Baking soda is best known as a baking ingredient, but how can you use it for cleaning? This guide will explore the best cleaning hacks for baking soda around your home.
What Is Baking Soda?
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a staple of any successful kitchen and a key ingredient in baking. Baking soda is a fine white powder most commonly used to bake cakes. The composition of baking soda causes cake mixtures to rise, ensuring that the desserts you serve to your family or guests look as delicious as they taste.
Baking soda is an alkaline product, meaning that it reacts when it comes into contact with acidic components. Most cake mixtures contain an acidic product, such as lemon juice or brown sugar. When the baking soda combines with one of these products, the reaction creates a gas that causes the cake batter to rise. Using baking soda ensures that your cakes are plump. Without using baking soda, you'd end up baking some very flat and sad-looking cakes.
Buying Baking Soda at the Supermarket
Baking soda costs very little to buy and is available at supermarkets and corner shops. A box of baking soda costs as little as $1, meaning that a cup of baking soda is valued at mere cents. It'll be a far cheaper item to own compared to all the cleaning products you're used to buying.
Buying Baking Soda at a Refill Shop
Buying your baking soda at a refill shop is best because you'll reduce plastic packaging. This choice will help to keep the planet healthy. Buying baking soda at a refill shop means that you can buy only as much as you actually need, reducing waste and saving you money. While you're at the refill shop, it'll be worth you buying an empty glass spray bottle or two. You'll understand why later in this guide.
Using Baking Soda To Clean Your Home
Outside of the cake baking arena, you can use baking soda to create a range of cleaning products and tackle various cleaning challenges. Baking soda is made from only natural components, and is safe to use when making your own household cleaning items. Using baking soda will pose no risk to your health or the health of your family.
You'll be amazed at how versatile baking soda is and how fun cleaning chores become. From making your own air freshener to cleaning the oven, baking soda has multiple uses, and is incredibly versatile.
Make An Air Freshener
You can use baking soda to make a scented air freshener. Add your favorite essential oil to baking soda. You'll need a few teaspoons of baking powder and anything from a few drops to 10 drops of essential oil.
The essential oil will add the fragrance, so the more drops you add, the stronger the scent. Lemon essential oil is a great option and will make your home smell fresh and clean. The choice is yours - simply pick your favorite aroma, whether that's peppermint or pink peppercorn. After all, no one spends more time in your home than you do.
Once the baking soda and essential oil are mixed together, add the mixture to an empty spray bottle and top up with warm water. You can buy empty spray bottles at your local refill shop. Any existing spray bottle will work just as well. You'll just need to thoroughly clean the bottle before using it to prevent the baking soda from mixing with anything the bottle contained previously.
Leave the baking soda solution in the bottle for a few hours to allow it to settle. Once it has settled, you can spray your new homemade air freshener around your house. Air freshener works best on items it can stick to, such as furniture.
The advantage of making your own air freshener this way is that you'll avoid the potentially dangerous chemicals found in some pre-made products on the market. When sprayed, these harsh chemicals can get into the lungs of your loved ones or companion animals. Inhalation of these chemicals can have dramatic long-term effects.
Clean Your Toilet
Baking soda is a must-have product for cleaning the bathroom. If you liberally sprinkle baking soda into your toilet bowl and leave it for half an hour, you'll notice the difference and be amazed you hadn't tried it sooner. Your toilet will shine and be noticeably cleaner. You'll save money, because there will be no need to buy expensive bleach or toilet cleaner ever again.
After the half-hour has passed, return to the bathroom and scrub the toilet with a toilet brush. This will enhance the cleanliness of the toilet even further and remove the urine smell.
If you're looking for the cleanest possible toilet, you can try a different method. This process still involves baking soda but also utilizes another item you probably already have in your cupboard - vinegar. Put white vinegar down your toilet as though it were bleach, ensuring that it touches every part of the bowl.
Allow the white vinegar to sit overnight before adding a little baking soda. Scrub this with a brush and flush. The combination of white vinegar and baking soda will work wonders on your toilet, improving the whites, removing urine smells and leaving your bathroom sparkling.
At your next dinner party, you'll wonder why your guests are spending so long in the bathroom—admiring your cleaning skills, no doubt.
Brighten Your Wardrobe
Baking soda can be effectively used to improve your wardrobe and breathe new life into your clothes. Add a cup of baking soda inside the drum of your washing machine when you next put in a load. Then add your liquid detergent, press the start button and prepare for your whites to get bright.
To improve your rinse cycle even further, add fabric conditioner to your washing machine. Adding essential oil to the drum is another way to ensure your clothes come out smelling amazing.
Remove Bad Smells From Shoes
Your feet are two of the sweatiest parts of the body, and all that sweat can significantly affect your shoes. You'll be familiar with the foul smell of trainers after their owner has exercised. If you have children, you're definitely aware of how smelly a pair can get after a gym class at school.
