Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has far more uses than baking in my home. Baking soda has proved itself to be invaluable in my home for years. Sodium bicarbonate is more than safe. A study from the Journal of Toxicological Pathology demonstrates how baking soda is effective in treating radiation exposure. I find baking soda to be one of my favorite cleaning agents around the house because it is not only very cheap, but also effective and natural.
There are multiple ways to use baking soda. I primarily use Baking Soda in my home for cooking, cleaning, and deodorizing.
Bathroom cleaner: Baking soda is a gentle scrub and soap scum remover. I use it to clean the bathtubs, toilets, sinks, and counters. I also sprinkle baking soda on wet shower walls, and then spray with vinegar. The baking soda and vinigar combinatiin cleans the shower and bathtub very effectively. My article about The Role of White Vinegar in My Home, also discusses this method.
Personal Cleaning: I don’t regularly use baking soda in baths, but it can be used as a health soak, body wash, and hair wash. It takes about ½-1 cup disolved in baths. I like to put it in baths after known exposure to radiation like x-rays, CT scans, and sun. I have often used baking soda as a shampoo for my hair. I sprinkle about 4-5 tablespoons on my damp hair, scrub it in, and then wash it out. It seems to remove any buildup on my hair and leave it very soft. Baking soda can also be used as a dry shampoo in a pinch to absorb excess oil. It can be used as a body exfoliating agent by gently scrubbing a water and baking soda paste on the skin. I find it particularly effective on rough feet. Baking soda, although gentle, is still a fine scrub and can cause skin irritation for those with sensitive skin, so I don’t use it regularly in contact with skin, but use it on an “as needed” basis.
Kitchen Fire Extinguisher: There have been a couple occasions in my lifetime when something in the oven or stove-top caught fire. Every time, I grabbed my box of baking soda and poured it all on the fire. Not only does sodium bicarbonate quickly put out a small fire, but it aids in cleaning up the mess. It absorbs grease and residue and helps me scrub it all away. Baking soda is also safe on electric fires. Since I always have some in my kitchen cupboard, it is a fast grab and dump on small kitchen fires.
Oven Cleaner: I have not purchased oven cleaner since a dear mentoring friend of mine told me how to use baking soda and water to clean my oven. Using baking soda as my oven cleaner saves the electric and gas from using the self-cleaning feature, as well as my lungs and grocery budget from buying a harsh chemical. To clean a nasty, greasy, and baked on burnt oven I plan what day the oven will be cleaned. A week before I plan on cleaning it, I make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it on the walls, floor, and ceiling of the oven, being liberal in the worst spots. I use the oven as normal for a week or so, and then wipe out the oven. By then, the baking soda will have crusted with the water and nasty residue on the oven and it can be easily wiped out. It may even just crumble to the floor on it’s own. Honestly, I find keeping up with an oven and quickly wiping it down with a wet cloth after each use has virtually eliminated any need for me to ever spend time on severe oven cleaning. If I want to clean my oven thoroughly, it is never a serious task and I can easily use the baking soda paste to wipe off the baked on grease without giving it time to set.
Deodorizer: I store a perforated box of baking soda in my freezers, refrigerator, bottom of certain garbage containers, and in the family car.
On occasion I sprinkle baking soda on stinky rugs and carpets. I leave it for a couple hours and then vacuum. I also sprinkle baking soda on the van floors and car-seats the day before I am planning to clean the car, and vacuum it up later.
Hard Surface Whitener: To remover stains on counter-tops from tomato, food coloring, turmeric, or paint, a paste of baking soda and water can be made and left on for a few hours. The paste absorbs the stain and can be wiped away. It is how I whitened counters and ceramic surfaces before the availability of Magic Erasers.
Laundry: I have use baking soda on occasion to remove orders from clothes. It is especially effective if the garment is soaked in tango with vinegar. I have successfully removed sweat, smoke, and sulfur orders with a good soaking of the offending clothing item in a baking soda, vinegar, and water solution.
Appliance Cleaner: I dump half a box of baking soda into the washing machine or dishwasher and run an empty load or cleaning cycle to help remove soap scum and orders. I clean my washing machine weekly; usually after my last load of laundry on Friday or Saturday.
I have read about dozens of other uses baking soda has. I have even tried other applications. But those are the tried and true methods I have found that work for me. Baking soda is truly a compound for which I am grateful!