58 Cleaning Uses of Baking Soda
Baking soda has got to be one of the most versatile ingredients you’ll find. Aside from being something used to make pastries it can be used to clean your whole home, I mean literally.
Not a lot of people know that baking soda can be used to make potent cleaning solutions that can pretty much clean anything from the grout on your tiled floors to absorbing grease from carpet.
The best part of it is the non-toxic property which means there is no strong odor that will make you feel dizzy. Unlike a lot of the chemical based cleaning products you’ll find in the market right now.
In our home, I would put a small box of baking soda in the fridge just to keep the bad odors at bay.
A lot of people have found lots of uses for baking soda to clean different parts of the house. In fact you can combine it with stuff like peroxide or vinegar to make a potent non-toxic cleaning solution.
I’m not only talking about cleaning appliances or removing stains, baking soda has been used by people for personal hygiene which is on the top of the list.
1. Hair Brush Cleaner
Hair brush is like carpet because it attracts debris, lots of it. With every stroke dandruff, dead skin cells and oil sticks to it.
If you don’t clean it regularly all that nasty stuff goes back to your hair every time you use it. Experts recommend washing the hair brush once a week but if you don’t have time, try to do it at least once a month.
To properly clean, you’ll need a pen, scissors, a clean toothbrush, a teaspoon of shampoo, a teaspoon of baking soda and water.
Here’s the process…
2. Whitens Teeth
I saw my brother-in-law’s toothpaste during the family vacation and the brand looked familiar. When I looked closer the label says it uses baking soda as its main ingredient.
What's the brand am I talking about? It's Arm and Hammer’s Advance White toothpaste.
It turns out that sodium bicarbonate (the other name for baking soda) is a mild abrasive that when mixed with equal parts water removes surface stains from teeth that will make it appear whiter.
Some folks have taken it to the next level and claim that mixing it with strawberry or lemon can thoroughly clean teeth.
Scientists have warned against using these recipes. A great example would be Dr. Oz’s mixture of strawberry and baking soda. This may not be safe because strawberry contains citric acid that could potentially erode teeth.
Combining it with lemon isn’t a good idea as well because lemon also has high citric acid content which (let me repeat this warning) could potentially erode the enamel - the protective coating of our teeth.
Here's the bottom line, baking soda does not deep clean, it only removes surface stains.
3. Shampoo and Conditioner Replacement
To use it as a shampoo, add one to two tablespoons of baking soda in a jar that contains one to two cups of warm water. Make sure to mix it well before pouring it on your scalp. Massage it well on your scalp to evenly distribute baking soda then rinse.
To use it as a conditioner, mix in half a cup of baking soda into a cup of conditioner.
If you're not prepared ditching shampoo altogether, an option would be using baking soda as a rinse, dilute half a cup baking soda into a cup of warm water. Use this mixture after washing with shampoo.
Take note that baking soda has a high pH rating of 9.0 so it potentially dry-out your hair – not the product you want to use when your hair is dry and frizzy. One option to counteract this effect is using coconut oil after bathing to hydrate your hair.
The high pH rating does have a positive effect as it helps people who have oily hair and in removing hair spray build up.
4. Cleans Oral Appliances
Oral appliances like mouthpieces, braces, retainers and dentures needs to be cleaned in order to remove odor and food particles that get trapped. The last thing you want is spraying these things with chemical cleaners.
Arm & Hammer recommends dissolving 2 teaspoons of baking soda into a cup of water and soaking oral appliances in it. This will help loosen any food particles plus it removes odor.
5. Facial Wash
Not only can baking soda clean your teeth and dentures, adding 2 teaspoons of it with a teaspoon of water makes a chemical free facial wash. Adding in 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 tablespoon of warm water and 2 teaspoons of oat flour makes an exfoliate cream.
6. Say Goodbye To Smelly Feet
The deodorizing properties of baking soda apparently will also work on smelly feet as this poster in Reddit explains. To be more specific he was talking about using Arm and Hammer deodorant.
If you don't want to buy that another option would be soaking your feet in a tub filled with 8 cups of warm water, 1/4 cup of baking soda and some lemon juice for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. An Alternative To Store Bought Deodorants
Another way to utilize the odor fighting properties of baking soda is using it to make your own deodorant.
