Ways to Use Baking Soda For Cleaning In Your Home + Garden Uses

by Katie Dillon

Ways to use baking soda for cleaning & the garden
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It’s inexpensive, a natural compound and probably already in your kitchen pantry.

In addition, to ensuring perfectly-risen cakes, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can help tackle a number of household issues, inside and out.

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and amphoteric in nature, which means it can act as both an acid and a base to dissolve and neutralize compounds.

It’s non-toxic to use as a green cleaning agent (even around pets and babies), won’t harm our water supply, has a number of outdoor applications, and though it may require more elbow grease than conventional cleaners, it’s an eco-friendly option.

Here are 70 ways to use baking soda, divided up by area of the home…

Using Baking Soda To Clean Bathrooms

how to clean baby bath tub using baking soda
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1. Add to a damp sponge and use to deodorize vinyl shower curtains. Rinse clean and allow to dry.

2. Mix 1/2 cup in a bucket of warm water to remove dirt and grime from non-waxed bathroom tiles.

3. Deodorize sink and shower drains by flushing 1/2 cup down the drain with warm water. Make sure to run enough warm water down the drain to flush the baking soda completely out. See tips for preventing and unclogging drains.

4. Pour a cup into the toilet to clean and deodorize. Leave for an hour and then flush. Use as an abrasive to clean around the rim and seat.

5. Use as an abrasive to clean baby bath tubs without worrying about harsh chemicals. Baking soda in a baby’s bath water can help alleviate diaper rash, too.

Create An Eco-Friendly Laundry Room

Baking soda as a laundry aid
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6. Add one cup of baking soda to your laundry to deodorize and boost the effectiveness of your detergent. It assists with breaking down compounds like grease.

7. It boosts bleach, too. Use 1:1 ratio of bleach and baking soda to whiten whites.

8. Sprinkle on a damp sponge to clean residue out of the washing machine. Run a cycle to wash away any remaining baking soda.

9. Instead of using a store-bought fabric softener, add baking soda during the rinse cycle. It’s gentler for those who have sensitive skin and acts as a natural softener.

10. Add to the wash to whiten linens that have naturally darkened with use and age.

11. Accidentally do a load of laundry with a rogue crayon or two? Re-wash the load on the hottest setting and add a box of baking soda in an attempt to rescue the clothes.

12. Clean starch and mineral deposits off your iron. Prevent accidentally ironing streaks on to clothes by wiping down the iron with a paste of baking soda and distilled white vinegar. Wipe off with a damp cloth.

13. Accidentally use too much detergent or a non-HE detergent in your front loading washer? Stop the cycle and sprinkle some on the suds to break them down and absorb some of the water. Plus, a little baking soda in the drum only helps deodorize and clean it afterward.

14. Revive stinky towels from the smell of chlorine or mold by adding some to the laundry, per #7.

A Non-Toxic Kitchen Cleaning Agent

green kitchen cleaning with baking soda
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15. Leave a box in the fridge to keep it smelling fresh and prevent food odor transfer. This is perhaps the best-known use for baking soda outside of actual baking. Be sure to change the box every 30 days, but don’t waste the old box. Use it for tips such as #4 and #25.

16. Revive stinky lunch boxes. Store an open box (upright, of course) in lunch boxes between uses.

17. Soak greasy dishes and pans in your favorite dish soap plus 2 teaspoons of baking soda as an excellent alternative to harsh abrasives. It’s a scratchless scouring powder!

18. Microwaves can retain odors. Wipe down the interior and exterior with baking soda on a damp sponge or leave a box inside between uses.

19. Give sponges a new life by soaking them in 4 tablespoons baking soda per 1 quart of water.

20. Deodorize the kitchen recycling bin by sprinkling in a little between layers of recycling.

21. Soak a coffee maker’s washable parts to rid them of odors and brown stains. You may run it through some coffee makers to clean the inside, but check your manual for details.

22. Wash dirt and residue off fruit and vegetables with a sprinkle and a vegetable brush or damp cloth.

23. Make a paste and use in lieu of store-bought silver polish to get those heirlooms looking their best. Buff with a dry cloth.

24. Freshen up the garbage disposal. Put 1/2 cup of baking soda in the garbage disposal and run it for 10 seconds. Let sit for an hour. Pour in 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and watch it bubble for a few minutes. Turn on the hot water and flush for another 10 seconds while running the garbage disposal.

25. Pour 1 cup into the dishwasher and run the rinse cycle to break down grime that accumulates inside.

26. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda with 2 tablespoons of Borax and use in lieu of standard dishwasher detergent.

27. Rid your teapot and cups of tea stains by soaking them in a combination of dish soap and baking soda or by scrubbing with a baking soda paste and sponge.

28. Eliminate stains and odors in plastic food storage containers by scrubbing them with a baking soda paste.

29. Keep a box handy to toss on small grease fires.

30. Keep it under the sink to repel cockroaches and ants.

31. Use mixed with water to clean stainless steel.

32. Make a paste and use to clean grease and grime off gas stove grates. Rinse well.

33. Make a paste to clean the oven. If you’re set against spray-on oven cleaners or need to scrub a little grime off prior to using a self-cleaning feature, try baking soda. Just make sure to wipe it all off with a clean, damp cloth.

34. Make your own marble cleaner. Sprinkle on top of marble surfaces and scrub with a damp cloth. Wipe again with a clean, damp cloth.

