20 Things to Do with Baking Soda
You've probably got a box of baking soda sitting at the back of your fridge, but this powerful deodorizer has hundreds of uses around the home.
Clean an automatic coffee maker
Properly caring for your automatic coffee maker means never having to worry about bitter or weak coffee. Every two weeks or so, brew a pot of one litre of water mixed with a quarter cup of baking soda, followed by a pot of clean water.
Clean your hair
When it comes to personal grooming, too much of a good thing (we’re talking built-up gel, hairspray and conditioner) can spell bad news for your hair. But a thorough cleansing with baking soda at least once a week will wash all of the gunk out of your hair. Simply add one tablespoon of baking soda to your hair while shampooing. In addition to removing all the chemicals you put in your hair, it will wash away water impurities and may actually lighten the colour of your hair.
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Wallpaper that’s starting to look a bit dingy can be brightened up by wiping it with a rag or sponge moistened in a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda in five litre of water. To remove grease stains from wallpaper, make a paste of one tablespoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of water. Rub it on the stain, let it sit for five to 10 minutes, then rub off with a damp sponge.
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Remove musty odour from books
If books that have just been taken out of storage have a musty smell, place each one in a brown paper bag with two tablespoons of baking soda. Don’t shake the bag, just tie it up and let it sit in a dry place for about one week. When you open the bag, shake the remaining powder off the books and the smell should be gone.
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Clear a clogged drain
Most kitchen drains can be unclogged by pouring in 1 cup of baking soda followed by one cup of hot vinegar (heat it in the microwave for one minute). Give it several minutes to work, then add one litre of boiling water. Repeat if necessary. If you know your drain is clogged with grease, use a half cup each of baking soda and salt followed by one cup of boiling water. Let the mixture work overnight, then repeat if necessary.
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Make fluffier omelettes
For restaurant-quality “puffiness,” add a scant one-quarter teaspoon of baking soda to every three eggs you beat. The omelette will be light and fluffy. You can also use this trick to make big fluffy curds when scrambling eggs. Don’t add too much or your eggs will taste bland, and be careful not to oversalt since the soda adds a slightly salty taste.
Afraid those dry beans have been on the shelf too long? Help soften them by adding a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water.
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Get rid of fishy odours
Been chopping something pungent? The smell of garlic or fish can linger on your fingers long after the food is gone. To avoid that, scrub your wet hands with baking soda (as if it were soap), then rinse in warm water. Your hands will smell sweet (and feel softer too).
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Make a rainy day activity for kids
Avoid hearing another whiny, “I’m bored.” Boil two cups of baking soda with one cup cornstarch and 1¼ cups water until thickened. Remove from the heat and cool. It makes a fun, pliable modelling clay that’s good for a day.
Deep-clean a funky-smelling dishwasher
Sort out the stink with a baking soda wash. Put 1 cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run it on a rinse cycle. If the smell persists, sprinkle a few tablespoons on the bottom of the washer to sit there between loads. There’s no need to rinse it out before running the next load.
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Salvage a burned pot
By the time you’ve thought, “What’s that smell?” and then remembered you left the stove on, it’s often too late. The bottom of the pot is a blackened mess. You can save it, though. Scrape out as much food as you can and then fill the pan a quarter full of water. Pour in a half cup of baking soda and bring the water to a boil. Turn it off and let it sit overnight. In the morning, you can clean off the black stuff with ease.
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Make tomatoes taste sweeter
If last year’s garden tomatoes tasted dull, take action this year to ensure your garden harvest is as good as it can be. Sprinkle baking soda lightly on the soil around the base of your tomato plants; the resulting bounty will taste sweeter.
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Take the sting out of sunburn
Pour a cup of baking soda into a lukewarm bath, then soak and relax. It will help lessen the pain more quickly.
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Control cradle cap
The flaky scalp on infants known as cradle cap is harmless and will usually go away on its own, but most parents can’t stand to look at it. Make a paste in your palm of a couple of tablespoons baking soda and a teaspoon of water. Rub gently on the affected area, being careful not to get near the eyes, then wipe off with a damp washcloth, using no soap or baby shampoo. Repeat for two to three days until the flakiness lessens. (If the baby’s head is very red after this treatment, try rubbing in baby oil instead; the soda could be too abrasive).
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Soothe a canker sore
It’s hard to believe how much pain a tiny sore on the inside of your mouth can cause. Help the sore heal faster by swishing every couple of hours with a solution of one teaspoon baking soda stirred until it dissolves into one cup warm water.
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Make your microwave sparkle
Got a lot of gunk baked onto the walls of your microwave? Put one cup water and a few tablespoons of baking soda into a glass container. Microwave on high for three minutes. Use a damp sponge to wipe off all the loosened grime.
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Soothe a sensitive stomach
Careful use of baking soda can help make certain foods more palatable. A very tiny pinch of baking soda in coffee, orange juice, or tomato soup, for example, can prevent an acidic stomach after eating. Be careful not to overdo it or food will taste bland.
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Stop a mosquito bite in its tracks
For a fresh bite, rush inside and pour a tablespoon of baking soda in your palm. Wet it with a few drops of water to make a paste, then smear it on the bite area. Let it dry and flake off. Treating a mark this way as soon as possible will minimize the red welt and the itching should promptly subside. The same treatment works for bee stings, assuming you have carefully removed any sign of the stinger. This is one of the many baking soda uses that can help your skin.
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Discourage weeds in cracks
To keep grass and weeds out of the cracks between your paving stones, sprinkle on baking soda and sweep it into the cracks.
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Soak away smelly feet
For hot, sweaty feet or tired, achy toes, plop your feet in a basin of cool water with baking soda stirred in. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse and dry. This will help cut down on odor and may also help ease athlete’s foot.
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