The ultimate guide to using washing soda and baking soda: 88 helpful hints

washing soda baking sodaDo you have a cleaning product for windows at your home, another for walls, another for floors, etc.?

Older cleaners like washing soda, vinegar, and salt can replace them all and work just as well.  And soda can do much more than clean.

Most posts about older cleaning products recommend baking soda. Washing soda costs less. Using washing soda is therefore the more frugal choice. But for some uses it can’t substitute for baking soda.

Why do we have so many single-use cleaners?

During the Second World War, consumer products were rationed. Manufacturers devoted themselves to the war effort. Much of the work force served in the military, so factories had to become more efficient than before.

When the war ended, factories could make consumer products again. With their new efficiency, they made more than they could sell. There was no export market. Both Europe and Asia had to recover from the devastation caused by the battles on their soil.

The economy suffered three recessions in the 1950s. Much of the public still blamed the Hoover administration for the Great Depression.

According to Vance Packard, who published The Waste Makers in 1960, the Eisenhower administration didn’t want blame for a poor economy. So the government and economists joined advertising agencies to urge consumers to spend as much money as possible.

Single use, disposable products came on the scene. Dumps and landfills seemed cheap.

More to the point for this article, companies introduced lots of new cleaning products. Each performed a single task.

For example, some new detergents worked only for laundry. Others worked only for hand washing dishes. Still others worked only in the new automatic dishwashers.

There were separate products to clean glass, walls, countertops, floors, sinks, etc. Advertisers persuaded housewives that these new cleaners were more convenient and up to date. So most households stopped using washing soda and other old staples. Only in recent decades have we come to realize the cost of convenience in cleaning.

Dozens of single-purpose cleaners take more cabinet space than a few more versatile products. Many of these products also contain toxic chemicals that require special disposal.

And they work no better than cleaning with washing soda or baking soda and other older products instead.

What’s the difference between baking soda and washing soda?

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) molecule

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) molecule

The simple answer is that washing soda is more alkaline. Therefore, it is more powerful in cleaning, but it’s a skin irritant. Baking soda is less powerful, less irritating, and edible.

A more helpful explanation of the difference between washing soda and baking soda  requires some basic chemistry.

Washing soda is technically sodium carbonate (Na2CO3). That is, it has two atoms of sodium, one of carbon, and three of oxygen. Baking soda is technically sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). Instead of two sodium atoms, it substitutes one hydrogen atom for one sodium.

The meaning of pH

Washing soda has a pH of 11; baking soda has pH of 8. pH stands for “potential of hydrogen.” It’s a scale from 0-14, with 7, the middle number, being neutral. Numbers from 0-6 are acidic, and numbers from 8-14 are alkaline.

Each whole value on the scale is ten times more powerful than the one next closest to 7. Baking soda, while alkaline, is more nearly neutral than washing soda. In fact, washing soda is about a thousand times more alkaline. When acidic and alkaline substances are combined, the resultant solution moves closer to the center. That is, they neutralize each other fully or partly.

pH factor chart -- washing soda baking soda

Most substances we need to clean are acidic. And so most cleaners are alkaline.

Washing soda has large granules that dissolve slowly in water. It will leave a white residue behind unless you rinse it carefully. Because it has large granules, it can scratch softer surfaces. It ‘s caustic enough to damage organic tissue. So you can’t eat it or leave it on your skin. It’s best to use gloves when you clean with it.

Baking soda is a fine, dusty powder. You can’t feel individual granules with your fingers. It dissolves easily in water and so requires less rinsing. It is only mildly abrasive, so you can scrub delicate surfaces with it, and it won’t scratch them. You can cook with it and drink a solution of it as an antacid.

I have seen instructions around the Internet for making washing soda from baking soda. Unless you find a huge box of baking soda, washing soda is less expensive. It’s easy to find. Why take the trouble to make something relatively cheap from something else that’s more expensive?

