The Best Uses for Baking Soda

Clean, Freshen, and More with Baking Soda!

March 12, 2021
Baking Soda
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Bicarbonate of soda—commonly known as “baking soda”—is a wonderful household product for much more than baking! From removing stains to cleaning teeth to even getting rid of your sweet tooth, see some of the best uses for baking soda.

Growing up, I remember we always had baking soda on hand for leavening biscuits, dumplings, and various quick breads. Mom set an open box of it into the fridge to absorb odors, and had us drink a bit of it in water to ease upset stomachs.

During the past year, I’ve found more uses for it. Like many of you, during quarantine, I learned to get by with fewer household items in general, discovering new uses for ordinary things that were readily available and never in short supply.

Keep an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb any escaping smells so other foods won’t. Exchange for a new box whenever you clean the fridge. Use the contents of the old box for scrubbing jobs.

Best Uses for Baking Soda

In the Bathroom

One rule of thumb: Baking soda is great at removing grease, grime, scum, and stinky smells just about everywhere.

  • Clean toilet bowls Add a quarter cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar to an empty bowl. Bubbles will form! Scrub with a stiff brush and flush. Repeat if necessary. A damp cloth sprinkled with baking soda will also clean the outside surfaces of the toilet, tank and cover.
  • Clean faucets and door handles Make a thick paste of baking soda and a bit of water, apply to grimy areas, and scrub with a stiff brush (For the tightest spots, I use an old toothbrush. I save all my toothbrushes for tasks like this). Rinse off immediately, or let it dry and rinse later.
  • Soak toothbrushes in baking soda and warm water overnight to clean bristles.
  • Keep your rubber gloves dry and smelling good by sprinkling baking soda inside them. They’ll slip on more easily too!
  • Pour a cup of baking soda into the opening of your clogged drain and then add a cup of hot vinegar. After a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water.

In the Kitchen

  • Scrub coffee mugs, tea cups,  and carafes: Sprinkle the inside of the mug or container with baking soda and gently scrub with a moist cloth to remove the stains. Then give the mug or container a thorough rinse.
  • Remove burned-on foods from stainless steel cookware Add plenty of baking soda to the pot/pan with enough water to form a thick slurry, let sit (minutes, hours, or overnight), and go to it with a fresh scrubbing pad. Repeat as necessary.
  • Clean your refrigerator with a solution of one-teaspoon baking soda to one quart of warm water.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda on the bottom of your toaster oven to eliminate the burned smell from drippings and crumbs.
  • To remove pesticides, dirt, and wax from fresh fruits and vegetables, wash them in a large bowl of cool water to which you’ve added two to three tablespoons of baking soda.
  • A paste of baking soda removes red sauce stains from plastic.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda into the opening of your clogged drain and then add a cup of hot vinegar. After a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water.

Cooking and Baking

  • Make fluffier omelets.  A pinch (¼ teaspoon or less) in your morning eggs as you whip them up will make your omelettes or scrambled eggs fluffier.
  • Make the best cookies! In a project intended to find the best leavening agent for chocolate-chip cookies, the folks at BuzzFeed baked 400 cookies comparing various agents and discovered that baking-soda-only cookies won hands down. Prove them wrong!
  • Add a pinch of baking soda to boiled syrup to prevent it from crystallizing.

For Health

  • Clean teeth The antibacterial properties of baking powder help reduce bacterial plaques that cause tooth decay and gum disease, while its mild abrasive quality helps remove light staining. Mix a little baking soda with a few drops of water to make a thick paste, wet brush, coat teeth with paste, cover with paste, brush gently, and rinse well.
  • Add baking soda to your bath water to relieve sunburned or itchy skin.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to a burn or an insect bite for relief.
  • If you crave sweets, rinse your mouth with one-teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a glass of warm water. Don’t swallow the mixture; spit it out. Your craving should disappear instantly.
  • For freshening breath, add a spoonful of baking soda to a glass of warm water (or peppermint tea), and swoosh the mixture around in your mouth for 30 seconds or more before spitting it out. 
  • Ease occasional heartburn/indigestion: The standard dose for this old-fashioned remedy is half a teaspoon of baking soda in half a cup of water. If you have frequent heartburn or other digestive problems, see a doctor.

