Baking Soda has been one of my go-to cleaning products for years – it’s cheap, does a great job, doesn’t scratch surfaces and doesn’t harm the environment. With Fall cleaning on the agenda, I thought this would be a great time to review how best to use it for cleaning.
Baking Soda for General Home Maintenance:
- Aluminum Windows and Doors Dissolve ½ cup baking soda in 3 cups tepid water. Dampen a sponge or brush to wipe down the aluminum windows or doors. Rinse well (if working outside, the garden hose can be used);
- Books, Musty Smell – To remove musty smells from stored books, put 2 Tbsp. baking soda into a brown paper bag, add the book, close the bag, then set it in a dry place for a week or two;
- Bookshelf – Remove books from the shelf and wipe down with a sponge or microfiber cloth just barely dampened in a solution of 1Tbsp. baking soda dissolved in 2 cups tepid water. Use the same solution to lightly wipe any of the books before they’re returned. Make sure the sponge is just barely damp –neither books nor wood like water;
- Child-Made Stains – Children love to draw and will find any spot to do so – walls, floors, appliances, etc. Sprinkle baking soda on a sponge to wipe away most crayon, marker, pen and pencil marks;
- Fireplace Bricks – Remove the smoke stains from your fireplace bricks by the following method: Dissolve ½ cup baking soda in 4 cups tepid water – apply to bricks using brush and elbow grease;
- Floors, Linoleum – Use a mop dampened in a mixture of ½ cup baking soda in 4 cups tepid water;
- Floors, Wood – Mix 1 Tbsp. baking soda with 1 tsp. water to remove white spots and other stains from your wood floors. Gently rub the stain with the paste in a circular motion until it’s gone. Too much water can damage wood floors so take care not to use more than the teaspoon called for;
- Furniture – Even though smoking has become a social no-no, there are still many who do. For those who do (or who have guests that do) here is a good way to remove the smoke smell from your upholstered furniture. Lightly sprinkle the baking soda on the furniture – don’t forget the back and underneath the cushions – follow the same procedure as for rugs/carpets;
- Mats, Indoor Welcome Ones – Mats are meant to keep the dirt outside, right? To make sure they do, sprinkle with baking soda (same as rugs/carpets), leave for a bit then return to vacuum the dirt away;
- Mats, Outdoor Ones – Before a rainstorm, scrub outdoor rubber mats with a baking soda solution – ½ cup baking soda to 3 cups tepid water – then let the rain wash the residue away;
- Rugs and Carpets, General – Very lightly sprinkle baking soda on the rug/carpet, go have a coffee break, then simply vacuum up the residue, sucking up the dirt and unwanted odours;
- Rugs and Carpets, Stains – Carpet mishap occurring in front of you? Immediately blot up as much of the stain as you can with a paper towel, sprinkle lots of baking soda on the stain, leave to go make the beds, go shopping, whatever, just give it lots of time to work, and an hour or two later, return to vacuum the stain away;
- Rugs and Carpets, Vomit or Urine Stains (yuk, parents and pet owners can’t be squeamish) – Using lots of paper towel, first pick or blot up what you can. Pour a generous amount of baking soda on the spot(s), use a damp brush to work from the outside to the centre of the stain, let dry. Repeat if necessary. Once the rug/carpet is totally dry, sprinkle with more baking soda to remove any remaining odours, and finish by vacuuming up any residue;
- Wallpaper – Freshen up your wallpaper by wiping it down with a microfiber cloth or sponge dampened in the following solution: 2 Tbsp. baking soda mixed in 4 cups tepid water. For stubborn stains, mix 1 Tbsp. baking soda with 1 tsp. water, apply to stain, leave it for up to 10 minutes, then remove with a clean damp sponge;
- Windows – Wash the windows with some baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge, rinse with clean wet sponge, then dry. Wadded up newspaper works great for the drying part.
Baking soda in the Bathroom:
- Bathroom Deodorizer – Mix equal parts baking soda and scented bath salts together. Place in a decorative, open container and place on the back of the toilet tank;
- Fiberglass Tubs or Shower Stalls – First wet a sponge with vinegar and then sprinkle baking soda on the sponge. Use this to wipe all the tub surfaces, rinse well and let dry, that’s it:
- Shower Curtains – Wash your shower curtains along with two big towels on gentle cycle using ½ cup baking soda along with your regular detergent. Add vinegar to the rinse cycle. When done, hang the curtain back up and let it drip dry;
- Showerheads – Dissolve ¼ cup baking soda in 1 cup vinegar and pour into a small plastic bag – tie the bag in place around the showerhead, leave for an hour and your showerhead will work like new. Don’t seal the bag tightly around the showerhead because you need to leave room for gasses to escape;
- Toilet – Pour 1 cup baking soda into the toilet TANK (not bowl) and let stand overnight. In the morning, flush a couple of times to clean both the tank and the bowl. If you do this every couple of weeks or once a month, depending on how hard your water is, you should always have a clean toilet.