Baking soda especially for cleaning

baking-soda-13-lb-bag--using baking sodaThe last time I looked for washing soda in the store, I found something new to me instead. There, in the laundry aisle was a 5-pound bag of baking soda.

According to the package, Arm & Hammer doesn’t recommend it for baking, though “as the granulation is designed specifically for cleaning and deodorizing.”

It still feels powdery, not grainy like washing soda, but apparently they’re trying to get the best of both worlds.

All else being equal, it is more frugal to prefer cleaning with the less expensive washing soda whenever possible. But it’s best to use baking soda to clean surfaces used for food preparation, that are difficult to rinse, or that are easily scratched. Also, use baking soda on pet beds.

If you use washing soda to deodorize a carpet, vacuum it thoroughly, especially if children or pets play there.

Using washing soda or baking soda for cleaning

1. Hand wash dishes and cookware

Using the dishwasher saves water, but sometimes you have to wash things by hand. Most people who don’t live alone probably wash pots, pans, and casserole dishes by hand anyway.

A tablespoon of soda in the water along with your regular dish liquid will give it a boost. For cooked-on food, soak the pans (etc.) in a combination of soda and dish liquid for a while before washing them.

If necessary, you can also apply dry soda to a clean sponge or cloth to scrub. Perhaps after soaking and before washing in the sink.

Notice that I have simply said “soda” in these instructions. You might prefer baking soda for washing dishes. The combination of dish liquid and washing soda probably rinses easily enough. But washing soda is more abrasive and may scratch glass cookware.

2. Remove baked-on residue from pots and pans

Sometimes, it’s hard to remove baked-on residue from pots and pans. Put a generous amount of washing soda on the bottom of the pan. Add hot water and dish liquid and let it sit for 15 minutes.

If that doesn’t work, bring the water to a boil. Drop an abrasive cloth, such as Scotch Brite™ into the boiling water. Get a long-handled sturdy spoon to scrub the bottom of the pan as the water simmers.

Do not use soda on aluminum cookware. It will leave you with pitted, discolored pots and pans.

3. Clean the dishwasher

Put one cup of vinegar in a glass container and put it on the top rack. With nothing else inside, run a cycle. Then, sprinkle one cup of baking soda in the bottom of an empty dishwasher and run a short cycle. It will clean stains and leave the dishwasher smelling fresh. You can probably dispense with the vinegar step if it hasn’t been too long since you cleaned the dishwasher.

4. Freshen sponges

If you use a sponge instead of a dish cloth, after a while it starts to smell gross. That’s because of all the food residue and other junk it accumulates. You don’t have to throw it away if it’s not in tatters. Just make a strong solution of 4 tablespoons of washing soda in a quart of warm water. Soak for a while and rinse.

5. Clean the microwave

You might want to prefer baking soda here. It’s less abrasive. Sprinkle some on a damp sponge or dish cloth and scrub both the inside and outside. If gunk is really caked on, first put a cup of water in the microwave long enough for it to boil for about a minute.

6. Polish silver flatware

Are your sterling silver or silver-plate flatware and serving pieces tarnished? Silver polish can be nasty stuff to work with. Use a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water and rub it onto your pieces with a clean cloth or sponge.

Prefer baking soda to washing soda for this procedure. It’s less abrasive.

Leave it on for 15-20 minutes, then rinse and dry thoroughly. If you rinse by putting all the pieces in a bowl of water, you’ll use much less water than if you rinse them under running water.

Alternatively, you can mix ½ cup of washing soda with a gallon of hot water. Line a large  bowl with aluminum foil add the silverware and let it soak for 15 minutes. This procedure also works for silver jewelry. Rinse, buff, and dry thoroughly. Don’t use an aluminum bowl, though.

7. Clean coffee and tea pots and cups

Coffee and tea stain cups, mugs, vacuum insulated bottles, and pots. They can leave an off-taste in other beverages. Remove the stains and bad tastes with a solution of ¼ cup baking soda in a quart of warm water and soak the items overnight. You can add dish liquid if you like.