On Clothing

  • To remove perspiration stains, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub paste into the stain, let it sit for an hour, and then launder as usual. Find out how to remove other common stains.
  • Gasoline and oil odors can be removed by putting clothes in a trash bag with baking soda for a few days before washing them.
  • Remove odors from smelly shoes. Liberally sprinkle baking soda inside shoes (and under the inserts, too). Place shoes in a large paper bag and leave overnight. When you’re ready to go again, shake out the soda. 
  • Remove stains on hat bands. Mix up a few tablespoons of white vinegar with a squirt of spray around the inside of a baseball or athletic cap a mixture of a quarter cup of white vinegar mixed with a tablespoon of liquid detergent. Then sprinkle baking soda liberally around the brim and  Apply to the brim and let the hat sit for up to an hour. Spray with distilled white vinegar and give the stain another short scrub. Rinse clean in cold water. Pat dry with a towel and allow the hat to air dry completely.
  • Clean a steam iron When the ironing surface (soleplate) gets grubby, scrub it gently with a paste of baking soda and water. Let it dry before brushing off with a soft brush. If that doesn’t quite do the trick, soak a small towel or washcloth in white vinegar, lay it on newspapers on the ironing board, and sprinkle baking soda. Then “iron” the towel back and forth without plugging the iron in. 

For Your Dog

  • Freshen up your smelly dog! Liberally sprinkle your smelly dog  (outdoors if possible) all over, avoiding the face, with baking soda, massage it in well so it coats the skin, and leave it for a few minutes to absorb the offending odors. Then give your dog a good brushing. Additional advantages of a baking soda bath: It imparts luster to the coat, soothes doggie’s skin, and kills fleas and other parasites.

In the Car

  • Deodorize your car (or trunk) by sprinkling baking soda on the upholstery and floor mats. Let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up, removing any extra baking soda with a damp cloth. Some people keep their ashtray filled with baking soda. 
  • A light baking soda paste on a damp cloth will remove bugs and tar from cars without damaging the paint. Let paste sit for a few minutes before wiping and rinsing clean.

Miscellaneous Uses

  • Deodorize stinky hands. After cutting fish or handling other smelly items, dust your hands well with baking soda and scrub them under running warm water for a few seconds.
  • Freshen trash bins. Just sprinkle the inside of your kitchen and bathroom trash cans, or inside the trash bags themselves. Once a year, I take mine outside and scrub  with a little liquid detergent and a strong spray of the garden hose.
  • Lay down a barrier of baking soda under sink-pipe openings and along basement windows to keep carpenter ants, silverfish, and roaches from invading. Roaches eat the baking soda, dehydrate, and die.
  • Sprinkling baking soda on your front steps will provide traction and melt the ice. Unlike rock salt, kitty litter, or sand, it won’t damage outdoor or indoor surfaces or shoes.

*Don’t use baking soda for cleaning glass surfaces, silverware, stone countertops, and wooden floors or furniture. Also, dermatologists warn against using baking soda routinely as a dry shampoo or underarm deodorant, because its alkalinity will disrupt the natural acidity of skin and scalp.

Please post your own favorite baking soda uses below, and then check out our tips for using other common household items:

Reader Comments

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Boiling water down drains?

I think that pouring boiled water down drains can warp pipes. Advise not to do it!

Baking soda mining

Baking soda, Quoting "Most of it comes from Wyoming, which contains the world’s largest trona deposit.  There is no risk of depletion anytime soon according to the Wyoming State Geological Survey":

“Baking soda comes out of the ground in the form of minerals nahcolite and trona, which are refined into soda ash (a.k.a. sodium carbonate), then turned into baking soda (a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate ), among other things”

I have been to the mine (it’s way out in the boonies) and there's huge trucks hauling the mineral out. You can pick it up from the roadways that spilled. It's a solid "rock" in crystalline form. But if the “rock” gets wet, it will dissolve.

Happy Kitty

I sprinkle the bottom of the litter pan with baking soda, with every change. This keeps kitty's pan order free.

Use of Baking Soda: Laundry

Add about 1 cup of Baking Soda to your bath towels, along with your laundry detergent - makes the towels nice and fluffy.

The toilet! LOL Less chemicals in the house

Less chemicals in the house the better. In fact, I hardly have any. I use baking soda to clean my commode.

Baking Soda Use

I have ceramic coated cooking pans. My frying pan, over time, will become difficult to get clean. After washing, I sprinkle a little baking soda in it with a little water and give it a quick scrub. It shines it right up.

Aluminum

After using baking soda for brushing teeth & as a deodorant I started to break out with little bumps. I discovered there was aluminum in it! I now buy from health food store.

Baking Soda Uses

I dig the grass and weeds from around my garden beds (about 6-8 inches out) in order to mow better, turn the soil to remove roots, smooth out the soil and sprinkle a good layer of baking soda on the soil. This stops the majority of weeds and grass from coming back.

