Do you stock baking soda or bicarbonate of soda in your pantry, but don't know how to use it for more than an occasional recipe or making kids' volcano science projects? Here are 50+ uses for baking soda to help you around your home!
When I'm cleaning, I tend to reach for something homemade, rather than a store-bought cleaner as often as I can. Not only am I using less harmful chemicals, not using as much throwaway plastics, I'm also saving money.
Is Bicarbonate of Soda and Baking Soda the Same?
They are actually the same thing! While baking soda is generally the American name, much of the world uses bicarbonate of soda, though baking soda is becoming more widely used.
Why Store Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of those basic pantry staple items that I allowed to languish in the back corner of my pantry for far too many years before I learned of all of the magical ways I could use it in my home.
While there are traditional uses for baking soda, such as Irish Soda bread, using a pinch to create fluffier scrambled eggs or science project volcanoes, there are SO many more uses for baking soda that make it well worth stocking in your pantry for all the ways it can make your life easier!
How to Store Baking Soda
- If you purchase baking soda in the small cardboard containers, put them into a zipper-top bag for extending their shelf life.
- If purchasing in bulk containers with a built-in zipper top, continue to use that as long as you are rotating through that baking soda in a fair amount of time.
- Otherwise, you may want to transfer the baking soda to an airtight container for longer storage. Cardboard isn't airtight and will eventually allow moisture into the box. Zipper top bags do extend the life, but are air permeable over time.
I store my baking soda in large quart-sized mason jars. I can remove just want I need to refresh my sprinkle container (the one I use to sprinkle for cleaning or refreshing the carpets), or to refill my fridge container for an air freshener.
How to Tell if Baking Soda is Still Good
To test baking soda's activeness, pour some into a bowl and add a little vinegar. If it does not bubble, your baking soda is old. You can still use it for many of its scrubbing properties, though, so don't throw it out!
Uses for Baking Soda in the Kitchen
Keep an open box or container full of baking soda to help absorb 'fridge smell'. I love this cute little penguin design that is refillable and just sits in the fridge looking cute. You refill it from your bulk supply as often needed. It's certainly cuter than the bright yellow commercial box!
Clean and Deodorize Freezer/Fridge
Not only does baking soda help refresh your fridge's everyday smell, but it can help remove the funk that happens if your fridge or freezer has been off for a while, and food has spoiled.
- Remove the food immediately
- Wipe up all liquids with rag towels
- Create a mixture of ¼ cup baking soda to 2 cups of water and 2 cups white, distilled vinegar and pour into a spray bottle.
- Spray all surfaces with the mixture and allow to soak for an hour
- Wipe down surfaces with clean, wet rags. This may take a few tries to remove all of the baking soda (make sure to do the shelves in your sink, too!)
Granted, if the smells persist, you can use activated charcoal or newspaper to help absorb those smells, but the baking soda wash can be the first strike and will likely take care of most issues.
Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your trash can before inserting a bag. Then sprinkle a little into the bag. It helps absorb odors that tend to happen in trash cans.
An alternative tip is to also put newspaper at the bottom of your can, then sprinkle on baking soda. Not only does the paper help absorb any of that trash juice that always seems to escape a trash bag, both the newspaper and baking soda work as deodorizers.
Baking soda is a gentle scrubbing agent that you can use on many of the surfaces in your kitchen. There's no need to buy a commercial soft scrubbing cleanser when they use baking soda in the mixture. They can be convenient,
But I have a confession.
I do buy a soft scrub for my glass stove top that isn't baking soda-based. I admit to using Barkeeper's Friend soft scrub on my glass stovetop because it is so convenient, and I use it so often.
Barkeeper's Friend uses oxalic acid (that is found in greens like spinach and kale, etc.) to help break done lime and rust and other buildups for general cleaning chores like appliances and grout. I tend to use it more than baking soda in the kitchen because I love how it breaks down those things that are issues in our hard water and in my cookware.
Otherwise, baking soda is my go-to for so many other uses in the kitchen.
Clean Stained Enamelware
Use a paste of baking soda with warm water to gently scrub at stains on enamelware like dutch ovens or from coffee/tea mugs.
Clean your appliances
In the dishwasher
- Sprinkle a 2 cups of baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher
- Place 2-3 cups of vinegar in a bowl on the top rack.
- Run with the hottest cycle.
(I do this monthly because our dishwasher tends to have a lot of buildup between the detergent we use and the hard water in our city's system)
• Use a thin past to clean your stainless steel appliances, then buff off with a clean cloth.
