One ingredient that you can find in almost every kitchen pantry is baking soda.
Baking soda, the common name for sodium bicarbonate, is a processed natural salt that is primarily used as a leavening agent for baking. But apart from baking, it has countless uses around the house due to its unique characteristics.
It is a mild alkaline buffer, a gentle abrasive, an effervescent agent and an odor neutralizer, to name a few.
Not only does it have all these amazing characteristics, it’s also inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Once you learn about its interesting and unique uses, you’ll look at common baking soda with newfound respect.
Here are the top 10 unusual and interesting uses for baking soda.
1. Cleans Pesticide Residue from Fruits and Vegetables
Despite the growing popularity of organic farming, commercial pesticides still are widely used to help control damage to plants caused by pests. This plays a key role in increasing food production worldwide. But use of pesticides poses significant health risks.
Baking soda can help remove pesticide residue from fruits and vegetables. To make your own homemade cleaning solution:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
- Dilute this mixture with 1 cup of water, and pour the solution into a spray bottle.
- Spray it on your produce and let it sit 2 to 3 minutes.
- Wipe it off thoroughly using paper towels.
2. Works as an Alternative Toothpaste
When it comes to oral hygiene, brushing your teeth twice daily is very important. But if you’ve run out of toothpaste, baking soda will work as one of the best alternatives with which to clean your teeth.
This naturally mild abrasive agent helps whiten and brighten your pearly whites. According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, baking soda is effective at cleaning teeth and removing plaque to fight off tooth decay.
- Simply dip your wet toothbrush in baking soda, and use it to brush your teeth like normal.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 30 minutes after brushing your teeth.
Note: Do not use baking soda on your teeth more than a few times a week as it may erode the tooth enamel.
3. Cleans Stainless Steel Appliances and Other Kitchenware
Whether you have a stainless steel gas stove, refrigerator, sink or cookware and utensils, keeping them sparkling clean can be tough. Now, with baking soda, you can keep your stainless steel appliances looking like new for years.
Baking soda helps remove grease marks and water deposits from stainless steel surfaces. Plus, being only a mild abrasive, it does not cause any kind of scratches.
- Wash the stainless steel appliance you want to clean with plain water.
- Sprinkle baking soda onto the appliance.
- Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Using a soft sponge, scrub the surface in the direction of the stainless steel.
- Finally, rinse it clean with water.
4. Eradicates Bad Odors from the Refrigerator
No matter how often you clean your refrigerator, it can start getting a bad smell from time to time. To get rid of foul smells and dried-up spills inside your refrigerator, you just need to rely on your package of baking soda.
- Unplug the refrigerator and remove the entire contents.
- Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub the sides, shelves, drawers and compartments.
- Wipe it down with a clean, wet sponge.
- Place a bowl full of baking soda inside when you’re done cleaning. It will continue absorbing any odors.
- Keep the door closed for a day, then discard the baking soda.
Your refrigerator is now ready for use.
5. Works as a Natural Antacid
Baking soda makes a great antacid when mixed with water. It relieves heartburn, a burning sensation in the stomach and acid indigestion by neutralizing excess stomach acid.
- Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water.
- Stir thoroughly until it dissolves completely.
- Drink it immediately.
- Use this remedy 2 or 3 times a day (1 to 2 hours after having meals or other medications).
Note: Do not take baking soda on a full stomach, and avoid taking it internally for more than 1 week.
6. Loosens Splinters
No matter how small a splinter is, it can cause mild discomfort to extreme pain. To loosen a splinter and quickly remove it, baking soda is very helpful.
It can help deal with hard-to-see splinters and even those that are deeply embedded in the skin. When applied on the affected area, it helps draw the splinter to the surface, so you can pull it out easily with tweezers.
- Add a little water to ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to form a thick paste.
- Apply the paste onto a bandage and put it over the affected area.
- After 24 hours, remove the bandage.
- Pull out the splinter with tweezers. If it doesn’t come out easily, repeat the process from the beginning.
- Once it’s gone, gently rinse the skin with lukewarm water.
7. Clears Clogged Drains
Dealing with a clogged drain can be tough. Now, instead of calling a plumber, you can use baking soda to unclog your drain. All you need is baking soda and some white vinegar.
Baking soda helps loosen up any grimy sludge hanging out at the bottom of the drain. The chemical reaction with vinegar will do the remaining work and clear the drain.
- Pour a pot of boiling hot water down the clogged drain.
- Put ½ cup of baking soda into the drain, and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Pour a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of hot water on top of the baking soda.
- Cover the opening with a drain plug for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Flush the drain again with a pot of boiling water.
You can also use this technique as a regular maintenance method for your drains.
8. Fights Body Odor
Baking soda is an amazing agent for dealing with bad odors – around the house and even on your body. It helps neutralize the pH level of your body and helps absorb sweat and reduce body odor. Plus, it kills bacteria and works like a natural deodorant.
- Mix equal amounts of baking soda and cornstarch.
- Apply it directly onto the areas of your body that sweat a lot to prevent sweating as well as bad odor.
- Use this simple remedy as needed.
Apart from body odor, baking soda can deodorize sinks and trash cans as well as cat litter boxes. Simply dust some baking soda on the odor-producing item, wait for some time and then clean it.
9. Removes Chlorine from Hair
Swimming is one of the best activities for overall health, but swimming in a chlorinated pool is not good for your hair. Chlorine buildup on your hair causes it to become frizzy and fragile, making it more prone to breakage.
Baking soda is a wonderful chlorine-remover and helps neutralize the damaging effects of chlorine on your hair.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 1 cup of water.
- Fill a small spray bottle with this solution.
- After swimming, shake the bottle and spray the mixture liberally on your wet hair.
- Wait 5 minutes before washing your hair.
Note: Do not use this remedy on color-treated hair as it may strip away the color.
10. Gets Rid of Garden Pests
Harmful pests like aphids, ants, rabbits and spider mites can cause huge damage to the vegetables and herbs growing in your garden.
Baking soda can play a key role in keeping your garden free of pests without causing any harm to the plants. Being a nontoxic fungicide, it also can keep your plants safe from fungi.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda into 1 gallon of water.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a few drops of liquid soap.
- Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle.
- Spray it on your plants once every 3 days to get rid of harmful insects and fungi.
Other Interesting Uses:
- It can be used to exfoliate skin.
- It can erase crayon, pencil, ink and scuffs from painted surfaces.
- It can be used to smother a small flame.
- It can clean up minor oil and grease spills on a garage floor or driveway.
- It can remove the harmful chemical finishes on new clothing. Just add ½ cup of baking soda in with your laundry detergent.
- It can be used as a dry shampoo for your dog.
- It can remove garlic, onion and other pungent food smells from your hands.
- It can be used as a substitute for baking powder by mixing it with cream of tartar or vinegar.
- It can be used to clean your floor. Just add ½ cup of baking soda to a bucket of warm water and mop the floor.