There are a few ways to go about it, the first option is to mix an eight of a teaspoon with water and then rub it under your armpits. If you have sweaty armpits, add some cornstarch to the mixture.
If you want a recipe that can be stored, try this recipe from Tammy Luna that includes baking soda, cornstarch and coconut oil.
In the Kitchen
8. A Produce Wash
If you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables washing is a very important step. This is a necessity because it removes dirt, contaminants and pesticides from the surface of produce.
One option would be buying a veggie wash but that costs extra $$$.
A cheaper option would be using a mixture of water, baking soda and vinegar. For leafy greens you can soak them into this mixture and for smooth skinned produce like apple, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray it around six times, leave it for a minute then rinse (3).
Tip: Avoid using soap or detergent to wash produce because the skin of fruits and veggies are porous and it will absorb any soap you wash it with. This not only affect flavor but you'll also consume the chemicals from the soap.
9. Grill Cleaner
One of the toughest things to clean at home is the grill. Yes the mainstay of every weekend barbeque can be a source of frustration but with the right ingredients and a little elbow grease you can kiss that burnt-on gunk good bye.
There are two ways to do it.
One is soaking the grates in mixture of vinegar, baking soda and water overnight then rinse it the next day (4).
You can also hose down the grill, sprinkle baking soda over the grates and parts that need cleaning, leaving it on for a few minutes then scrub it down with scotch-brite (5).
10. Remove Burned Residue Off Kitchen Utensils
One of the toughest items to clean in the kitchen is burned residue on stainless steel pans. Save some elbow grease with vinegar, baking soda, water and a scourer.
Image courtesy of apartmenttheraphy.com
The steps include filing up the pan with water and adding a cup of vinegar then bringing it to a boil. Then add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Let it sit for a few minutes then empty the pan. The burned residue should be soft enough to remove with the scourer.
If there are stubborn marks left, make a paste with equal parts baking soda and water then apply it on the marks. You can use this paste on the outer part of the utensil if there are burn marks that need cleaning (6).
11. Restore Silverware
Tarnished silver can be restored with a mixture of hot water, baking soda and salt. This is electrochemistry at work, if you watch the video below the tarnish is only removed when it touches the aluminum foil (7, 8).
Take note that this will only work for elemental silver, it won’t work on stainless or chrome.
12. Unclog Kitchen Drains (And Prevent Sludge Build Up)
Unclogging drains can be tricky, I’ve experienced a couple of drain clogs in my lifetime and it is stressful. You can unclog it a couple of ways. First, if the clog is severe you will have to use a plumbing/sewer snake to break the clog.
Or use a combination of vinegar, baking soda and boiling water for less severe clogs.
The latter is great as maintenance to prevent build up that can lead to clogging.
The steps include pouring boiling water down the drain then follow it up with half a cup of baking soda then let it sit for a few minutes. Follow it up with a mixture of one cup vinegar and one cup boiling water. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes then finish up with another pot of boiling water (9).
Baking soda, vinegar and boiling water also helps prevent build-up of sludge by loosening them up and them flushing it off.
13. Remove Stains From Coffee Mugs Or Carafes
Coffee drinkers can relate with this, over time coffee stains will build up on mugs and carafes and no matter how much you scrub with dishwashing detergent it won’t come off.
If you’re frustrated, why not try to sprinkle some baking soda at the bottom of the mug or carafe then add a bit of hot water then scrub (10).
Here’s the result…
Image courtesy of Making Lemonade Blog
14. Deodorize Sponges
Sponges take a beating and if you don’t rinse them properly overtime it’ll start to smell and accumulate bacteria (no so good for your health).
If you want these things to last a little longer and be less smelly, try soaking it in 4 tablespoons of baking soda + a quart of water. Don’t forget to rinse afterwards (11).
15. Cleans Cast Iron Cookware
Caring for cast iron cookware is very different from the traditional non-stick pan.
First, avoid using dish washing liquid to clean it. An option would be using boiling water and half a cup of baking soda to deep clean (12).
