13 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda
Baking soda may have a plain and simple reputation, but it's hands down one of the most versatile and talented household products around—and it's not just a showstopper in the kitchen, either. Besides the essential role it plays in cooking and baking, this naturally-forming mineral deposit is a powerhouse cleaning agent. That's right, you don't have to rely on chemical cleaners or even spend a ton of money on fancy products.
"The uses for baking soda are almost endless," says Natalie Wise, cleaning expert and author of The Organic Country Home Handbook
. It's biodegradable, safe for children and pets, and has a gentle-yet-effective abrasive quality to it. It's especially effective in the kitchen and bathroom areas, due in large part to its odor-absorbing skills. We love to use baking soda when it comes time to deep clean our ovens and even to whip up DIY cleaners for areas like the toilet, which people think require harsher agents.
It's also considered the ultimate partner-in-crime to another all-natural (and popular) cleaning product: vinegar. When combined, these two pantry staples make for a super-efficient cleaning solution. "Vinegar is acidic, and when mixed with baking soda, creates a strong acid-base reaction that cuts through grime," says Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority. The baking soda gently scrubs and absorbs odors, while the vinegar cuts through grease and makes surfaces shine.
There are plenty of different ways to clean with baking soda. Here, we share 13 places where you can incorporate this multitalented powder into your cleaning routine.
Spruce Up Your Mattress
To help prevent dust and dead skin cells from piling, cleaning your mattress regularly is paramount, says Stapf. You can get rid of lingering odors by sprinkling baking soda onto your mattress and letting it sit for several minutes. If there are stains that need to go, spray them with vinegar first before adding the baking soda layer. Place a towel over the area, let the combo sit for up to two hours, and give your mattress a good vacuuming.
De-Gunk Your Hair Brush
If your hair products tend to cause pesky build up on your brush or comb, you can easily remove the gunk by soaking them in a cup of warm water and baking soda overnight, says Stapf.
Get Rid of Foot Odor
"Baking soda is a mild alkaline, and due to this higher pH it eliminates odors by neutralizing the acidity of many foul smells," says Stapf. If your shoes are being held hostage by a nose-scrunching odor, just sprinkle some baking soda in them to get rid of it. (Making sure to empty your shoes before slipping them back on, obviously.)
Show Your Blender Some Love
Blenders come into contact with a lot of ingredients, and the leftover smells may not always wash out. Stapf suggests pouring a 50/50 solution of baking soda and water into your blender, and letting it soak for 10 minutes before rinsing.
Keep Your Bins Fresh
Even after you've taken out the garbage, nasty smells can linger. To give your trash, compost, and recycling bins a refresh, combine one cup of baking soda, fifteen drops of tea tree oil, and seven drops of lemongrass essential oil in a shaker container, says Natalie Wise, cleaning expert and author of
. Before adding your next garbage bag, sprinkle the bottom of the bin with the mixture, making sure to clean out previous doses as you go along.
Deep Clean Your Oven
Thanks to how it helps dissolve dirt and grease in a hassle-free way, baking soda makes for an excellent oven cleaner. We like to combine 3/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup warm water, to create paste. If you are adding any essential oils, you can do so here—the consistency should resemble cake frosting. Spread the paste over the inside of the oven and let it sit overnight. During this time, it will soften the grease and dirt and you can scrape off the paste the next day.
Wipe Down Your Stovetop
If part of this morning's breakfast is now fused to your stovetop, don't fret: Baking soda is effective at eating away stuck-on foods and stains, says Stapf. Sprinkle baking soda over the spillage and let it sit for up to 10 minutes. Using a damp sponge, continue scrubbing until every last burnt bit is gone.
Wash Your Dog Leashes
Mix two tablespoons of baking soda, one teaspoon castile soap, and two cups of hot water. Soak your dog leashes in the mixture for up to 45 minutes—this gives it time to get into the tough fibers, says Wise. Use a clean toothbrush to scour the leashes, making sure to pay special attention to the tricky spots, like the buckles and hardware. Let the leashes dry flat.
Clean Your Cutting Boards
Sprinkle a mix of 1/3 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup table salt onto the cutting board surface and let it sit for 30 minutes. Take half a lemon and rub it in circles over the surface. This allows the baking soda, salt, and lemon juice to mix together and make a grime-fighting paste, says Wise. Rinse the mixture off the cutting board, and either pour white vinegar or boiling water over the surface to finish off the deep clean, then wash your cutting board as usual.
Scrub Your Shower Curtain Liner
Besides tossing your liner in the washing machine, you can also clean it by sprinkling some baking soda onto a cloth, dampening it with water, and scrubbing the entire liner with the solution, says Stapf. Rinse with warm water and repeat the process until it's free of soap scum and water stains.
Freshen Up Your Ice Cube Trays
Because your freezer's packed with a variety of foods, this can cause odors to absorb into your ice cubes and make them taste funny. To neutralize, Stapf recommends mixing two teaspoons of baking soda per 1/2 cup of warm water, and scrubbing the solution into each section of your ice cube trays with a cloth. Rinse with warm water, and enjoy your ice tasting like, well, ice again.
Shine Stainless Steel
"Baking soda is perfect for refreshing dull stainless steel sinks or fridges, as it brightens while it cleans," says Stapf. Just sprinkle some baking soda onto a soft, damp cloth and buff out the stainless steel. Rinse well for a streak-free shine.
Absorb Funky Odors
Confined areas like fridges, freezers, and closets, can trap some not-so-pretty odors. Fight back by mixing one cup of baking soda with six drops each of lemon and peppermint essential oils, says Wise. Give the jar a shake every so often to liven up the essential oils. (Just make sure to place it in an area where it won't get knocked over.)