Baking soda (or bicarb soda if you prefer!) really is a wonder ingredient, it is super useful for a whole host of things around the home and can take the place of more harmful chemicals in everything from cleaning products to skincare, beauty and more. Today I wanted to share with you my top 10 uses for baking soda, and I’d love to hear some of your favourite uses in the comments as well!
1. Green cleaning
Baking soda is a key ingredient in homemade green cleaners, and it’s amazingly effective. Simply combining baking soda with a little water to make a paste is by far the best shower scrub I have ever used. It’s also amazing for getting a sparkling dishwasher when combined with some plain ol’ white vinegar. I’ve shared my go-to green cleaning recipes before, and you can find them here: laundry & bathroom, kitchen & floors. You won’t need to buy harsh cleaners ever again!
2. Deodorise your home
Baking soda has an excellent talent of absorbing not-so-lovely smells around the home, and there are lots of ways you can make use of this power. Pop a small dish of it in your fridge to neutralise any funky fridge smells, leave some in the bathroom or sprinkle a little into the bottom of your garbage bins to leave your home smelling fresh as a daisy. Adding a sprinkling of baking soda to the base of any kitty litter can also help neutralise those not-so-lovely smells too. It won’t just cover up smells like some breath fresheners do, it actually neutralises them, so it’s much more effective. Dr. Kenny Gomolplitinant, DMD, professes that you can also make your own toothpaste with baking soda, and I’m still playing around to find my favourite combination, so I will share that with you when I do!
For other ways to naturally eliminate odours around the home, check out my post on it riiiight here.
3. Freshen carpets, clothes and shoes
In a similar way to deodorising your home, baking soda is perfect for freshening up other items as well. If your carpet and rugs are in need of some TLC, simply sprinkle a good amount of baking soda over them and leave it to sit for at least an hour (but overnight if possible). Then, sweep up what you can, and vacuum up the rest, and your carpet and rugs will be fresh and clean. This also has the benefit of freshening up your vacuum cleaner in the process!
You can also sprinkle a little baking soda in shoes that are getting a little smelly (just remember to pour it out before you wear them again) and keep a little bowl of it in your cupboard to keep your clothes fresh as well.
4. Create a soothing bath
Adding baking soda to your bath, or to a foot spa can help soothe tired muscles and leave your skin feeling soft and clean. It works even better when combined with epsom salts (and I’ve shared some of my favourite homemade bath salt recipes before) and is a much cheaper option than continually buying fancy bath products (but you’ll feel equally relaxed, I promise!).
5. Freshen your mouth
Due to its impressive odour neutralising properties, baking soda works really well as a mouth freshener. Combine 1tsp of baking soda with half a glass of water, then swish it around your mouth, spit it out and rinse. It won’t just cover up smells like some breath fresheners do, it actually neutralises them, so it’s much more effective.
6. Clean your hair products
Brushes and combs tend to end up full of our natural hair oils as well as any product we use in our hair, so they need a good thorough cleaning at times as well. Mix together 1tsp of baking soda in a small bowl of warm water and soak your brushes and combs, then rinse and leave to dry.
You can also sprinkle a little baking soda into your hand while you’re washing your hair (at shampoo stage) to help thoroughly clean your hair from any product build up, without damaging the natural oils in your hair.
7. Preserve the life of cut flowers
Sprinkling some baking soda in your vase can help extend the life of cut flowers by balancing out the conditions, ensuring there isn’t too much or too little acidity. It’s hard to know exactly how much longer the flowers will be around for as it also relies on a whole host of other factors, but it does seem to help (which is good news for me, I love fresh flowers around the home!).
8. Clean your mugs
Tea and coffee can leave not-so-lovely coloured marks in your mugs, as well as in your coffee maker or tea pots. Baking soda is an excellent way to remove these stains, and all it takes is 1/4 cup baking soda dissolved into roughly a litre of warm water, which you then use to clean all your stained items. If you have a coffee machine you can run a cycle with baking soda in place of the coffee to ensure you’ve cleaned out all the pipes and filters and what-not, and it won’t leave behind any noticeable taste.
9. Gentle skin and hand scrub
Baking soda makes an excellent exfoliant if you are looking for a gentle option for more sensitive (or broken) skin. Make a thick paste out of baking soda and water and gently massage your body, face or hands in a circular motion, then rinse off. It will leave you feeling squeaky clean and is particularly good for removing odours from your hands if you have been cooking with garlic or doing work in the garden. For less gentle scrub options you could try my lemon & rosemary salt scrub for your hands or brown sugar scrubs for your body!
10. Pest control
I personally haven’t had to try this one (thankfully being 3 stories up in a new-ish building means pests aren’t a huge problem) but baking soda is said to be an excellent repellant for bugs like cockroaches, ants and silverfish. Sprinkle some under your sink, along doorways or anywhere else you know pests like to enter from and it will stop them from making their way into your home, without having to resort to chemicals.
It can also help keep pests out of your garden, or remove pests that are already there like slugs and snails. I’m going to give it a try to see if it can help solve my aphid problem too!