uses for baking soda

40 Brilliant Uses For Baking Soda That Might Surprise You

When you think of baking soda, you likely think of, well, baking! This kitchen cupboard staple has a lot more uses than just helping your baked goods rise, however. There are so many uses for baking soda both in and out of the kitchen. Here are a few of our favorites.

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40 Uses For Baking Soda That You Probably Didn’t Know About

The uses for baking soda are practically endless. It can be used for cleaning, baking, as a natural part of your personal hygiene routine – the list goes on and on. Many of us, however, don’t know about all of the incredible ways you can use this everyday item. We’ve rounded about 40 of them to get you started on using this inexpensive, natural item in as many ways as possible.

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1. Keep Flowers Fresh

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We love cut flowers just as much as anyone else. A vase full of brightly colored fauna can brighten up any room and put a smile on a sad face. The sad day is when the flowers start to droop, lose their vibrancy, and eventually need to be tossed away. Thankfully, baking soda can help to keep your flowers kicking a little bit longer. Put a teaspoon of the powder into a vase of water, making sure that there are no leaves or petals in the water. It’s best practice to change the water daily.

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2. Dry Shampoo

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Dry shampoo is expensive but is a godsend when you just don’t have time to wash your hair. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive. Yet again, baking soda is here to save the day! Sprinkle some into the roots of your hair and gently rub in. The baking soda will absorb some of the excess oil and help you go a little longer between wash days. Be careful not to do this too often, however, so you don’t dry out your scalp and cause breakage.

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3. A Teeth Whitener

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Due to its pH and gently abrasive nature, baking soda is effective at removing plaque and whitening your teeth. The simplest way is, after brushing with regular toothpaste, to brush your teeth with a baking soda-water mixture. Leave it on for two minutes and then rinse thoroughly with water.

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4. De-Ordorize Your Garbage Bins

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Often even after emptying and rinsing our trash cans, they still smell. All you have to do is sprinkle a decent amount (say, a half-cup) of baking soda into the bottom of the bin and continue to use as normal. The baking soda will neutralize the odor.

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5. A Fruit and Veggie Wash

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One of my favorite uses for baking soda! Baking soda is a highly effective way to wash your fruits and veggies, especially when trying to remove any harmful chemicals that may or may not be on them. Fill a clean bowl or cleaned and sanitized sink with cold water. Add one teaspoon of baking soda for every two cups of water. Submerge the produce and let them soak for 12 to 15 minutes swishing them around occasionally. Make sure you dry them thoroughly before preparing or storing them.

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6. Clean Your Car Batteries

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Too much build-up on your car engine can significantly shorten your car’s battery life. To clean it, first, disconnect the battery. Then, mix six heaping tablespoons of baking soda with four cups of water. Using an old toothbrush or rag, rub on the paste and scrape off any deposits. Rinse with water, making sure no water gets into the vents.

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7. Help With Heartburn

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Baking soda is a natural antacid. It can absorb stomach acid and temporarily relieve acid reflux. If this is a recurring problem for you, make sure you visit your doctor to see what more can be done. For adults and teenagers, dissolve half a teaspoon in a four-ounce glass of water. Repeat no more than every two hours. Too much baking soda can cause acid rebound and make the problem worse.

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8. Bug Bite Relief

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Summer is wonderful – backyard barbecues, bonfires, camping, and cottages. What’s not wonderful? Mosquito bites. To relieve the itchiness, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a paste. Put the paste on your bites and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing it off.

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9. Foot Odor

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Sometimes feet just stink. To deodorize them, soak your feet in a bucket with water and baking soda. Use one tablespoon of baking soda for one quart of water and soak for 15 minutes. If it’s your shoes that are the problem, simply sprinkle some baking soda inside them and let it absorb overnight.

10. Clean Coffee Stains

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Your favorite mug impossibly stained by your favorite morning beverage? Sprinkle some baking soda and enough water to make a paste into your mug. Grab a clean cloth and gently scrub the stains away and rinse. This works with coffee carafes, as well.

11. Clean Outdoor Furniture

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Another one of my favorite uses for baking soda! Outdoor patio furniture tends to get dirtier than our indoor furniture. This is especially true after it’s been sitting in your shed for several months during winter. To effectively clean it without scratches, sprinkle baking soda on a wet sponge. From there, wipe down all your furniture.

12. Heal Sores

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Canker sores or mouth ulcers are annoying and painful. Thankfully, baking soda is an effective natural remedy for them by restoring the pH of your mouth and reducing the inflammation around the sore. Dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in a half-cup of water, swish it around your mouth for 10-15 seconds, then spit it out. You can repeat this every few hours or so, as needed.

13. Deodorize Your Fridge

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Sometimes, even after you’ve removed the bad food and cleaned the fridge from top to bottom, it still stinks. Remove this odor, place an open box of baking soda in the fridge. It will absorb the order and keep your fridge fresh.

14. Clean Stuffed Animals

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Stuffed animals are tough to clean and often full of dust and oils. To clean them, cover the entire surface of the toy in baking soda and put it in a plastic bag or pillowcase. Shake vigorously for a few minutes. Let them sit for one to one and a half hours for the baking soda to absorb all of the oils. You can do multiple at once. After waiting. shake off the excess baking soda and toss the pillowcase with stuffed animals inside it into the dryer to clean and fluff them up more.

