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Baking Soda: A Home Cleaning Wonder

Most homes now go for DIY cleaning solutions to avoid harmful chemicals that may be damaging to the health of each member of the family.  Also, as chemical cleaning solutions and agents don’t go cheap people are looking for alternatives that can both be cost effective and non-toxic.  So, they turn to home cleaning remedies made out of everyday kitchen pantry items.

There are a lot of kitchen items that made the cut – vinegar, lemon, vegetable oil, cornstarch, salt and many more.  But one that is almost always present in every DIY home cleaning solution is Baking Soda.

What is Baking Soda?

You may know baking soda, as what is contained in its name, as a baking ingredient or leavening agent.  Or, you may have used this compound in your science exploding volcano project.  But other than that, you might know little.

Scientifically speaking, baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a chemical compound that appears as a fine alkaline powder.  As a leavening agent, when mixed with acid, carbon dioxide is released that causes the batter to expand and rise.  The acids we speak of here are the likes of cream of tartar, cocoa, vinegar, and buttermilk.  It also produces gas when heat above 80 degrees Celsius is introduced.

It is interesting to note though that baking soda is also used as a cleaning agent since most of the cleaning agents we know are toxic.  You might also doubt its effectiveness as a cleaning agent because of its being edible and thus, may only have gentle compounds.

Cleaning Uses for Baking Soda

As already mentioned, baking soda is a common home item that is used in many DIY cleaning solutions.  We gathered some of the many cleaning uses for baking soda that can make you realize its cleaning prowess:

Air Deodorizer or Freshener

There are over-the-counter air deodorizers or fresheners that come in many forms -   gel, aerosol spray, plug-ins, beads, etc.  While these can indeed improve the air scent, many of these deodorizers or fresheners contain toxic chemicals that are harmful if inhaled.  On its own, baking soda acts as an air deodorizer and if you add a few drops of essential oil, it becomes an air freshener that leaves a pleasant scent.

Baking soda is also an effective deodorizer for your toilet, refrigerator and cabinets.  You can just leave open a box of baking soda inside and it will do all the deodorizing for you.  For containers that need cleaning and removing of that distinct stale smell, you can add baking soda to warm water.  You can leave the solution longer to really remove the smell.

  • Cleaning paste and soft scrub

  • You can mix baking soda and water to create a paste and then use it as a gentle scrub. You can then use this paste to remove grimes, oils and dirt from the following and more:

    • Tiled surfaces
    • Cookware
    • Cutlery 
    • Kitchen counters
    • Floor
    • Walls
  • Dish soap and scrub

  • To ensure that your dishes, pots and pans are grease and oil-free you can try using baking soda as dish soap.  For this one, you can add a volume of baking soda to the dish soap you normally use.  This baking soda solution can help cut grease from your kitchenware. You soak your dishes in this cleaning solution for a while, or overnight depending on the amount of grease that you need to remove.    

  • Silverware polish

  • Tarnished silverware cutlery can easily mess up a dining table layout.   There are polishing agents that you can buy in the hardware or the grocery store but they contain chemicals and the fumes that you can inhale can be damaging your health.  To avoid this, you can DIY your own silverware polish by using baking soda.

    You can add boiling water and vinegar to a glass container that is lined with aluminium foil that already contains baking soda and salt.  You can then put your silverware in the solution with each piece touching the foil.  Through this method, you will be transferring the tarnish from your silverware to the aluminium foil.  Depending on how heavily tarnished each piece of your silverware is, you can soak them for a few seconds or longer.  After that, you can finish the polishing off with a clean rag to wipe them dry.

  • Microwave Cleaner

  • Have you experienced a time when your microwave doesn’t seem to work anymore?  Before you throw it out, try to see if it’s just a simple case of cleaning that needs to be done for it to work again.  You can put two tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl with a cup of water and run it in the microwave for at least three minutes.  The baking soda will also act as a deodorizer and the steam from the water will help dislodge stubborn stains and spots gathered from the several times of microwaving food.

    After running the solution in the microwave for at least three minutes, you can then wipe away the stains and spots.

  • Vegetable and Fruit Wash

  • With all the news about toxic fertilizers being used on vegetables and fruits and cases of bacteria such as E. Coli and Salmonella contaminating them, washing with water may be an incomplete solution.  So you turn to Vegetable and Fruit Wash that is available in the market.  But they can sometimes cost much and may just be an added expense.

    Others then DIY their own wash by mixing even just a quarter of a cup of baking soda in a sink that’s full of water.  You can then wash the vegetables and fruits that you bought from the grocery in the solution then rinse afterwards with clean water.

  • Drain Clog Remover

  • A clogged drain can mess up anyone’s day.  Just imagine bathing and later finding yourself in ankle-deep dirty water before finishing.  Your go-to clog removers are harmful acids that can irritate your skin, or worse, burn.  A gentler solution would be a mix of baking soda, vinegar and hot water. 

    First, pour hot water down your drain and after dump about half a cup of baking soda.  Let that sit for several minutes before pouring down a mix of equal parts of vinegar and boiling water.  This will work on regular clogs where the baking soda and hot water loosen the sludge that clogs the drain and the explosive reaction between the vinegar and baking soda will completely loosen the sludge free.  The boiling water afterwards will further push the sludge down the drain.  This may not work though for extreme cases of clogged drains.

     Keep a Box of Baking Soda

    Baking Soda’s cleaning uses can number to more than what is listed above for that’s how effective it is as a cleaning agent alternative.  While we only listed some, we hope that this can already convince you that a box of baking soda is a must-have in your pantry.  It is not just a cooking and baking ingredient, it is also an effective cleaning agent.