Gardening With Baking Soda

A small amount of baking soda - from the fridge is fine, sweetens the tomato when used weekly during the fruiting season.

Baking soda for pet owners

For wet accidents on rugs or fabric furniture, I want the mess UP & gone. A healthy dose of baking soda on top of the accident pulls out offending substance...don't skimp on the baking soda, you want to get it all. After a few hours, everything should be absorbed, I use a brush & dust pan to remove everything then flush away (plumbing likes baking soda)

Best uses for baking soda when sick

If you are sick and feeling like crap,
put one box of baking soda into a warm bath water
soak for 20 mins do NOT rinse off baking soda
til you shower in morning. You will wake up in good health.
Learned at massage school in Alexandria School of Scientific Therapeutics, Alexandria, Indiana

baking soda uses

The baking soda in your fridge comes in handy if you have a grease fire on your stove. Just grab it from the fridge and sprinkle it on the fire. Fire is out and the soda helps clean up the mess.

Baking soda in the oven

If something runs over in the oven while baking, throw baking soda on the puddle of burning food in the bottom. It stops the smoke and the smell right away! It’s also a great, scratchless cleaner!

cramp and bicarbonateof soda

A small amount of bicarb in water will very quickly remove cramp. I say this with confidence as I have used it myself more times effectively than could be put down to chance. I smile when I see sportsmen/women writhing with cramp being tortured by their team mates or their medical support. I have offered the advice, but have been ignored!

oven cleaner?

I have a question...
Can I use baking soda/vinegar mix to clean my oven more naturally from all the greasy bacon splatter?
I really don't like using toxic commercial oven cleaners and I pretty sure I can substitute, but I want confirmation from others who have successfully done so.

Deodorant

A pinch of baking soda under each arm works great. Have used as deodorant for over 40 years.

baking soda

put a teaspoon in a pot of water when boiling eggs(for hard boiled)and the egg shells will come off easy with no effort.

baking soda and wet cement

My friend told me about sprinkling baking soda on wet cement to get it to set up.

Another use for baking soda

It works great for killing the grass/weeds that grow in the cracks of the sidewalk. It takes a while and you need to use a fair bit.

Baking Soda Uses

Wonderful new ideas for using baking soda. We also put soda in our cat litter to help with the smell.

Baking Soda Toothpaste

I use baking soda mixed with a little coconut oil and water for toothpaste. I add peppermint essential oil for flavoring. I get great check-ups!

Baking soda

A great facial scrub... when you change out the fridge baking soda "deodorant", put in a container to use as a scrub a few days a week. Can't beat the price for the results.

Super glue

Baking soda also causes super glue to set up faster! Sprinkle a bit on after you join the two pieces and you'll only have to hold it in place a few seconds, instead of minutes.

Uses for baking soda

My mother taught me this: If you have acid stomach (heartburn), mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of cool water and stir well, then drink it for immediate relief. I’m 76 years old and I have used it over the years without I’ll effects.

Baking soda

Baking soda and water relieves bee and mosquito bites.

Uses of Baking Soda and white vinegar

When washing clothes, along with the detergent, I use about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of baking soda at the beginning of the wash cycle. Helps with stains and sweetens the clothes. Instead of a fabric softener in the rinse cycle, I use white vinegar. This helps remove any remaining soap in the clothes.

Baking soda and vinegar

I also use these two products for my laundry. The soda makes the water softer so you can use less soap.
The vinegar does NOT make the clothes smell like vinegar it insures that the soap rinses completely out of
the clothes. Clothes and bedding smell clean and fresh.

Soft skin

Put a cup of more of baking soda (NOT baking powder), into your bath water, and soak as long as you can, or want. This is great for an all-over sunburn. I love doing this, as it cleans me, AND the bathtub, at the same time. (Clean your bathtub, sinks, with it too!).
You'll come out of your bath, clean, AND soft all over!

3 more uses for soda

1. Mix baking soda with corn starch and a spritz of cologne for an excellent deoderant powder.
2. Brush your teeth with a mix of baking soda and salt.
3. Make a paste with baking soda, toothpaste, and peroxide to clean the rubber gaskets on fridge doors.

Corroded Car Battery Terminals

Just yesterday I discovered my car's battery was dead. When use of jumper cables failed to work, we wondered if it could be caused by this white corrosion around one of the terminals. Following directions on line, we used an old nailbrush and scrubbed with a solution of baking soda & water. With clean terminals, we again tried charging the batter with the cables. Voila! NOTE: That white stuff is acid, and the bristle brush causes splatters. Wear goggles and rubber gloves!

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