When shoes have a musty smell, simply pour a light coating of baking soda into them. The baking soda will remove foul smells and prepare the trainers for their next run at the park. The baking soda can sit in the shoes for any duration, whether an hour, a day or a week. You'll just need to remember to pour the baking soda out of the shoes before putting them back on.
Regenerate Your Containers
Another of baking soda's many uses is cleaning food containers. Foods like pesto and curry sauce stain containers because they contain a lot of oil. These marks are most visible on plastic containers. Oily foods tend to leave orange and red colored marks, as well as food odors seemingly trapped in the plastic.
You can use a sponge with a moderate amount of baking soda on it to wipe the inside of the container. If this doesn't do the job, use a damp sponge or slightly wet cloth with baking soda to achieve the same outcome. Failing that, boiling water and washing up liquid may be effective in removing stains, but be careful not to burn yourself when trying this last resort.
This same process can also rejuvenate plastic water bottles and their reusable counterparts. As baking soda is perfectly safe to consume, it won't matter if any is left in your containers after rinsing.
When you're next sitting for lunch in the office, your containers will look as good as new, and will be ready to take on the next oily challenge you put them through.
Remove Coffee Stains
Coffee stains are a common issue in homes, whether on tables, upholstery or inside mugs. You'll just need to sprinkle baking soda onto the area to remove stains.
Improve The Smell Of Your Garbage Cans
Where your garbage can sits is likely one of the smelliest areas in the whole of your home. This is understandable given that this is where old food begins to rot and expire. A foul odor from your garbage can affect the whole house, so taking steps to neutralize odors is advisable.
One of the best baking soda cleaning hacks is to use it as an odor neutralizer in your garbage can. Simply flick a thin layer of baking soda onto the bottom of the can before you put a bag in. This will work to reduce the bad smells from food, and is the best practice if your trash can is plastic.
However, if you have a metal trash can, you'll need to use baking soda in a slightly different way to avoid corrosion of the metal. Put the baking soda into a container that can't erode, such as on a paper cooking liner, before placing this at the bottom of the bin.
Clean Your Oven
The oven is undoubtedly the most challenging appliance in your home to clean. While you likely try to clean the parts that a guest might see - the front of the doors or the hobs - you probably avoid bigger tasks like the grill and base of the oven where food falls, sits and burns.
A clean oven is vital, not just aesthetically but because of health and safety. Stuck on food inside the oven continues to burn at high temperatures, so the baked-on food creates a fire hazard.
Baking soda will have your oven sparkling in no time. For this cleaning operation, you'll first need to empty the oven. Use a scrub brush to remove any larger chunks of burnt food. If you don't have a brush, an old toothbrush will do.
You'll need several tablespoons of baking soda and half a standard jug of vinegar. Mix these together in a bowl until it forms a paste you can spread. Spread the baking soda mixture around the inside of your oven, leaving it for 12 hours. Use a bit of elbow grease to get into corners and harder to reach areas to ensure you remove all the caked stains inside.
After 12 hours, return to the oven to remove the paste. Use a damp cloth to do so. Upon removal of the paste, use a dry cloth for one final sweep of the area. You can also use this method to clean the oven trays.
To clean the metal shelving and reveal shiny surfaces beneath the burnt food, rub an old toothbrush on them lightly with baking soda. This cleaning hack will work in eliminating unwanted grease and strong food odor.
To avoid your oven getting as dirty next time, use aluminum foil to catch falling food before discarding it in your trash can. Chemical cleaner for your oven is available, though it is more costly and arguably no more effective.
Whiten Your Teeth
It's not just your home that benefits from the immense cleaning power of baking soda. Your teeth can benefit too. Baking soda is a powerful tool in whitening your teeth, helping your smile to shine. Just like baking soda adds shine to your clothes, it can brighten your grin.
Whitening your teeth with baking soda is the easiest and cheapest method available to you. You can maintain good oral hygiene this way through two methods.
The first method is to soak your finger in warm water and then apply baking soda to your fingertip. Scrub your teeth for two minutes before rinsing your mouth. It's essential that you rinse your mouth thoroughly to avoid baking soda being there for too long as it can damage your gums. Brush your teeth with baking soda every few days for a fortnight before reducing the frequency to once a week.
The second method is mixing baking soda with toothpaste. Squeeze no more than an apple seed's worth of toothpaste onto your finger and sprinkle baking soda on top - like you're frosting a cake. Brush your teeth with your fingers before rinsing your mouth. As with the first method, be sure to reduce the number of treatments after the first two weeks to avoid any damage to your gums.
The Bottom Line
Who knew that a cup of baking soda was so effective at cleaning your house?
Baking soda uses range from removing bad smells to brightening your clothing. Save money today and bring a new level of cleanliness to your home.