40+ Surprising Uses for Baking Soda

If you are on a mission to rid your house of unwanted chemicals, a great first place to start is your cleaning cabinet. There are many excellent natural cleaning products out there on the market that not only look great but are very expensive. While these products are great to have on hand, why not save yourself some money and make some at home? We’ve already addressed all the amazing uses of vinegar when it comes to cleaning, but did you know that baking soda has almost as many surprising and natural uses? Baking soda is non-toxic, multi-purpose and CHEAP and can be used in cleaning, baking, cooking, and even medicinally.  

What makes baking soda so special?

Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate and is designed to help regulate pH—keeping a substance neither too acidic nor too alkaline. When baking soda comes in contact with either an acidic or an alkaline substance, its natural effect is to neutralize that pH, which makes it the perfect solution for neutralizing stinky odors in your fridge, or to boost your laundry detergent’s power or even to help whiten teeth! There are endless uses for baking soda, and we are going to tell you some of the ways that iconic orange box can become your new best friend all over your house!

So grab your box of baking soda and let’s get to work!

Cleaning


  • Make a Surface Soft Scrub: Sprinkle some baking soda and scrub with a damp sponge to safely clean your counter tops, bathroom tubs, tile and sinks. After you are done scrubbing, rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. For extra cleaning power, make a paste with baking soda, course salt and liquid dish soap—let it sit then scrub off.
  • Hand Wash Dishes and Pots & Pans: Add 2 heaping tablespoons of baking soda (along with your regular dish soap) to the dish water to help cut grease and foods left on dishes, pots and pans. For cooked-on foods, let them soak in the baking soda and detergent with water first, then use dry baking soda on a clean damp sponge or cloth as a scratchless scouring powder.
  • Freshen Sponges: Soak dingy stale-smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution. Use 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water for this.
  • Clean the Microwave: Sprinkle baking soda on a clean damp sponge to gently clean inside and outside the microwave and never leaves a harsh chemical smell. Rinse well with water.
  • Polish Silver Flatware: Make all of your silver sparkle and shine by using a baking soda paste made with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub it on the silver with a clean cloth or sponge and rinse thoroughly and dry.
  • Clean Coffee and Tea Pots: Remove coffee and tea stains and eliminate bitter off-tastes by washing mugs and coffee makers in a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. For stubborn stains, try soaking overnight in the baking soda solution and detergent or scrubbing with baking soda on a clean damp sponge.
  • Clean the Oven: To get a fresh clean oven without the hard chemicals, sprinkle baking soda onto the bottom of the oven and spray with water to dampen the baking soda. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, scrub, scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge, or vacuum, and rinse.
  • Clean Floors: Remove dirt and grime from tile floors using 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water–mop and rinse clean for a sparkling floor. For scuff marks, use baking soda on a clean damp sponge, then rinse. 
  • Clean Furniture: You can make a homemade furniture polish, or you can clean and remove marks (even crayon) from walls and painted furniture by applying baking soda to a damp sponge and rubbing lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Clean Shower Curtains: Clean and deodorize your vinyl shower curtain by sprinkling baking soda directly on a clean damp sponge or brush. Scrub the shower curtain and rinse clean. Hang it up to dry.
  • Freshen your toilet: To clean a toilet, add ¼ cup baking soda to the bowl, swirl, then scrub.
  • Boost Your Liquid Laundry Detergent: Give your laundry a bright boost by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry to make liquid detergent work harder. A better balance of pH in the wash gets clothes cleaner, fresher and brighter.
  • Gently Clean Baby Clothes: Baby skin requires very gentle cleansers. For tough stains add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your liquid laundry detergent, or a 1/2 cup in the rinse cycle for deodorization.
  • Clean and Freshen Sports Gear: Use a baking soda solution (4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water) to clean and deodorize smelly sports equipment. Sprinkle baking soda into golf bags and gym bags to deodorize, clean golf irons (without scratching them!) with a baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda to 1 part water) and a brush. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Remove Oil and Grease Stains: Use baking soda to clean up light-duty oil and grease spills on your garage floor or in your driveway. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and scrub with a wet brush.
  • Clean your drains: Pour in 1 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup hot vinegar to quickly unclog the kitchen drain.
  • Clean Batteries: Baking soda can be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars or mowers because it’s a mild alkali. Be sure to disconnect the battery terminals before cleaning. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion from the battery terminal. After cleaning and re-connecting the terminals, wipe them with petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion. Please be careful when working around a battery–they contain a strong acid.
  • Clean Cars: Use baking soda to clean your car lights, chrome, windows, tires, vinyl seats and floor mats without worrying about unwanted scratch marks. Use a baking soda solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Apply with a sponge or soft cloth to remove road grime, tree sap, bugs and tar. For stubborn stains, use baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge or soft brush.
  • Clean Crayons from Walls: Apply baking soda to a slightly wet cloth and rub lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.

