The Awesomeness of Sodium Bicarbonate: 27 Uses for Baking Soda

by Mikey Rox on 19 September 2012 15 comments

The use of baking soda — or sodium bicarbonate as its known in the science world — dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who used it as cleansing agent. Today, however, we use baking soda in lots of ways, from making delicious chocolate chip cookies to whitening our teeth and myriad more applications. So before you open that box of Arm & Hammer and stuff it in the back of the fridge, take a few minutes to consider how else you can put baking soda to use around the house with these 27 ideas. (See also: How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom From "Yuck" to "Yes!")

1. Use as a Natural Deodorant

Instead of handing over several dollars for an expensive name-brand deodorant, pat your pits with baking soda to eliminate body odor.

2. Use as an Antacid

If you suffer from heartburn or indigestion, drink a solution of baking soda (1 to 2 teaspoons) and water (8 oz.) after dinner.

3. Soothe Insect Bites

Apply baking soda directly to affected areas to soothe the stinging or itching sensation associated with insect bites.

4. Soak Oral Appliances

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of warm water to soak oral appliances like dentures or retainers. The baking soda will help loosen food particles and reduce odor. After soaking overnight, brush the appliance with baking soda.

5. Foot Soak

Substitute baking soda for Epsom salt when your little piggies have had a hard day. Let your feet soak, and then gently scrub them.

6. Freshen Sponges

Stinky sponges smelling up your kitchen? Soak them in a solution of baking soda (4 tablespoons) and water (1 quart) to breath new life into them.

7. Polish Silver

Make a paste of three parts baking soda and one part water and rub onto tarnished silver with a clean cloth. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

8. Clean the Oven

Forget about the harsh chemicals the next time you need to clean the oven. Instead, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your oven and spray it with water until it’s damp. Let the baking soda sit overnight, then clean it out with ease using a sponge or towel.

9. Deodorize Trash Cans

A sprinkle of baking soda in the bottom of your cans will help quell offensive odors.

10. Put Out Fires

Use baking soda on small household fires — especially in the kitchen — to extinguish them quickly and efficiently.

11. Use as a Face Wash

Mix baking soda with honey to create an all-natural, healthy face scrub that’s gentler on your skin that store-bought exfoliants.

12. Treat Acne

Make a paste using baking soda and water and spot-apply it to unwanted blemishes.

13. Settle Your Stomach

The natural alkaline in baking soda helps neutralize acid that causes stomachaches. When your tummy hurts, drink a glass of water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda.

14. Relieve Diaper Rash

If you baby suffers from diaper rash, soak him or her in a small tub mixed with two tablespoons of baking soda to help soothe and heal the irritated skin.

15. Soothe a Jellyfish Sting

Rub baking soda to the area of skin that was stung by a jellyfish to help draw out the poison.

16. Add to a Vaporizer

Adding 2 teaspoons of baking soda to a vaporizer will help freshen the air, so you can breathe cleaner and better.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

17. Keep Flowers Fresh

Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a vase of water to help keep flowers fresh longer.

18. Reduce Foot Odor

Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your stinky gym shoes to chase the odor away.

19. Repel Rain on Windshields

Rub your windshield with baking soda, then rinse it off to create a surface that repels rain, so you can see better.

20. Restore Stiff Brushes

If you have brushes whose bristles have hardened, save them by placing them in a pot of boiling water mixed with a tablespoon or so of baking soda. The bristles will loosen and the brush will return to working order in about five minutes.

21. Kill Roaches

Mix baking soda and powder sugar to kill roaches. Place the mixture on small lids where the vermin congregate. The sugar will attract the pests, while the baking soda will poison them.

22. Freshen Kitty Litter

If the scent of kitty business permeates your home, try mixing the litter with baking soda to draw out some of the stench.

23. Defeather Chicken

Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a pot of water intended for boiling a chicken to help remove any lingering feathers.

24. Remove Marks From Vinyl

If you have a kid who likes to color on your vinyl surfaces, calm your nerves knowing that a solution of baking soda and water will wipe away the unsightly marks.

25. Clean a Coffee Maker

Fill your coffee carafe with a quarter-cup of baking soda and one cup of warm water. Swirl the solution around so the baking soda dissolves a bit, then pour the solution into the reserve tank of the coffee pot. Place the carafe back under the dripper and run the coffee pot. When the dirty baking soda-water solution has run its course, clean the carafe, fill it with clean water, add it to the reserve tank, and run the coffee pot once more. Clean the carafe and replace.