8. Clean the stove

Grill pan -- using washing soda

Public domain from Wikimedia Commons

Use a solution of ½ cup washing soda in a gallon of warm water. You may have a gas stove, an electric stove with coils and drip pans, or an electric stove with a glass top.

If your stove has removable parts, soak them in the solution for at least half an hour. If anything is still crusted on, sprinkle washing soda on a damp sponge or dish cloth and scrub.

I wouldn’t recommend scrubbing a glass top with dry washing soda. You can try baking soda. I know how to scrape and clean glass safely with a single-edge razor blade. If you do, too, go for it. I soak the glob of whatever it is first to make it come off more easily. Soak a sponge or dish cloth in a washing soda solution and lay it on top of the mess for a while.

9. Clean broiler pans

Most broiler pans are larger than most sinks. You can still soak the bottom in the same washing soda solution used above. The top is trickier. If you need to soak it, I have seen advice to use a plastic garbage bag. Then, of course, you have plastic waste. I use a toaster oven when I want to broil, but then, I live alone. If you must soak the top of a broiler pan, the bathtub might work.

10. Clean range hoods and exhaust fans

That same washing soda solution is good for cleaning and degreasing your range hood and exhaust fan filter. Wearing gloves, use a sponge or dishcloth to scrub. Then use another sponge or cloth with clean water to rinse.

11. Clean the oven

Can there be a more unpleasant task in the kitchen than cleaning the oven? Commercial oven cleaners are caustic. The stench means that the vapors are irritating your respiratory system. They’ll hang around in the air, too. Your furnace or air conditioning fan will distribute the toxins all over the house. And despite the commercials, the grime doesn’t come off easily.

So coat the bottom of the oven with washing soda and spray water on it. Leave it overnight. The next day, scoop as much of the mess out as you can. Then, if necessary, scrub the surfaces with washing soda. It’s still hard, messy work, but it doesn’t stink or harm everyone’s health. Use gloves.

12. Scrub grill grates

After you use your grill, put some washing soda on a damp wire brush and scrub the grate.  Rinse. That will keep it clean all summer.

13. Clean plastic housewares

Use a solution of ½ cup washing soda in a gallon of warm water to wash plastic table cloths, vinyl shower curtains, and covers of small appliances. Wipe the surface and rinse.

14. Unclog drains

Water draining--using washing soda

Water draining. Some rights reserved by flowr32.

Pour 1 cup of washing soda into a clogged drain. Follow it with 1 cup of hot vinegar.

Complete the cleaning after a while by flushing the drain with hot water.

In modern bathroom sinks, it can be hard to remove the stopper to get the soda into the drain. In that case, dissolve it in hot water and pour it into the sink.

Water is neutral, so it won’t change the pH of the soda. The vinegar will react the same as with dry soda.

15. Care for septic tank

Use washing soda in your drains regularly to maintain your septic tank. One cup of soda per week will maintain the right pH and keep it flowing freely.

16. Clean toilet

Add ¼ cup washing soda to the bowl. Let it sit for a while, then swirl and scrub with a toilet brush, and flush. If the toilet stinks, use up to a cup of washing soda and wait an hour before flushing

17. Clean sinks, tubs, shower stalls

Your soap gets your hands and body clean, but it leaves a tough scum on your sink, bathtub, or shower stall. There are two ways of cleaning it with washing soda. Sprinkle some on a damp sponge or cloth and scrub as usual. It’s gentle enough to use on fiberglass and glossy tiles. It cleans grout, too.

When I see advice on cleaning these fixtures with baking soda, it says that adding salt will give it extra cleaning power. But that means using two products instead of one. Use washing soda.

You can also use a solution of ½ cup washing soda to a gallon of water for scrubbing larger areas, like a counter or the walls around your tub or shower stall.

I have also seen advice to make a scrub with soda, dish detergent, and vinegar. Vinegar will give the mixture a creamy texture, but it will probably make it less effective. Vinegar is acidic, so it will neutralize the soda.