Personal Care


  • Make Some Toothpaste: You can make your own toothpaste by mixing baking soda and a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Alternatively, you can also just dip your toothbrush with toothpaste into baking soda for an extra boost.
  • Freshen Your Mouth: Put one teaspoon baking soda in a half a glass of water, swish, spit and rinse. Odors are neutralized, not just covered up.
  • Soak Oral Appliances: Soak oral appliances (like retainers, mouthpieces and dentures), in a solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in a glass or small bowl of warm water. The baking soda loosens food particles and neutralizes odors to keep appliances fresh. You can also soak your toothbrushes in the same solution to freshen them in between uses.
  • Use as a Facial Scrub and Body Exfoliant: Give yourself an invigorating facial and body scrub by mixing a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub in a gentle circular motion to exfoliate the skin. Rinse clean. This is gentle enough for daily use. 
  • Use as an Antacid: Baking soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach and/or acid indigestion. Refer to baking soda package for instructions.
  • Treat Insect Bites & Itchy Skin: To rid yourself or your kids of unwanted itchies, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower.
  • Fight dandruff: Take a break from the shampoo for a few weeks and massaging your wet scalp with a handful of baking soda instead.
  • Make a Hand Cleanser and Softener: Skip harsh soaps and gently scrub away ground-in dirt and neutralize odors on hands with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, or 3 parts baking soda to gentle liquid hand soap and then rinse clean.
  • Help Your Hair: Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly–baking soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable.
  • Clean Brushes and Combs: For lustrous hair with more shine, you’ll want to keep your brushes and combs clean. Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking combs and brushes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a small basin of warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.
  • Relieve Diaper Rash: Put two tablespoons of baking soda in your baby’s bathwater to help relieve diaper rash.
  • Make a Bath Soak: Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration. This also makes your skin feel very soft.  You can do the same for your feet by dissolving 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of warm water and soak feet. Gently scrub. 

Deodorizing


  • Deodorize Your Refrigerator: Place an open box in the back of the fridge to neutralize odors.
  • Deodorize the Cutting Board: Sprinkle your cutting boards with baking soda, scrub, rinse.
  • Deodorize Trashcans: Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your trashcan to keep the stinkies away.
  • Deodorize and Clean Dishwashers: Use baking soda to deodorize before you run the dishwasher and then as a gentle cleanser in the wash cycle.
  • Deodorize Garbage Disposals: To deodorize your disposal, and keep lingering odors from resurfacing, pour baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water. Baking soda will neutralize both acid and basic odors for a fresh and clean drain.
  • Deodorize Lunch Boxes: Between uses, place a spill-proof box of baking soda in everyone’s lunch box to absorb lingering odors. 
  • Remove Odor From Carpets: Liberally sprinkle baking soda on the carpet. Let set overnight, or as long as possible (the longer it sets the better it works). Sweep up the larger amounts of baking soda, and vacuum up the rest. 
  • Freshen Closets: Place a box of baking soda on your closet shelf to keep it smelling fresh.
  • Deodorizing Cars: Odors settle into car upholstery and carpet, so each time you step in and sit down, they are released into the air all over again. Eliminate these odors by sprinkling baking soda directly on fabric car seats and carpets. Wait 15 minutes (or longer for strong odors) and vacuum up the baking soda.
  • Deodorize the Cat Box: Cover the bottom of the pan with baking soda, then fill as usual with litter. To freshen between changes, sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter after a thorough cleaning.
  • Deodorize Pet Bedding: Eliminate odors from your pets bedding by sprinkling liberally with baking soda, wait 15 minutes (or longer for stronger odors), then vacuum up.
  • Deodorize Sneakers: Keep odors from spreading in smelly sneakers by shaking baking soda into them when not in use. Shake out before wearing. 
  • Freshen Linens: Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle when washing for fresher sheets and towels. 
  • Deodorize Your Wash: Keep your clothes smelling fresh by adding in 1/2 cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle- this is especially great to do with gym clothes!
  • Freshen Stuffed Animals: Keep favorite cuddly toys fresh with a dry shower of baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on and let it sit for 15 minutes before brushing off.