In the Microwave
Spritz the microwave with vinegar, then sprinkle baking soda across the surface. I let that natural bubble action do most of the cleaning for me!
- Create a thick paste of baking soda with water. Spread it across the entire surface of your oven.
- Spritz vinegar across all of the surfaces
- Allow to sit for an hour or two
- Wipe away paste with wet rags (and do a second and third wipe to remove all of the residue if needed)
If your oven is truly grimey, this may take a second round. Having your oven warm (not hot) may help by releasing some of the fats in the built up grime.
Baked on Grime
Just like with the built-up grime in your oven, your cookware can also build up grime and grease over time. Look at the bottom of your favorite stainless steel skillet or your cookie sheets. Here are a couple of ways to remedy that:
- Create a thick paste and spread across the surface. Use a warm water and vinegar spray to activate. Allow to sit for a time, then scrub with a rag and rinse.
- Sprinkle baking soda into your skillet or pan with 1-2 inches of water. Set on a warm burner and allow the water to come to a gentle boil. After ten minutes, remove skillet from heat and allow to come to room temperature before cleaning as normal.
Please don't use this on nonstick cookware. It will scratch the surface and you don't want that.
Put out a grease fire
If you experience a grease fire in your skillet or oven, it is best to use a Class B chemical fire extinguisher to put out the fire. You do have one in your kitchen, don't you?
However, if it is a very small fire, and you don't have a metal lid (try not to use a glass lid as it may shatter) to help dampen it, use baking soda to help dampen the fire. You'll need quite a lot as a little box won't do, but it is a good last resort option.
You can use a little baking soda in your soaking water to clean produce. Sprinkle a little extra on firmer fruits and vegetables to scrub skins, especially if you plan on eating that skin.
Uses for Baking Soda in the Laundry
Add ¼ cup of baking soda to a laundry load to help freshen up smelly laundry.
Remove Underarm Sweat Stains
The mix of antiperspirant and sweat in work shirts can leave large sweat stains and lingering body odor in shirts. A slurry of baking soda and water that is spread over the stain, scrub with a laundry brush, allow to soak for a few hours, and then washed can remove both the stain and the odor trapped by that stain. We've used it on our boys' work shirts and it is miraculous!
If you need an extra boost, putting a little vinegar on the stain after soaking or into the wash helps create that chemical explosion to remove even more.
Make Your Own Washing Soda
If you love the idea of making your own homemade laundry detergent, you may have trouble finding the washing soda needed. It's becoming harder and harder to find in modern grocery stores now though you can find it on Amazon.
You can, however, make your own!
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Place 4 cups of baking soda on a cookie sheet
- Place in a preheated oven for up to one hour
- Stir occasionally to break up the mix
The soda has been converted when you go from the white fluffiness of baking soda to a flat white powder that is now washing soda!
Uses for Baking Soda for Cleaning in the Home
A natural way to bring a fresh scent into your living space is to have a small container of baking soda with 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (I love using lemon). I find using a small canning jar with a cardboard insert (with holes) and a ring can work well, or just use an inexpensive glass salt shaker if you don't want to leave an open bowl around.
Clean & Deodorize Drains
Drains in your home love to hold onto things.
- Toothpaste and hair buildup in bathrooms
- Food waste in kitchen drains - especially if you have a disposal!
- Detergent buildup in dishwasher and laundry drains
Pour a cup or two of baking soda into your drain, then add another cup or two of vinegar. The chemical reaction will help remove the buildup and clean it for you. Then use a cleaning toothbrush so use some of the excess slurry you've created to scrub the drain threads and gaskets to remove any residual buildup. Then rinse with warm water.
If you have a disposal, do this and run your disposal to allow the slurry to get under all of the blades, etc. Because no one likes that funky smell of a dirty disposal.
Whether you're pulling out your best silver for the holidays, or your everyday use silver gets tarnished over time, a 3:1 paste of baking soda and water can bring the shine back that will make even Duchess Grantham proud.
Make that Toilet Sparkle
Using baking soda as an abrasive scrub in the toilet is a great way to clean it without scratching, and saving money on toxic toilet scrubs. With the addition of a little vinegar to create that volcano science project effect, some soaking time, a quick brush with your toilet brush, you are cleaning, sanitizing, deodorizing, and making it shine all at once!
