If you’re looking for ways to cut back on the use of chemicals this year, then look no further. You may have a great cleaning substitute right in your own kitchen. Baking soda is an excellent ingredient to keep around your house for many cleaning applications. Let’s explore the uses for baking soda and how it can reduce your toxic load at home.
One of my favorite things about baking soda is that it absorbs odors naturally and it has a mild abrasive quality that can help with removing stains and grease.
I actually keep a few boxes around my house at any given time to add to use for cleaning, deodorizing and scrubbing. What’s more interesting is that baking soda can help neutralize different toxins. It also helps make them less potent (however not removing them completely).
WHAT IS BAKING SODA
You’re probably somewhat familiar with baking soda — it’s a staple in every kitchen. But you may not know exactly HOW baking soda works. And because I’m a true healthy home nerd, I want to know WHY everything works and what it does. Of course, you know, I’m going to share that information with you too. This way, you know why and how baking soda can be used around your house in the healthiest way.
WHY IT’S HEALTHIER FOR YOUR HOME
In terms of using for cleaning, which is probably how most of us will end up using it in our own homes, baking soda can be used as a replacement to harsh chemicals.
Baking soda itself has no health risks and doesn’t add any chemicals to our home or environment. This is why it’s a great option when you’re looking to remove toxins. Baking soda is effective in cleaning because it causes dirt and grease to dissolve in water. In addition to that, it can also be used as a scrubbing solution as it’s mildly abrasive.
Another place you can really use baking soda is to replace any sort of synthetic air freshener. Baking soda, while it doesn’t have a scent, actually absorbs odors. If you’re a nerd like me, you might enjoy knowing why this is the case: Most odors are acidic, and as we already know, baking soda is alkaline. The baking soda then reacts with the acidic odor in the air to neutralize them.
WHAT IT CAN REPLACE
Drain Cleaner: Baking soda and vinegar cause a chemical reaction that can help unblock your drain if there’s a mild clog. Cover the drain with a washcloth for 15 minutes and then rise the drain with hot water.
Carpet Deodorizer: Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet before vacuuming to eliminate odors. (SIDE NOTE: Most chemicals and toxins are acidic in nature, and baking soda can also help neutralize them).
Mildew Cleaner: A damp sponge and some baking soda can go a long way to remove mildew from shower curtains, tiles and your tub or sink.
Laundry Brightener: Combine your normal detergent with a cup of baking soda to whiten your whites and brighten your colors. The baking soda helps balance the pH levels in the wash, which can help get them a touch cleaner.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: I use this recipe from Kim at Get Green Be Well to make toilet cleaning pucks (I don’t add vinegar to mine). It’s a great non-toxic alternative to bleach and chemicals that are often found in toilet cleaners.
Tub & Tile Cleaner: Scrubbing grout with a paste mixture of baking soda and water can help remove soap build up and mildew as well as make them brighter. If you want to get them really clean, spray them with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water before wiping them down.
Sink & Shower Scrub: Combine 2/4 cup baking soda, ¼ cup castile soap and 1 tablespoon of water to make a scrubbing paste that will clean your sinks, tubs and fixtures.
Deodorant: Sprinkle baking soda under your arms (some people use a salt shaker) to eliminate odor.
PLACES TO USE IT AT HOME
Pest Control: Baking soda releases carbon dioxide when warmed or heated. When ingested by ants or hard shelled bugs, it causes their organs to fail due to the gas build up.
Grease Fire Extinguisher: Because of the gas that is released, baking soda is a really good option to put out a grease fire. The carbon dioxide that is released cuts off the oxygen that makes the fire grow.
Clean Your Diffuser: If your diffuser is stained from citrus oils, baking soda can help clean those stains away. After cleaning your diffuser (you can use a mild detergent or vinegar), make a paste with baking soda and water and use a q-tip to scrub it into tight spaces. Let sit for 15 minutes and gently wash out with a damp cloth.
Wash Store Bought Produce: Simply mix with water and gently wash off the dirt and waxy coating that comes on store bought produce.
Grill Scrubber: Add a simple of baking soda to your grill brush before you clean to help really get rid of the grime on those racks.
Hairbrush Cleaner: If your brush has some product build up stuck on, give baking soda a try to dissolve it. Simply remove any excess hair from your brush and soak your brush in a solution of baking soda and water for about an hour.
Mattress Cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda on your mattress next time your changing your sheets and allow it to sit for 30 minutes or so. Then simple vacuum it up. You’ll be taking away odors and dust mites when you do.
Remove Burnt Food: Pots and pans every now and then have food on them that you CANNOT seem to get off. Sprinkle the burnt areas with baking soda and cover with hot water. Let sit for an hour (or overnight) and remove.
Clean Lawn Furniture: Mix ¼ cup baking soda with a cup of warm water and either spray or apply with a damp sponge. Wipe down for clean furniture
While there are many uses for baking soda and it is an amazing way to clean and freshen your home, there are some applications that SHOULD be avoided.
The first is NEVER use baking soda on aluminum cookware (which, if you have aluminum cookware, you should read this article about the potential health risks). Baking soda can cause it to oxidize, meaning the surface will change color.
Another place to avoid using baking soda is on antique silver. It can be just too abrasive and ruin the finish. Same goes for gold-plated serving pieces.
You should also avoid using baking soda on wood furniture, which can ruin the seal, leaving the wood unprotected and an unsightly finish on your furniture.
Finally, if you have marble surfaces or glass windows, it’s best to avoid using baking soda as it can scratch the finish when used.