Baking soda is one of the most versatile things present in every home. Many people use this compound as a leavener when baking, but it is no secret that baking soda has a variety of other benefits to offer. Aside from its use for baking, this gentle abrasive is also often used to clean different spots and stains in any surface area. Because it is a gentle compound, baking soda is a safe cleaning agent, even for those who have kids at home.
What Is Baking Soda?
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), is a chemical compound that appears as a fine white powder. It generates carbon dioxide gas when it’s mixed with an acid. When the small bubbles from the produced carbon dioxide gas stick to the batter itself, that’s when the batter starts to rise or inflate. Some of the most popular acids that create the said reaction are yogurt, lemon juice, buttermilk, and vinegar. This reaction will also take place without the presence of acid if baking soda is exposed to high temperatures – more than 176 °F (80 °C).
If you’ve been using baking soda for a handful of applications only, then you’ve not yet explored its full potential. Here are some of the other ways you could use it.
Household Uses for Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used to clean almost anything in your house. It is non-toxic and natural, so it is safe for use even on kitchen items and supplies.
- Clean your stove.
Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on your stove, spray it with vinegar, and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Scrub it with a soft sponge after soaking. Make sure that the sponge you use will not scratch the surface of your stove.
- Remove coffee stains from your mug.
Wipe your coffee mug with a dripping wet cloth, put some baking soda inside your mug, and knead it. If the stain persists despite doing this, create a mixture of warm water and baking soda, pour it in the mug, and let it soak overnight.
- Get rid of the crust in your cooking pan.
Pour a decent amount of baking soda and hot water in the pan. If there is a lot of crust in your pan, heat the pan with the mixture and turn the stove off when the water boils. Rinse and scrub once the water has cooled.
- Remove grime from your microwave oven.
Add several teaspoonfuls of baking soda to a bowl of warm water. Place it inside the microwave and heat it for about five minutes, depending on how sticky the grime is. When the microwave dings, don’t open the microwave door right away. Give some time for the steam and moisture to soften the grime. After a couple of minutes, slowly remove the bowl (watch out, it’s hot) and use a warm damp cloth to wipe the insides of the microwave. For a more thorough cleaning, drip some of the heated water onto a thick sponge and use it to clean the insides of the microwave.
- Clean your sink easily.
Sprinkle a decent amount of baking soda on your kitchen sink and scrub it with a wet sponge.
- Remove foul odor from your old luggage.
Pour a decent amount of baking soda inside your old luggage and scatter the powder with some light shaking. Leave the powder inside, close the luggage, and let it sit for a couple of days. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda afterwards.
- Get rid of stains in your crock pot or rice cooker.
Create a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Pour it onto the crock pot and let it soak for a couple of hours. Scrub it afterward to remove the stains.
- Remove stains from your insulated drink bottles.
Put one to two teaspoons of baking soda inside the bottle and fill it with boiling hot water. Close the bottle and set it aside for a couple of hours. Drain the bottle and rinse thoroughly.
- Deep clean and deodorize your cutting boards.
Remove odor from your cutting boards and clean them thoroughly by sprinkle some baking soda powder on them. Let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub and rinse.
- Keep your freezer spotless and odorless.
Empty your freezer and wash it lightly with liquid soap and water. Rinse it with a solution of hot water and baking soda. The solution will easily remove any remaining soap, along with any odor, making your freezer look and smell fresh. When done, wipe everything with a clean cloth to dry.
- Clean your floor.
A baking soda solution is a great homemade tile floor cleaner. Fill a bucket with warm water and add ½ cup of baking soda. Dissolve well and then use this water for mopping your floor.
- Rinse your fruits and vegetables.
Fill your sink with water and add a cup of baking soda. Wash your fruits and vegetables in the solution and then rinse them thoroughly with clean water.
- Create a DIY air freshener.
Mix two cups of heated water, a ⅛ of a cup of baking soda, and half a cup of lemon juice. Put the solution in a spray bottle and shake it for the powder to dissolve well. Spray around the house as needed.
- Strip your baby’s cloth diapers.
