Baking soda is very useful as a cleaning agent. Baking powder, on the other hand, serves no other purpose except as a leavening agent in cooking since it contains other ingredients like cream of tartar and cornstarch that render baking powder much less powerful as a cleaning agent.
In the following paragraphs, we will discuss some of baking soda’s numerous uses, either alone or in combination with other common household items such as vinegar, lemon juice, dishwashing liquid, and laundry detergent in cooking, personal hygiene, first aid, as an insecticide and herbicide, and as a cleaning agent.
Baking Soda as a Cleaning Agent
Now let’s talk about using baking soda as a cleaning agent. It has a variety of uses in cleaning, and just about everything in your home can benefit from being cleaned with baking soda. Here is a list of some of those uses, but this list is in no way comprehensive.
A paste made from baking soda and water will provide extra scrubbing power for sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, and bathroom tiles. Simply wipe the paste onto the surfaces you wish to clean with a cloth or sponge, let the paste set for 20 to 30 minutes to give it time to work its magic, and then wipe off the paste with a damp cloth.
For tough grime, combine baking soda with dishwashing liquid instead of water for extra scrubbing power to make those hard-to-clean surfaces shine.
Stovetop Drip Pans:
Mix baking soda with vinegar to clean dirty stove-top drip pans using this method:
- Remove dirty stove-top drip pans and soak them in a sink or dishpan in very hot water for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
- Drain the water and pour white distilled vinegar into the drip pans to cover all the grime. Let them soak in the vinegar for at least 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle baking soda into the drip pans on top of the vinegar and rub the baking soda into the grime.
- Let the baking soda and vinegar work for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
- After the baking soda and vinegar have had at least 20 minutes to work their combined magic, brush the pans with a brush or steel wool and then rinse the pans well with hot water
- If there is still some baked-on grime in the drip pans, sprinkle on more baking soda and scrub again with a wet scrub brush or steel wool.
- Rinse well and dry before replacing the pans on the stovetop.
To clean tarnished silverware, combine 1 tablespoon of baking soda with ½ cup of vinegar and 1 cup of boiling water in an aluminum pan, add the silverware to the mixture, and watch as the tarnish seems to melt away. The aluminum pan and the baking soda work together to create a chemical reaction that removes the tarnish from the silverware and leaves it sparkling clean.
Tile Grout, Baking Pans, Appliances, And Utensils:
Pour baking soda in a bowl and add just enough hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. Making a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will give you a powerful cleaner that will:
- Clean tile grout,
- Remove greasy residue on baking pans,
- Clean fingerprints and built-up grime on small and large appliances, and
- Quickly and easily remove water stains from utensils.
To clean a dirty oven, follow these steps:
- Make a paste of baking soda and water.
- Coat the inside of the oven with the mixture.
- Spray the treated area with vinegar.
- Leave the mixture on until the grime slides right off when wiped with a paper towel or a cleaning cloth.
- A second spray of vinegar may be necessary to loosen baked-on grime.
Stainless Steel Sinks:
Make a paste of baking soda and lemon juice to clean stainless steel sinks. Scrub the sink gently with the paste to avoid scratching the surface, and rinse well.
To keep those sink drains flowing, pour several tablespoons of baking soda into each drain, then pour in heated vinegar, let sit for half an hour, and rinse thoroughly with tap water.
Walls And Furniture:
To remove smudges and stains from painted walls and furniture, sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, wipe the surface to be cleaned, and then wipe the baking soda from the surfaces with a clean cloth. The smudges and stains should disappear.
Add ½ cup of baking soda to a bucket of warm water to clean tile floors and most other types of floor coverings. Simply mop the floors and rinse well for a sparkling clean floor.
PLEASE NOTE: Baking soda water should not be used on surfaces that have been waxed such as hardwood flooring, as it could damage the finish on the flooring.
Baking soda can be used to freshen your laundry and boost your laundry detergent’s cleaning power for both whites and colors. Just add ½ cup of baking soda along with your favorite detergent to each laundry load. And because baking soda is an alkali, it helps remove stains and acts as a water softener.
To Neutralize Odors
In The Refrigerator:
Baking soda has for many years been known to neutralize odors in the refrigerator, and almost everyone keeps an extra box of baking soda in their refrigerator for that reason. Just set an opened box in some inconspicuous part of your refrigerator and let it work its magic. But baking soda can also take care of odors in other parts of the household, including the following areas:
In The Garbage:
Sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom of the garbage can to eliminate garbage can odors. Then, add an additional sprinkle of baking soda between layers as the garbage can fills. This little trick will keep odors from your garbage can from spreading throughout your house.
In The Carpet:
Sprinkle baking soda throughout the carpeted areas of your home and wait 10 to 15 minutes before vacuuming to eliminate carpet odors.
In Sink Drains:
Pour a little baking soda down your kitchen sink, and bathroom lavatory drains at least once a month and rinse it down to freshen drains.
In Smelly Shoes:
Freshen not-so-sweet smelling shoes by making a couple of baking soda sachets out of pieces of cheesecloth with baking soda tied inside and placing one in each shoe until you are ready to wear them. The sachets will absorb the odors and make your shoes smell fresh.
As A Stain Remover
To remove stains from clothing, simply make a paste of baking powder and vinegar and rub the paste into the stained area. Allow the baking powder paste to dry. When the paste has dried, rinse the area under running tap water while gently rubbing the area. Repeat the process if necessary.
PRO TIP: Always use cool water when trying to remove stains from clothing since hot water will set most stains and prevent them from being completely removed.