Second, always hand wash - avoid cleaning it using the dishwasher. Third, always dry it before storing it or rust will form.
If there is rust don't worry, sprinkle baking soda over the cast iron pan then rub it using raw potato (13).
Don't forget to re-season it after.
16. Removes Stains From Pans And Cookware
Anyone of does a lot of cooking knows how much abuse cooking utensils take and overtime stains and grime build up. Cleaning it with detergent and a lot of elbow grease won’t cut it, you’ll need something that will dissolve the grime and do the work for you.
Well good news, there’s a miracle cleaner out there that will bring back your kitchen utensil’s former glory (well almost).
No I’m not talking about a new product but it’s something widely available – baking soda and peroxide – to be more specific 1/4 cup of baking soda and enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste (14).
17. Removes Stains And Odor From Plastic
We use a lot of plastic containers to store food and one of my pet peeves is how hard it is to remove stains, especially from foods with colored sauces like sweet and sour fish.
One handy ingredient to have that will remove these stains is baking soda. Make a paste from equal parts water and baking soda then apply it on stained plastic containers. Let it sit for a few hours then wash afterwards (15).
As an added bonus, the baking soda and water mixture will also remove odor.
18. Oven Cleaner
Oven is another area in your kitchen you want to avoid harsh chemical cleaners because that’s where you cook food. An alternative to store bought chemical cleaners is vinegar and baking soda.
The process involves sprinkling baking soda over the gunk filled grates then spraying vinegar over the sprinkled layer of baking soda. After 30 minutes scrub it with a scrubber (16).
Just in case you're wondering "Garrick how about the other parts of the oven that have grease, how do I clean those?”. It can be done using baking soda and a few other ingredients.
Image courtesy of YumUniverse.
You'll need half a cup of homemade liquid soap (but a tablespoon of commercial dishwashing soap will do), some 1-1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of organic white vinegar, 2 to 4 drops of lavender essential oil and just enough water to make a thick paste.
Spread this mixture using a paint brush on the scum filled areas inside the oven. This is important, let it sit for 6 to 8 hours to let this homemade mixture do its magic then scrub using a scourer or a scotch brite.
19. Microwave Cleaner
For the microwave the process is a little different but the ingredients are still the same – baking soda and water.
Add two tablespoons of baking soda in a microwave safe bowl then add a cup of water. Put the bowl inside the microwave oven then let it run for about 2 to 3 minutes (don’t cover the bowl).
The steam from the water/baking soda mixture will both deodorize and loosen up caked on stains inside the microwave (17). Wipe off the residue with a clean microfiber towel.
Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
20. Remove Grease Spills
Cooking fried food will leave a lot of grease residue on the oven, countertop and the kitchen floor. Wiping them off with water and a damp rug won’t cut it.
Try sprinkling some baking soda on a sponge then wipe down any greasy surface, follow it up with a clean damp cloth (18).
If you're cleaning an oily floor sprinkle baking soda on the messy areas then mop with a damp microfiber mop. Make sure to leave the baking soda on a few minutes to allow it to do its magic.
21. Cleans Dishwasher Parts
Dishwashers do need some TLC, once a month you’ll have to get down on your knees and give it a thorough washing. Use baking soda paste and warm soapy water to clean the filter and its parts. This combo can also be used to clean the area around the drain.
On Laundry Items
22. Whiter Clothes
Baking soda can be mixed with liquid laundry detergent as a booster that will result in “whiter whites” and bring out the natural color in colored fabric. Adding this also increases the potency of bleach. On top-loading washing machines add half a cup of baking soda and a quarter of a cup on front-loaders (19).
Adding baking soda to your laundry also has another positive…
23. Removes Odors
Laundry will smell fresher and it will help remove odors like cigarette or perspiration odor (20).
24. Absorbs Greased Stains
Grease stains on our clothes is probably one of the tougher stains to clean up but the absorbing qualities of baking soda will help.
It will not remove stains per se but it absorbs enough of it so it is easier to clean afterwards using a grease busting dishwashing liquid (21).
25. Removes Perspiration Stains
One of the hardest to remove stains on fabric is perspiration stains.