26. Boost Your Laundry Detergent

Pour a half-cup of baking soda into the wash if you use liquid detergent to give the stain-fighting power a boost.

27. Make a Sports Drink

If you like sports drinks but hate paying the high prices, consider making your own using baking soda. This recipe for a homemade sports drink includes, water, baking soda, table salt, salt substitute, and sugar. You also can add your own flavors to help make the medicine go down.

What other uses do you have for baking soda? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture
Staino

You missed my favorite one...

From Wikipedia:
When added to baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), cyanoacrylate glue forms a hard, lightweight filler/adhesive (baking soda is first used to fill a gap then the adhesive is dropped onto the baking soda). This works well with porous materials that the glue does not work well with alone. This method is sometimes used by aircraft modelers to assemble or repair polystyrene foam parts. It is also used to repair small nicks in the leading edge of composite propeller blades on light aircraft. Note that the reaction between cyanoacrylate and baking soda is very exothermic (heat-producing) and also produces noxious vapors.

Guest's picture

Great article! I knew Baking Soda was extremely useful for many things, but I never would have thought of several of the uses in this article. It does make a great antacid. I frequently use it for that purpose, and it works better than any OTC antacid I've ever tried. I've tried them all, too.

A combination of baking soda and white vinegar makes a great skillet cleaner. It works far better than any commercial product I've ever tried. It made a filthy skillet of mine look like new, literally.

I never would have thought of using Baking Soda as a roach killer to help defeather chickens.

Also, I've never heard of using baking soda as a roach killer. I wonder if it works for ants or other insects.

I definitely would have never thought of using Baking Soda as an ingredient for a sports drink. I'm slightly skeptical of that one, even though I've never tried it before.

Guest's picture
Wanda

My husband gets terrible leg cramps and I make the sports drink mentioned using baking soda, sugar, salt, water, and powdered drink mix. It works wonders and helps him to stay hydrated......the leg cramps are almost a thing of the past!!
It's a lot better than the 'commercial' sports drinks.

Guest's picture
Bonnie

Excellent for Use as an Antacid when you haven't eaten recently. You may drink a solution of baking soda (1 to 2 teaspoons) in 8 oz warm water for heartburn (acid reflux). Heartburn can be caused by stress so it may be wise to take B vitamins and/or an herbal calmative and strengthener for your nerves twice a day (ie. Passion Flower, Camomile, Hops, Valerian, Scullcap, etc.). IMPORTANT NOTE: People call heartburn “indigestion,” however, it is not indigestion. It is the RESULT of indigestion. If you suffer from heartburn within an hour or two of eating a meal, your body is trying to tell you it is not producing enough hydrochloric acid (HCL) to DIGEST the food (especially protein). THIS means you may need to slow down in your eating, chew well enough to pulverize food into liquid, and take Digestive Enzymes near the end of your meals. Don’t take antacids for “indigestion” because they do NOT aid digestion, they just perpetuate this heartburn/acid reflux cycle. Why? Because when you don’t have enough HCL to digest the food into a liquid, the food can’t pass through the valve to move on into the small intestines. Therefore, it just sits there, and ferments, and rots into clumps and bumps (causing constipation), and degenerates (causing acid), which makes gas. Now you feel bloated, and because gas is lighter than air, the gas rises and carries the acid up into your esophagus, which is now the acid you are regurgitating in “acid reflux” (also causing a hiatal hernia). So if it really IS indigestion (an hour or two after you ate) at that time taking Alfalfa Tea or capsules will be the best. Save the Baking Soda for an empty stomach or stressful times.

Guest's picture

Love learning about new ways to use different everyday items. I use a mixture of baking soda, water and hydrogen peroxide once a week to whiten my teeth, and I've added to a vase of flowers before to make them last longer, but the other ones are pretty new to me. Cool!

Guest's picture

I love the facial cleanser and been doing that for months now. Here's another: add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 cup of water and use that instead of shampoo... no, I'm not kidding... it doesn't "suds up" like shampoo (chemicals make that happen) so takes a while to get used to that non-sudsy feeling but it doesn't strip all the oils from your hair either so reduces need for conditioner and de-frizzing hair products, etc. I'm totally sold on it!

Guest's picture
Bill

Baking soda as shampoo is awesome! I have been using it for over a year now and love it. I have heard it called the "nopoo" method - which is a goofy name, but I guess that's what it is called.