35. Remove milk odor from baby bottles. Clean bottles as you normally would. Then, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and fill completely with warm water. Secure the nipple and shake the bottle. Leave overnight.

Green Clean Kids Rooms

Clean kids room baking soda
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36. Wipe down toys (especially those bath toys) using 4 tablespoons of baking soda per 1 quart of water. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.

37. When baby up-ends a bottle, spills juice or makes an even worse mess on the carpet, blot dry and use baking soda to soak up the remaining liquid. This will also help prevent future odor. Vacuum.

38. Soak baby combs and brushes in a solution of baking soda to clean them.

39. Sprinkle over dirty diapers in the diaper pail to combat odor between changing the bags.

40. Sprinkle on a damp sponge to wipe caked-on food off of strollers, Pack  N Plays and other baby equipment.

41. Freshen up stuffed animals. Sprinkle some on Teddy and let sit for 15 minutes. Brush off completely.

42. Use as a paste to remove crayon off of walls.

Make Pet Ownership Easier

baking soda for pets
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43. Did Fido have an accident on the carpet? Clean the area according to carpet instructions and then sprinkle baking soda on top to soak up extra liquid and combat future odor. Vacuum.

44. Sprinkle some in the cat’s litterbox to make the situation smell better.

45. Give the dog a dry bath. Sprinkle (avoid eye and nose) on the dog’s coat, work it through and brush off well.

46. Use as an abrasive to clean gunk off of pet toys. Or, soak pet toys in a bath of 4 tablespoons baking soda per 1 quart of water. Rinse well and dry.

47. If your pet is stung by a bee, call your vet. However, some pet owners remove the stinger and apply a baking soda paste to soothe the affected area.

48. Cat and dog beds can be difficult to launder. In the meantime, sprinkle with baking soda and shake it off well.

General Household Applications

baking soda natural household cleaning
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49. Sprinkle on carpet and vacuum to deodorize and make your home smell terrific.

50. Use to soak up grease in the garage and driveway.

51. Use to freshen ashtrays.

52. Place a box inside closets to keep them smelling fresh.

53. Use to clean painted furniture. Sprinkle and wipe down with a slightly damp cloth. Wipe with a dry, clean cloth.

54. Use as an abrasive to clean and deodorize trash cans.

55. Freshen up gym bags and sports gear.

56. Add 1 teaspoon to vase water to keep cut flowers looking their best.

57. Use to scrub grime off your car.

Baking Soda in the Garden

baking soda for rabbits and other natural pest control
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58. Storing patio furniture pillows during the winter? Give them a quick dust to prevent odor from building.

59. Use to wipe down patio furniture in lieu of using harsh abrasives–which are no-no’s for most patio furniture.

60. Scrub pool toys and soak in a solution of 4 tablespoons baking soda per 1 quart of water.

61. Make a roach trap with equal parts sugar and baking soda. Roaches are attracted to the sugar and will die when eating the baking soda.

62. Sprinkle on ant mounds, then pour vinegar on top to cause that beloved bubbling effect. This should kill most ants.

63. Put a ring around plants infested with slugs. The slugs will crawl through it and die. They can’t handle being covered in dust.

64. Control powdery mildew and gnats on plants. Mix 1 gallon of water, 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap. Spray on the plants to control this fungus. Tip: use an old milk jug to mix, then add to a spray bottle.

65. Scatter it around your fruit and vegetable garden to keep wild rabbits away.

66. Mix with equal parts flour and dust over cabbage, kale and broccoli to keep cabbage worms away.

67. Kill crabgrass. Rinse the area with crabgrass with water and add a hefty layer of baking soda. The crabgrass should start dying within a few days. Enlist the advice of your gardener or local nursery and be mindful of kids and pets.

68. Sprinkle it around tomato plants once a week to lower the pH in the soil, which results in sweeter tomatoes.

69. Sweep a thick layer into hard-to-weed concrete cracks. This will suffocate small weeds growing there and help prevent new ones.

70. Use to balance the pH in your swimming pool. Ask your pool company for details.

Final Thoughts…

In most cases, it’s difficult to overuse baking soda.

However, avoid cleaning anything aluminum with it as the sodium bicarbonate can cause an undesirable reaction in the highly reactive metal.

Do you have a household use for baking soda that we missed?

Please share!

*Photo credits (in order): Katie Dillon, stock.xchng: benedeki, stock.xchng: strumpf, stock.xchng: gimbok, stock.xchng: veredgf, stock.xchng: Minita, stock.xchng: csongor, stock.xchng: alitaylor

Katie Dillon

Katie writes La Jolla Mom, a lifestyle site focused on parenting, luxury travel, cooking with kids, home management and local happenings. When not traveling, she lives in the seaside community of La Jolla, CA with her 5-year-old fashionista, dog, and husband. Follow Katie on TwitterPinterest and Google +.

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Comments

  • Barb Nelson
    January 25, 2014

    I use baking soda to clean my glass cook top stove. Works great to help clean the boil over that happens or any general spills. I keep a shaker container under the sink.

  • june
    January 27, 2014

    It is great for hard to clean pots. Just let it soak for a little while. It is amazing

  • C.Humes
    January 28, 2014

    I have used it to clean combs for years. Put into a tall container hot water and add the baking soda. Let comb set in the solution for a couple of hours and you have a nice fresh clean comb. You did state baby combs could be cleaned, but all can be. I have tole people who use gels and such on their hair and it works then too.

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