Baking Soda in the Bedroom:
- Blankets – This is great when done on a windy day. Lightly sprinkle the entire blanket with baking soda, roll up tight and leave for a few hours or half a day. Take outside to shake out most of the baking soda and hang on a clothesline letting the wind remove the rest and freshen up the entire blanket. Failing a clothes line you can toss it into the dryer – no heat – and let it run for half an hour or so;
- Closets – Remove everything from the closet; wipe the interior, including floor, with a cloth dampened in a ¼ cup baking soda to 4 cups water solution. Put some baking soda in old socks or pantyhose and hang from the clothes rod before returning the clothes. While you’re at it, give the clothes a quick check before returning them to make sure they’re clean and in good shape;
- Drawers – Wipe out all the drawers with a solution of 2 Tbsp. baking soda to 4 cups water, again using a barely damp sponge or cloth. Put a small amount of baking soda in a child’s sock (or similar item) and place one in each drawer;
- Mattresses – Sprinkle mattresses generously with baking soda, leave for a while, then vacuum away all the dirt and odour;
- Waterbeds – Wipe down the bed with a solution of ¼ cup baking soda to 4 cups water – use a barely damp sponge and let dry.
Baking Soda in the Kitchen:
- Chrome Faucets – Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe down the faucet, use a dry cloth to shine. Sprinkle hard water deposits on faucets with baking soda and scrub using a damp toothbrush. To make them shine, finish by wiping well with a clean, damp cloth, followed by a dry cloth;
- Countertops, Formica – Squeeze a lemon all over your countertop, with a sponge spread it around so the whole surface is covered. Leave for about half an hour and then sprinkle with baking soda. Scrub the surface well, rinse and dry. This works better than using bleach or most other cleaning products;
- Countertops, Stains and Scratches – Make a paste with 2 Tbsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. water. Apply to the stain or scratch and most will seem to disappear;
- Cutting Board – Clean with a paste made by mixing 1 Tbsp. each: baking soda, salt, and water. Scrub this paste well into the cutting board. Rinse with hot water, dry;
- Dishwasher, Occasional Use – With water conservation being a hot topic, people are often recommended to use the dishwasher only when full, which in some cases may take a few days. To keep the dishwasher (and dishes) free from smells, sprinkle baking soda over the dishes while they are waiting their turn;
- Dishwasher, to Deodorize – Pour ½ cup of baking soda on the bottom of the empty dishwasher and run the rinse cycle;
- Drains, clogged – Pour 1 cup baking soda into the drain. Follow this with 1 cup boiling vinegar (heat in microwave), leave for a few minutes to let it bubble away, then finish with running hot water down the drain. Doing this once a week should prevent any clogged drains to begin with;
- Microwave Oven – For food splatters inside the microwave, dissolve 2 Tbsp. baking soda in 1 cup water in a microwave-safe dish. Cook on high for a minute or two, remove the dish and discard the contents. Wipe down the inside of the microwave with the ¼ cup baking to 4 cup tepid water solution;
- Oven Racks – Place in a garbage bag and set in an out of the way spot outside. Dissolve 1 cup baking soda in ½ cup ammonia and pour over the racks, tie the bag closed and let sit overnight. The racks should easily wipe clean the next day;
- Ovens – Fresh spills: Sprinkle with baking soda, leave for a little while, then wipe away with a sponge dampened in warm soapy water (dishwashing detergent works well). For old spills try wetting a soap pad with vinegar, sprinkle with baking soda and scrub away. This should remove most of the grime;
- Pans, Roaster – With a barely damp sponge, wipe the inside of the roaster, sprinkle with baking soda. Mix ¼ cup vinegar with 1 cup hot water, pour over the baking soda. The fizzing action will remove any grime. Wash the roaster with warm soapy water and dry;
- Refrigerators – Use a baking soda solution – ¼ cup baking soda to 4 cups tepid water – to wash the inside, the door gasket and outside of the refrigerator, at least once a month. To keep it smelling fresh, store a box of baking soda, with a few holes punched in it, right inside the fridge, changing this monthly. After cleaning the crisper and meat bins, lightly sprinkle with baking soda, then cover with paper towel before adding any products;
- Sinks, Stainless Steel – Sprinkle with baking soda, then using a damp sponge, wipe down the sink, working with the grain and rinse;
- Stove Exterior – Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe all exterior surfaces, finish shining with a dry cloth;
- Stovetops – Wipe the top with a damp sponge, then sprinkle with baking soda. Rub with a clean, damp sponge to remove any grime, finish shining with a dry cloth. Try a toothbrush or q-tip to get into those hard to reach spots.
A few more Baking Soda Uses:
- Garbage Pails – After removing the garbage bags from any garbage pail, wash the pail down with a damp sponge sprinkled with baking soda. Let dry completely. Sprinkle a little baking soda on the bottom before replacing the bag;
- Basement Smells – Damp, musty smells in the basement can be chased away by putting a cup of baking soda in the toe of a pantyhose and hanging this in the basement. Use more than one if you want. Replace monthly. An easy way to do that is tie a knot in the hose just above the baking soda, cut below the knot to remove and discard the baking soda part, then add a new cup of baking soda to the newly-knotted pantyhose and hang as before;
- Laundry – Dissolving ½ cup of baking soda in your liquid laundry detergent will boost the cleaning power of the detergent (for front-loading washers add ¼ cup baking soda to the liquid detergent). If using bleach, you will only need ½ as much when baking soda is used;
- Dirty Laundry – For work clothes that won’t be washed right away, sprinkle with baking soda and roll up before placing in the hamper. Don’t worry about shaking them out before throwing them in the washer, the baking soda will help clean and deodorize them;
There you have some of the best baking soda uses for a fresher, cleaner home. Just a few more things. Any baking soda that is used to deodorize should be changed monthly – you can use it to pour down the drain or in the toilet tank or to clean garbage pails, but not for any other purpose. Baking soda boxes that have been opened have a shelf life of about six months. Unopened boxes have a shelf life of eighteen months.
Hope you found this list useful. If so, please share with others.
Talk to you again next week,