart of warm water to clean and reduce odor. Rinse and air dry.
- Soak and wash diapers with baking soda. Soak in solution of ½ cup to ½ gallon of water. It’s effective and gentle on sensitive skin.
- To remove oil and grease from stained clothing add baking soda to the washing water. It will “fizz” off some of the oils.
- Cleaning your fridge and freezer with dry soda sprinkled on a damp cloth neutralizes the acidic odors created by rotting veggies and the alkali, or base, odors from rotting meat. Rinse with clear water. Baking soda has no fragrance or odor to taint your food.
- Deodorize your fridge and freezer by putting in an open container of baking soda to absorb odors. Stir and turn over the soda from time to time. Replace every 2 months. Arm and Hammer ® does a special fridge / freezer deodorizing box with fabric panels but punching holes in a regular box works just as well.
- Baking soda absorbs kitty litter odors. Cover the bottom of the kitty box with 1 part baking soda and add a layer of 3 parts kitty litter on top.
- Always add ½ cup soda to your washing machine load. Get softness and freshness without chemical fragrances.
- Wash plastic food and drink containers with soda and water to take away the stale “plastic” smell.
- Wash marble-topped furniture with a solution of 3 tablespoons of soda in 1 quart of warm water. Let stand awhile, then rinse.
- Clean Formica counter tops with baking soda on a damp sponge. It won’t scratch the surface.
- Soak and wash thermos bottles and cooling containers with soda and water to get rid of stale smells.
- To remove stubborn stains from marble or plastic surfaces, scour with a paste of soda and water.
- Wash glass or stainless steel coffee pots (but not aluminum ) in a soda solution ( 3 tbsp soda to 1 quart water ).
- Run your coffee maker through its cycle with a soda solution. Rinse away the residue that floats off.
- Give baby bottles a good cleaning with soda and hot water.
- To de-grease and clean barbecue grills, make a paste by mixing equal parts baking soda and water. Apply with a wire brush, wipe clean, and dry with a cloth.
- Polish silverware with dry soda on a damp cloth. Rub, rinse and dry. Buff to a high polish with soft, dry, clean cloth such as an old t-shirt.
- For silver pieces without raised patterns or cemented-on handles : place the silver on aluminum foil in an enamel pot. Add boiling water and 4 tbsp baking soda. Let stand, rinse and dry. This causes a chemical reaction, which will remove the tarnish on the silverware.
- Reduce odor build-up in your dishwasher by sprinkling some soda on the bottom.
- Run your dishwasher through its cycle with soda in it instead of soap to give it a good cleaning.
- To remove burned-on food from a pan : let the pan soak in soda and water for 10 minutes before washing. Or scrub the pot with dry soda and a moist scouring pad.
- For a badly-burned pan with a thick layer of burned-on food : pour a thick layer of soda directly onto the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle on just enough water so as to moisten the soda. Leave the pot overnight, then scrub it clean next day.
- Rub stainless steel and chrome with a moist cloth and dry bakingsoda to shine it up. Rinse and dry. On stainless steel, scrub in the direction of the grain.
- Clean crystal, porcelain and glass with dry soda on a damp cloth. Rinse and dry.
- Remove that bad smell from ashtrays with soda and water.
- Sprinkle a bit of dry soda in your ashtrays to prevent smoldering and reduce odor.
- Clean your whole bathroom with dry soda on a moist sponge— sink, tub, tiles, shower stall, etc.
- Keep your drains clean and free flowing by putting 4 tablespoons of soda in them each week. Flush the soda down with hot water.
- Soak your shower curtains in water and soda to clean them of that nasty bathroom mold.
- To remove strong odors such as onions, garlic and herbs from your hands, wet them and rub them hard with soda, then rinse.
- Sprinkle baking soda on your wet toothbrush and brush your dentures with it.
- Sprinkle soda in tennis shoes, socks, boots and slippers to eliminate odor.
- Add ½ cup or more of baking soda to your bath water to soften your skin.
- Putting 2 tbsp of baking soda in your baby’s bath water will help relieve diaper rash irritations.
- Apply soda directly to rashes and poison ivy to relieve discomfort. Make a paste with water and apply to the red areas.
- Take a soda bath to relieve general skin irritations such as measles and chicken pox.
- Take ½ teaspoon of baking soda in ½ glass of water to relieve acid indigestion or heartburn. Not too often if you’re watching your sodium levels. This solution predates Tums by hundreds of years.
- Gargle with ½ tsp baking soda in ½ glass of water. It freshens and cleans your mouth.
- Used as a mouthwash, baking soda will also relieve canker sore pain.
- To relieve sunburn : use a paste of baking soda and water and apply to burnt areas.