Stripping cloth diapers means deep cleaning them. Mix one cup of baking soda in a gallon of warm water. Soak the cloth diapers in this solution for a few hours before washing them thoroughly.
- Make an organic dog deodorizer.
Mix a half-cup baking soda and 2 cups of water (it should be mixed well to produce a whitish solution). Soak a shawl that is the same size as your dogs’ neck and tie it there. This will hold the odor at bay and keep your dog smelling clean.
- Keep your ashtray free from cigarette smell.
Mix equal amounts (about a handful each) of white sand and baking soda. Put it in your ashtray to remove the odor from the ashtray itself, as well as absorb cigarette odor while being used.
- Clean your carpet.
Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and let it sit for a few hours. Use your vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda.
- Remove crayon and pencil writings on the wall.
Sprinkle some baking soda powder on a wet cloth and use it to rub the markings on the wall. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.
- Clean your mattress.
Remove the bed sheet and cover from your mattress and scatter a subtle amount of baking soda on top. Let it sit for a few hours and use your vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda.
- Deodorize anything.
Sprinkle baking soda on anything that needs to be deodorized – garbage bins, pillows, car seats, bathrooms, or litter boxes. For items such as garbage bins, bathrooms, and litter boxes, simply leave the powder as is. For other items, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda.
Baking Soda Paste Uses
Aside from using the powder itself or mixing the powder with water to create a liquid solution, a paste made out of this compound can be equally effective and, in many cases, provide better cleaning.
- Clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
Create the baking soda paste by mixing a few drops of water to your baking soda. For extra cleansing power, you may mix it with salt and some liquid soap.
- Polish your rusty flatware.
Create a paste made of three parts baking soda and one part warm water. Get a decent amount of paste and use a sponge or cloth to rub it onto the silverware. Rinse it thoroughly and wipe with a dry cloth.
- Remove dirt from your sports gear.
Use a brush to carefully spread the baking soda paste carefully and to scrub lightly. Make sure not to scratch too hard. Rinse with water.
- Clean battery leaks.
Since baking soda is an alkaline compound, it is safe to neutralize spills of nickel-cadmium and lead acid from your battery. Detach the battery before cleaning. Create a paste out of baking soda and apply it to the battery using a damp piece of cloth. When you’re done cleaning it, place the terminals back and apply a considerable amount of petroleum jelly to avoid corrosion in the future.
Cool Things to Do with Baking Soda
Since a chemical reaction happens when baking soda is mixed with an acid, there are a lot of cool things that you can do with baking soda. Some of them may include your kids in the process.
- Create homemade volcanoes.
Build a volcano by molding it with clay. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and a few drops of red food coloring. Put this in a little dish and place the dish inside the crater of your makeshift volcano. Pour a quarter cup of vinegar slowly into the dish and watch the volcano “erupt”.
- Make homemade watercolor.
In a bowl, mix two tablespoons of baking soda and flour. Add two teaspoons of sugar and a small pack of dry drink mix (unsweetened, any flavor). Put two tablespoons of water and wait until the bubbles disappear. If you want to have a darker shade of watercolor, try putting a drop or two of food coloring. Use it right away or store it in a closed jar to use the hardened finished product in the future.
- Create invisible ink.
Water and baking soda can create invisible ink. Just mix equal parts of water and baking soda in a cup and your invisible ink is ready. To apply it unto paper, use a paintbrush or cotton swab. Set it aside after writing and let it dry. To read what is written, put the paper over a candle or a burner to warm it up. The writings will then turn light brown.
Baking Soda Uses for Your Body
Aside from its use as a food leavener and household cleaner, baking soda can also do wonders for your body. It is one of the safest and healthiest alternatives to many commercial body care products.
- Whiten your teeth.
Baking soda is known to be an effective teeth whitener. It serves as a gentle abrasive to help remove teeth stains. Sprinkle some baking soda on the toothpaste when you put some on your toothbrush. Brush your teeth for two minutes and repeat every three days. Alternatively, you may also create a homemade baking soda paste with virgin coconut oil (for best results) to replace your regular toothpaste.