Guest's picture
JT Watkins

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBr3Ff5yzuw
"well, hurray for baking soda, ain't it neat and cheers for national baking soda week!
For folks thats young and folks thats old, bicarbonate of soda will cure that cold!
It cleans your teeth and prevents the flu, and you can use it in your car battery, too!
It puts out fire of fat or grease; pass the baking soda, please!..."
John Hartford, the Baking Soda Song[more at link!]

Guest's picture

Baking soda indeed does magic not only to our homes but also to our bodies. I do use baking soda as a laundry detergent, kitchen cleanser, stain remover, and insect repellant. It does not only help relieve diaper rash but also prickly heat. I would also like to try the deodorant and facial cleanser.

Guest's picture
Guest

I love using baking soda for many things. However, please be aware that baking soda contains 1000 mg of sodium per teaspoon. The recommended daily allowance for a healthy person is 2400 mg. If you are pregnant, or have compromised circulation in any way, your doctor may cut down even on that amount. So just be very careful about using baking soda as an antacid or for sour stomach.

Guest's picture
Neo

BEST solution for getting pet stains out (and sooo much cheaper than pet specific cleaners like Nature's Miracle)!! Just used it last night (my cat peed on my brand new mattress:( no stain and absolutely no smell as of this morning!!) I heard from my co-worker that it worked to get her dog-unskunked, too!

16 0z Hydrogen Peroxide
1 Teaspoon dishwashing liquid
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

Mix together and soak area, leave on till completely dry if a white residue appears it can be vacuumed or brushed away.

Guest's picture
Guest

You can also use it in place of Alkaline up/+ if you have a swimming pool. It's much cheaper.

Guest's picture
Guest

can also be used to clean the the drain when used with vinegar

Guest's picture
Guest

For deodorant, add a little baking soda to palm, then wet down. Rub hands together and add enough water until the baking soda turns into a slippery concoction with no granules left. Rub this under your arms. If you just put pure baking soda under your arms, you can expect to have chafed, raw baking soda arm pits at the end of the day. But, turning the baking soda into a slippery slurry helps break down the sand-like granules. When it dries, it still provides odor and wetness protection, but w/o the chafing. Only lasts about 6 hours, though.
Baking soda is also amazing at getting rid of oily dandruff (seaborheaic dermatitis). I used to get bad dandruff, and it even got on my face. Dermotoligist's solution was to just give me a steroid cream to rub on face to control the rash. One day I stumbled across baking soda as an idea. I tried it ... it was as if my whole face sloughed off in the shower when I used it. What I realized after-the-fact was that all the soap and shampoo I was using in the shower was over-drying my skin so much that my natural body oil couldn't keep up. When I'd get out of the shower and dry off, my skin would keep on drying, so the top layer would just get dried out, die and look dull. Then, the natural body oils would form under the dead skin, and natural bacteria and yeast on the skin would get under the dead skin, flourish in the oil, and cause irritation. This is what lead to itching and raw rashy skin. When I used baking soda, it cut all the dead skin off w/o over-drying. I was left with clean, healthy skin that had just enough body oil left on it. I still use baking soda about 3-4 times per week in the shower to prevent dandruff and dead skin build-up. I only use soap once per week to get a deep clean. Other than that, I will switch back-n-forth with using baking soda or just rinsing off. I will use soap / baking soda on pits, crotch, etc. But the rest of my skin I just rinse with water on "off" days. On baking soda days, I put ~1 tblsp in a plastic cup, fill it with water in teh shower, and douse it over me. Rub it around, let it sit for a few minutes while I shave or brush my teeth, then rinse off. The baking soda exfoliates, rinses clean, and leaves you with fresh skin. In the winter, I pull out the olive oil or mineral oil to add some oil to my skin and hair after the shower. This prevents chap skin from forming due to cold. The baking soda also makes the shower so saline that no mold or mildew grows. I only clean the shower once a month, and that's only to rinse out any excess baking soda that may coat the shower tiles. By using a soft soap as body wash once a week, there's no soap scum (like you wuold get from bar soap). And the baking soda acts as a microorganism deterent. So, cleaning the bathroom is a snap.

Guest's picture

I love baking soda! I mix it with white vinegar to clean the tile in my shower---gets rid of mold and stains, and much better than bleach, which breaks down the grout. I also use it to scrub shiny pots in my kitchen to remove stains.