Like most people, you probably have a box of baking soda stashed somewhere in your kitchen, one you’ll grab the next time you want to whip up your favorite dessert. But you might consider buying a few more boxes. While baking soda can help leaven batters for foods like biscuits and pancakes, it also can make the perfect stand-in for a wide range of cleaning products.
Good Housekeeping recently listed 22 cleaning problems you can easily solve with baking soda. Indeed, this sodium bicarbonate can refresh smelly sneakers, brighten shabby jewelry and do just about everything else in between. Below are a few of our favorites tips for making better use of baking soda.
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If you’re looking for even more cleaning hacks — and ones that don’t involve baking soda — check out our list of 13 ways to make old things look new again. For example, to clean a copper pot, sprinkle the surface with salt, pour a bit of vinegar over it, and then rub it with a hard sponge. Voila, it will look like new!
Use baking soda to unclog a drain:
If you have a finicky drain that needs clearing out, pour a ½ cup of baking soda down it, and then chase that with a ½ cup of vinegar. Cover it with a drain plug or wet cloth to contain the science fair-like effects (remember the volcano experiments from elementary school?). Wait five to 10 minutes and then flush it with super hot water.
Use baking soda to deodorize musty upholstery:
Baking soda is great for absorbing and thus getting rid of smells. Just sprinkle it on surfaces — including stinky pet beds — and then let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before vacuuming it up.
Use baking soda to get rid of mildew in bathrooms:
Scrub your tub, tile, sink and shower curtain with a damp sponge and baking soda, which works because it’s mildly abrasive. Rinse and revel in your new shiny surface. You can also make a paste out of baking soda and water, which you can use to clean away mildew. Rinse with white vinegar to remove any white residue left behind by the baking soda.
Use baking soda to brighten dingy laundry:
By just adding a cup of baking soda to your load, your whites and colors will come out looking brighter. Combined with liquid detergent, baking soda helps balance the pH levels to clean clothes even better.
Use baking soda to deep-clean extra greasy dishes and pans:
Give your dish detergent more grease-fighting power with a dash of baking soda. “Hot water soak, mildly abrasive baking soda, a scrub sponge and some elbow grease is all you need to dissolve stuck-on grease,” said Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
To read about the other ways you can use baking soda, go to Good Housekeeping to see the complete list.