7 Household Uses for Baking Soda

Woman holding baking soda in a cleaning apron
Photo by anythings / Shutterstock.com

Baking soda can be found in almost any home. But some people may not realize that its uses are seemingly never-ending — and some are even remarkable.

Best Household Baking Soda Uses

1. Clean stuff

Using baking soda is a great way to clean a lot of stuff around your house:

  • Shine stainless steel. Use a damp sponge and soda to clean stainless steel appliances.
  • Soften stickers. A baking soda paste will take care of gummy residue left by adhesive labels or stickers.

2. Clean your home

Baking soda can also be used to keep the house looking great:

  • Defeat soap scum. Baking soda paste is a good cleaner for bathroom tiles and the shower curtain. To cut through bad cases of soap scum, mix the baking soda with dish detergent as we detail in “9 Expensive Cleaning Supplies You Can Easily Make for Pennies.”
  • Use as a substitute for Soft Scrub. Use bicarb as a nonabrasive cleanser on fiberglass tubs, ceramic cooktops and any other item that calls for commercial products like Soft Scrub.
  • Drain the drain. Pour some baking soda down the sink and chase it with white vinegar. Then, pour very hot water — maybe even a kettle full of boiling water — to finish the job. It’s more eco-friendly than a harsh drain opener while still doing a good job of keeping the lines running.
  • Get rid of roaches. When I lived in Philadelphia, I greatly reduced the roach population in my apartment by leaving a few dishes of baking soda and sugar here and there. The sugar attracted them, and the bicarb killed them.

3. De-stain things

Baking soda will also take stains out of many things:

  • Revive your Tupperware. Are your plastic dishes stained from storing minestrone or reheating spaghetti at work? Rub off the red with baking-soda paste.
  • Scrub stains from a coffee mug. Use a wet cloth on the inside of stained coffee mugs, then dip the cloth into bicarb and scrub off the stains. If that doesn’t work, fill with a baking soda solution and let sit overnight.

4. De-stinkify stuff

You can use baking powder to get the stink out of many things. For instance:

  • Rehab a pet bed. Over time, Fluffy’s or Fido’s bed cushion will get a little sniffy. Use baking soda to absorb the smell, then vacuum.
  • Wash your hands. Cleaning fish or chopping onions? Take the smell off your fingers by washing them with baking soda and water.
  • Deodorize the carpet. If the wall-to-wall carpeting smells bad, sprinkle it with baking soda, wait 15 minutes and then vacuum up the powder. The smell will come with it.
  • De-stink shoes. Sprinkle a little baking soda into smelly shoes. Hey, if it’ll freshen your fridge, it’ll also do wonders for your footwear.
  • Freshen the mattress. Every so often, apply a thin layer of baking soda atop the mattress. In a few hours, vacuum it up.
  • De-funkify the trash can. Put a layer of baking soda in the bottom of the receptacle.

5. Improve your food

You can also use baking soda to up your game when cooking:

  • Fluff up an omelet. Omelets are fluffier when you add a half-teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs you crack.
  • Sweeten your iced tea. A pinch of baking soda per gallon of freshly brewed iced tea will remove any bitterness and keep the mixture from clouding up.
  • Prevent curdling. If you’re making scalloped potatoes or cream of tomato soup, for example, the milk sometimes curdles and looks less appetizing. Add a pinch of baking soda to prevent curdling.

6. Use as homemade first aid

Baking soda can help cure what ails you:

  • Stop the pain of bee and wasp stings. A baking soda paste helps soothe the discomfort of bee or wasp stings, says Seattle Children’s Hospital. Leave it on for 20 minutes.
  • Relieve indigestion. A little soda water has long been a traditional treatment for heartburn, sour stomach or acid indigestion. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, it may interact with certain medications, so talk to your doctor first.

7. Fight the elements

Baking soda can help you:

  • Fight fire. When I was a little kid, my dad told me to throw baking soda on a fire in a frying pan or on a stovetop. It works!
  • Fight ice. Baking soda on slippery steps or icy walkways gives some traction and is kinder to surfaces than commercial de-icer.

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