Baking Soda: 40 Best Cleaning Tips

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Common Products - Uncommon Uses, Frugal For Everyone, Green Living | 47 comments

Baking soda

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:

  1. Aluminum Windows and Doors                                                                    
    Baking soda

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    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);
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. 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;
  6. Floors, Linoleum – Use a mop dampened in a mixture of ½ cup baking soda in 4 cups tepid water;
  7. 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;
  8. 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;
  9. 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;
  10. 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;
  11. 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;
  12. 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;
  13. 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;
  14. 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;
  15. 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:

Baking soda

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  1. 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;
  2. 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:
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. 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:

Baking soda

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  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. Mattresses – Sprinkle mattresses generously with baking soda, leave for a while, then vacuum away all the dirt and odour;
  5. 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:

Baking soda

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  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. 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;
  6. Dishwasher, to Deodorize – Pour ½ cup of baking soda on the bottom of the empty dishwasher and run the rinse cycle;
  7. 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;
  8. 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;
  9. 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;
  10. 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;
  11. 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;
  12. 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;
  13. Sinks, Stainless Steel – Sprinkle with baking soda, then using a damp sponge, wipe down the sink, working with the grain and rinse;
  14. Stove Exterior – Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe all exterior surfaces, finish shining with a dry cloth;
  15. 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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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,



  1. Lenie, have you ever used the baking soda/vinegar combination to clear a bathtub drain? Speaking as someone with a long history of clogged drain problems, I find that the best, most effective way to stave off a clogged bathtub drain is to put a bathtub drain hair catcher in place: these little thingies are worth their weight in gold.

    • Good Sunday Morning Andy – I just clicked on the link and saw what you where talking about – pretty nifty. I lead such a sheltered life that I had never heard of it before HaHa, but I think it’s something I’m definitely going to try. I don’t have problems with my bath-tub clogging but do with my kitchen sink so will check to see what’s availabe for that. May have to get one if I can for both places. Great tip, I thank you Sir.

  2. I didn’t know there were that many uses for baking soda. I need to throw away some of my toxic bathroom cleaners and switch to the baking soda from now on.

    • Jason, the bathroom cleaners really are the most toxic, aren’t they? Glad you’re going the baking soda route. You can also get rid of the Drano and use baking soda/vinegar instead.

  3. Lenie- I knew that their were a lot of uses for baking soda but you have outdone yourself. I plan to bookmark this page as your tips are wonderful. I use vinegar to remove stains from my teapot and not plan to try it with baking soda. I can only image how long it took you to get all of these tips together. Thank you for sharing

    • Arleen, I love putting posts like these together. It’s fun to share and I always learn more from the commenters who have tried ways I haven’t heard of before. And I am so for using household products that are non-toxic. Thanks for your kind comments.

  4. Wow I love your posts like this that are so full of tips for using things. I recently made my own Swiffer solution, but it’s hard getting the cap off that container. I’ve also made my own carpet shampoo cleaner with great results and at a fraction of the cost. I’ll definitely be coming back to this post for ideas in the future as I get ready to replace more of my current cleaning supplies with more natural and cheaper products.

    • Jeri, how about sharing the carpet shampoo recipe? That sounds like a great thing. I think everyone is becoming more aware of how harmful those chemicals are in our homes so natural is the only way to go. Glad you liked the post.

  5. I just love these lists Lenie! And I wonder why we ever buy any cleaning products other than baking soda and vinegar. (I’ve also heard it makes a great substitute for shampoo, but haven’t tried it myself.) Pinning this one!

    • Meredith, baking soda and vinegar – that is mostly what you need but Kire and Sabrina also added dishwashing soap to the mix – equal parts of each. Kire eaven cleaned a white couch with it. So that was one thing I learned and using baking soda for shampoo is another, I have naturally horrible hair so can’t hurt it and will have to give it a try. Thanks for the tip.

  6. Lenie — Another great post filled with tips. I knew about placing a container in the refrigerator but not most of the other tips. I particularly want to try using baking soda in the toilet tank.

    • Hi Jeannette, I love using baking soda – it’s so cheap and does a good job. We need to put our BBQ away for the winter and I’ll be using baking soda to give it a good clean.