18. Clean vinyl shower curtains

I use a cloth shower curtain liner. I can soak it in a borax solution and then put it in the washing machine. If you have a vinyl shower curtain or liner, you can’t clean it that way. Clean and deodorize it by scrubbing it with soda on a damp sponge. You’ll still have to take it down and use the tub or countertop for a firm surface.

19. Clean windows and mirrors

It only takes a mild solution to clean windows and mirrors, perhaps a teaspoon of soda and water to fill a spray bottle.

20. Boost laundry detergent

Your wash water should have a pH of about 10. Detergents don’t raise it quite that much.

Make yours work harder by adding washing soda to the water. Follow the instructions on the box.

Using too much washing soda will weaken your fabrics. If you use the right amount, your clothes will be fresher, cleaner, and brighter.

If you have hard water, washing soda will soften it, but you’ll need to use twice as much.

21.Presoak or pretreat laundry to remove stains

Washing soda can remove stains like grease, ink, coffee, tea, and blood. It removes them more completely if you treat or soak them right away.

To pretreat, make a paste of equal parts washing soda and warm water. Wearing rubber gloves, dampen the stain and rub the paste gently onto it. Add it to the rest of your laundry.

Soak stained clothes or linens in a solution of 2 tablespoons washing soda per gallon of water overnight (or at least for several hours). Use cool water for egg or blood stains. Otherwise use warm water. Then wash the items with the rest of your laundry.

Always test a part of the fabric no one sees before pretreating or soaking to check for colorfastness.

22. Hand wash delicates

Test for colorfastness first and use rubber gloves. Use a mild solution.

23. Clean cloth diapers and baby clothes

Diapers and baby clothes raise special laundry problems. They are stinkier and dirtier than your own clothes, but the baby’s skin is more delicate. Soak cloth diaper in a solution of ½ cup washing soda and 2 quarts of warm water.

If you are still concerned about odors after the laundry is done, add ½ cup of baking soda to the rinse water. That’s baking soda, because it’s gentler and easier to rinse out.

24. Clean and freshen sports gear

Washing soda in the laundry should deodorize gym clothes, but what about gym bags and other equipment? You can sprinkle washing soda in your golf bag. And probably prefer baking soda for your gym bag so you don’t get washing soda on your skin.

You can also a paste 3 parts washing soda to 1 part water to clean your golf irons. Rinse thoroughly.

25. Clean floors

bucket and sponge--using washing sodaFor a floor you can mop (that is, not hardwood or cork), dissolve ½ cup of baking soda in a bucket of warm water. I suggest baking soda rather than washing soda because floors are hard to rinse. Cleaning with washing soda will leave that white residue.

If your floor has scuff marks, you can remove them with baking soda on a damp sponge or cloth.

The soda will not only clean the floor, but brighten it if it has gotten dull.

26. Clean furniture and walls

Soda on a damp cloth can even remove crayon stains from walls. Use it on walls or painted furniture. Choose baking soda or washing soda depending on how easily the surface will scratch.

Cleaning with a regular solution of ½ cup washing soda and a gallon of water has an additional benefit for wicker furniture. It will tighten sagging seats and harden the cane, in addition to cleaning the piece.

27. Clean venetian blinds

If you can easily take down your blinds, soak them for 15-30 minutes in the bathtub in a solution of washing soda and water. Or you can make the regular solution of ½ cup washing soda in a gallon of water and wipe them with a cloth. Either way, the soda will brighten the blinds and repel dust.

28. Clean upholstery and carpets

Use a mild solution of washing soda and water to freshen upholstery and remove stains. Washing soda works well on wine stains as well as the ones mentioned earlier under laundry. Dab any stains. Don’t scrub. And always test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous spot.

29. Clean the fireplace or wood stove

Wherever soot builds up, (on glass doors, for example) wash the surface with a regular solution of ½ cup washing soda and a gallon of water. Rinse. As always, use rubber gloves when you put your hands in a washing soda solution.

