Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, is cheap, non toxic, and, chances are pretty good you have some in your kitchen cabinet leftover from that last batch of chocolate chip cookies you made. But did you know baking soda has many uses that go way beyond baked goods? It even comes in handy in the garden.
An alkaline substance, baking soda will help eliminate bad odors and boost the whitening power of any detergent. Just add 1/2 cup of soda to a normal size load of towels, t-shirts or diapers and see the difference.
2. Sports Equipment
Wipe down pads and other equipment that can’t easily be laundered with a warm wet cloth sprinkled with baking soda. Let sit, then wipe dry. For cleats, skates and sneakers, sprinkle baking soda directly into the shoe and leave out in a sunny warm place for 24 hours or so. It will neutralize and eliminate the odor rather than just cover it up with an odd scent, as some sprays will do.
3. Refrigerators and Freezers
Are you met with an odor of rotting food or sour milk when you open your refrigerator door? Sprinkle some baking soda on a clean cloth and wipe down all surfaces, then rinse well with warm water. You’ll eliminate any bad smells. The baking soda will not scratch the surface, or leave film.
4. Coffee Makers
Run the coffee maker as usual, but, instead of coffee, use the same amount of baking soda. To rinse, run through a second time, but use only water and no baking soda. The hot solution will help remove coffee oils and residue that build up on the inner workings of the machine.
5. Food and Drink Containers
Mix a small amount of baking soda with water and rinse ice buckets, lunch boxes, cups and other food containers to remove odors and eliminate soap build up.
Instead of traditional silver polish, spring a small amount of soda on a cloth and wipe away tarnish without scratching the surface.
7. Porcelain and Ceramic Bath Surfaces
Again, sprinkle a small amount of bicarbonate of soda on a sponge or cloth, followed by a hot water rinse.
8. Sink Odors and Clogs
Pour 1/2 cup baking soda in drain followed by a half a cup of vinegar. Let stand for a bout 15 minutes before running clean, warm water down the drain. This will help keep your pipes clean and odor free.
Add three tablespoons of baking soda to one quart of warm water and apply solution to marble surface. Let stand for several minutes, then rinse with clean warm water. Wipe dry. For stubborn stains, try making a paste using water and soda, and follow the same steps.
To eliminate odors, sprinkle baking soda on rug, wait about 15 minutes, and then vacuum as usual. Odors vanish!
11. Combs and Brushes
To freshen and deodorize, soak your brushes and other hair tools in three tables of baking soda and one quart of warm water. Rinse thoroughly in warm water.
12. Burned Food on Frying Pans
Moisten the surface if needed, and then sprinkle with baking soda. Stuck-on food comes off much, much easier.
13. Onion and Fish Odors on Hands
It happens: You cook something and your hands smell for days. Keep a box of baking soda handy for those times. Just sprinkle on hands and rub hard, using a bit of warm water.
14. Baking Powder
If you ever run out of baking powder, just remember that baking soda is a good substitute with some additives. Combine one part soda with two parts cream of tartar. Mix thoroughly. Use immediately.
15. Produce Wash
Dissolve wax and oil from the surfaces of fruits and vegetables by wiping with a damp cloth sprinkled with a bit of bicarbonate of soda. Rinse with water.
16. Upset Stomach
Tummy aches and heartburn are often the result of too much acid in the foods we eat. To counterbalance the effects, mix one-half teaspoon in one-half glass of water and drink. (For long term digestion problems, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider because it might be indicative of a more serious problem.)
17. Bad Breath
Use the above solution, but gargle with it as you would any over-the-counter rinses. It will be just as effective, but cost a lot less.
18. Toothpaste and Whitener
Baking soda’s gentle abrasive and stain fighting properties make it an excellent substitute for toothpaste. Sprinkle a little bit directly on your toothbrush and clean as usual.
19. Clean Hair and Scalp
Soap and shampoo can build up on hair and scalp, causing dullness, itchiness and even dandruff. For a clean rinse, mix three tablespoons of soda with a quart of water and pour over head. Let sit for a minute or two, then rinse. Repeat if necessary, or massage into scalp, if needed.
20. Insect Bites
For isolated bites, apply a paste of water and soda directly onto wound and let sit to help relieve irritation and any pain. Rinse thoroughly with water.
21. Poison Ivy and Other Rashes
Soothe the widespread itchiness by adding a cup of baking soda to a tub of warm water. Soak. The soda will help dissolve the oils that seep from poison ivy blisters and spread the rash.
22. Small Fires in the Kitchen
When a grease or oil fire starts on the stove, dumping water on it may only worsen matters. Instead, keep a box of baking soda nearby. When heat is applied to the soda, it produces carbon dioxide – the same stuff that makes fire extinguishers so effective.
23. Pet Odors
Sprinkle baking soda in kitty litter boxes and around pet beds to eliminate odors. It’s effective and, more importantly, non-toxic.
Baking soda won’t hurt your roses or grapevines, but will kill black spot fungus. Mix 4-5 teaspoons of soda with one gallon of water and spray on plants.
25. Eliminate or Prevent Powdery Mildew
Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of dish liquid to one gallon of water to reduce this problem that can devastate some flowers and vegetables. Using a sprayer, apply on a cloudy day, as bright sun could cause the solution to burn foliage.
Sprinkled between the cracks on the sidewalk, sodium bicarbonate may discourage weed growth. But some researchers say it’s effectiveness may depend on the acidity of the soil, and the type of plant.
27. Ice Melt
Use baking soda instead of kitty litter or a chemical de-icer to provide traction and melt ice on your steps and sidewalks. It’s less toxic to plants and less abrasive on outdoor surfaces and shoes.