Baking soda uses are almost endless. In fact, it is one of those multi-use products that’s a “must-have” in your home. Of course, you keep it on hand for baking. But outside of the pantry, you can use it for everything from personal hygiene to cleaning up the home. The trick lies in knowing the amount you need for each task.
What Exactly is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is nothing more than a simple chemical compound called Sodium Bi-Carbonate. A close relation to salt, it’s commonly used as a leavening agent in baking. However, it’s alkalinity combines with a powdery texture that makes it perfect for odor absorption, cleaning, and more! You’ll find it in widespread use in products from antacid medications to toothpaste to cleansers.
But…why pay more when you can DIY?
Here’s the list of my favorite ways to use baking soda.
30 Amazing Baking Soda Uses
Baking Soda and Personal Hygiene
Deodorize your hands:
Did you chop up an onion or filet a fish today? Your hands stink after completing grimy kitchen tasks! Make a paste 1 tsp of baking soda and 1 tsp of water. Rub the paste over your hands and let the paste sit for about 30 seconds. This allows it to neutralize the odors. Rinse and your hands will be clean and fresh smelling.
Banish Insect Bite Itch:
Summertime brings mosquitoes. While the best effort is to naturally repel mosquitoes, this doesn’t always work. So, when you do get bit by the bugs, you can treat the itchy bumps with baking soda. Mix equal parts baking soda and water to create a balm that you can dab on those bug bites to calm down the itch. One note: don’t use this on open bites–if you scratched them open, then it’s too late for this home remedy for bug bites!
Freshen up Your Breath:
Use baking soda to neutralize foul breath. Mix 1 tsp. of baking soda to about 4 oz. of warm water and swish around your mouth. Don’t swallow this, spit it out! But why warm water? Because it helps to dissolve the baking soda quickly.
DIY Tooth Whitener:
Save the hundreds of dollars you’ll spend on tooth whitening products in your lifetime. Use this handy trick to brighten and whiten up that smile. Mix two tablespoons. of hydrogen peroxide with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Brush your teeth with this mixture as soon as you mix it. This should be done only as needed; it shouldn’t be a daily routine as this can wear down your tooth enamel if used excessively. Not sure if this is valid information? Well, be assured that it works. After all, I verified the recipe with the experts at Colgate.
Got a rash? This miracle ingredient can aid in DIY rash relief. Add 1/4 cup to warm water in your bathtub. While it doesn’t “cure” the rash, it helps to restore the pH balance in your skin so that healing can start. This baking soda bath cuts down on the irritation and itchy feeling that goes hand-in-hand with rashes.
Get Glowing Skin at Home:
Turn your own bathroom into a spa and get glowing skin. Add 2 tsp of baking soda to 1 tsp. of water and squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Apply this thick mask to your face, avoiding the eye area. Let the mask penetrate your skin for 5 minutes, and rinse away using circular, massaging motions as you remove the mask.
The baking soda exfoliates while the Vitamin C in the lemon gives you a glow. Use once a week.
DIY Deodorant Boost:
Got pit stink? Deodorant failure is embarrassing, but it does happen! The problem isn’t the deodorant, it’s the pH of your skin. When your deodorant fails on you, you might need to give it a boost. Before you hop in the shower, add 1/4 cup of water to 1/4 cup of baking soda. Apply it to your armpits and let it sit for a minute or two. Jump into the shower and rinse it thoroughly. The pH of your armpits is restored and your deodorant should be able to do its job effectively now.
Stop the Oil Slick:
Oily hair looks lifeless and weighed down at the least. At the most, it looks dirty even after it’s been freshly shampooed! When you’re shampooing, add 1/2 tsp. of baking soda to the shampoo. Mix it in well, and shampoo as normal. Take care to massage the scalp with the shampoo mixture to treat the oiliness of your scalp.
Take a look at your combs, picks, and brushes. They are probably filled with a buildup that you can’t get rid of. Pull out loose hairs, then place them in a sink with about 2 cups of hot water and 1/4 cup of baking soda. After a good, long soak, the debris in the brush should rinse away cleanly.
Treat Tired Feet:
Do you work long hours on your feet all day? Are your feet uncomfortably dry? Fill a foot bath with warm water and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Treat your feet to a long soak (until the water cools). Rinse in clear water. The baking soda bath will leave your feet soft and relaxed.
Aid Acid Indigestion:
Have you ever experienced the discomfort of acid indigestion (acid reflux) after overindulging on food or drink (or both)? Aid indigestion with a simple mix of 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of baking soda to 4 oz. of water. Sip away and the baking soda will neutralize your stomach acid rather quickly. Please note: if you are on a strict low-sodium diet, pass up on this advice. Also, don’t use it ongoing, see a doctor as acid reflux on a regular basis can indicate another underlying problem.
Baking Soda and Household Chores
Eliminate Pet Accidents from Carpet:
My dearly departed dalmatian became incontinent in her very late years. Bless her heart! I used this trick so many times–because it really does work! After a pet accident, absorb all liquids by applying pressure with paper towels. Repeat this until the carpet is almost dry. Trust me, you don’t want to add the baking soda to wet carpet or it will be pasty and difficult to remove. Banish pets from the area for a couple of hours. Sprinkle dry baking soda thoroughly across the carpet. Let is set for a couple of hours and vacuum away. The odor and stain will be gone!
