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What are Some Household Uses for Baking Soda?

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  • Written By: S. N. Smith
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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There are literally hundreds of household uses for baking soda. Not to be confused with baking powder, which has added acidifying and drying agents — typically cream of tartar and starch, respectively — baking soda is pure bicarbonate of soda. Its beneficial qualities are the result of its ability to act as a buffer, neutralizing both acidic and alkaline substances to regulate pH. It is inexpensive, environmentally friendly, fragrance-free, and safe for nearly all surfaces, making it ideal for many household uses.

Personal Hygiene

  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking soda dissolved in 4 ounces (120 ml) lukewarm water makes a mouth rinse for eliminating bad breath.
  • To deodorize and refresh dentures, retainers, and other oral appliances, soak them in a solution of 2 teaspoons (10 g) baking soda dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water.
  • Liberally sprinkle it on a damp toothbrush and brush for clean, white teeth.
  • To remove the residue left behind by styling products and chlorine, add a teaspoon of baking soda to shampoo and lather up as normal. Rinse well.
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In the Kitchen

  • Baking soda can be used to clean cutting boards, counter tops, sinks, stoves, the interiors of lunch boxes and coolers, and other surfaces that come into contact with food. Sprinkle it onto a damp sponge, wipe, rinse, and dry.
  • Clean the inside of a food-splattered microwave with baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge. Rinse, then dry.
  • Place an opened box in the freezer and the refrigerator to absorb food odors; replace with a fresh box every few months.
  • It can be used to safely scrub fruits and vegetables. Sprinkle on a damp sponge, wash the fruit or vegetable carefully, then rinse thoroughly with cool water.

Fire Extinguisher

  • It is worthwhile to keep a box or two of baking soda on hand for this use alone. It can put out small grease fires in pans, ovens, grills, and toaster ovens. It's best to first turn off the power source, if it can be done safely, and then throw the baking soda on the flame.
  • It can also be used to put out small electrical fires — the process is essentially the same. In both cases, it’s wise to call the fire department to check on the situation and make sure the fire has been totally extinguished.

In the Bathroom

  • Scrub out the tub and sink with a damp sponge sprinkled with baking soda. It won’t scratch the finish of your fixtures and won’t leave behind any nasty chemicals to irritate sensitive skin.
  • Soak brushes and combs in a solution of 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking soda dissolved in 1 cup (240 ml) warm water to clean them.

In the Laundry Room

  • To brighten whites with half the amount of bleach, instead of adding 1 cup (240 ml) of bleach to your laundry, add half that amount and add 0.5 cup (120 g) of baking soda.
  • Add 0.5 cup (120 g) of baking soda to the rinse cycle of the wash for fresher-smelling, softer clothes.

Camping

  • Sprinkle a line of baking soda around the perimeter of sleeping and dining areas to discourage ants.
  • Use it as an all-purpose toothpaste, deodorant, and foot powder.
  • Use it to clean pots and pans and cooking utensils.
  • Soothe the pain of a bee sting by applying a paste of baking soda and water to the area. For mild sunburn and poison ivy rashes, soak in a tub of lukewarm water with about 0.5 cup (120 g) of baking soda dissolved in it.

General Uses

  • Sprinkle it into the insides of shoes, then let them sit overnight and shake out in the morning.
  • Smelly drains in the kitchen or bathroom? Run some warm water and spoon about 0.5 cup (120 g) of baking soda down the drain. This can be done with the same box used to absorb odors in the fridge/freezer — the old box will work just fine.
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Discuss this Article

babyksay
Post 5

@ChickenLover - I have totally done that before and was SO proud of myself for coming up with something when we literally didn't have a dime to spare for dish washer soap. Needless to say my husband later asked me if my coffee tasted like soap. Soap? Uh.... nope. Hehe. Definitely advise against it. Baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice works well. Just combine it into a paste and pour into the locked chamber of your dish washer's soap holder thing.

ChickenLover
Post 4

Baking soda and vinegar can actually be used to create a dish washing detergent. You should never put liquid dish soap (like Dawn or Joy) in your dish washer, though, because it can not only jam up the machine, but also make a huge mess if you put in too much and make your dishes have a soapy film on them which will make everything taste like soap. Yuck!

empanadas
Post 3

@anon20840: win199 makes a decent point in saying that you're looking for more than just a baking soda quick fix. You should consider that swimsuits are much like underwear in many cases. Just flat out consider that much because you wouldn't want to wear your undergarments without washing them. If you're asking because you want to neutralize the smell then it will most likely work well because baking soda is known for doing things like that.

win199
Post 2

@anon20840 - I don't really think that it makes much of a difference. You basically are rinsing the suit in order to minimize the chlorine the fabric absorbs. While some people swear by a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice, the truth is that you should be washing your suits after use anyhow.

Just because you are getting wet while in the suit doesn't mean you are washing away the potential for germs to breed and multiply on the fabric of your suit. It is always safe to wash your suits in detergent then hang them to dry in order to minimize shrinkage.

anon20840
Post 1

Does baking soda added to rinse water neutralize chlorine when rinsing bathing suits?

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