Plain, ordinary baking soda is a wonderful product with many uses! If you’re like many of us, you learned the trick of keeping an open box of it in the fridge to control odors, and maybe you’ve used it to battle unpleasant smells elsewhere, like in trash cans, gym bags, pet beds or sneakers. But there are many more uses for this budget-friendly wonder product. It's a versatile “green cleaner” that you probably never considered!
Why is baking soda so effective at cleaning?
- It’s alkaline – Remember your high-school chemistry class? Baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) is a type of salt and as such is slightly alkali (the opposite of acidic) with a higher than neutral PH. Alkaline substances are good at dissolving dirt and grease. And most odors are acidic – this is why baking soda neutralizes and absorbs these odors
- It is slightly abrasive – not enough to damage surfaces but enough to give its cleaning power a little extra “oomph.”
- It reacts when mixed with vinegar – Baking soda and vinegar when mixed together create bubbles of carbon dioxide gas, that can help loosen grime like stubborn dirt and baked-on food.
So now that we know why it works, what else can you clean with baking soda?
Unclog a slow drain
You need: ½ C baking soda, ½ C white vinegar, 1 wet washcloth or dishcloth
Pour the baking soda down the problem drain, followed by the vinegar and quickly cover with the wet cloth (to prevent it from bubbling up). Wait about 10 minutes and flush with hot water. You can repeat this process as often as needed and unlike caustic chemicals, it won’t harm you or the plumbing.
Remove crayon marks from walls
Have your newly painted walls become the canvas of your budding Picasso? No problem. Scrub gently with a damp sponge sprinkled with a little bit of baking soda – it will remove the crayon without damaging the paint.
Conquer those nasty mildew stains in your bathroom without harsh cleaners by using a damp sponge and baking soda on your bathtub, tiles, shower and sink.
Remove wax and dirt from fruits and veggies
We all want to eat healthy and prepare healthy food for our families, but fresh produce from the supermarket is all too often covered in food waxes or oils … and of course, dirt. Baking soda to the rescue! Mix with water and scrub to remove these unpleasant coatings.
Cut through grease on pots, pans and dishes
A watched pot never boils, but an unwatched pot occasionally boils a little too much and ends up with baked on food. Baking soda can be a big help in removing grease or a baked-on mess. Cover problem surface in a mixture of dish soap AND baking soda, then soak in hot water for 10-20 minutes. Grab a good scrubbing sponge and start scrubbing, adding more baking powder to the stubborn spots as you go, and watch the mess disappear.
Remove food stains from plastic containers
Ever store tomatoes or curry in a plastic container and wonder how to get that orange or yellow stain out? You may be able to get your plastic storage containers to come clean by scrubbing with a sponge and baking soda. Or, for really tough stains, try soaking them for a half hour or so in ¼ C of baking soda and a quart of hot water and then scrubbing.
Brighten laundry without bleach!
For brighter whites and colors, add 1 C of baking soda to your washer in addition to your regular detergent. The geeky reason this trick works is that the PH level of the water is balanced when you combine the two, leaving clothes cleaner.
Remove tarnish from silver
Baking soda can also rescue your silver from unsightly tarnish. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to one part water. Apply with a soft, lint-free cloth and rinse. Note: never use paper towels – they can scratch silver.
Remove motor oil from concrete
Have your power lawn tools or your vehicle left ugly oil spots on your concrete garage floor? A good scrubbing with baking soda and a wet brush will make small spills disappear like magic!
Remove water rings from your furniture
Are your family members notorious for forgetting to put coasters under beverage glasses? You can get rid of those ugly white rings by combining equal parts of baking soda and a non-gel toothpaste. Apply a little of this mixture with a soft, damp cloth, rubbing gently with the grain of the furniture. The mixture should be just abrasive enough to remove the stain without damaging the wood. Remove the mixture with a clean dry cloth.
We hope you enjoyed these "green" cleaning tips! NY Brite is a New York City cleaning company specializing in safe and effective, pet-friendly "green" cleaning for your home or business. If you need some help cleaning your place, whether it's a one-time cleaning or scheduled maid service, give us a call for a free quote!