9 Secret Ways to Use Baking Soda at Home

Sure, it keeps the fridge smelling sweet. But here are some other overlooked ways to use baking soda.

Baking sodaGeo-grafika / 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.

Following are nine ways you can use baking soda at home.

1. Clean stuff

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

  • Wash dishes. Mix a little baking soda in water to wash dishes while camping.
  • Shine stainless steel. Use a damp sponge and soda to clean stainless steel appliances.
  • Remove water stains on wood. Somebody forget to use a coaster? Gently rub a baking soda paste on the surface, then wipe off.
  • Clean silver. Use a soft cloth or clean sponge to rub paste onto tarnished silver. Rinse well, then dry with a dish towel.
  • Brighten brass. Sprinkle baking soda onto a lemon wedge to clean and shine brass objects.
  • Soften stickers. A baking soda paste will take care of gummy residue left by adhesive labels or stickers.

2. Tidy up the house

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

  • Shine surfaces. A little baking soda on a damp sponge lets you clean any stainless kitchen surfaces without damaging them.
  • 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 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.
  • De-grease the hood. Use soda to scrub greasy buildup from your range hood with a hot, soapy cloth. Keep washing and rinsing, washing and rinsing, until you’ve removed as much as possible. Finish with more hot, soapy water.
  • 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.
  • Defeat soap scum. Baking soda paste is a good cleaner for bathroom tiles and the shower curtain.
  • De-grime grout. Scrub tile grout with a baking soda paste. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse well.

3. De-stain things

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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.
  • Remove gray from plates. Got plates with grayish markings from your knives and forks? Gently rub with baking soda, and they will likely disappear.

4. De-stinkify stuff

Stinky shoesandriano.cz / Shutterstock.com

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 smell, then vacuum.
  • Banish that old-paper smell. If a book starts smelling musty, sprinkle soda on the pages and let them air.
  • 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.
  • Get rid of stinky feet. Sprinkle a little baking soda into smelly shoes. Hey, if it’ll freshen your fridge, it’ll also do wonders for your footwear.
  • Revitalize sponges. Kitchen or cleaning sponges tend to develop a stale or mildew smell over time. Soak them in a baking soda solution.
  • 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.

5. Add zest to your food

Brown eggs on a table top.LightField Studios / Shutterstock.com

Baking soda can also be used to spice up meals:

  • 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, the milk sometimes curdles and looks less appetizing. Add one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda for each pint of milk for scalloped dishes and one-eighth teaspoon per cup of soup. Do this before adding the milk.

6. Keep bugs at bay

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Baking soda can be your friend the next time you have a run-in with insects:

  • 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.
  • Kill other bugs. Place baking soda as a barrier under sink-pipe openings and along basement windows to deter silverfish and carpenter ants.

7. Use as homemade first-aid

Top half of a sunburned face, with white rings around the eyes.Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

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.
  • Cool sunburn. Add bicarb to the bath if you or someone you love is dealing with sunburn, poison ivy, a lot of mosquito bites or diaper rash. Moisturize afterward, since soda is drying.
  • Relieve indigestion. A little soda water has long been a traditional treatment for heartburn, sour stomach or acid indigestion. According to the Mayo Clinic, it may interact with certain medications and might not be indicated if other health issues (e.g., high blood pressure or kidney disease) are present.

8. Fight fire and ice

coldMaryna Pleshkun / Shutterstock.com

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.

9. Use as a beauty aid

Middle aged woman looking in mirrorAfrica Studio / Shutterstock.com

Yes, baking soda can make you look better!

  • Remove hair product residues. Over time, your curling iron will pick up a coating of hair products and oil. Scrub it with baking soda paste. Soak brushes and combs in a baking soda solution to remove residues. Rinse afterward.
  • Brighten your look. Add a pinch of baking soda to your regular facial cleanser for the exfoliating effect.
  • Make a facial mask. If an exfoliant isn’t enough for you, maybe a facial mask would do the job. Recipes abound online that call for baking soda plus additives like lemon juice or honey.
  • Treat dry elbows. Make a paste of bicarb and lemon juice and rub gently onto dry elbows. After 15 minutes, rinse well and moisturize.

Can you add to this list of uses for baking soda? Let us know in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman @DLFreedman
A former newspaper journalist, Donna Freedman has been a staff writer for MSN Money and Get Rich Slowly, and freelanced for a wide variety of online and print publications. She got a ... More

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