Baking soda is a great leavening agent for cakes and quick breads, but it can be so much more. In many ways, baking soda is the king of home hacks. It has disinfectant and antifungal properties, is a mild abrasive, and neutralizes acids, among many other qualities.
Baking soda likely has more uses outside of the baking realm than it does as an ingredient. While you probably know a few of the more classic tips, the full extent of this ingredient's usefulness may surprise you.
All it takes is one particularly smelly meal, forgetting to throw out some veggies, or even just the passage of time, for your fridge to accumulate all kinds of horrible odors. It doesn’t matter how much you clean it, sometimes the smell just refuses to leave.
The solution is a simple box of baking soda. Open the box and let it sit in your fridge for a few days, allowing it to trap all the smells.
Anyone who’s a fan of brightly colored clothes knows the pain of having those hues slowly fade with every wash. However, adding a cup of baking soda to your laundry load will give your clothes a bit more brightness without damaging your washing machine.
This also has the bonus benefit of eliminating lingering laundry scents and detergent grime.
Combs and hairbrushes can accumulate a truly shocking amount of grime. On top of catching dust and dirt that swirl in the air, they also gather oil, dandruff, and other substances from your hair.
If you don’t clean your brushes regularly, all of those materials can end up right back in your hair. Soak them in a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of baking soda and shampoo for a few hours every week.
Chances are that some area of your bathroom has a bit of mildew, even if you’re cleaning regularly. Mildew can be particularly tough to remove from tile and porcelain, so you need a mild abrasive. Luckily, baking soda can rid bathrooms of mildew, as well as any other stains and odors. Just cover a sponge in a sprinkle, and scrub the stains into oblivion.
Using a coaster is a simple thing, but everyone has moments where they forget — assuming you even have them close by. Unfortunately, not using a coaster often results in water rings that stain your furniture.
Combining one part baking soda with one part non-gel toothpaste and rubbing it into the table will buff out the ring. Make sure to rub against the grain.
Few things are as acutely irritating as a mosquito bite. They itch constantly and scratching them only worsens the sensation. However, people have used baking soda to solve mosquito bites for ages.
As soon as you notice a bite, make a paste out of baking soda and some drops of water. Spread it over the bite, allowing it to dry and slowly flake off. This minimizes the welt and helps prevent the itch.
A good coffee maker is an appliance most of us simply can’t live without. However, cleaning scale buildup out of these intricate devices is a massive pain. Rather than dismantling your coffee maker and scrubbing it down, try brewing a pot with a quarter cup of baking soda. This clears out any contaminants and ensures a truly fresh cup of java.
Baking soda’s uses in the garden are seemingly endless, but you might not know it makes for an excellent additive to fertilizer. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of Epsom salt and half a teaspoon of household ammonia.
Add one-fourth of this mixture to four cups of water and water your plants as you would normally. This kills common pests, prevents fungal diseases, and stops weeds in their tracks.
Most modern dishwashers claim to clean themselves, but we all know that’s not entirely true. Lime buildup occurs constantly, plus there’s almost always a bit of leftover food grime. If you want your dishwasher to be sparkling clean, toss in a cup of baking soda and run a rinse cycle. This also eliminates lingering odors!
Even if your carpet isn’t sporting obvious stains, it’s probably still not quite as clean as you would like. Maybe it doesn’t look as fresh as it once did or maybe there’s a strange odor rising from your floor. Rather than opening your wallet for pricey carpet cleaners, opt for baking soda.
Sprinkle it over the areas that need cleaning and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before vacuuming it up. This soaks up any leftover moisture, eliminates smells, and brightens your space.
Cleaning a microwave is among the more obnoxious kitchen chores. Not only are there multiple oddly-shaped pieces, but bits of food often feel welded to the appliance. To make the whole task easier, mix a few tablespoons of baking soda into a cup of water and warm it in the microwave.
Once it’s done, wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp sponge and watch the grime disappear.
Generations of people have used baking soda to whiten their teeth. Most toothpastes even include it as a gentle abrasive to improve brushing efficiency. However, adding just a bit more to your brush can help scour some of the more stubborn dental stains. Don’t scrub too vigorously, though, as you risk damaging your teeth and gums.
Only use additional baking soda once a week to avoid potential issues.
As many plumbers will tell you, pouring things down your drain to unclog them often makes things worse, rather than solving the issue. One of the few exceptions is baking soda. This gentle abrasive can fight lime and scale buildup while also scraping away lingering filth that’s blocking your pipes.
Just pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and then follow it up with a cup of hot vinegar.
Everyone’s had moments where they got sidetracked while cooking, resulting in some scorched cookware and a blackened mess. Though many people assume this is the end of their burnt kitchenware, baking soda is the answer.
Fill your pot or pan with water and around a half-cup of baking soda and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the burner, let the pot soak all night long, and then just wash away the blackened bits the following day.
Nobody’s feet smell great after a long day of wearing socks and shoes, but there is a simple fix. Fill a large basin with some cool water and a few tablespoons of baking soda. Soak your feet in the mixture for about 15 minutes and then rinse them in clean water. This also helps fight conditions like athlete’s foot.
Spilling oil is among the worst mistakes to make because it soaks into most materials and is almost impossible to clean. Some people choose to use cat litter or similar products, but that’s often an expensive solution to a small problem, or at least requires you to buy a specific product.
Instead, pour baking soda over any oil stains and scrub with a wet brush. Rinse the area with some water and the oil stains should vanish.
Love it or hate it, wallpaper has been a staple decor option for decades. Unfortunately, it doesn't stand the test of time, slowly yellowing and picking up all kinds of stains over the years.
Combine two tablespoons in about a gallon of water. Fill a sponge with the mixture and then squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Gently rub the sponge over your wallpaper and watch your walls become cleaner and brighter than they've been in ages.
Canker sores are small, painful lesions that develop on the soft tissues of your mouth and at the base of your gums. Most people get canker sores on the inside of their lips. Dissolve about a teaspoon of baking soda in some warm water and swish it in your mouth for a few minutes before spitting it out. Repeat this every few hours to soothe canker sores until they heal.
You probably focus your kitchen cleaning on major areas like counters and floors, but the range hood needs cleaning, too. All types of grease, smoke, and other grime accumulate on the hood, slowly reducing its effectiveness. Baking soda on a warm, wet sponge is one of the easiest ways to cut through the messy buildup.
If you’ve ever made the mistake of storing pasta with sauce in a plastic container, you know that the dish will never look the same again. Unless, of course, you use baking soda.
Sprinkle some baking soda on a sponge and scrub those stains under some hot water. If necessary, you may need more baking soda. With some effort, you can destroy old stains and leave your plastic looking brand new.