  7. Is there anything baking soda can’t do. I have been using it for years. I am a hunter, and I wash my clothes with it, it totally removes any human scent from them.
    I always see the box and reminds me of Armand Hammer, the company president, who was a communist supporter. Although, the box logo, Arm and Hammer, resembles his name, it is also the symbol of communism.

    • Hi William – interesting little fact about Arm and Hammer – did you know they were also one of the companies to consider the environment in all their business dealings.
      As to baking soda uses, just in this post alone I discovered three more ways sent in by readers.

  8. Hi Lenie, I’ve been a fan of baking soda for years. But know matter how much I think I know, you always come up with a few surprises I hadn’t heard of before. 🙂

    • Susan, you’re not alone in still learning about baking soda. I just learned from Kire and Sabrina about mixing equal amounts of baking soda, white vinegar and dish soap to make a good cleaner. Kire even used it to clean a white couch. I love our group – they share so freely.

  9. Yup, just love baking soda and vinegar for cleaning. I have learned some new tricks here (Hmmmm toilet tank, eh? Gotta try that!) I get both my vinegar and baking soda at work so I definitely buy both in bulk. There are some side benefits to working for a food wholesale company. I use baking soda in the kitty litter also. Helps to keep it fresher. It freshens up the garbage disposer in my sink. I knew a lot of the tips on your list, but you certainly gave me more uses for it. Thanks a lot for all your helpful hints. They always help to make my life easier! And in a world full of nasty chemical cleaners, I like to be as non-toxic as possible.

    • Hi Nancy, glad I could teach you something, LOL. I agree with being as non-toxic as possible- it’s not always easy but the more we try the better we’re all of. Lucky you being able to buy both wholesale. I’ve seriously considered buying in bulk from the Co-Op but haven’t yet. Using it in the garbage disposer and the kitty litter box are both great ideas. thanks for sharing.

  10. The only baking soda in my house sits in the fridge to absorb odors. Sounds like I’m seriously underutilizing it. Like the idea that it can replace a lot of the chemical sprays that I have around.

    • Ken, baking soda is one of the best, non-toxic cleaners I know. I just learned from Kire and Sabrina about mixing equal parts of baking soda, vinegar and dish soap to clean a lot of things (even a white couch). That combination I didn’t know but am sure going to try it.

  11. I was hoping this miracle cleaner would be good for sprucing up grout but did not see it listed. As for all the other items listed though; very informative.

    • Tim, one thing you can try is to make a paste from 2 Tbsp. baking soda and a tsp. water. Then using a toothbrush, apply a small bit of the paste to an inconspicuous spot and see what happens. You definitely won’t want to use to much water. Good luck.

  12. What an incredible list – Id no idea that it was so versatile. We use it in the fridge as an air freshener as it were, but this is a great resource. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Kathy – time to replace those chemical cleaners with non-toxic stuff. I find the older I get, the more I go back to the cleaning methods my mother used and find that they’re just as easy and effective and a heck of a lot cheaper.

  13. So many great tips that I gave up making notes and printed it for in my cleaning supply cabinet. Definitely time to stock up on baking soda. We keep vinegar on hand for the coffee pots.

    Shared on Facebook, Lenie–too many good ideas not to share!

    • Rose, isn’t it nice to know that your cleaning supply cupboard can be cleaned out – HAH – and the cleansers replaced wsith baking soda, vinegar and dish soap. Who thought cleaning could be so easy?

  14. Great list, Lenie! I too use the white vinegar and baking soda, and dish washing soap combo that Kire mentioned. It’s a great one. I tried doing other combinations, but the equal parts work the best. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sabrina, you know what is amazing. No matter how much you think you know, there is always someone who can add to your knowledge. I’ve used baking soda with or without vinegar in so many ways but this is the first time I’ve learned about adding the dish soap. Fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Lenie, I love baking soda. Just used equal parts baking soda, white vinegar, and dishwashing soap to clean the parts of my white couch that can’t be removed and washed. Worked great.