On Upholstered Furniture:
To remove stains from upholstered furniture, make a paste of baking powder and vinegar and rub the paste into the affected area. Allow the baking powder paste to dry. When the paste has dried, brush off the loose paste residue. Then, with a clean wet cloth, rub the area until the baking powder paste has all been removed. If part of the stain persists, repeat the process.
To remove stains from carpet floor covering using baking soda, follow these steps:
- Sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the stained area.
- Mix a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and spray the baking soda-covered stain.
- Allow the carpet to dry completely.
- When the carpet is dry, loosen the baking powder residue with a brush and vacuum thoroughly.
- Repeat the process if needed.
As A Homemade Fungicide and Pesticide
Baking soda has many uses around the house and in the garden as a homemade fungicide and pesticide. Sodium Bicarbonate, or baking soda, has been recognized by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as an active ingredient in pesticides since December of 1994, and it is in no way harmful to mammals, including humans, and the environment, unlike some ingredients which are found in fungicides and pesticides. Here are a few examples of how baking soda can be used:
- Baking soda can be used to eradicate powdery mildew and help control rust and black spot. Simply combine 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 gallon of warm water to use as a spray on your garden plants. A maintenance dose for more general use would be made from 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 gallon of warm water.
- It keeps plants and flowers fresh.
- It helps to keep the soil pH in balance.
- Some gardeners use it to sweeten the taste of tomatoes.
- It repels some insects like ants and caterpillars.
- When sprinkled near the base of plants, it can either kill or act as a deterrent to slugs and cutworms, which can destroy your plants.
- Sprinkle baking soda in places like sidewalk cracks to kill weeds.
Pro Tip: When using baking soda as a natural fungicide and pesticide, it is better to use it sparingly because the active ingredient in baking soda is sodium or salt and can damage plants and the soil if used excessively.
Baking Soda in Cooking
Baking soda and baking powder each serve the same purpose in baking. Both are used as leavening agents in baking because of their chemical acid-based reaction, which produces carbon dioxide that, in turn, causes the batter in which they are used to rise and create a lighter texture. Baking soda is normally used in recipes like quick breads and cakes that call for some form of acid such as buttermilk or lemon juice. Baking powder is used in recipes without an acidic ingredient.
Baking soda can help beans become less strenuous on the human digestive system since it can be used to “burp” dry beans.
Burping Dry Beans
In addition to acting as a leavening agent, baking soda also serves the important function of burping dry beans to lessen the effects that dry beans have on the human digestive system. This function can be accomplished by two different methods, both of which are equally effective.
- Overnight: Add a small amount of baking soda to a pot of dry beans when they are soaking overnight in water, then drain the beans and add fresh water before cooking.
- Quick Method: The quick method of burping beans involves bringing to a boil a pot of beans covered with water to which a small amount, approximately ⅛ teaspoon, of baking soda, has been added, then cover the pot with its lid, turn off the heat, and let the pot of beans stand for an hour. Then, drain the soda water from the beans, add fresh water, and cook the beans until done.
Baking Soda in Home Health Remedies
As An Antacid:
Drink a glass of water in which 1 teaspoon of baking soda has been dissolved in 8 ounces of water to be used as a homemade antacid to reduce the effects of heartburn or indigestion.
Pro Tip: While this do-it-yourself antacid is easy and handy, it is recommended that you consult your physician before using this remedy on a regular basis since baking soda is high in sodium and could affect the absorption of various medications.
To Relieve Itchy Skin From Insect Bites And Sunburn:
For fast relief of itchy skin due to insect bites and sunburn, make a thick paste from baking soda and water and coat the affected areas. The relief should be almost instantaneous.
For Personal Hygiene
Baking soda can be used in addition to or in place of toothpaste on occasion to clean teeth as it comes complete with antibacterial and cleaning properties, but it does not protect the teeth in the same way a good fluoride toothpaste does. It can be either added to your toothpaste or used alone as an occasional toothpaste alternative.
To use baking soda alone as a toothpaste, either make a paste of baking soda and water to put on your toothbrush or simply wet your toothpaste and dip it into baking soda as a faster toothpaste alternative. This method of simply putting baking soda on your toothbrush will result in a grainy experience that is unpleasant to many people.
To Whiten Teeth:
Baking soda also contains whitening properties that can be used to whiten teeth. Simply dip a wet toothbrush into a container of baking soda, then add toothpaste and brush to clean and whiten teeth and freshen your breath.
As A Mouthwash:
Baking soda neutralizes acids from leftover food particles and acts as a natural breath freshener. Simply add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 4 ounces of warm water and swish the mixture in your mouth for 30 to 45 seconds before spitting it out to freshen your mouth and breath.
As A Deodorant:
In addition to cleaning and whitening teeth and freshening your breath, baking soda can also be called into service if necessary as a natural deodorant, primarily because of its drying and odor-absorbing properties. Simply mix baking soda with water, coconut or shea butter, or even lavender or tea tree oil to make a do-it-yourself deodorant. Just spread it on your underarms and allow it to dry before dressing.
As a word of caution here, before using baking soda as a deodorant, an area on your skin should be tested to ensure you will not have an allergic reaction to this concoction before using it on your underarms. But, if you decide to use this homemade version of deodorant regularly, talk to your doctor first, as its use could adversely affect the natural pH of your skin and cause a rash, redness, or itchiness.
Baking soda is a common item that is readily available in all stores, is inexpensive, and can be used on its own or combined with other common household items to perform a variety of tasks around the house. As you can tell from the information in this article, baking soda is multi-talented and certainly pulls its weight in all areas of any household, making it beneficial to keep an extra box or two on hand for when we need a helping hand around the house.
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For more, don’t miss Can I Use Baking Soda Instead of Baking Powder? | Yes and No.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.