Don’t be Catty:
Well, you can be catty if you want to, but don’t let your house smell that way! Cut down on the telltale litter box odors that you have when you have a cat in the house. You might not smell it, but I promise you that your visitors do! Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into the litter box in between cleanings. It will help to neutralize the acidic pee-pee smells that are inevitable.
Neutralize “Attic Odors”:
My house has very small closets. Every winter/summer, I have to switch out my clothing and store away my “off-season” clothes in storage boxes in the attic. I’ve learned to prevent that dry and dusty “attic odor” by using baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of the storage box; you’re going to wash the clothes to release the wrinkles anyways. Plus, it doesn’t come out of the attic with that stinky smell.
Cutting Board Clean Up:
Your cutting boards–especially wooden ones–can harbor both bacteria. In fact, if your cutting board smells, it’s a sure sign of bacteria growth. So sprinkle it with a generous coating of baking soda. Then add a few drops of water to make a thick paste and let it set for an hour or so while you do other chores. Scrub away the paste in a circular scrubbing motion with hot water. Let air dry. You’ve now cleared away the bacteria that’s causing those nasty smells.
Amp up Your Laundry:
Clothes that are washed with a baking soda additive come out cleaner, softer, and fresher smelling. After adding your laundry detergent, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash. The difference is amazing!
Do you have stained clothes, such as cloth diapers or t-shirts with armpit stains? Make a laundry pre-soak of 1 cup of baking soda to 1 quart of warm water. Soak for an hour to remove those nasty stains.
You may have wondered why your mom kept an open box of baking soda in the fridge. It absorbs nasty food odors and keeps your fridge fresh and clean smelling. One note: don’t bake with the baking soda in the fridge, keep a separate box on hand for baking! This is probably one of the best known baking soda uses.
Prevent Clogged Drains:
If you live in a home with older plumbing, like I do, you may experience the pain in the butt of slow drains. Prevent clogged drains by flushing them weekly with a mixture of baking soda, salt, and vinegar.
Add 1 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of salt to the drain opening. Then pour in 2 cups of white vinegar (another miracle household cleaner). It will make a small eruption. Boil about 3 cups of water while that does its magic; pour the boiling water down the drain to flush away any greasy clogs that the mixture has loosened up. Your drains should run freely now!
Kick the Can:
The garbage can, that is! Kick your garbage can onto its side, pour in a cup of baking soda, and give it a good cleaning. Yes, it’s a nasty but necessary job. The baking soda will eliminate the odors as your clean.
Clean the Garbage Disposal:
We recently featured a guest post with tips on keeping garbage disposal odors at bay by Mr. Garbage Disposal! Read here to learn more. A well-cleaned and maintained garbage disposal will be free of nasty smells.
Freshen up Your Closets:
Does your kid’s closet smell like dirty gym clothes? Then freshen up every closet in your home by placing an opened box of baking soda someplace in the closet. Change it out monthly.
Neutralize Sneaker Odor:
Speaking of dirty gym clothes, keep your family’s sneakers smelling better by sprinkling baking soda inside of them for a little while. Shake out the excess powder and vacuum away the rest!
Absorb Oil Spills:
Is your garage or driveway stained with oil spills? You need to pressure wash to remove old stains. But when new drips or spills happen, sprinkle baking soda over them immediately. Dampen with the hose and scrub it with a scrub brush. Let it dry to absorb the oils for several hours. Vacuum up with a shop vacuum and the stain won’t be noticeable!
Wash Tile Floors:
A floor wash is another of the most common baking soda uses. It’s cheap, effective, and odorless for cleaning tile or vinyl floors. Dissolve 1/2 cup of baking soda in about 3-4 gallons of water to use for your mopping solution. It cuts right through stains, oils, and grime! Follow with a “rinse” by mopping again with clear warm water to make sure you don’t leave any gritty texture behind.
Another one of baking soda uses that’s commonly known is to make a DIY cleanser for cleaning your countertops, sinks, shower, bathtub, faucets, and even your appliances. Mix a small amount of baking soda with equal parts of water and scrub away stains while you leave everything clean and odor-free!
Clean Your Washing Machine:
Washing machines can get a funky stagnant water odor, especially if you come home after traveling for several days. Before you toss in a load of washing, run your washer on a small load with 1 part of baking soda and 1 part of white vinegar to clear away those odors so the smell doesn’t transfer to your clothing.
Got silver? Whether you have silver flatware or a favorite pair of earrings, it’s eventually going to show signs of tarnish. Clear away that patina before it ruins your favorite silver pieces. A thick paste of 1 tsp. baking soda to 1/2 tsp. of water will be the perfect polishing paste to make your silver sparkle again!
Keep your freshly picked garden flowers perky and pretty in their vase for longer. Add one teaspoon of baking soda to the vase and fill it with water for those posies. Change the water and add fresh baking soda daily. Your flowers will remain vibrant for several more days.
Ban the Crayon:
Do your kids think it’s more fun to color on the kitchen table than on their coloring books? It happens! Ban the crayon stain by dampening a sponge with water and a light amount of baking soda. Scrub away…the baking soda both acts as a mild scouring agent and lifts the grease and color away.
There are volumes and volumes of information on baking soda uses. I’ve personally tried most of these, so I’m sharing the ones that I know of first-hand! Because I have asthma, I keep commercial cleaners to a minimum in my home due to the overpowering odors. These work perfectly for me.
I hope you try these and that they work just as well for you.
Do you have a great use for baking soda? Please share! I’d love to hear.
Have a happy DIY day!