Outside


  • Clean up the driveway: Use some baking soda to help clean up grease or oil spills.
  • Tidy the grill: To remove burnt food from the grill, sprinkle with baking soda, then soak. After several hours, the charred pieces will come loose easily.
  • Freshen your lawn furniture: Lawn furniture can be easily cleaned with a rinse of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart warm water.
  • Swim safely: The children’s pool can be cleaned and have mildew removed by washing with baking soda in warm water.
  • Camping companion: Before packing away your camping gear after a trip, sprinkle with baking soda. You can do the same with any patio cushions you want to pack away until next summer.
  • Keep your sidewalks safe in winter: Scatter some baking soda on icy sidewalks―it’s not as corrosive as salt and will help prevent ice from forming.
  • Keep your sidewalks weed-free: Discourage weeds by sprinkling baking soda into the cracks on your driveway and walkways. This would also work for rocky areas you’d like to remind weed-free.
  • Prevent bugs from getting into your dog’s food: Surround your pet’s food bowls with baking soda to keep pests and insects away.
  • Keep Ants Out: Mix up equal parts of baking soda and salt together. Then, sprinkle the mixture wherever you see the ants coming in.

Other Surprising Uses


  • Produce Wash: Keep your fruits and veggies clean by mixing a quarter of a cup of baking soda in a sink full of water. Wash your fruits and vegetables in the solution, then rinse with clean water.
  • Keep Flowers Fresher Longer: Keep cut flowers fresh longer by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the water in the vase.
  • Neutralize Gassy Beans: Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda in the water when you soak beans to prevent gas and improve digestion.
  • Septic Care: Regular use of baking soda in your drains can help keep your septic system flowing freely. One cup of baking soda per week will help maintain a favorable pH in your septic tank.

Who knew there were so many uses for baking soda? This one little box can help keep your house clean and smelling fresh and can even help soothe your tired feet at the end of a long day. By replacing some of your other cleaners or deodorizers with natural baking soda, you will be well on your way to having a house with much less chemicals and fresher air too!

Do you use baking soda in your house cleaning? What are your favorite things to use it for?


Photo Credits: Our Three Peas, William Warby (cc) adapted, Nantucket (cc) adapted, Martin Cathrae (cc) adapted

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Michelle

Michelle; full time mama, part time blogger, wife extraordinaire. This busy mama to three “peas” is a lover of all things running, crafting and baking. A New England native and current desert dweller, she is the brains and wit behind the blog Our Three Peas, where she writes about the hilarious reality that is motherhood. She strives to live a green and natural life and swears that most motherhood-related dramas can be solved by having a nice glass of wine at the end of the evening.

Comments (2)

  • Avatar

    Jody @easypeasymom

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    Love this list of ways to use baking soda! It is one of my favorite healthy living essentials. I also use it in combination with blue dawn and white vinegar to clean my shower-so much better than the store-bought chemicals! Thanks for sharing!

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  • Avatar

    Sweeply

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    Baking soda is also great for cleaning your dishwasher. I recommend first placing a dishwasher safe cup filled with plain white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Using the hottest wáter available, run the dishwasher trough a cycle. The vinegar will help to wash away the loose, greasy grime – this sanitizes the dishwasher and helps to remove any musty odors. Next, sprinkle a cupful of baking soda around the bottom of the tub and run it through a short cycle. The baking soda will help freshen the interior surfaces and will remove any stains. This is good to do every 3 months or when moving into a new home.

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