No amount of scrubbing with conventional detergent will remove it.
A cheap solution for this would be scrubbing a paste made from 4 tablespoons of baking soda and water then letting sit for an hour. After soaking it in the baking soda mixture, let it go through one cleaning cycle in a washing machine (22).
26. Deodorizes Sports Gear
Active people who play a lot of sports can have smelly laundry at the end of the day. When you throw sweaty clothes inside the laundry bit without properly air drying chances are it will smell bad.
To remove odor from any washable gear like jersey’s, shorts, etc. you’ll need to soak it (preferably inside the washing machine) in a solution that has laundry detergent, water, baking soda and/or vinegar for a few hours (23). Only add vinegar if it's really smelly.
27. Removes Blood Stains
My wife has actually stained a bed sheets quite a few times when she got her period on days she didn’t expect it.
The default solution would be soaking it in bleach but that has a very strong odor.
A milder alternative would be rubbing one part baking soda and two parts cold water using a cloth, letting it sit for 30 minutes then scrubbing it again using a dry clean cloth (24).
28. Cleans and Deodorizes Baby Clothes
Using bleach on baby clothing is a big no-no because the strong odor is not good for their respiratory health.
A cheap non-toxic solution would be adding baking soda to a baby specific laundry detergent. This combo is great at removing odors such as urine and vomit that can linger (25).
In The Bathroom
29. Bathroom Scrub
Cleaning bathrooms with traditional chemical cleaners can be a nauseous experience because of the strong scent while commercially available cleaners that use natural ingredients are expensive.
Photo courtesy of Stacy @ Making Lemonade Blog
A more affordable option would be making your own bathroom scrub. Combining ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, essential oils and water can make a potent all around bathroom cleaner (26).
30. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
The combination of vinegar and baking soda is a potent non-toxic alternative to chemical cleaners that will clean, deodorize and disinfect toilet bowls if you don’t mind the vinegar-like scent that will eventually dissipate (27).
31. Cleans Shower Curtains
Shower curtains are great because they’re cheap, easy to install and easy to clean but if you get lazy and don’t clean them mold, mildew, soap scum, oils from our body and bacteria accumulate.
Cleaning is easy. You’ll need a washing machine, laundry detergent, baking soda (1 cup), a couple of light colored towels and 10 drops of tea tree oil to kill mold and mildew (28).
32. Grout Cleaner
That tough to clean grout has finally met its match – vinegar and baking soda. How do you do it? Sprinkle baking soda over grout lines – make sure it fills them up, don’t be afraid to use your fingers. Then follow up with a vinegar spray then let it sit for a few minutes.
Image courtesy of Carrie @ Making Lemonade Blog
This mixture will do half the work for you in breaking down dirt, all you need to do is scrub it using a grout brush and wipe with a damp cloth (29).
33. Cleans Shower Stalls
Clean and streak free shower stalls make a bathroom look 10 times better but unfortunately overtime water marks and grime build up overtime. These stains are very difficult to clean.
Baking soda paste to the rescue, mix baking soda and water to make a paste then use a sponge, scrub or microfiber towel to agitate.
34. Cleans Fiberglass Tubs
Since fiber glass tubs can be fragile you don't want to apply to much pressure when cleaning it.
If you own one of these, cleaning it is a simple 3 step process.
First you'll need to remove any dust build up on there. Second, spray white wine vinegar all over and leave it on for a few minutes to break down any gunk build up then wipe off excess vinegar with a clean microfiber towel.
Next do a visual check on areas of the tub that have filth and then sprinkle baking soda on those areas then spray again with white wine vinegar. You'll notice that it will create a fizzy effect (this is the last step). Leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse and repeat until all the filth is gone (30).
35. Stain Remover
Carpet stains are an accident waiting to happen so it’ll be wise to be prepared. Fortunately there are two products that are cheap, readily available and non-toxic – vinegar and baking soda.
To spot clean carpet stains pour vinegar on the affected area then sprinkle baking soda over it.
You’ll notice that it will bubble up, that’s vinegar and baking soda working on the stain, absorbing it. Blot residue away with a dry clean cloth then vacuum (31).
