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.
Following are ways, besides keeping the fridge smelling sweet, that you can use baking soda at home.
1. Keep bugs at bay
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 bicarbonate of soda killed them.
2. Provide homemade first aid
A baking soda paste helps soothe the discomfort of bee or wasp stings, says Seattle Children’s Hospital. Leave it on for 20 minutes.
3. 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 traction but is kinder to surfaces than commercial de-icer.
4. Clean stuff
Using baking soda is a great way to clean a lot of stuff around your house:
- Wash extra-dirty dishes. Sprinkle baking soda on a sponge, or directly onto the dishes, before scrubbing dishes that have stubborn baked-on food. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive that adds scrubbing power without scratching.
- 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.
5. Tidy up the house
Baking soda can also be used to keep the house looking great:
- Wash the fridge. Sure, you keep an open box of soda in the fridge. But every so often, wash the inside of the appliance with a baking soda solution.
- 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 but does a good job of keeping the lines running.
- Defeat soap scum. Baking soda paste is a good cleaner for bathroom tiles.
- De-grime grout. Scrub tile grout with a baking soda paste. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse well.
6. 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.
7. Un-stink 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 soda to absorb smells, 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 up with it.
- 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. Note: This is especially useful for the trash can that you use for dirty disposable diapers.