Household Heroes: Baking Soda

Very often I find myself musing, “I use this thing ALL THE TIME…” about some object in our home.  Things that make life easier, or more fun, or cheaper.  For the next few Mondays, I’ll be spotlighting these household heroes and inviting them to take a bow – before they get back to work!

Household Heroes: Baking Soda

There are few things cheaper and more versatile for anything around-the-house than baking soda.  It cracks me up how marketing campaigns jump through such ridiculous hoops, trying to scare us, lure us, demoralize us into thinking we need what they sell…  And here is a frugal, green, simple tool everyone probably has at home that many people don’t realize trumps all those fancy wallet-robbers.

I keep finding more uses for it!  (Finally a product that lives up to the advertising on the package!)  I’m going to list a few uses that come to mind and invite you to chime in by commenting on this post. 

Here’s how I use baking soda:

  • baking (a little obvious)
  • disinfecting and whitening our porcelain kitchen sink

(Jon and I agree: the sink is whiter now than it was when we moved in.)

  • deodorizing our wooden cutting board
  • cleaning our toilets by mixing with vinegar
  • in homemade deoderant, paired with corn starch
  • as a stomach-settler, mixed with water
  • to absorb bad odors in the fridge and keep things fresh
  • as a paste (with water) to ease the pain of bee stings
  • mixed in with bath water, as a personal healing soak
  • cleaning flip flops and other stinky, soiled things

Here’s evidence of that last one:

The soles of these things were BLACK.  I will not subject you to the image.  They smelled about like they should at that point.  I got them wet and sprinkled a thick coating of baking soda all over them. 

For a nice sizzle and some help with the smell, I poured lemon juice over the soda.  I let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrubbed the daylights out of it.  Rinse…  Off to the line they went, and PRESTO!

Good as new and much less likely to kill house plants or small animals with their stench.  This, to me, is much better than going on an exasperating shoe hunt and forking over $20-$30 every time my sandals are too raunchy to be worn in public.

I’ve heard of others using baking soda for homemade toothpaste and dry shampoo.

How do you use baking soda in your home?


19 thoughts on “Household Heroes: Baking Soda

  1. I agree. Baking soda is used for all sorts of things in my home too. If you want to quickly remove goo/food stains from your stove top; sprinkle area with baking soda, drizzle with vinegar, leave for 2-5 minutes and wipe away; its that easy.
    it is also an amazing tooth cleaner and whitener.
    Nice post.

  2. I was using baking soda for sink-scrubbing for a while too, but I have to admit I have been converted to borax for that job. It has a little more scouring oomph. You can buy a big box cheap in the laundry section. But when we used to have a glass stovetop (hated it), I used baking soda for that. Waaaay better than the stinky toxic (warnings galore about having proper ventilation etc), smelly icky stuff you are “supposed” to use on glass stovetops.

    • Yup, I just started using Borax too and am enjoying discovering the many uses. Maybe I’ll do a post sometime asking readers which product they use for which task? I’m a beginner… I’ve been using the stinky toxic smelly icky stuff 🙂 on our glass stovetop and I will DEFINITELY try baking soda next time. It’s been ruining my cloth kitchen “un-paper” towels.

  3. My mom had us scurb the bathtub with baking soda to get the blue scum off of it. Required a bit of elbow grease but it worked! 🙂

  4. I use it for everything, too, so I finally just started buying the humongous bag of it at Coscto. You mentioned cleaning toilets, well I put it in little glass shakers and keep a shaker by each toilet (an idea from a friend), so I can just grab it and sprinkle some in before giving the bowl a swirl with the brush. I have three toilets (on different levels), so this idea really helped me to be better about keeping them clean since the BS is conveniently kept right there. Also, by using a shaker I don’t waste any because I just sprinkle in enough to do the job. Just as a side note, I also didn’t run out and buy Parmesan cheese shakers when I got this idea either… I used canning jars that I already owned and had my husband use a nifty tool of his to poke holes in the top of the lids. Works great. I also put a cup of it in my daughters baths because she is very sensitive in certain parts (which you also mentioned, “a personal healing soak”). I can’t think of anything I use it for that you didn’t mention, but thought I’d just elaborate a little! =)

    • That’s a GREEEEEAAAAAAAT idea! I have some canning lids that are not good for actual canning this year – I can use them for something now. Thanks! You are very resourceful. Maybe I could recycle old food jars for the same purpose… Jon will love an excuse to get out some tools I think. 🙂

  5. I make a batch of dishwasher detergent using equal parts Cascade and baking soda. Goes twice as far – and I only use 1/4 cup in only one of the soap dispensers for each load. I also use it to clean out the litter boxes (soaking solution) and remove odors from anything in the kitchen, I’ve read that you can use it to adjust the PH in your swimming pool as well.

  6. Very appropriately, I discovered a new use last night. Cat has been peeing in inappropriate places, such as the tiled bathroom floor. You’d think that would be easy to clean up, but after several washings the bathroom still reeked. A little internet search brought me to mixing borax and baking soda and sprinkling it on the area and leaving it over night. It worked! Of course, there was the little voice at 6 am saying “Mom, how come there’s powder on the floor?”

    • I had to look this one up, because I’m usually TRYING to stain things with coffee or tea, like fabric or paper for projects. 🙂 By the sound of it, you can use baking soda + water or white vinegar + water to remove those stains from coffee cups, teeth, etc. If it’s on cloth, you could probably use borax as a presoak, scrub the stain, and then wash it out. I am hardly an expert in this area, though. Any readers have a trick or two up your stain-free sleeves?

  7. “Jon will love an excuse to get out some tools I think.” EXACTLY! Andy was thrilled that I asked him to help me out and he was so proud that he had just the right tool to do the job! (Although, I’m certain he wouldn’t put it in words quite like that, being a sort of macho guy and all). But, I love finding little jobs for him to help me with when it comes to my creative endeavors. Even though I might be able to pull it off myself, lets face it, he WILL l do it better and faster (plus it sends the message that I value him). Can’t go wrong there! =)

  8. I had to jump on here and share one more thing… apparently it’s a great face wash, too! My mom found that she was no longer able to use the skin care products that she has been using (and selling) for years! She finally just started washing her face with nothing but baking soda and warm water. Well… her skin looks better than it has in years!!! I am waiting for my expensive face wash to run out and then I am going to try it for myself before I run out an buy more. Amazing, who knew?!

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