    • Kire, I hope my readers all read your testimony. There are so many ways baking soda does the job that other cleaners just won’t touch. I’m so glad you were able to clean your couch that way. I do like your recipe – equal parts baking soda, white vinegar and dishwashing soap. May have to steal that if I do another post on baking soda.

  16. I am always amazed at how freely people used to smoke in their homes. Furniture must have smelled horrible. I remember having an old chair of my Grandfathers in the house growing up. He had been gone for years, and I still remember being able to smell his cigar smoke. If only I had known back then about baking soda.

    I do love baking soda and I love that it can be used in so many ways. I’ve never tried putting it in my toilet tank. I’m gonna give that a try tomorrow since you can never have a toilet that is “too clean”.

    • Erica, we are signed up for Turner Classic Movies so we get to see all those old shows and absolutely everyone smoked in those. I even mentioned to my husband that I thought even non-smokers were told to smoke in order to play a role. So smoking in homes was just the way it was. You’re right though that baking soda would have helped that poor chair.
      I’m with you on the clean toilet thing. The rest of the house can be a mess but my bathroom has to be clean. Being able to use a natural product like baking soda makes it all the better.

  17. Wow you never cease to amaze me Lenie! I thought I knew at least most of the ways to use baking soda but you had me making notes like crazy while I was reading your article. Thank you so much!

    • Marquita, I am a bit surprised at just how many people knew about some of the uses of baking soda like you did. But I’m glad I was able to include a few you didn’t know – love the idea of making it to your notes. And you’re very welcome.

  18. Baking soda really does have it’s uses!

    I last used baking powder when my toddler urinated on the carpet. I looked for advice on the Internet and bought two packets from the supermarket. I smothered the patch several times over, left it to dry and hoovered. It took a while for the smell to go.

    • Phoenicia, thanks for the testimony LOL. It really is amazing stuff, isn’t it? I doubt if any expensive carpet cleaner you could have bought would have done the job so I’m glad the baking soda did.

  19. Very useful post, as always. Some of these uses for baking soda are new to me, but I will put them to practice. Besides, baking soda is soooo cheap! I’m pinning this 🙂

    • Fabiola, I don’t know why baking soda ever went out of fashion as a cleaner. You have to admire the marketing of the manufacturers being able to convince people to change from something that costs pennies to use to a product that costs much more. Thanks for the pin.

  20. I thought my mother knew all the uses for baking soda but you have outshone (haha) her. I love the blanket idea. Now if I just had a great method of cleaning grout on my tile floor!

    • Beth, isn’t that the neatest way to freshen up a blanket? I just went through that ritual with blankets stored for summer and needed now. I know you can make a paste of baking soda and water and use that with a toothbrush to clean bathroom grout but whether that works for the floor is something I don’t know. Maybe if you tried it in a small inconspicuous corner?

    • Beth, after my reply I just thought of you cleaning your floor with a toothbrush – if you do, send me a picture, that I’d like to see.

  21. I learned he baking soda trick from my grandmother when I was young! Ans STILL you showed me a few new ones! I have so many books and I have moved them so many times. Once in a while, they’ve had to live in boxes for a time and I sure did have that musty smell when unpacking them. Never occurred to me to try the baking soda! Or clogged drains. You continue to amaze me! Love this:)

    • Jacquie, isn’t is amazing the way books pick up a musty smell just from being packed up. Like you, we have piles of books and it’s impossible to display them all so knowing the baking soda trick is really useful.
      For clogged drains – nothing works better.
      BTW – I love hearing about all the things you learned from your grandmother 🙂

  22. Excellent and imaginative list of how we can use baking soda to clean. It can also be used for health benefits. Maybe another post, Lenie?

    • Catarina, your suggestion for doing a post about baking soda and health is a good one. I know of several rememedies so I’ll have to sit down and compile them. Thanks.

  23. Such a great list of tips, Lenie! I love baking soda for use around the home and the best thing is that it’s inexpensive, chemical and odourless. I’m all about using natural cleaning products whenever possible.

    • Doreen, I don’t know what I would do without baking soda – it really does work so well in so many areas. I was tickled to find the washing soda – same stuff my mother used – and now all my husband’s work clothes go through the soda water soak. Love it.

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