Frugal Uses for Baking Soda

Frugal Uses for Baking Soda[1] (As found in the June 2013 issue of Be Prepared:  A Newsletter for Prospective & Current LDS Missionaries)

Kitchen Care with Baking Soda

1.  Remove stains on counter with baking soda and a little hot water mixed together.

2.  Give cutting boards regular, deep cleaning to keep them from contamination.  Spread baking soda over the surface, sprinkle liberally with vinegar.  Let the bubbles do their thing, then rinse with hot water.

3.  Keep dry baking soda in a…bowl near your sink.  Just dip the edge of a wet cloth or sponge in it to clean up stains or…store it in a large shaker.

4.  Clean and shine a toaster oven with baking soda and warm water.  Or try polishing the chrome with a paste of equal parts peanut butter and baking soda.

5.  Clean a blender by first filling it half-full of water.  Add 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 drop detergent.  Secure lid and turn on the blender briefly.  Rinse clean.

6. Rid your hands of the odor of onions and garlic by sprinkling baking soda in the palm of one hand.  Add just enough water to make a paste, rub this paste between your hands, and rinse off.

7. Freshen your dishwasher by adding 1/2 box baking soda and running the dishwasher just through a rinse cycle.

Glass and Plastic

1.  Use a paste of baking soda as a scouring cleaner with a rag or sponge to scrub plastic bowls.  Nothing cleans plastic as well as baking soda, and it won’t scratch the surface.

2.  Remove odors from plastic refrigerator food storage containers.  Fill them with very hot water, add 1 tablespoon baking soda, a few drops of liquid detergent & 1 tablespoon vinegar.  Let set for 5 -15 minutes, maybe even overnight, before rinsing clean.

3.  Fill regular water bottles w/ 1 or 2 tablespoons baking soda & water & let stand for a while to keep stale odors from collecting, especially those from milk.  Swish the solution or sponge out the inside.

4. Odor lingering?  Sprinkle some baking soda in the cleaned plastic bowl as though you were dusting a cake pan.  Cover with its top and leave overnight.  Next day, shake out excess baking soda and wipe the bowl clean.

Fridge Freshness with Baking Soda

1. Every refrigerator & freezer can profit from an open box of baking soda in it to guard against unwanted & stale odors.  The manufacturer recommends replacing the current box with a fresh one every three months.  One way to remember is to change boxes with the first day of the season:  summer, fall, winter and spring.  Of course you can also date the box.

2.  Fridge odor won’t disappear?  It actually might be an overworked extinct box of baking soda itself.  Toss it and start fresh.

3.  Deodorize heavy-duty bad smells such as spoiled meat by washing the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator with baking soda and putting in a new box.  If that doesn’t do it, the other odor absorbers to try are: a bowl with pieces of barbecue charcoal, or a few fabric softener sheets.

4. Fight stagnant odors in the water-collecting tray under your refrigerator by sprinkling it generously with baking soda each time you clean it.

5.  Sprinkle baking soda in crisper bins to keep them smelling fresh.  Cover the layer of baking soda with a paper towel.  Replace this every three months, writing the date on the paper towel.

6. Remove rust streaks and food residue inside your refrigerator with a paste of baking soda and water.  Most stains will vanish.

7.  Clean and deodorize your defrosted or frost-free freezer and refrigerator by washing all sides with a mixture of 4 tablespoons baking soda to 2 quarts of water.

Microwave Tips

1. Use a general cleaning solution of 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart warm water for wiping clean the inside surfaces of your microwave oven.

2. Consider storing an open or vented container of baking soda right in your microwave to eliminate odors between cleaning and to be available right where you need it for quick cleanups.  (Be sure to remove it before cooking).

3.  Or keep baking soda in a…cup…on the counter while food is cooking in the microwave.  Put the cup back in the microwave when the food is removed and the oven is off.

4.  Boil a few spoonfuls of baking soda in a microwave-safe cup with water for 3 to 5 minutes.  The insides of the now-damp walls of the microwave oven will be easy to wipe down with a sponge or paper towel.

Stove Top Cleaning

1. Corning and other glass stove tops keep their original finish when cleaned with baking soda and water in solution or a paste.  Use an old toothbrush to get into tight corners.

2. Unclog burners on a gas stove by boiling them in a strong baking soda solution, such as 1/4 box to 2 quarts water.

3. Remove cooking oil easily from your stove top with a solution of white vinegar and baking soda.

4. Sprinkle the bottom tray of your toaster oven with a teaspoon of baking soda to eliminate the burnt smell from drippings and crumbs.

5. Attack burned-on food splatters on the stove top by wetting areas first, then sprinkling them liberally with dry baking soda & letting this sit for a while before wiping up.  Repeat as necessary.  Be sure there’s enough water here to soak into the burned food areas.

