We’re so used to do what TV commercials tell us to do that we barely think about the consequences of our shopping habits. Take cleaning products for example. Year after year large multi-national companies pour hundreds of millions in advertising, distorting information and serving us easy solutions to a range of household issues – from kitchen cleaning to personal hygiene and care. Every year, these entities pocket a tidy profit from the big household cleaning product market, estimated at $ 120 billion in 2012.
The production of modern household cleaners boomed with the advances made in chemistry. It wasn’t always like this. Since antiquity people used natural ingredients to make soap and other personal care goods. This period lasted until WWI when synthetic detergents were developed in response to shortages of fats for making soap. From then on science developed with leaps and bound adding continuously to the myriad of synthetic detergents.
When one delves deeper, it becomes evident that these “easy” solutions provided by ever so willing companies have grave consequences for us and our planet. Although today cleaning goods are advertised and sold as all a person needs about keeping a home healthy, a number of household products contain a range of chemicals that are proven to harm human health and nature. How ironic is that? Even more ironic is the fact that all-natural ingredients like vinegar, salt, soda bicarbonate and Borax, long known to human race for their excellent cleaning abilities, are completely ignored.
Like a true champion of healthy lifestyle and clean environment it’s time for me to say “Enough historical facts, financial data and health implications” and without further ado present you with a list of 51 uses of baking soda all over your home that can change your life for the better…
Make homemade deodorant. Combine equal parts baking soda, tea tree oil and cornstarch. Mix well and keep in airtight container.
Remove dirt and grime from floors without leaving scratch marks. Use 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water. Then mop and rinse for a sparkling floor.
Fix musty books. For damp or musty books, sprinkle baking soda on the pages and allow time to air out.
Make toothpaste. Mix baking soda with a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Use the resulting paste as an alternative to commercial non-fluoride products. To make a peppermint toothpaste simply add peppermint essential oil.
Handwash dishes, pots and pans. Admix 2 tablespoons baking soda along with your regular dish detergent to the dish water to help cut grease and foods left on dishes, pots and pans.
Unclog drains. Toss 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour a cup of white vinegar. Let sit for half an hour. Then pump in hot water on top.
Deodorize drains. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water. This will deodorize your sink and tub drains, and keep lingering acid and basic odors from resurfacing.
Clean the microwave. Sprinkle baking soda on a moist sponge and clean gently inside and outside the microwave. Then rinse well with water. Alternatively, add a couple teaspoons of baking soda to a bowl of water and place in microwave. Heat for 3 – 5 minutes. When microwave stops, keep the door closed to give the moisture and steam the heated bowl of water generated to have time to work. Remove bowl and wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp cloth.
Clean coffee/tea pots and mugs. Remove coffee and tea stains by washing mugs and coffee makers in a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water and squeeze the juice from a wedge of lemon (1/4 lemon) and toss in the peel. If the stains are stubborn, soak overnight in hot water and baking soda. Wash well in the morning.
Remove oil and grease stains.Utilise baking soda to eliminate oil and grease spills around your home. Sprinkle liberally baking soda on the spot and scrub with a wet brush.
Treat wood stains. Remove unsightly water stains on wood surfaces with a paste made of baking soda, mixed with a few drops of water. Rub into stain and wipe off.
Remove blood stains from fabrics. If fresh, the blemish may be removed by washing in cold water. If hard to shift steep for some time in cold water, to which add a pinch of baking soda.
Freshen up your mattress. When changing bed linen sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda directly on top of the mattress. Let it sit for a few hours then hoover the powder.
Clean and refresh your thermos. Put a large teaspoon of baking soda in thermos bottle, add boiling water and seal for a few hours. As a result, all adhering material loosens and comes off easily. Rinse well.
Clean walls and furniture. Remove scuff marks (even crayon) from walls and furniture by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge and rub the spot lightly. Then wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.
Clean shower curtains.Clean and deodorize your shower curtain by sprinkling baking soda directly on a brush or clean damp sponge. Scrub the shower curtain and then rinse thoroughly.
Clean the oven.Sprinkle baking soda mixed with salt onto the bottom of the dirty oven. Spray with water to dampen the mixture. Let sit overnight. Scrub and scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge and rinse in the morning.
Clean stovetop, too. Liberally sprinkle soda bicarbonate around the top of stove then spray with hot water– enough to dissolve the soda without spilling around. Let it soak for about half an hour and then scrub clean.
Deodorize and clean your dishwasher. Toss in a cup of baking soda to an empty dishwasher and then run it on the rinse cycle.
Tackle slippery sidewalks. Simply sprinkle a generous amount of backing soda/salt on icy patches on walkways. Eliminate slipping hazards.