30. Remove oil and grease from garage floor

Or your driveway. Sprinkle washing soda on the spot. Let it sit for a while, then scrub with a wet scrub brush.

31. Clean batteries

Is acid corroding your car or lawn mower battery? Disconnect the terminals and scrub them with a washing soda paste and a soft cloth. When they dry, wipe them with petroleum jelly before reconnecting the cables to prevent corrosion in the future. Battery acid is very corrosive, so be careful not to spill any.

32. Clean cars: windshield, wheel trim

A solution of about ¼ cup washing soda in a quart of water cleans all kinds of road grime and dead bugs from your car’s lights and trim without scratching it. Use a sponge or cloth to wipe it all away. Sprinkle more soda directly on it to handle stubborn stains.

Use the same soda solution for floor mats and vinyl seats. Do not use it on anything aluminum.

Using washing soda or baking soda for deodorizing

33. Freshen the air in your home

spray bottle--washing soda baking sodaYou can buy sprays to “freshen” the air, but they don’t absorb the odors. They just cover them. And they contain allergens and irritants.

Some of the chemicals are known carcinogens, although at very low concentrations.

Even if you’re not afraid of them, they are still unnecessary products that do only one thing. They don’t do it especially well.

And the packaging becomes waste you must discard.

So get a spray bottle. Add a tablespoon of baking soda and fill it to the top with water. Shake well to dissolve.

If you like, you can mix the soda with 5-6 drops of essential oil in a small bowl before adding it to the spray bottle.

Baking soda and washing soda both absorb odors. They really freshen the air and don’t add pollutants. Plus you can reuse the spray bottle when it’s empty.

34. Deodorize your refrigerator

You can buy special boxes of baking soda specifically made for deodorizing refrigerators. Place it in the back. If you can’t find one of those boxes, you can open a regular box and put it back there. Or if you have an empty box of the right size, fill it with washing soda.

35. Deodorize lunch boxes

You can put the same special boxes of baking soda in lunch boxes between uses to absorb odors.

36. Deodorize the cutting board

Since you use your cutting boards for food, you should use baking soda to deodorize and clean them. Sprinkle soda on them, scrub with a sponge or dish cloth, and rinse thoroughly. Unless it’s a plastic cutting board, dry it as much as you can with a dish towel.

36. Deodorize trash cans and recycling bins

Sprinkle washing soda on the bottom of the can. If you need to clean it, use washing soda in warm water and scrub it with a brush. Then sprinkle soda on the bottom after it dries. Recycling containers don’t stink as much, but you can keep them fresh the same way.

37. Deodorize drains and garbage disposals

Even if a drain or disposal isn’t clogged, it can stink. And the smell points to unhealthy vapors. Dissolve a half a cup of washing soda in water and pour it down the drain. Rinse with more warm tap water after a while.

38. Remove odor from carpets

red carpet. using washing sodaSprinkle washing soda liberally on the carpet (or rug) and leave it as long as possible. Overnight, perhaps. The longer the soda remains on the carpet, the more odor it will absorb.

It’s best to keep children and pets away in the meantime.

Then sweep the larger amounts with a broom and discard. Vacuum what’s left.

39. Remove odor from vacuum cleaners

Deodorize the carpet first. All that washing soda will make the bag full and heavy. And deodorize the vacuum cleaner.

40. Freshen closets

You can keep your closet smelling fresh the same ways you deodorize the refrigerator: a special box of baking soda with the vents on the side of the box, an opened box of baking soda, or an empty baking soda box filled with washing soda.

41. Deodorize laundry hamper

Sometimes you can’t wait till laundry day to get rid of the smell in your hamper. Sprinkle washing soda over the clothes in it. If the hamper still stinks once you’ve emptied it into the washer, sprinkle washing soda on the bottom before you start to fill it again.

42. Deodorize shoes and sneakers

When you take off your shoes, sprinkle some washing soda into them. Shake it out before you wear them again. I say washing soda on the assumption you’ll wear socks.

