I love baking soda – and not just as a leavening with apple cider vinegar in gluten-free baking.
Baking soda is a fantastic stain remover, laundry booster and all-around cleaning powerhouse.
We have used baking soda for years. (My Mom taught me well in the art of budget-friendly cleaning supplies that never fail.)
As we move toward a chemical-free home, I lean more on products like baking soda, vinegar and salt.
Baking soda can be found at dollar stores, big box stores and even in bulk markets, where you can also purchase aluminum-free baking soda. (I use aluminum-free in cooking, but I don’t worry about it with cleaning.)
Eight Ways to Clean with Baking Soda
- Scour and shine surfaces. Put some baking soda on a warm wet rag and gentle scour away at stains and residue build up on counters and in sinks. Gentle wipe away any baking soda with a cloth or with water.
- Clean drains. If the drain is moving slow, pour a cup of baking soda down, followed by a cup of vinegar. Leave it sit 10-15 minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain to rinse. (This does NOT work well on fully-clogged drains. For that, I recommend the Drain Cleaner by Green-world. Not an affiliate link.)
- Clean the toilet. A half cup of baking soda, followed by the bowl brush will lift stains, hard water residue and gunk from the toilet bowl.
- Help a slow-moving toilet. If the flush is slow, but there does not appear to be a clog, try this: A cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture bubble, then follow with a gallon or so of boiling hot water. We tried this a few times in a row and finally got our toilet to flow properly. (Hard water causes a LOT of issues in a lot of areas.)
- Remove odors from refrigerators, uphostery and shoes. It’s a terrific cleaner for the refrigerator, too, as it cleans surfaces and removes smells at the same time. Pop a box in your refrigerator to remove any lingering odors. (You know, like from the week-old Chinese you forgot in the back of the refrigerator, hidden by the stale milk.) I also use it in my car, where my dog loves to take rides. Sometimes, I just don’t want to smell like dog, so I refresh the car with baking soda infused with my favorite essential oil of the moment. I also use it in shoes, which get stinky during summer months where socks typically are not worn.
- Laundry booster. Our plant-based laundry detergents make us feel better – and don’t irritate my skin – but they simply do not clean the way chemical-based cleaners do. I add a cup of baking soda per full load of laundry to boost cleaning power. This also brings out the color in the garments.
- Polish silver. I still have a silver set, but don’t want chemical-based polishes. You can make a thick paste of baking soda and water to gently clean the silver to a spit shine.
- Remove pet stains from carpet. (Do not use a scented baking soda for this. Plain is best, as the aromas could mix with the smell of the stains – and that is NOT good with pet stains!) Years ago, my beloved Runty, who was with me 26 years, let me know she was a bit unhappy with our new apartment by leaving a liquid gift behind the bedroom door. A little diddle goes a long way on carpet. If you catch it right away, you can clean it with baking soda – and not have an unpleasant aroma linger in the carpet or the fibers underneath. Pour pure baking soda on the pee, going outward until it is about an inch outside the actual stain. Allow it to soak. You will see the color of the baking soda turn. Vacuum it up with a wet dry vac. (Empty immediately, so the smell does not linger there.) Keep adding baking soda to the stain until the baking soda remains clear in color. NOTE: Do not try to absorb the pet urine with a rag or towels first. If you press down on it, the stinky liquid will go further into the carpet. Start with baking soda.
Bonus recipe: DIY Baking Soda Carpet Cleaner
When the landlords clean the carpets in the hallway, my throat gets scratchy, my nose and eyes itch, I start to cough and sneeze and feel generally miserable.
That’s how the chemical carpet cleaning impacts my body. In our apartment, we do not use chemical-based cleaners, nor do we use products with artificial fragrances. We use baking soda – sometimes, with a little help of wonderfully-fragrant and natural essential oils.
While I use a pint jar with varying amounts of oils – depending on the strength of the oil – the recipe below is general enough to get you started. Add more or less essential oil as you like. I LOVE Thieves, as this grave robber’s oil smells great AND it works to devour germs, mold and other nastiness that attacks our health.
You can always make a larger batch, I just find it nice to make a smaller batch, in case I want a different aroma the next time we clean.