DIY Magic Eraser
Dip a damp sponge into baking soda - use to get off crayon marks, scuff marks, and other marks on your walls and floors. Test this in an inconspicuous area first as it may remove finishes.
Remove Hairspray Buildup
If you use hairspray for any grooming, you can create a build-up on your floors and walls over time that you never notice. And when cleaning, you'll notice that the floor or wall looks particularly dirty even after a wipe down.
To remedy this,
- Form a loose, watery paste and spread on the floor and allow to set.
- Use a mesh-backed cleaning cloth or mesh scrubber to clean the surface (please double-check in an inconspicuous area first as it may affect finishes).
You may have better luck with a borax paste if you have years of buildup. But it will work if you do it often. This works on walls and doors as well.
This works on hairbrushes and combs, as well. Using a paste of baking soda and water, clean brushes and combs to remove buildup from hair products and oils.
While those boxes of carpet freshening powders are convenient, they can be overpowering and contain harmful chemicals that you and your family are then breathing in for days. Plus, they are just really expensive!
Instead, use baking soda to sprinkle over your carpets and allow it to sit for 15 minutes to an hour. Vacuum as normal.
I don't recommend the addition of essential oils to the powder as those can build up in carpets over time and just attract more stains. Instead, put a bowl or jar of baking soda on a shelf with some EO's added to it to help freshen up the room in general.
Remove Carpet Stains
A small bit of baking soda and vinegar and a little elbow grease can remove stains in carpets and mattresses. Make sure to allow to fully dry and vacuum the area after treating to remove the residual baking soda.
Sprinkle baking soda across your mattress as you would the carpet. Then vacuum. Vacuuming not only helps remove dust mites and other dust in the mattress, extending the life, but the addition of baking soda helps absorb residual moisture and remove musty odors. Do this monthly.
Uses for Baking Soda in Health & Beauty Aids
This is a DIY remedy that your grandparents probably used for ages! You might even remember hearing it in old movies when bicarbonate of soda was recommended to help with upset tummies. After all, almost all antacids use baking soda in their formals.
If you are experiencing heartburn,
- Mix 1 TB of baking soda into 8 oz of water
- Allow baking soda to dissolve
- Drink to help neutralize the acid causing the discomfort.
Popping a commercial antacid may be more convenient and taste better to boot, this baking soda mixture works wonders and is not full of the added chemicals from the commercial version.
DIY Tooth Whitening Toothpaste
Baking soda can be a great teeth whitener. a tiny little bit on your toothbrush plus a little water and a quick brush. Then leave it on your teeth for a few minutes before rinsing occasionally. Be aware that baking soda is a mild abrasive, so you'll want to be careful not to do this too often or to brush too hard. But the baking soda can help remove stains from tea, coffee, and other foods and drinks.
Sunburn or Itch Relief
Create a thin paste of baking soda and cool water. Apply it to the affected area to help relieve pain or itching.
Alternatively, put a cup of baking soda in a warm bath and soak in it for similar results.
Remove buildup on the scalp:
- Add 1 TB baking soda to shampoo.
- Shampoo as normal, but do a good massage.
- Follow up with a rinse of natural, organic apple cider vinegar to restore the shine.
Make Your Own Deodorant
If you want to stop using commercial deodorants and have been disappointed with many of the over-the-counter alternatives to natural body deodorizing, you can make your own.
My recipe is a very simple mixture, that I keep in a jar and use my hands to apply it to my underarms. There are hundreds of other versions that you can get online.
- ¼ C Baking Soda (you can use the aluminum-free version)
- ¼ C arrowroot powder
- 5-6 TB Coconut oil in its mostly solid form. Coconut oil melts at 75F or so. You want it soft, not melted, to make creating the paste easiest.
- Mix baking soda and arrowroot powder
- Begin making a paste with the coconut oil until you've got a smooth consistency.
- Place into a container of your choice. Apply daily.
This will melt if kept above 75F or so. I always tucked it in the fridge during the hottest part of the summer since we never keep our house that cool.
You can add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture to give it a more pleasing smell. Or use tea tree oil to help with fungal issues.
Relieve Heat or Diaper Rash
For heat, using baking soda as a powder in areas you tend to sweat in, but don't necessarily use deodorant on. It helps bring comfort and helps you feel fresher.
Using a baking soda paste, you can bring relief to heat rash or a fungal rash (from overly moist areas).
Be aware that baking soda can affect the pH of your skin, so be cautious with how much you use and stop at signs of skin irritation.