43. Deodorize your laundry

If washing soda in the wash cycle doesn’t take care of odors in, say, gym clothes, add ½ cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle. A baking soda rinse can also freshen sheets and towels.

44. Freshen stuffed animals

Sprinkle baking soda on your children’s or pets’ stuffed animals from time to time. Then brush or shake it off after about 15 minutes.

45. Deodorize the cat box

Cover the bottom of the litter box with a generous layer of washing soda before you fill it with litter. Between changes, you can sprinkle baking soda on the top of the litter after you have cleaned it thoroughly. I suggest baking soda for this top sprinkling, because it will come in direct contact with the cat.

46. Deodorize pet bedding

If your pet sleeps or lies on a blanket, you can just launder it from time to time. You may not be able to launder pillows or pet beds. In that case, sprinkle baking soda on them, wait at least 15 minutes, and shake out or vacuum.

baking soda on car upholstery47. Deodorizing cars

Bad smells in your car most likely come from the upholstery and carpets.

So sprinkle washing soda directly on the fabric and wait at least 15 minutes. Then vacuum.

Using washing soda in the garden

48. Garden tools

Keep hedge trimmers, saws, and clippers in good condition by sprinkling washing soda on a wet stiff-bristled brush on a sunny day. Scrub and rinse. Let the tools dry in the sun. Do not use soda on aluminum.

49. Pest control in garden

Use a solution of ½ cup washing soda and 2 gallons of water to control whitefly and mites on trees and plants.

Use a solution of ¼ cup washing soda, one cup milk, and one gallon of water to spray on roses to control mildew and blackspot.

50. Keep ants out

Mix equal parts salt and washing soda and sprinkle the mixture wherever you see ants entering your home.

The next section will contain instructions for how to control weeds in cracks in the driveway. As long as you’re using this mixture to discourage ants, you might as well put some on nearby weeds. Just make sure you don’t get it too close to what you want to grow.

51. Deck

Scrub the deck with washing soda in hot water. It cleans it and makes it less slippery.

52. Patios and paths

If you have moss on your patio or stone path, or if rotting leaves have left slime, mix a cup of washing soda in hot water and scrub with a brush. Use rubber gloves.

53. Patio furniture

Patio furniture--uses for washing sodaClean wrought iron furniture with ½ cup washing soda in a gallon of warm water.

Scrub it with a stiff-bristled brush on a sunny day. Rinse with a hose and let the furniture dry in the sun.

Use the same solution to wipe plastic furniture and cushions with a sponge or dish cloth.

Sprinkle some washing soda on and under cushions before you store them for the winter.

Do not use soda on aluminum.

54. Balance pH in pool

You need to test your pool frequently to make sure it has the proper pH balance. If it’s too acidic, add washing soda a little at a time until you achieve it.

Miscellaneous uses of washing soda or baking soda

55. Extinguish fires

If you have a small cooking fire, turn off the burner (if you can do it safely), and throw whatever soda is closest at hand at its base. Soda gives off carbon dioxide when it’s heated and smothers flames. You may have to do more than that, such as put a lid on a pan or grill. But it’s a start.

56. Use in cracks of driveway or sidewalks to discourage weeds

weed in crack uses for washing sodaMost plants like mildly acidic soil. Very few like to grow in alkaline soil. So make weeds feel unwelcome with washing soda.

I would be very careful in the garden near plants you don’t want to kill. You can mist the weeds and pour 1 teaspoon of soda on each one individually if you feel like going to that much effort.

But the ones that grow in cracks. Just dump a handful of washing soda on them, with perhaps some salt. For good measure, sweep soda into the entire length of any crack or joint and discourage weeds from taking root there in the first place.

57. Use instead of salt on icy sidewalks, steps, and driveways

Salt effectively melts ice, but it also damages the concrete or asphalt underneath. Washing soda melts ice, too. Apparently it doesn’t work as well as salt, but it’s gritty enough to make it safer to walk on it. And it won’t harm the pavement.