- Bug bites : make a paste of baking soda and vinegar — it will fizz so apply on a piece of gauze.
- Relieve bee stings and insect bites. Prepare a poultice of baking soda and water and apply directly to the sting or bite. Hold in place with a gauze pad.
- Windburns: moisten some baking soda and apply directly for comfort.
- To make Play Clay with baking soda just combine 1¼ cups water, 2 cups soda, 1 cup cornstarch.
- Use soda as an underarm deodorant by rubbing it under your arms after showering. Make sure you dry yourself off really well first !
- If you get baby spit on your shirt ( or baby’s ), moisten a cloth, dip it in baking soda and dab at the dribbled shirt. The odor will go away.
- When scalding a chicken, add 1 tsp of soda to the boiling water. The feathers will come off easier and flesh will be clean and white.
- Repel rain from windshield. Put lumps of baking soda on a dampened cloth and wipe windows inside and out.
- Add to water when soaking dried beans. It will make them more digestible.
- Add to water when washing game. It will reduce the “gamey” taste from wild game.
- Use to freshen up old, sour dishcloths.
- Use dry on a small brush to rub canvas handbags clean.
- Use to remove melted plastic bread wrapper from toaster. Dampen a cloth and make a mild abrasive with baking soda. Scrub and wipe clean.
- Drain cleaner. To clean your drain, make up a solution of 8 fl oz ( 200 ml ) vinegar with 3 oz ( 75 g ) of baking soda. Pour directly into the drain. Leave for 10 minutes. Then run clean hot water down the drain to clear the grease and debris.
- To remove ballpoint ink mark from cloth, rub a paste of baking soda and milk over it. Rinse and then wash in your normal way.
- When stripping wallpaper, add a good tablespoonful of baking soda to each bucketful of water and it should make the job easier.
- Make a paste by mixing a small amount of baking soda with a little bit of water in your hands for an excellent skin exfoliator. Great for dry skin on face, feet and elbows.
- To clean your microwave, place a ( microwave safe ) cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda in it. Run microwave for 2 — 3 minutes. Remove cup and wipe down the inside of the microwave with a damp cloth.
- To aid in washing dishes, add a tablespoon of baking soda to your soapy water — it softens hands while cutting through grease.
- Remove grease from the stove, back splash etc. by wiping dry baking soda on a damp cloth.
- For carpet deodorizing, just sprinkle onto carpet before going to bed and vacuum in the morning.
- Baking soda discourages insects. Try sprinkling it around cabinets and cupboards and other places the insects might frequent.
- Flush 1 cup of baking soda down the toilet once a week to maintain your septic tank. Baking soda helps preserve proper pH and alkalinity, controlling sulfide odors.
- Deodorize a disposable diaper pail by sprinkling liberally with baking soda.
- Pour 2 tablespoons baking soda down the garbage disposal every week to keep it clean.
- Boost the strength of dishwashing liquid — add 2 full tablespoons baking soda to the usual amount of detergent you use.
- Clean and deodorize a cutting board by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge, rubbing the cutting board, and rinsing it clean.
- Deodorize kitchen garbage by sprinkling a handful of baking soda in the garbage pail each time you add garbage.
- To maintain the proper alkalinity in a swimming pool, add 1· 5 pounds of baking soda for every 10,000 gallons of water in the pool to raise total alkalinity by 10 ppm (parts per million parts of pool water), keeping the total alkalinity of the pool within the range of 80 to 150 ppm of alkalinity. Maintaining a proper level of total alkalinity minimizes changes in pH when acidic or basic pool chemicals or contaminants enter the water, reducing chloramine formation and the corrosiveness of water, consequently reducing eye irritation and unpleasant odors while improving bactericidal effectiveness.
- To soothe sunburn, windburn, and prickly heat, dissolve ½ cup baking soda in a tepid bath and soak in it for 15 minutes.
- Plain baking soda is a gentle abrasive that cleans like the strongest toothpaste. Apply baking soda to a damp toothbrush, brush as usual, and rinse. Note : Baking soda does not contain fluoride.
- To neutralize vomit odor ( animals or humans ), sprinkle baking soda generously to cover the stained area, let sit for an hour, then vacuum up.
- Soothe tired feet by adding 3 tablespoons to a basin of warm water and soak feet in the solution.
- To clean dirt, grime, and scuff marks from doors, linoleum floors and tile, sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, wipe clean, and dry.
- To minimize the smell of dirty laundry, just sprinkle some baking soda into your hamper or laundry bag.
- Use baking soda to boost your bleach. Just add ½ cup of baking soda with your usual amount of liquid bleach.