15. Razor Burn Relief

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For those of us who prefer to shave, razor burn can be a hard-fought battle. Those little red bumps are not only taking away from the smooth skin we imagined, but they’re uncomfortable, too. To relieve it, mix one cup of water with one tablespoon of baking soda and apply to the affected areas with a cotton pad. When the mixture is dry, rinse it off. Repeat twice daily. Alternatively, you can soak in a lukewarm bath with one cup of baking soda in it.

16. Clean Shower Curtains

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Shower curtains can be absolutely disgusting. They get wet all the time without being left open properly enough to dry, and are tough to clean. To clean, sprinkle baking soda on a damp, microfiber cloth and scrub the entire curtain. Rinse with another clean, damp cloth to remove all the baking soda. Repeat as necessary.

17. Weed Killer

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No one likes weeds sticking up through the cracks of their patio. To kill a weed in your garden, first wet the weed a bit with the hose. Then sprinkle one teaspoon of baking soda on the entire weed. This will ensure you kill the weed and nothing else. For the cracks in the pavement, generously sprinkle baking soda on top of the weeds growing out of them. Reapply every four to six weeks if the weeds aren’t completely gone. This method works best in the spring or fall when the weeds are actively growing.

18. Clean Carpet Stains

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What can’t baking soda do? For non-greasy carpet stains, sprinkle baking soda generously over the entire stain. Using a spray bottle, mist the stain with hot water. Keep the area damp and allow to sit for at least three hours. You can do this by leaving a damp cloth over the stain so you don’t have to keep misting it. Afterward, vacuum up the leftover baking soda.

For greasy stains, start by blotting the area with a wet rag or paper towel first to remove as much of the grease as possible. Next, sprinkle dry baking soda on the stain and allow it to sit overnight. Vacuum up the excess baking soda in the morning.

19. Put Out Small Cooking Fires

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Maybe the most important on this list of uses for baking soda. You can put out small cooking fires that involve oil and grease using baking soda. Pouring baking soda on the fire will smother it and choke it out. Remember, this only works for small fires. Make sure you still have a fire extinguisher on hand for larger ones or in case this doesn’t fully put out the fire.

20. DIY Mouthwash

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A quarter-teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one cup of warm water makes for an excellent mouth wash. You then swish the mouthwash around your mouth for 30 to 45 seconds, spit it out, and rinse. Make a fresh batch every 24 hours.

21. Strip Paint

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Use baking soda to remove paint from furniture and other items without all the chemicals from commercial paint strippers. Combine a large amount of baking soda with hot water and apply to the paint. Then, you can start to slowly scrape it off.

22. Help With Jellyfish Stings

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Depending on where you live, jellyfish stings may or may not be an overly big problem in your life. If they are, however, you can rinse the area with a mixture of seawater and baking soda for 15 minutes. From there, remove any remaining stingers.

23. Whiter Whites

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If you want to brighten your white clothes without using bleach, use baking soda instead! Start your machine and then add a half cup of baking soda to the water until it dissolves, then run the cycle as normal. If you don’t have a top loader, mix the baking soda with your detergent for the best results.

24. Anti-Acne Face Mask

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Anyone with acne-prone skin knows how difficult this condition can be. Baking soda is an effective anti-acne agent. You can make a mask using one to two teaspoons of baking soda, a facial cleanser, and enough water to form a paste. Massage into the affected area and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse. You can also use it in the same manner as a gentle exfoliant, except in this instance you rinse it right away.

25. Pest-Deterrent

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Baking soda makes a great, natural “insecticide”. Pouring some baking soda near the pests’ homes or where they are coming into or gathering in yours will kill them off safely and naturally.

26. Remove Splinters

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Splinters are painful, but removing them can be even more so. Make it easier by applying a paste of one-quarter teaspoon of baking soda with water around the area of the splinter. Cover with a bandage and allow to sit for 24 hours. Use a sterile pair of tweezers to remove the splinter and apply an antibiotic ointment. As always, make sure you thoroughly clean your hands and the affected area as your first step.

27. Keep Old Books Smelling Fresh

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Having a shelf full of old books is incredible – there’s nothing quite like the smell of an old, well-loved novel. That being said, sometimes the books spend so much time squished together that they start to smell, well, bad. For any book that is starting to smell less like nostalgia and more just plain old, sprinkle some baking soda between its pages. It will smell like new in no time!

28. Wall Cleaner

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Have a budding artist using your walls as their canvas? Or perhaps just some stubborn marks that refuse to go away? Make a paste out of a half cup of baking soda and a quarter cup of water. Gently rub onto the desired area and the stain or marks should come off.

29. Silverware Polish

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Silverware feels special, except when it’s dull. Bring back its shine using baking soda and water. Mix half a box of baking soda with water to make a paste. Dip a clean cloth or sponge and rub the silverware with them. If the stains are tough, leave the paste on them for some time before rinsing.