58. Keep flowers fresh longer

Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water in the vase.

59. Clean painted surfaces or vinyl

Brighten window frames, furniture, or floors by wiping with a regular solution of washing soda. Use a stronger solution to prepare them for painting or varnishing.

60. Strip paint from metal hardware

Washing soda removes paint from metal, but not from walls or trim. That’s handy to know if you painted a hinge or doorknob and want to clean it up.

Smear a thick paste of washing soda and water on the surface and let it dry. Rinse.

If you can remove the hardware, boil it in a washing soda solution for 15-20 minutes. If you’re concerned for your pot after you pour off the painty water, fill it a little higher with a soda solution, add some dish liquid, and boil it some more.

61. Take it camping

Be sure to pack washing soda and baking soda for camping trips. They’re a fire extinguisher, pot scrubber, hand cleaner, toothpaste, dish cleaner, deodorant, and much more.

Using baking soda in food preparation

Pumpkin bread--uses for baking soda

Pumpkin bread

So far, you can use washing soda for most of the tips. Baking soda has been preferable for only a few of them. From here on down, you must use baking soda.

62. Baking

Let’s not forget the obvious! Use the amount your recipe calls for.

63. Add to omelet

Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs to make your omelet fluffier.

64. Add to iced tea

If your ice tea is bitter, add a pinch of baking soda. The soda will also prevent it from getting cloudy.

65. Scrub fruits and vegetables

You can buy produce washes, but you don’t need them. If you want do more than rinse your produce, sprinkle baking soda on a clean, damp sponge or cloth, scrub and rinse.

Rinsing produce under running water uses a lot of water, though. If you have very much to rinse, put some rinse water in a bowl and dip the food in it instead.

66. Neutralize gas from beans

When you soak dried beans, add a teaspoon of baking soda. The beans won’t produce as much gas when you cook and eat them, and will be easier to digest.

67. Remove onion/garlic/other odors from hands

If you get strong odors on your hands, whether from cooking or otherwise, moisten your hands. Then rub them with baking soda. Rinse.

Using baking soda for personal care and health

68. Brush your teeth

You can dip your toothpaste in baking soda to give it an extra boost. Or, if you want to avoid commercial toothpaste for some reason, you can mix baking soda with enough 3% hydrogen peroxide to make a paste.

You can also whiten your teeth with baking powder. Add enough water to a teaspoon of baking soda to make a paste. Let it sit on your teeth for five minutes before rinsing.

Be careful, though. Baking powder is abrasive enough to wear tooth enamel away if you use it straight from the box, or indeed, more than a couple of times a week. Once a week is plenty for whitening.

69. Brush pets’ teeth

Vets recommend brushing pets’ teeth. Baking soda is as good for them as it is for you. You do have special doggy (or catty) meat flavored toothpaste, don’t you?

Speaking of pets, scatter baking soda where their food dishes are. It will discourage pests.

70. Freshen your mouth

Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in 4 ounces. (half a glass) of water to use as a mouthwash or gargle. It neutralizes bad breath as easily as it deodorizes anything else.

71. Soak oral appliances

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a small bowl of warm water. Soak dentures, retainers, any kind of mouthpiece, or your toothbrush in it overnight. It will loosen food particles and keep the appliances fresh.

72. Make a hand cleanser and softener

Baking soda has many uses for your skin. If you have been gardening or otherwise gotten ground-in dirt on your hands, you don’t need a harsh soap. You can use a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water or liquid hand soap. It’s just abrasive enough to scrub the dirt away and leave your hands soft.

73. Soothe your feet

foot-bath-pixabayWhen your feet are sore, nothing beats soaking them in warm water. Except a tub of water with about 3 tablespoons of baking soda in it. Ahh!

Not only is it soothing, it will help prevent toenail fungus. And your feet will smell better, too.

