When it comes to household versatility, baking soda is king. Here are just some of the many cleaning uses for sodium bicarbonate.
Step 1: Remove stains Get rid of stains on countertops, sinks, bathtubs, and any nonporous surface you can think of with a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Apply the paste to a damp sponge, scrub away, and rinse.
TIP: Baking soda works well on metallic surfaces, like chrome or stainless steel. It won’t scratch the surface, but it’s abrasive enough to remove residue and leave the metal shining.
Step 2: Reduce odors An open box of baking soda in the refrigerator or a cupboard will absorb odors and excess moisture. A sprinkle in shoes and socks helps reduce foot odor. To combat a stinky carpet, drizzle with dry baking soda and vacuum it up after 15 minutes.
TIP: Using a bowl instead of an open container is more effective because more baking soda is exposed.
Step 3: Deter ants Ant infestation? Sprinkling equal parts baking soda and salt near high-traffic ant areas will keep them in their place.
Step 4: Unclog drains Pour half a cup of baking soda into a clogged drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let the solution bubble for a few minutes, and then flush it down with plenty of hot water. This method won’t clear heavy-duty clogs, but it works well for minor ones.
Step 5: Keep laundry bright Add a half-cup of baking soda to a load of wash along with your regular detergent. It helps keep clothes brighter, longer.
Step 6: Wash brushes and combs To remove oil and dirt from hairbrushes and combs, first remove excess hair; then soak in a tall container of warm water with a teaspoon of baking soda.
Step 7: Reduce bug-bite itch To reduce itching, mix baking soda with just enough water to make a paste, and apply it with a cotton swab to the bug bite. The paste can also help relieve a painful sunburn.
Step 8: Whiten your teeth Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda onto a wet toothbrush to clean and whiten your teeth naturally. Practice this method sparingly, as it will wear down your enamel if used too often.
FACT: In 2007, a company unveiled a process that converts harmful carbon dioxide emissions from smokestacks into consumer-grade baking soda.