Uses for Baking Soda
My mother always kept an open container of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb smells, so when I moved out on my own, I started doing the same. But baking soda is good for much more than stink removing, so I’ve actually started buying it in bulk (along with my gallon jugs of white vinegar).
What’s That Smell?
Before we abandon the de-stinking topic completely, let’s review just what baking soda can do for you in that department. Stinky litterbox in the house? Sprinkle it with baking soda. Got a foul-smelling wastebasket? Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom. Bad breath? Gargle with half a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved into warm water.
Concerned about odors on your mattress? Sprinkle it with baking soda, let sit for about an hour, then vacuum the baking soda up. You can do the same thing with your carpet or even your armpits (if you’re in a real pinch for deodorant). Protip: If you use baking soda in lieu of deodorant, skip the vacuum and just pat any excess away.
Ditch the Oil Slick
Baking soda is great at tamping down natural oils and residues from hair products, so work it into the roots of your hair in the shower, then rinse clean. (You can mix the baking soda with your usual shampoo. I’ve even heard of people sprinkling baking soda on their scalp, then shaking it out as a sort of dry shampoo — but I’ve never tried it myself.) You can also remove residue from your hairbrushes and combs with a long soak in a solution of baking soda and warm water.
Sometimes baking soda works well when paired with an oil. For example, try mixing baking soda into a paste with your favorite oil (this article in Mambo Sprouts recommends linseed oil or even mayonnaise), then rubbing with the grain of the wood to remove water rings from your favorite table.
My favorite baking soda cleaner is simply baking soda with enough mild dish soap to make a thick paste. So far I’ve been able to remove everything I’ve tested that cleaner against — it’s even better than store-bought cleaners for scouring my flat-surface (glass) stove, although that particular application does take some elbow grease. That same mix — or just a paste of baking soda and water — takes stains off pots and pans nicely, too. But if scrubbing your stove, pots, and pans isn’t enough for you, you can also use baking soda to soak or scrub your hands and feet. You may be surprised by how soft they feel when you’re done.
Are you suffering the maddening itch of an insect sting or bite? Make a paste of baking soda and water to apply to the sting, or just wet the skin and sprinkle baking soda on it. Apparently it’s good for healing canker sores, too.
And in the “Don’t Try This at Home” Department…
Hopefully you’ll never have to deal with a grease fire, but if you do, tossing some baking soda on it may help extinguish the flames. The Kitchn details what else you should do to handle a grease fire, and they also point out that it takes a lot of baking soda to put out a grease fire — so don’t replace your fire extinguisher with a box of baking soda just yet.
What else can baking soda do for you? Let us know in the comments!
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