74. Make a bath soak

Want to soak in the tub? Add about half a cup of baking soda. It will wash oil and perspiration away. It will neutralize whatever acids are on your skin. And leave it feeling very soft when you’re ready to get out.

75. Use as a facial scrub and body exfoliant

For an invigorating scrub, make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub the paste in gentle circles to exfoliate your skin. It’s gentle enough to use on your face, even every day.

76. Artificial tan remover

Have you ever applied a self-tanner and not liked the way it looked? Maybe you wound up with streaks or a funny-looking color. The same proportions for exfoliating skin will erase the tanner.

77. Clean your hair

Shampoo lather -- uses of baking soda on skinIf you use any kind of hair styling product, it leaves behind a residue. Shampoos may not remove it all. So sprinkle some baking soda in your hand along with the shampoo (or conditioner) to give it a boost.

Fight dandruff by massaging a handful of baking soda directly on wet scalp. You don’t need to use shampoo first. You do need to rinse.

Dry shampoo has been around for decades. They’re handy if you don’t have time to wash and dry your hair. But you don’t need it. Just sprinkle baking soda where it will get down to the roots. Tousle your hair, then comb and brush it.

78. Clean brushes and combs

After a while, hairbrushes and combs get gross. Run a little warm water in your sink and add a teaspoon of baking soda. Soaking your comb and brush easily removes the hair oil and residue of styling products. Rinse them after a while and let them dry.

79. Use as deodorant

You don’t need to buy deodorant. Apply a little baking soda to your arm pits. It neutralizes odor just as well, and it’s one less thing you have to buy and put somewhere. And one less empty package to discard.

80. Soothe razor burn

Whether you shave your face or your legs (or other places), razor burn hurts. It doesn’t look good, either. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water and apply it to the area. Allow about 5 minutes for it to dry on your skin, then rinse with cool water.

81. Use as an antacid

Besides using baking soda on your skin, it has many other uses for health.

There’s not much room on a box of baking soda to describe all its uses. But your box probably has instructions for how to mix it with water to soothe an upset stomach. In case yours doesn’t, mix ¼ teaspoon in 4 ounces. of water. Remember, it’s alkaline, so it can neutralize excess stomach acid.

82. Reduce ulcer pain

Ulcers are more serious than occasional indigestion, but the culprit in both cases is excess acid. And a good remedy in both cases is baking soda in water. For ulcers, use 1-2 teaspoons in 8 ounces. of water.

83. Treat insect bites and itchy skin

Do you have insect bites, poison ivy, or other minor skin irritation? You can treat them with baking soda two different ways. Make a paste with water and apply it as a salve. Or, when you get out of your bath or shower, shake some into your hand and rub it on damp skin.

84. Treat sunburn

Sunburn--uses of baking soda on skin

Public domain from Wikimedia Commons

Sunburn makes a good excuse to soak in the tub with baking soda in the water. You can also add baking soda to whatever body lotion you use.

85. Prevent cancer

Cancer cells like an acidic environment. Most of our foods and beverages are acidic. Tumors create a better environment for themselves by lowering the pH of your body even more. Baking soda, being alkaline, can help restore a healthy pH level.

Taking 3 tablespoons in water every day is a safe, effective way of raising your pH. (If you already have cancer, though, it’s not the best. Follow the link for details.)

86. Enhance exercise

Lactic acid builds up in your muscles during vigorous exercise. If too much builds up in your bloodstream, it can make you feel exhausted. You may also suffer cramps or nausea. A teaspoon of baking soda in your water bottle can absorb some of it. It can delay fatigue and help you exercise (or perform a sport) longer.

87. Improve kidney function

Balanced pH levels help your entire body. Excess acid can weaken kidneys, among other things, and damaged kidneys can’t easily remove it from your blood.

88. Remove splinters

Hate digging around a splinter with a needle? Soak the area twice a day in warm water with a tablespoon of baking powder. It will come out naturally in a few days.

Do you have any more suggestions? Let us know in the comments.


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