Handle marble and granite stains. Keep marble or granite countertops stain free by spraying the stain first with water then cover it completely with a paste made from backing soda and water (to the consistency of sour cream). Place a plastic bag/wrap on top and allow to set for at least 24 hours.
Refresh a vacuum bag. Banish unpleasant odours. Make vacuum bag sachets filled with backing soda and dried herbs. Slip these fragrant sachets into your vacuum bag and enjoy the pleasant fragrance when you vacuum the floor.
Extinguish fires. Fight minor cooking fires with baking soda. When baking soda is heated, it gives off carbon dioxide, which helps to smother the flames. Turn off the gas or electricity if you can safely do so. Stand back and throw handfuls of baking soda at the base of the flame.
Keep brushes and combs clean. Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking combs and brushes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a small bowl of warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.
Stimulate your hair. Baking soda has a place in the bathroom, too. Sprinkle generously baking soda into your palm along with your favorite hair care product. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly.
Revive sponges. Steep awfully smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution of 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water to get rid of bad odours.
Polish silverware.Use a baking soda paste made with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub onto the silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry for a shining set.
Give your laundry a boost. Add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry to make liquid detergent work harder. A better balance of pH in the wash gets clothes cleaner and fresher.
Fix deodorant stains. You can prevent unsightly deodorant stains on your clothes by applying baking soda to your underarms after applying deodorant.
Make a brass cleaner. Bring out the shine in brass items by cleaning them with a wedge of lemon first sprinkled with baking soda. It will provide a gentle abrasive solution for cleaning and shining.
Shine tile grout. Clean and brighten tile grout by combining 3 cups baking soda and 1 cup water. Scrub grout clean with a sponge. Leave for several minutes then rinse clean.
Freshen up dish rack. Revive dish racks by regularly scrubbing them with a paste of soda bicarbonate and water. Removes stains and unpleasant odours.
Make cheap and natural carpet/rug freshener. Sprinkle generously carpets with bicarb and leave sit for a few hours before sweeping vacuuming up the rest. Your carpets will smell noticeably fresher.
Revitalize closets. Put a box on the shelf to keep the closet smelling fresh.
Deodorize trashcans. To deodorize your trashcan, and keep lingering odours at bay, sprinkle baking soda on its bottom. Baking soda will neutralize, not just cover, bad smells from resurfacing.
Remove odour from a vase. Fill vase with a solution of water and bicarb and let sit for a few hours. Wash clean and odours should be gone. If unsuccessful the first time, just repeat the process.
Make a dog deodorizer. Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 2 cups water. Then soak 1 neckerchief (sized to fit a dog ). Dry neckerchief tie around your pet’s neck to help keep the odours away.
Clean your freezer. After a thorough washing with soapy water, do a quick rinse with a solution of backing soda and warm water. It helps remove the soap residue as well as freshens things up. Wipe off inside with a clean cloth.
Clean up lunch boxes. Stale smelling lunch boxes can be freshened up by sprinkling a heavy layer of baking soda on the bottom. Leave open overnight and then wash in hot water with dish soap.
Freshen bedding. Combine dried, ground herbs with a 1/2 cup bicarb to freshen bed linen.
Fix Hard Water Laundry. Hard water giving you trouble with your laundry? Try adding backing soda to the wash as a laundry booster. It’s recommended Begin with 1/2 cup per load.
Make toilet cleaner and freshener. First tip out 1 cup baking soda into the toilet followed with 1 cup vinegar. Let it fizz for 20 minutes then get a toilet brush to scrub toilet bowl clean.
Clean batteries. Baking soda can be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars, mowers, etc. Make sure to disconnect the battery before cleaning. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion.
Clean your car. Make a baking soda solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Apply baking soda to clean your car lights, windows, chrome, vinyl seats and floor mats.
Treat cold sores. Attend to cold sores by dabbing with baking soda.
Fix smelly ashtrays.Mix equal parts white sand and baking soda. Pour mixture into ashtrays. This helps diffuse the odour from cigarette butts and it also helps neutralize the smoke in the air.
Make luggage freshener. Smelly luggage cases can be freshened up by sprinkling baking soda inside, closing the piece and then let sit for a few days.
Natural nausea remedy. Dissolve 1/2 tsp baking soda in glass of warm water. Not recommended for pregnant women.
Ease Toothache. Sooth toothache pain by moistening a cotton swab and then coating well in baking soda. Rub into tooth and gums until pain dies down.
Apply as an antacid. Baking soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach and/or acid indigestion.
Relieve a sore throat. Mix 1/2 tsp of baking soda and salt together with a 1/2 cup of warm water and gargle several times a day.