6.  Keep just a little baking soda in the shallow drip pans under gas burners.  The soda deodorizes and minimizes any possibility of grease drippings catching on fire.

A Fire Extinguisher-in-a-Box

Keep a large, opened box of baking soda near the kitchen stove to sprinkle on or toss by handfuls at the base of any flare-ups.  If it’s an electrical fire, water won’t stop it.  If it’s a grease fire, water will spread it.  Baking soda is appropriate to use for either type of fire.  If food is salvageable, just rinse off baking soda.  It will not hurt the food that was cooking.  If you’re not comfortable with an open box, keep baking soda in an attractive jar, canister or shaker on the counter near the kitchen stove or oven so it’s always handy for extinguishing grease fires.

**WARNING:  Baking soda should be used only to extinguish SMALL fires.  Don’t use it on fires in deep fat fryers, as the grease could spatter and spread the flames.  It is not a substitute for a commercial fire extinguisher, or for a call to the fire department.**

Disaster Detail

1.  Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a pan with a burned bottom.  Turn off the heat, add 1/2 cup baking soda and let the pan set overnight.  It should clean up easily in the morning.

2.  Remove really stubborn, cooked-on grease spots by sprinkling the pan with 1/2 cup baking soda, then pouring on an equal amount of vinegar.  Let the pan soak for several hours or overnight.

3.  Or add 1 tablespoon each baking soda and vinegar to 1 cup water and boil away the particles.

4.  Clean your deep oil fryer with baking soda.  The gentle abrasive action won’t damage the finish; it will absorb residual oils and neutralize odors.

Oven Cleaner

1. Remove major oven spills easily by sprinkling them with baking soda when they are still fresh.  Let them set for a while, then sponge with warm, soapy water.

2. Leave 1 cup plain ammonia in a cold, closed oven overnight.  In the morning remove the ammonia, sprinkle baking soda on the oven surfaces and wipe down with paper towels dampened with water.  Most of the residue will come off

3.  Try baking soda, vinegar and a scrub pad for a wining combination for a clean oven.

4.  A paste of baking soda and elbow grease alone has been known to do the job also.

5.  Clean glass oven or toaster oven doors by covering them with baking soda & rubbing with paper towels until the grease is absorbed.  If the door is really grimy, sprinkle baking soda on the surface, cover it with a wet paper towel & let it “soak” for a while first.  Wipe the glass clean with a damp cloth.

Appliances

1.  Clean up white appliances that are showing signs of yellowing by applying a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda and 4 cups warm water with a sponge.  Let set for 10 minutes before rinsing and drying thoroughly.

2.  Wash appliance exteriors with a mixture of:

1/4 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup clear vinegar, 1 cup ammonia, 1 gallon hot water

Greasy Messes

1. Clean wire mesh filters on range hoods by immersing them in a pan of hot water.  Pour on baking soda and watch the grease float away.

2.  Clean oven and grill racks by placing them in a plastic garbage bad outside.  Mix 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup ammonia and pour over racks in the bag.  Tie it with a twist-tie and leave it outside overnight.  The racks will wipe clean in the morning.

3.  Or lay racks on a path or driveway.  Sprinkle with baking soda and leave them there overnight.  The next day they should wash clean easily with hot water.

4.  Degrease and clean barbecue grills by applying baking soda as a paste with a wire brush.  Let set for 15 minutes, then wipe clean and let the grill fire burn away any residue before adding food to the grill’s surface.

Keeping Rust at Bay

1.  Remove rust from appliances and linoleum floors with a paste of baking soda and water.

2.  Remove rust from nuts and bolts by covering them first with baking soda, then pouring vinegar over them and allowing them to set until bubbling action stops.  Scrub with a brush.

3.  Make a paste of 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon water.  With a damp cloth, wipe this paste onto metal chair or table legs.  Scrub lightly with a piece of aluminum foil.  Wipe clean with a paper towel.

Garbage Cans

1. Neutralize odors in a kitchen garbage can by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of the can before you insert a plastic liner.

2.  Fight odors under your sink by placing an open box of baking soda in the areas that are susceptible to smells.

3.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon or so of baking soda in a trash compactor three or four times during the course of filling and campacting, to eliminate unwanted odors.

4.  When adding newspaper to the bottom of a paper bag to catch drips and give it strength, sprinkle in some baking soda so it will also absorb excess odors.

Indispensable Containers

Create your own.  Have more than one.  Keep them in different places.  Just don’t bake or cook with soda you’ve used for deodorizing, nor use it then as an antacid or for brushing teeth.

Shakers

1.  Keep baking soda in a flour shaker.  It looks good and fits into cabinet space, in both kitchen and bathroom.

2.  Put baking soda in an empty talcum powder shaker.  Adding a few marbles will prevent caking and make sprinkling easier.