- Relieve sun blisters and sunburn.
Always keep a pack of baking soda in your bag during summer. Since it is a natural alkaline compound, it is perfect for soothing sunburned areas of your skin. This will help relieve the itch and the burning sensation of said areas. It is also a gentle antiseptic that aids in drying up blisters caused by the sun. Simply mix equal parts of baking soda and water to create around two tablespoons of paste. Clean the affected area with cool water and apply the paste with a cotton ball. Leave it on for five to ten minutes and then rinse with cool water. Do this as regularly as needed.
- Improve skin tone (i.e. whitening).
Mix a tablespoon or two of baking soda and rose water. If you don’t have rose water, use filtered water. Apply the mixture to your face. Let it sit for a minute and then gently knead it with your fingertips, do not scrub. Rinse it thoroughly with lukewarm water. Do this twice a week and observe the results. Don’t forget to apply a moisturizer after to keep your skin healthy as it may dry you out a bit.
- Prevent pimples and acne.
The antiseptic and antibacterial properties of baking soda can relieve many skin inflammations, including pimples and acne. Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with a few drops of water to create a paste. Apply this paste directly on pimples and acne lesions. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly with water. To prevent your skin from drying out, apply a moisturizer after gently drying your face with a towel.
- Treat nail fungi.
Thick and distorted nails may be due to nail fungi that develop inside the nails. Baking soda is a good alternative to medicated creams and solutions for treating nail fungus. Prepare an unfiltered (most preferably raw) apple cider vinegar in a cup. Add two tablespoons of baking soda and mix it thoroughly. Dip and soak your infected finger or toenail in the solution for several minutes. Dry your nails with paper towels and do this procedure twice daily. An alternative is to create a paste by mixing three parts of baking soda and one part of lukewarm water. Get a decent amount of paste and apply it to the infected finger or toenail for five minutes then rinse it off with warm water. Do this once a day for as long as necessary.
- Relieve diaper rash.
Prepare a pail of warm water. Dissolve one to two tablespoons of baking soda and then use the water for bathing your baby.
- Prevent body odor.
Make your own deodorant using baking soda. You may simply sprinkle the powder on your armpits or add a few drops of water to the powder before rubbing it on your armpits.
- Freshen your breath.
Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Use this as a mouthwash to clean your mouth and freshen your breath.
- Exfoliate your skin.
Gently remove the dead skin from your body with a baking soda scrub. Mix three parts baking soda to one part water. Apply generously all over your body in a circular rubbing motion. Rinse thoroughly.
- Clean your hair.
Make your own baking soda shampoo to clean your hair and scalp. Dissolve one tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water. You may add one or two drops of your favorite essential oil. Use this as your shampoo and rinse well. To prevent your hair and scalp from drying out too much, use a conditioner afterward.
Baking Soda Home Remedies
Baking soda mixed with water is probably one of the oldest yet highly effective solutions available. Aside from its common use for cleaning, it is also used as a home remedy for many conditions.
- Alleviate heartburn caused by acid reflux.
Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Drink the solution. This will help neutralize the acid in your stomach.
- Relieve insect bites.
Add a few drops of water to a teaspoon of baking soda to create a paste. Apply it on the affected area of the skin.
- Help avoid urinary tract infection.
Dilute two teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it. This can lower the acidity of your urine and help prevent urinary tract infection. Do this twice a week until symptoms subside.
- Help enhance your exercise sessions.
When you do vigorous physical activities, your body produces lactic acid as a result. This acid can accumulate in your joints and muscles, making them stiff and can cause fatigue in your muscles. Drink a glass of water with diluted baking soda to avoid this and to help enhance your performance in physical activities
- Boost your kidneys’ function.
Your kidneys carry out several important tasks like removing toxins and wastes from the body. Since baking soda is an alkaline compound, it can help lower your body’s acid levels. A study has shown that a daily dose of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) can help people with chronic kidney disease. While some recommend eating half a teaspoon of baking soda daily, you may choose to dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and then drink the solution.
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