Baking soda, known as "sodium bicarbonate" to the lab-coated, is one of the most versatile products in household history. Baking soda has been a profitable commodity for 150 years, and its popularity has done nothing but grow in the past decades. One reason for this is the increased public awareness of the environmental and health impacts of chemical cleaners and deodorizers. Baking soda is environmentally friendly and causes no health problems – indeed, the body actually produces sodium bicarbonate for many vital functions, such as balancing the blood's pH level and neutralizing stomach acids.
While it was initially used as a leavening agent, baking soda use goes far beyond food. Baking soda crystals are abrasive yet soft and malleable, making them perfect for scouring and scrubbing without scratching. Baking soda is also capable of neutralizing acids and bases--a property that imparts sodium bicarbonate with numerous uses from cleaning up stains to relieving acid indigestion to breaking up dirt and grease. Baking soda is also super absorbent, which augments its stain-fighting ability, but more impressively gives baking soda the capacity to absorb nasty odors. Is there any end to the list of baking soda uses? Did I mention you can bake with baking soda?
Uses for Baking Soda
Most impressive of baking soda's uses is its ability to absorb bad odors, from the mildly irritating to the shockingly horrific. Open a box of baking soda and simply leave it in a problem area, such as in the refrigerator or behind the toilet. Dump a splash of baking soda in your garbage bags before use to prevent having to toss them prematurely. Combat body odor by applying baking soda to armpits and other potential smelly spots after a shower (yes, it's safe). Many people also keep their carpets smelling fresh by sprinkling on baking soda and letting it sit a few hours before vacuuming.
Baking soda and vinegar can be used for cleaning many surfaces, including even morbidly filthy stoves. For the stove, make a soft baking soda paste by mixing ½ cup of baking soda with ½ cup of water. Apply the baking soda to the most disturbing spots first and scrub before spreading the paste over the rest of the stove. Next, spray on some white vinegar. This will kill bacteria, and the trouble spots will be undone. Simply wipe up the filthy, fizzy baking soda with your cotton towel and enjoy. You can clean the stove rings by boiling them in a large pot with a cup of baking soda. Note that this method works for the most common stovetops, including unsealed gas stovetops, the unsealed electric stovetops, and sealed glass electric stovetops.
Bathrooms are ripe with baking soda uses. Remove mildew from your shower and bathtub using the Batman-and-Robin combination of baking soda and vinegar. Spray the vinegar on to kill the mold and bacteria; then add baking soda to a damp wet sponge and scrub away. For an older, non-fiberglass tub or sink, use a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Keep your throne in regal condition by dumping ½ box of baking soda in the toilet tank before you go to bed; it will be fresh for the morning session.
Baking soda is used to clean stains, and it is vital for cleaning cat urine and cleaning dog urine from carpeting. If you find the stain soon enough, blot it up with a towel, and then soak the stain with a mixture of warm water and white vinegar. Next, liberally sprinkle on the baking soda; it will absorb the urine, but more importantly it will neutralize the acids in the urine that cause odor. The last step is to pour on a mixture of ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide and one teaspoon of dish soap. Let it dry and vacuum.
Cleaning and polishing marble is one of the more posh uses for baking soda. Stained marble can be cleaned using a paste of baking soda and a chamois. To polish marble, mix 3 tbsp of baking soda with 1 qt. of water. Wipe this mixture over the marble with a soft cloth and let it dry before rinsing. Next, take a damp cloth and dip it in crushed chalk and go over your marble again. Lastly, rinse and dry completely. Marble is the elite of all home surfaces, and baking soda will aid it in finally convincing guests of your superior breeding.
More Baking Soda Uses
There are many uses for baking soda where drains are concerned. Before leaving on a journey, sprinkle some baking soda down the drain to absorb any odors that may arise. You can also make your own baking soda drain cleaner for drains that still have some functionality. Simply pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain and chase it with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar. This method will dissolve whatever lurks below.
Many seasoned hunters use baking soda to rid clothing of human and foreign odors. Animals are smart; they know what our intentions are. Fool them again this season by washing your gear with 1–2 cups of baking soda (run washer on empty with baking soda first to eliminate detergent odor). Or skip the washer by sprinkling your clothes with baking soda and storing them in a plastic bag or container.
One of the more exciting uses for baking soda is extinguishing grease fires and electrical fires. Whether you keep an open box of baking soda on hand or you keep it in a pretty container, you'll be glad you did when something on your stove bursts into flames. Throw handfuls of baking soda onto the base of the fire and you'll win (challenge small fires only).