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Baking Soda: The Eco-friendly Budget-wise Jack-Of-All-Trades!

Updated on October 12, 2008

Clever uses of Baking Soda as a household cleaner!


Environment friendly money saving cleaning tips.

Did you know that Baking Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate is a great cleaner, a deodorizer, a mild abrasive, a stain remover and has hundreds of other uses?

More and more of us are becoming aware of the hazards of using toxic chemicals around the house, especially when small children and pets are around. Even though Baking Soda is mild it is highly effective and makes even tough cleaning jobs easy. It is a naturally occurring mineral that has been on the market since the middle 18 hundreds. Comparing the cost of any commercial cleaning product to baking soda, which is just a fraction of the price, it's a wonder that not everyone has switched over already.

"Over all home" cleaner!

I make my own carpet and upholstery freshener. I use a bucket that has a tight fitting lid. You can buy Baking Soda in large cartons from restaurant wholesalers. To 4 ½ lbs/ 2kgs of soda I add a ¼ cup of orrisroot powder and a few drops of my favorite scents; lavender or fressia's in spring and summer, apple & cinnamon in the fall and pine in the winter. (I use essential oils because they're non-toxic; but remember that essential oils are volatile, that means they evaporate, use a tight fitting lidded container... if it's not strong enough scented anymore just add another drop or two)

~ To use as Carpet Freshener sprinkle Baking Soda mix on carpet or couch and let it sit for ½-1 hour. It eliminates pet and other odors quite effectively. Remember to add some to the vacuum bag too.

~When spring cleaning sprinkle mattress and box spring; leaving it on for the full day before vacuuming it up.

~By using the prepared mix or just plain baking soda you can reduce the odor in garbage cans and bags by sprinkling in a generous amount.

~If added to the bottom in a diaper pail, kitty's litter box, used in ashtrays in the house or the car Baking Soda will neutralize odors and freshen up any room or area.

~Use the Baking Soda mix between the pages of old and musty smelling books. Let sit on book shelves for a month or two, shake out and repeat if needed.

In the Kitchen

~Some of the most common uses for plain Baking Soda are as fridge and oven odor neutralizer.

~ Baking Soda is the un-chemical drain un-clogger. This is another well known use for it however with a bit of a twist. Just pour a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of flat coke and a cup of vinegar and let it sit for some time before 'flushing' out with boiling water. If it's a severally clogged drain let it sit overnight before flushing with boiling hot water.

~For that great tasting coffee clean your coffee pot once a month by adding ¼ cup of Baking Soda and ¼ cup of vinegar to the water and running it through your coffee maker's cycle once. Run it again with just ¼ cup of soda, then twice more with just clear water. The insides of the coffee machine will be as clean as a whistle and your coffee won't have any by-flavors.

~Remove tarnish from silver by mixing a thick paste of Baking Soda with water. Apply to the silver using a damp sponge or an old toothbrush (for items with raised patterns and grooves etc.) rub gently then rinse and buff dry.

~Use it as an oven cleaner. Simply sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your oven and spray a little water and lemon juice just enough to moisten. (vinegar work well too with the baking soda) Leave overnight and wipe clean in the morning.

~Use it the same way for washing out the fridge and freezer too.

~For dishwasher maintenance run a full dishwasher cycle by adding baking soda and vinegar in both the compartments. Then run it one more time with just baking soda. The dishwasher will not be just clean but by removing all the soap buildup in the inner mechanisms it will do a better cleaning job on the dishes.

~Increase the strength of the dishwashing liquid by adding a small handful of Baking Soda to the usual amount you would use in a sink-full of soapy hot water. This doesn't only make your dishes cleaner but this also disinfects them.

~Use for scrubbing burned-on pots and pans. Sprinkle Baking Soda on the bottom of a pot or pan and moisten to make a paste with lemon juice or vinegar if the pots are made of stainless steel or enameled, If aluminum just use the baking powder moistened with water, let sit overnight and then wash out. (In most cases will not even need to be scrubbed because the 'burnt-on' will just lift in chunks.)

In the Laundry room

~Once a month run a full washing machine cycle by adding baking soda and vinegar in each of the compartments. Then run it one more time with just baking soda. The washing machine will not be just clean but by removing all the soap, softener and water scale buildup in the inner mechanisms it will do a better cleaning job on the laundry in the future.

~Increase the strength of liquid laundry detergent by adding a ½ cup Baking Soda with the regular amount of soap to your normal wash cycle.

~You can also increase the power of bleach by adding a ½ cup of Baking Soda with the liquid bleach. This also increases the freshness of your whites.

~Use Baking Soda as a fabric softener. For clothes that are cold water washable use ½ cup in the rinse water. Baking Soda removes all the remaining soap and thus softens the fabric of the clothes. There is no need to use a commercial fabric softener.