Create a paste from a 2:1 ratio of coconut oil to baking soda. Use as you would any moisturizer and it becomes a moisturizing exfoliant for your hands and feet. Use a 2:1 ratio of coconut oil to baking soda to use for a skin exfoliator for your hands and feet.
If you prefer to use in the shower, put a tablespoon into your body wash.
Be aware that baking soda can affect the pH of your skin, so be cautious with how much you use and stop at signs of skin irritation.
Shoe funk can be the worst! But there's an easy way to help absorb moisture and foot odor in your shoes.
Place a cup of baking soda into an old sock, along with a few drops of essential oils if you want to add some nice smell, then put that sock into the offending shoe.
Baking soda can be used to help absorb oil from your hair if you are between shampoos or don't have access to water. Simply sprinkle a little in your hair or in a brush and brush/comb through your hair at the scalp. Remember..use small portions at first. You don't want to look like you've been using baking soda to clean your hair!
Instead of using those harsh cleaners to scrub your hands after yardwork or work in the garage, make a paste of baking soda and water, and scrub your hands with it. Not only will you be cleaning, but you'll also be doing some gentle exfoliating, as well. Be sure to use a moisturizer after to keep your skin softer.
While a cornmeal tea soak will probably work better in the long run, baking soda can be a good alternative until you are able to get cornmeal to create the foot soak with.
Miscellaneous Uses for Baking Soda
Place ¼ cup of baking soda into a stockpot of water. Place jars in the stockpot and allow to gently boil for fifteen minutes. Wipe clean after
While an oil works wonders, this is a great way to do many jars at once without the oily buildup to remove.
If you are placing linens and outerwear into boxes for long-term storage, you can sprinkle baking soda in the box (or create small sachets out linen filled with baking soda). This helps absorb odors that arise from storage and keeps them fresh.
Simply shake out the blankets or jackets to remove any excess baking soda.
Uses for Baking Soda Outdoors
Natural fungicide in the garden
Create a solution of 1 TB baking soda and 1 TB of horticultural oil in a gallon of water.
Spray the liquid onto leaf surfaces affected by powdery mildew or other fungal issues.
Be sure to use this on cloudy, dry days. Reapply after morning dew or rain. Be sure to test on leaves first to make sure that they are not too delicate as the sodium can burn foliage.
Clean Patio Furniture
Use one cup of baking soda and enough water/vinegar solution to form a paste. Use this to scrub outdoor furniture, plastic toys, and other yard equipment that may have buildup due to weather and storage. That funky mildew or discoloration from storage will come right off!
A very thin paste and a sponge on your windshield (even headlights) will help remove the gunk buildup of bugs and other particles. Make sure to fully dissolve the baking soda before using, and wipe in a circular fashion. Do not use on the car paint as it could scratch your clear coat.
Keep a ¼ cup baking soda solution in a spray bottle to help keep down grease fires while you grill. Simply spray the solution at the base of flames to help tamp them down. (Closing the lid is what is needed if a fire begins to get out of control. Remember to turn off your gas if you are using propane).
Treat Bloat in Goats
While you may want to check with your veterinarian, you can use baking soda to help treat bloat in your farm animals.
Refresh car interior
Sprinkling baking soda onto your car's floor and seats, then vacuuming out can help refresh a car interior of car smells. Also, keeping a sock much like the one for shoe deodorizing can help deodorize your car day today. Essential oils added to the powder help bring a pleasant smell, too!
Clean Battery Terminals
Use a slurry of 1 TB baking soda and 1 c hot water to scrub your corroded battery terminals with an old toothbrush or wire brush. Be sure to disengage the battery cables first. Rinse with additional water when finished.
Uses for Baking Soda and Pets
Cat Box Deodorizer
Sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of your cat litter tray before adding litter. It helps absorb odors in the tray between cleanings.
Deodorize Pet Beds
Sprinkle baking soda over the surface of the place your pet loves to sleep, then vacuum after an hour.
Dry Shampoo for Dogs
Just like humans, dog's fur can get smelly and oily if you don't bathe them regularly. If you're unable to do a quick bath or have access to water, sprinkling baking soda on the fur of your dog, keeping it away from his head, brushing it through, can help clean his fur until such time as you can bathe him properly.
Wrapping it up
Baking soda is so versatile there's no reason why you shouldn't be stocking it in your pantry for all the other ways it can help simplify your life and your budget.
Are there ways you use baking soda in your home not listed here? Share with us!