36. Absorbs Oil And Grease
In addition to removing stains on carpet, baking soda is capable of absorbing grease or oil spills on carpet. Before sprinkling, make sure to scrape off any excess grease. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and allow it to absorb oil or grease stains then vacuum afterwards (32).
37. Cleans Vomit
Cleaning vomit is messy and it increases 2 fold on carpet. Baking soda to the rescue, sprinkle a good amount of it on vomit then let it sit for a few hours (even overnight) and cover it with a towel.
This miracle powder will absorb vomit and leave dried clumps that can be vacuumed. The result is an odorless, vomit free carpet (33).
Other Parts Of The Home
38. Remove Food Stains From Vinyl Flooring
Food stains can be removed using the baking soda and water paste I’ve talked about in this article. To give you a refresher, mix equal parts water and baking soda until it forms a paste.
Gently rub the stained area then wipe off excess residue with a damp microfiber cloth followed by a dry cloth to avoid water marks (34).
39. Remove Crayon Marks From The Wall
Parents with toddlers can relate to this, crayon scribbles on the wall can be a normal occurrence but don’t fret a little baking soda and water goes a long way in removing crayon marks on the wall.
40. Keeps Furniture Fresh
Furniture absorbs odors from different sources like pets and people. Overtime this accumulation will develop a funky smell.
Keep your upholstery fresh by sprinkling baking soda over it then let it sit overnight. The next day use a handheld vacuum or an upright with a handheld attachment to pick up residue.
Baking soda will absorb any oily residue along with the odors and leave fresh-smelling furniture behind. Make sure to sprinkle areas underneath the cushions as well (37).
41. Pet Urine
Aside from pet hair, one of the biggest headaches of pet owners is urine stains on carpet. Often times the stain is almost invisible (it does gets darker over time) but the stench can’t be denied. Once you spot the stain pour vinegar then sprinkle baking soda over it to remove the stain and odor (38).
42. Cleans and Deodorizes Pet Box and Bedding
Pet boxes and bedding will develop pet odor overtime because it accumulates oily residue from hair, urine and poop. Combine these odors and you’ll end up with a nasty smelling box and bedding.
To deodorize pet boxes, sprinkle good amounts of baking soda to absorb and remove the odor. For beddings soak it in a mixture of water and baking soda then rinse thoroughly (39).
43. Eliminates Skunk Odor From Pets
Skunks are all over the place so just in case your dog or cat encounters them and gets sprayed with skunk juice, you have a couple of options to clean this smelly mess.
Option one is using over the counter products like Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover but if that isn’t available be sure to have some baking soda handy.
The de-skunking bath mixture includes 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Use this to wash your pet and don’t forget to wear gloves (40).
44. Aquarium Cleaner and Deodorizer
Aside from a tool used to adjust the pH level baking soda can be used to clean aquariums.
The most straight forward way to soak the aquarium with baking soda and water for a few hours so that hard to clean algae and grime softens up to scrub with a sponge afterwards.
Another side benefit of using baking soda is it deodorizes the aquarium without the risk of leaving toxic residue that could potentially kill fish.
45. Trash Cans
One of the biggest headaches at least in our homes is smelly trash cans, especially ones with used diapers in it. Keep the trash bins smelling fresh with these deodorizing disks made from baking soda, water, essential oil and a baking pan. Yes, you’ll need to bake these puppies but it’ll be worth it with your trash bins smelling great.
46. Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are money savers because you can reuse them but the biggest challenge is washing them in a way that it won’t smell afterwards because as pee and poop accumulate it will leave a very bad stench.
To deodorize, soak it in a mixture of one cup baking soda and two quarts of water (41).
Here’s a bonus, Arm & Hammer, the same manufacturer that makes baking soda, also manufactures a product called the washing soda that you can use to make a homemade diaper detergent (42).
Aside from being a catch basin for dirt and sand, carpet also absorbs oil from our bodies, pet urine, dander, and food droppings. All these things contribute to it developing bad odor overtime. This is bad for any indoor environment.
To freshen up carpet, sprinkle liberal amounts of baking soda and let it sit for a few hours (possibly overnight), vacuum afterwards. Baking soda will absorb oily residue and deodorize carpet as the same time (43).