- One of the reasons that stores sell so many plastic bowls and dishes is because after use and re-use, the plastic tends to retain stains and odor, and often be covered with an oily film. With plastic bowls, bacteria can also grow in the cracks, crevices and pores of the plastic and, over time, become stained, cracked, and discolored. If the stain is stubborn you need to create a special cleanser :
1 tablespoon of baking soda | 1 quart of warm water
Stir well. Then scrub the mixture on your bowls and dishes several times and set the bowl overnight in the sink, in hot water. Soaking coffee grounds in a plastic bowl can also deodorize it, and the baking soda /water concoction is also useful to clean refrigerator space.
- Deodorize a closet by placing an open box of baking soda on a shelf.
- To deodorize garment storage bags, sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of the bag.
- To remove wax crayon marks from walls or wallpaper, sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, rub gently in circular movements from the inside out to avoid mussing the paint or wallpaper, then wipe
- To clean dirt and grime from hands, mix baking soda in wet hands with liquid soap, rub vigorously, rinse, and dry.
- To remove conditioner and styling gel build-up from hair, wash hair once a week with a tablespoon of baking soda mixed with your regular shampoo; rinse thoroughly, then condition and style as usual.
- Refresh stuffed animals by sprinkling baking soda on the stuffed animal. Let sit for 15 minutes, and then brush off.
- To clean high chairs, car seats, strollers, and plastic mattress protectors, sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, wipe clean, and dry.
- Clean baby bottles, nipples, and bottlebrushes by soaking in a solution of warm water and baking soda. Then sterilize before use.
- Whiten socks and dirty clothes by adding ½ cup baking soda to regular liquid laundry detergent.
- To clean up pet accidents, clean with club soda and let dry thoroughly. Then sprinkle on baking soda, allow to sit for 15 minutes and vacuum up.
- To clean chrome bumpers and hubcaps, sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, rub surface, and wipe clean with a dry cloth.
- Remove dead insects from a car or truck windshield by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge, cleaning glass and wiping clean with a dry cloth.
- To deodorize carpeting in a car, sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuum up.
- To make your own spray air freshener, place 1 teaspoon baking soda in a spray bottle and add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 cups of clean water. After the foaming has stopped replace the spray top and shake well.
- Clean golf irons with 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part water and a brush. Rinse thoroughly.
- Take baking soda on your next camping trip. It’s a dishwasher, pot scrubber, hand cleanser, deodorant, toothpaste, fire extinguisher, grill-cleaner, cooler refresher and much more.
- Clean away corrosion on car and lawn mower batteries. Baking soda will neutralize battery acid corrosion because it’s a mild alkali. Disconnect battery terminals before cleaning. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, apply with a damp cloth and scrub off the corrosion from the battery terminal. After cleaning and re-connecting the terminals, wipe them with petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion. Remember, batteries contain a strong acid.
- Clean car lights, chrome, windows, tires, vinyl seats and floor mats with a solution of ¼ cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Apply with a sponge or soft cloth to remove road grime, tree sap, bugs and
tar. For stubborn stains sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge or soft brush.
- Use baking soda to clean up light-duty oil and grease spills on your garage floor or in your driveway. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and scrub with a wet brush. (For heavy duty stains, try using washing soda, which is available in hardware stores and the cleaning aisle of large supermarkets. )
- The Science Fair standby! Build your own volcano. Please remember to supervise your children. One it’s safer ; two it’s quality grandparent time! The baking soda reacts with the vinegar (or citric acid ) in the mixture and produces a carbon dioxide gas ( CO2 ). As the gas is released it bubbles through the dishwashing liquid, creating the bubbly, red lava. According to the Arm and Hammer ® website you’ll need :
cardboard | plaster-of-Paris | 4 oz plastic cups |
red food coloring | water | baking soda |
hand dishwashing liquid | vinegar or citric acid ( sour salt )
On a baking sheet shape cardboard into a volcano cone shape. Place a 4 oz bathroom cup to make the “crater” at the top of the volcano. Apply the plaster-of-Paris over the cone to form the volcano. Do not get plaster in the crater. Allow volcano to dry completely. Paint or decorate volcano as desired. For frequent usage, use non-water soluble paints.
Make the lava flow!
- Mix ¼ cup vinegar (or 1 teaspoon citric acid ) with dishwashing liquid, water and red coloring in a plastic cup
- Two • Put 1 teaspoon baking soda in an empty plastic cup. Place this cup inside the volcano crater.
Three • Pour vinegar/dishwashing liquid / water mixture into the Baking soda cup in the the crater. Enjoy the lava as the volcano erupts!
(c) Copyright Self-Reliance Central