3. Reuse an empty plastic cleanser container by adding baking soda and relabeling it.  Don’t keep this with your baking supplies, please.

4.  Use a cheese shaker for a dispenser.  A crystal one can be especially attractive on a fancy bathroom vanity counter.

5.  Cover a box of baking soda with attractive self-stick paper (solid or print), punch a few holes in the top and you’ll have a convenient and coordinated dispenser to use for cleanups in the kitchen, bathroom or anywhere.

Exposure Deodorizers

1.  Create an allergy-free “soda-sachet” by placing 1/2 cup or less of baking soda in the center of a 6-inch circle of fabric or tissue.  Gather the top and secure with a ribbon, a twist tie or a rubber band.

2.  Fill a plastic margarine tub or small yogurt container with baking soda.  Replace the lid and punch holes in it.

3.  Fill a cardboard shoebox (decorated or not) with baking soda.  Punch holes in the top and place where needed.

4.  Make “sachets” by putting a 1/2 cup baking soda in the toes of a pair of old, used clean pantyhose.  Tie two knots, one at the fill of the soda and a second one about an inch above the first.  Repeat until you run out of hose.  Cut between the knots and store these in an airtight container.  Use them when you need space-saving deodorizer “containers”.  Toss them in with your laundry in the washer when their life cycle is over.

5.  Fill the toes of old hose or knee-highs with baking soda to make larger “sachet” balls.  Secure with a twist tie, a ribbon or just a knot.

6.  Punch holes in the top of boxes of baking soda.

Home {or apartment} Maintenance

Windows

1.  Make the dirtiest windows sparkle by washing it with a wet sponge sprinkled with a bit of baking soda.  Rinse window with a clean sponge and dry.

2.  Wash venetian blinds in a tub of warm water to which you’ve added 3/4 cup baking soda.  Let blinds soak for a half hour before scrubbing with a bath brush.  Hold up and rinse with a shower hose and hang to dry.  If you hand-rub the cords with some baking soda you will get snowy white results.

3.  Clean aluminum window and door screens by dipping a wet brush in baking soda and scrubbing.  Rinse clean with a sponge or hose.

Surface Cleanups

1.  Use baking soda on a wet sponge to remove crayon stains from washable walls.  Scrub gently.  The combination will also take off most marks on the wall, including those from grease, pencil and markers.

2.  Use the paste of baking soda and water to remove black scuff marks from linoleum floors.

3.  Safely remove crayon marks on a blackboard with the same paste.

4.  Remove some spilled inks from a linoleum floor by applying a dry paste to the stain and allowing it to sit a while before removing and applying fresh powder to gently scrub it up.

Carpets

1. “Shampoo” your carpet with 1/ 2 cup baking soda mixed with 1 gallon warm water in a carpet cleaning machines or in a bucket, if you’re scrubbing an area with a brush by hand.  Sprinkle a very small amount of baking soda on specific stain areas on the dampened carpet, and lets set a while before wiping the area with a sponge or clean bowl.  (Test of colorfastness first)

2.  Remove wine or grease stains from a carpet by lightly sprinkling the area immediately with baking soda.  (Table salt works, too – its the solution in sodium bicarbonate that is the magic element.)  Dab it up and add a little more if necessary.  Leave on until the wine’s been absorbed, then vacuum any residue that is left.

3.  Sap from Christmas trees can be cleaned from the carpet with a paste of baking soda and water.  Again, you’ll need to vacuum up residue.  (And again, test for colorfastness).

4.  Dealing with vomit is tough enough: you don’t want lingering odor or stain to remind you of the event.  Prevent such aftereffects by cleaning up what you can, then generously sprinkling the remaining spot with baking soda.  Scrub gently, from the outside toward the center, with a stiff brush or sponge dipped repeatedly in clean water.  Blot up the moisture with paper towels.  Leave a last small layer of baking soda powder sprinkled on the spot and vacuum it later when the carpet is dry.

5.  Flush acid spills (that’s drain openers, toilet bowel cleaners, and battery acid, as well as vomit and urine) on carpeting with cool water immediately, if possible.  Then neutralize with baking soda.  You can worry about removing the baking soda residue from carpet after its dry and your first aid efforts have worked.

6.  Sprinkle baking soda over carpets monthly, or as needed, before going to bed and let it set overnight.  You may wish to use a stiff broom or brush to scrub it into the carpet.  Vacuum the next day.  Try this quick, sweet home maintenance plan.  The homemade carpet deodorizer recipe calls for mixing:   1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 15 drops of your favorite essential oil fragrance

7. Before the carpet layers, put new carpeting down.  Sprinkle a box of baking soda over the floor, but not on hardwood floors, or the pad to be covered by the carpet.  (Don’t let the carpet folks sweep it up before laying the carpet)

8.  Distribute baking soda evenly with a flour sifter, if you don’t have a shaker.

9.  Fight flea problems with oil of rosemary, penny royal or citronella in place of your favorite fragrance in the recipe above.  Sprinkle on carpet and just vacuum up.