In the Bathroom

~Use Baking Soda for cleaning combs and hair brushes. Add a small handful to the water and clean your combs and brushes in it. The hair, hairspray, and dirt etc. that have built up in them are easily removed.

~Use weekly on toothbrushes too. Soak them individually in a glass of hot water with a tablespoon of Baking Soda added for 20 minutes. Rinse.

~Use Baking Soda for cleaning all the bathroom surfaces including the taps. For built up soap scum in and around bathtubs make a paste let sit for ½ hour, wipe, then rinse.

For Personal use

~Use Baking soda for triple duty when you deodorize your shoes or runners. By sprinkling 2-3 tablespoons of Baking Soda in each shoe not only will it freshen up the shoes but it will also help to keep the bottom of the closets floor fresher smelling. Before wearing shake out the shoes over the sink and wash down with vinegar or hot water for regular plumbing pipe maintenance.

~For ‘Odor-eating socks' combine 3quarts/3litres of hot water with 1/3cup/75ml baking soda. Soak freshly washed socks for an hour in the solution. Do NOT rinse, wring out and dry. (the inside of the socks will feel a little gritty).

~Keep a small container of Baking Soda in your diaper bag for when you're out and about and when your baby spits up onto your shirt after feeding, moisten a cloth, dip it in baking soda and dab at the dribbled shirt. The odor will go away.

To clean stuffed animals add ½ cup of plain or the Baking Soda mix (my carpet and upholstery mix recipe in 'over-all-home' cleaner paragraph) and ½ cup of salt per 3-4 items into large plastic bag add stuffed toys. Tie up tightly, shove into clothes dryer and with no heat air fluff cycle spin bag for 10-15 minutes. Don't add too many items into bag at once. Remove from bag and spin in dryer again for 10 minutes on air fluff.

As pest control

~Ants in your house? Keep them out by mixing up equal parts of baking soda and salt together. Then sprinkle the mixture wherever you see the intruders coming in.

~For earwigs mix equal amount of sugar and Baking Soda. Place in cupboard. Not liking this free menu bugs will either croak or pack their bags. (I'm told this tip works on roaches too but I haven't had to test it out anywhere yet, thank God)

In the garden

~And finally, in the garden many flowers, fruits, and vegetables need to be planted in acidic soil in order for them thrive properly. To test the soil if it's acidic or not mix up a quarter of a cup of baking soda with two cups of water add a cup of the soil. If the mixture foams up, then the soil is acidic.

Miscellaneous uses:

First aid ~When you've been a chewing toy for the mosquitoes at the camp site make a paste of baking soda and apple cider vinegar and spread it on the bite marks. It will give a bit of relief from the itching. Same for bee, wasp or yellow jacket stings.

~As a substitute for Alka seltzer dilute 2 teaspoons of baking soda in lukewarm water and drink it down in one big swallow.

~Sun burn? Take a lukewarm bath in which you've dissolved a hand-full of baking soda and 5 drops each of lavender and geranium essential oil.

~Scrapped skin from a face-plant on a gravel road combine 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt with 2 teaspoon of baking soda and gently rub over scrapes. leave on for 1/2 hour and then wash off with warm water... the in-bedded dirt and gravel should come away with washing.

Science project ~ the kids can find all the particulars for a baking soda/vinegar volcano on-line for that perfect science project.

Mouth care

~If you run out of toothpaste dunk your toothbrush into the baking soda and it will do just as good maybe even a better job then regular toothpaste.

~Canker sores on gums and tongue are generally gone within 24 hour if you make a paste by combining 1teaspoon baking soda and a 1/2 teaspoon of distilled rose water (food grade) and add a small amount of warm water. Gently rub onto canker sore 4-5 times a day. (it might sting a little the first time but it will feel better soon)

~Sore throat? Gargle with two teaspoons of baking soda diluted in 8 ozs/125ml of warm water several times a day.

All these tips have been tried and tested by me and I or my family uses them on a regular basis. In my opinion the only way to find out how good something really works is to try it out for yourself.

Additional tips:

A friend who is a car mechanic gave me another 2 good tips about baking soda...Thank you Sieg!

***use an old toothbrush with baking soda to clean off the battery posts and battery connections***

***to clean hands after mega greasy jobs make a paste of a generous amount of baking soda and a little water in your hands, really massage it in well, do the whole process twice... hands should be as clean as a whistle...***

Thank you for another tip SweetiePie! She cleaned her electric toothbrush charger connections with baking soda.

Thank you for another tip KT pdx! She gets rid of Kool aid stains off formica counter tops, tile and linoleum by using baking soda.

Thank you for another tip and the site Hovalis! ~uses Baking soda as a hair care product too



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