Baking Soda Tricks
Baking soda, as the name suggests, is best known as a kitchen essential. While this product is critical for perfect pancakes, muffins and bread, it's considerably more versatile than a mere ingredient. Baking soda can be used in personal hygiene, cleaning the home, washing pets ... the possibilities are endless!
Before we go any further, let's get some housekeeping out of the way. This guide relates wholly to baking soda, not baking powder – there's a subtle but important difference between the two. Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda, is a base ingredient that requires the addition of acid to generate a reaction. Baking powder is already equipped with acid – and is thus unsuitable for anything outside the category of cooking.
With that distinction made, let's take a look at six uses for baking soda that you may not be aware of. These life hacks will revolutionize the way that you use this product, so be sure to stock up on your next trip to Costco!
Baking soda is a natural detergent. There is no need to fill your bathroom and kitchen cabinets with a wide array of expensive cleaning products. Baking soda, applied to a spray bottle and mixed with water at a ratio of 1:4, will perform the same job for a fraction of the cost.
Baking soda can be used on metal, porcelain, ceramics and even wooden floors. If you won't want to use a spray bottle, just fill a washing up bowl with water and add a cup of baking soda. Applied to a dishrag, this solution will clean soap scum and limescale from bathtubs, polish up ceramic countertops and shine silverware that’s left to soak.
Best of all, baking soda is also a natural disinfectant. This can be invaluable to keeping your kitchen hygienic. Just wipe down your surfaces regularly with a baking soda solution. You can also use it to clean up toys that belong to children or pets. This drastically minimizes the risk potential bacterial hazards, many of which can lead to contagious viral infections.
Baking soda can be used to clean up even the toughest of stains and spillages. It can be useful if you have pets that are prone to lavatorial accidents on the carpet. It can also mop up liquid spillages though, including famously stubborn stains like cooking oil.
This is because baking soda is naturally absorbent. Sprinkle it over a wet stain and keep foot traffic away from the stain. Wait for the baking soda to dissolve, then take a brush with firm bristles to the affected area. The stain will brush right out, without the need for any water or soap.
For particularly stubborn – or smelly – stains, add a little white vinegar and water. This will intensify the cleaning qualities of baking soda thanks to the acid nature of vinegar. Obviously this must be avoided on delicate surfaces like wood, though. In such cases, such a solution will just swap one marking for another.
If you live with cat or dog, you'll know there's one occasion that will strike terror into the heart of pets. We refer, of course, to the dreaded bath time. Baking soda can be used as a dry shampoo that cleans pet fur, removing stains and scents and negating the need to wrestle an animal into the tub.
Just sprinkle baking soda onto your pet's fur, and wait a few minutes for it to sink in. It doesn't matter if the animal licks a little of this. It takes significant consumption for baking soda to become toxic – far more than the average cat or dog will manage without intervention. Brush the fur with a fine-toothed comb and your pet's fur will be clean in no time.
Baking soda can also ease itching on feline or canine skin. It won't single-handedly kill fleas, so keep up to date with preventative treatments on that score. A baking soda paste mixed with water is soothing, though. Rub this thoroughly into your pet's skin and fur, wait five minutes, and hose it off in the shower. It's a short-term struggle for a rich reward.
So, you have cleaned up your pet's fur but that linger odor still remains in your home. Not only do you owe your cat or dog an apology, you also need to rectify this ongoing issue. Make use of baking soda – it's a natural air freshener.
It couldn't be simpler to make a baking soda air freshener. Take a cup of the soda and apply to an open vessel, such as a mason jar. Leave the lid off and allow air to circulate. Before you know it, any foul odors will be absorbed by the baking soda. Change the jar regularly, and you have an effective – and free – way to keep your home smelling fresh.
If you'd like a more exotic scent, you can even add a few drops of essential oils to your baking soda. These will not dilute the performance of the product but will add an extra layer of decadence. Just find an oil that complements the aroma and ambience that you're looking for in the home. Around 15 drops per cup of baking soda will do it.
There is plenty to love about the summer, but insect infestations are not high on many lists. During the warmest months of the year, bugs seemingly come to life. The enhanced ambient temperatures help ectothermic insects to thrive. They'll be on a constant hunt for food and shelter from predators.
That's fine, but you will not want your home to become a haven for ants, aphids, mites and spiders. Sprinkling a little baking soda around areas of access will put a stop to this. In the spirit of full disclosure, baking soda can kill bugs – it forces them to dry out within their tough exoskeletons. The scent and texture are usually enough deterrent to avoid insecticide, though.
You can also use the same trick outdoors to protect your plants. Sprinkle baking soda in soil and on flower beds to prevent bugs from feasting on your greenery. Apply it to weeds that grow in pavement cracks, too. Not only will this stop insects from gathering here, you'll also weaken the weeds. This makes them easier to pull, and less likely to grow back.
If you have run out of toothpaste and can’t get to the grocery store, don’t panic. Baking soda makes a great toothpaste substitute. In fact, some consider it superior. It's found on most commercial toothpastes anyway, and it doesn't contain potentially harmful fluoride.
For the best tooth-cleaning experience, mix up a solution of baking soda, water and hydrogen peroxide. The resulting paste is comparable to that which a dental hygienist would use during a professional tooth cleaning. This mixture will remove stains caused by food, drinks or nicotine. Gargling with baking soda also makes a great organic mouthwash.
There are certain caveats to this approach. Try not to use baking soda on your teeth for more than two weeks at a time, as it can be abrasive. In addition, it may sting if you have sensitive teeth or gums. Baking soda also doesn’t protect against cavities, so watch your sugar intake. For a fast-track to a pearly white smile, however, it's tough to beat.