10.  Create your signature fragrance throughout your home.  Mix a box of baking soda with a few drops of your favorite potpourri oil or a little cinnamon or powdered cloves.  Sprinkle on the carpet and the vacuum.

11.  Add a small amount of baking soda to your vacuum bag to fight the dirty smell that vacuums can sometimes get.

(Note:  Commercial carpet deodorizers are more granular and therefore easier to vacuum up then just regular baking soda)

(Doorway) Ideas

1.  Sprinkle baking soda on indoor welcome mats to clean and deodorize, then vacuum.  You use mats to catch dirt and grime, not spread it!

2.  Forget de-icing or rock salts, cat litter or sand.  Just sprinkle baking soda on your front steps to provide traction & melt the ice.  It won’t damage shoes, outside surfaces, or indoor surfaces if it is tracked inside.  Mix with sand if you need greater texture.

3.  Scrub baking soda into outdoor mats with a broom & hose it down.

Miscellaneous Maintenance

1.  Wash a cup of baking soda down a toilet or drain once a week to help maintain or restore the pH of a septic tank system.  A favorable pH allows bacteria to break down and liquefy, which helps prevent clogging and backup in the tank and drain field.  The regular addition of baking soda helps prevent corrosion of concrete as well as metal septic tanks, particularly the top of the tank, which is exposed to corrosive vapors.

2.  Make a paste of baking soda and water to fill nail holes in the wall and cracked plaster, as a temporary cover-up.  It dries and blends with white plaster.  A more permanent solution calls for mixing the baking soda with household white glue.

3.  Clean smoke-blackened walls or ceilings with a damp rag and a strong solution of baking soda and water on a sponge or cloth.

4.  Clean upholstery by sprinkling it liberally with baking soda & letting it set for a few minutes before vacuuming.  Smoke odors will also be eliminated.

5.  Use a baking soda paste to clean various types of vinyl.

6.  Baking soda provides a handy base for artificial flowers in an attractive container of your choosing that can be placed anywhere.  Set alongside a litter box, and you have a decorative as well as deodorizing solution.

7.  Wash your waterbed mattress with a solution of baking soda and water if the plastic protector has a musty odor.

8.  Clean (keyboard) keys with a soft toothbrush and 4 tablespoons baking soda dissolved in 1 cup of water.  Wipe with a tissue or paper towel.

9.  Soak dirty mops and rags in a solution of 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart water after washing dirt out, to get rid of residue smells.  Rinse and let dry.

Fireplace

1.  Try placing a pie tin of baking soda in the fireplace to absorb lingering soot odors after you’ve cleaned the ashes out.

2.  Keep a box of baking soda near the fireplace or wood burning stove to throw on a chimney fire, should one start.  The soda will lower the temperature in the chimney and can help subdue, or even put out, the fire.

WARNING:  Baking soda should be used only to extinguish SMALL fires.  It is not a substitute for a commercial fire extinguisher, or for a call to the fire department.

3.  Clean fireplace bricks with a mixture of baking soda and water.

Minimizing Musty Smells

1.  Fill old nylons with soda & suspend them from your basement ceiling to fight a damp & musty smell.

2.  Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to the water in your humidifier to eliminate musty smells.

3.  Keep musty odors out of seldom-used suitcases and trunks by sprinkling baking soda in them before they are stored.

4.  Sprinkle baking soda in toilets, down sink drains, in tubs and in showers before you go on vacation, to protect against stale odors.

5.  Remove a musty smell from blankets when you take them out of storage.  Sprinkle them with baking soda and roll them up for a couple of hours.  Then shake them out and fluff them in the dryer, without heat.

6.  Eliminate the residual smell after you’ve gotten rid of the water on wet carpeting by sprinkling a box of baking soda over it.  Vacuum the next day.

[1] Adapted from “200 Fabulous, Frugal uses for Baking Soda” by Vicki Lansky, Printed 1996 by Rodale Press, Inc.

3 thoughts on “Frugal Uses for Baking Soda

  • Just testing the baking sodarecipe to remove Oven spills. I can tell you so far that the thick food spills have already come out of the Oven bottom part. I poured some of the baking soda paste (B. soda + water) on it and the thick stains immediately came off . Leting set for a ehile to see what it can do about the thin stains of food spills.
    But can tell you; so far so good!!

  • I clean my oven with baking soda and it works so well that you will never ever buy an oven cleaning from the shop. Thanks for the interesting article! Cricklewood Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

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