30. Clean Water Marks

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How annoying is it when someone forgets to use a coaster and leaves behind a watermark? Remove these stains using baking soda and water paste. Apply it to the affected areas and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, gently scrub with a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush to finish the job.

31. Unclog Drains

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Baking soda and vinegar can work wonders for a clogged drain. This works particularly well if it is your kitchen sink and there is an oil or grease build-up. Start by pouring boiling water down the drain. Next, pour down a solution made of one cup of baking soda, one cup of hot water, and one cup of vinegar. Cover with the drain plug and wait five to 10 minutes. It will bubble up a lot – don’t worry, it’s supposed to! This is the baking soda and vinegar working against the clog. Finish by pouring more boiling water down the drain.

Note that this will not work if the clog is a hair clog. For that, you will need to buy a special drain cleaner specifically for hair.

32. Sunburn Relief

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Mix baking soda with just enough cool water to form a paste. Gently apply it to the affected area and then rinse. Follow up with aloe or a moisturizer. This works especially well if you’re in the peeling stage, as long as you always remember to moisturize well afterward.

33. Tupperware Cleaner

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Baking soda has a one-two punch when it comes to cleaning plastic containers. First of all, it removes the food stains. Second, it removes the smell. Make a somewhat thick paste using baking soda and water and rub it on the inside of the container. Let it sit for 24 hours or even longer, then rinse well. Repeat until the stain is gone.

34. Clean Sponges

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Sponges are great for cleaning until they’re dirty themselves. To clean them, soak them in a solution made of four tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of warm water. The baking soda will help to lift out all of the grime and grit for a clean sponge.

35. Deodorize Your Pet’s Bed

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Our fur babies are adorable, but let’s be honest: Sometimes, they stink! Don’t let their bed (or other soft surfaces that they may sleep on) stink up your house. First, vacuum off the hair and other particles that may be on the bed. Second, fill up a basin with warm water and about one-quarter cup of baking soda. Put soak the removable cover in this for about 15 minutes. If the bed doesn’t have a removable cover (or fido prefers the couch), sprinkle baking soda over the area for 15 minutes and then vacuum off to alleviate the odor.

36. Retainer Disinfectant

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It is highly important that you are regularly cleaning and disinfecting your retainer. After all, you’re wearing it in your mouth every single day! Create a paste that is half baking soda, half water. Make sure it is thick enough to stick to the retainer. Scrub it gently using a toothbrush followed by a thorough rinse.

37. Clean The Grill

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A true grill master also knows how to properly clean their grill. Make a paste using one and a half cups of baking soda and a half cup of water. It should be thick enough to stick to the grill grates. Remove the grates and cover them with the paste using a brush or sponge and allow to sit for a few minutes. Using an aluminum foil ball, scrub the grates clean. Rinse with water and put the grates back in the grill.

38. Remove Bathroom Wall Mildew

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Leaving mold and mildew unattended can be bad for your health. Unfortunately, your shower’s warm, damp environment is prime territory for it to grow. Using a paste made of half a cup of baking soda and several teaspoons of water, spread the paste on the walls, especially where the mold builds up. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrub off with a brush and rinse well.

39. Grease Stains

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Just because it’s the garage, doesn’t mean there have to be grease stains everywhere. Mix half a cup of baking soda with warm water and use it to clean everywhere that has a grease stain. For extra cleaning power, you can add a few drops of liquid soap.

40. Revive A “Ruined” Pan

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Baked-on stains ruined your favorite pan? Baking soda has a solution for that. First, remove as much of the food debris as you can. Next, make a paste that is three parts baking soda to one part water and cover the part of the pan that is stained. Make sure it is covered generously. Let it sit overnight and the next morning, add more baking soda and scrub with a nylon brush or scouring sponge.

Is one of your favorite uses for baking soda missing from this list? Let us know in the comments.

Keep Reading: Vinegar Is the Secret to Soft Towels, Whiter Whites, and More Laundry Solutions

Sources

  1. ‘What You Need to Know About Using Baking Soda on Your Hair’ Healthline Annamarya Scaccia. Published July 9, 2018
  2. ‘Does Baking Soda Really Whiten Teeth?’ Hawaii Family Dental. Publuished September 19, 2018
  3. ‘Can Store-Bought Baking Soda Really Treat Acid Reflux?’ Healthline Kristeen Cherney. Published May 28, 2021
  4. ’13 Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites’ Healthline Summer Fanous. Published March 7, 2019
  5. ’16 Ways to Get Rid of Canker Sores’ Healthline Annette McDermott. Published March 7, 2019
  6. ‘Nine ways to treat and prevent razor burn’ Medical News Today Jayne Leonard. Published July 5, 2017
  7. ‘How to put out a grease fire’ Fire Rescue 1 Published November 23, 2020
  8. ‘Can you use baking soda to treat acne?’ Medical News Today Bethany Cadman. Published March 7, 2018
  9. ‘Can Baking Soda Help You Pull Up a Splinter?’ Healthline Jacquelyn Cafasso. Published April 13, 2021
  10. ‘8 tips for cleaning a retainer’ Medical News Today Zawn Villines. Published March 7, 2021

Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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