48. Vacuum Cleaners
The deodorizing properties of baking soda also work on vacuum cleaners. Use mixture of baking soda and water to wash different parts like the dust cup, hose and filter. Don’t forget to rinse then dry (44).
Got smelly shoes? This is a result of bacteria multiplying in a damp sweaty environment. A mixture of 3 tablespoons baking soda, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 5 drops tea tree oil will help remove the odor, absorb dampness and freshen up those smelly kicks. Sprinkle this concoction on shoes and let it sit overnight (45).
The odor absorbing abilities of baking soda can also be used on fabric. If your bed sheets or towels smell a little funky a sprinkle liberal amount of baking soda, let it sit for 30 minutes or so then vacuum afterwards. To make it smell better, try adding essential oils on baking soda before sprinkling it (46).
51. Stuffed Toys
My son has a few stuffed toys. He likes it so much that he rubs his face against it. He also uses it as a pillow so it does accumulate sweat, vomit (at times), oil and snot from time to time. Add to that the dust and mold accumulation you have a smelly toy in your hands.
There are two ways to deodorize washable and non-washable stuffed dolls. For the washable variety, before adding laundry detergent, soak stuffed toys inside a water filled washing machine along with half a cup of baking soda overnight (47).
For the non-washable variety, place the stuff toy inside a plastic bag then add half a cup of baking soda (increase it to 1 cup the stuff toy is bigger). Squeeze out excess air and gently shake for 2 minutes. Let it sit for 15 minutes – this will allow sodium bicarbonate to not only deodorize but also remove dirt and grime accumulation (48).
52. Cleans Corroded Battery Terminates
If you haven’t had the time to check your car’s engine bay, today is probably the right time to do so because it may be corroded. Corroded terminals can post a series of problems that include hard startups and electrical fluctuation.
If you spot corrosion sprinkle some baking soda on the affected parts then scrub down with a toothbrush (soaked in water). Don’t forget to remove the terminals first before doing this – negative first then the positive to prevent electric shock (49).
53. Deodorizes Your Car's Upholstery And Carpet
If your car is smelling a bit funky, try sprinkling baking soda on the ashtray, upholstery, mats and carpet then leave on for a few hours to allow it to absorb all the odors. Vacuum afterwards.
54. Baby Toy Cleaner
When cleaning baby toys you can't use harsh chemical based cleaners because it contains toxic substances.
Since babies love to bite their toys they're at risk of ingesting these very toxic substances that these cleaners have. Would you risk your child's health?
One option would be buying a child friendly cleaner but the cost can add up. Here's a cheaper option...
Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of warm water and use this with a clean sponge or cloth to clean toys, rinse with warm water afterwards (50).
55. Cleaning The Kiddie Pool
Summer time means pool time for a lot of kids, kiddie pools are a great way for kids to play if your home does not have a full sized pool but it can be a source of bacteria and mildew.
56. Restore The Bling Of That Diamond Ring
If you happen to wear your engagement ring or wedding ring, the acidity from sweat and natural body oils will tarnish it over time. Rather than buying jewelry cleaners, try soaking it in a mixture of hot water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda to restore that bling (52).
57. Cockroach Killer
Have you ever gone down to your kitchen at the middle of the night to find an army of cockroaches crawling all over your plates, table, cups and what not. Frustrating isn't it.
Our default defense against these rodents is using insecticide sprays that kill them instantly but if you have small children at home this is a big no-no because their immune systems cannot handle these harsh chemicals.
As it turns out baking soda is deadly for cockroaches which is good because it will help us eliminate these critters.
Don't just scatter baking soda on the ground because chances are cockroaches will ignore them because it doesn't taste good. You'll need a bait, to be more specific sugar then mix it with water (53, 54).
58. Removes Paint and Corrosion
Baking soda can be used to strip paint off metal surfaces and you don't need a sandblaster.
You'll need to soak that piece of metal or hardware on boiling water that contains baking soda. If that piece of metal is too large soak a rag into boiling water then drape it over that piece of metal and watch the paint come off (55).