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16 Brilliant Uses for Baking Soda That Will Save You Time and Money

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a household staple — and as it turns out, it’s for more than one good reason! This versatile powder is particularly useful when it comes to cleaning, deodorizing and lifting stains. It’s also affordable, making it a must-have ingredient to solve myriad home-related issues. Below, you’ll find 16 uses for baking soda, from brightening teeth to restoring tarnished silverware, that will make you appreciate the powder even more.

1. Uses for baking soda: Silence a squeaky floor

Argh! Lately whenever you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, one of your wooden floorboards squeaks so loudly you worry you’ll wake the whole house. The solution: Sprinkle baking soda on loud spots and sweep away the excess. The powder will work its way into gaps in the floor to keep the boards from shifting and making unwanted noise. (Find more fixes for squeaky floors here).

2. Rid hairstyling tools of residue

Over time, hair brushes and combs can accumulate oil and product residue. This not only makes them unsanitary but that residue gets transferred back to your hair and weighs down your locks. The solution: Mix 1 tsp. of baking soda in 1 cup of warm water. Soak brushes for 1 hour; rinse. Baking soda absorbs the oily residue, leaving your styling tools like new.

3. Uses for baking soda: Soothe mosquito bites

Uses for baking soda: Soothe bug bites
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Your afternoon of hiking was absolutely refreshing, but now you have a ton of itchy mosquito bites . Ease the itch with a homemade salve: Mix 1 Tbs. of baking soda with just enough water to form a paste. Apply the mixture to the bite, leave on for 10 minutes then wash off. Alkaline baking soda helps relieve itching and irritation in a flash.

4. Restore outdoor cushions

To clean pollen-coated cushion covers, add ¼ cup of baking soda to the wash cycle, says Clive Harris of DIY Garden. “The baking soda scrubs and lifts pollen from fabric, leaving covers looking like new. And since baking soda is a natural deodorizer, they’ll smell great too!”

5. Uses for baking soda: Lift grease off a grill

Uses for baking soda: De-grime a grill
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Although you love grilling during the warmer months, you could do without the sticky, greasy mess left behind on the grates. To eliminate the grime, simply sprinkle baking soda on the bristles of a grill brush and use it to scrub the grates. The alkaline, mildly abrasive powder will cut through the stuck-on grease so your grill is spotless for your next BBQ.

6. Reveal silky-smooth skin

If your skin is feeling rough and cracked, try adding ½ cup of baking soda to a warm bath. As you enjoy the relaxing soak, the baking soda will restore skin’s barriers and reduce inflammation. Your skin will be silky soft once again!

7. Uses for baking soda: Prevent a pet accident cycle

If your pup has an accident on the carpet, do this to clean up the mess: Wet the area with white vinegar and sprinkle on baking soda. Vacuum the next day. The baking soda–vinegar combo will erase the stain and neutralize the smell so there won’t be any repeats. Pet pee on your sofa? Try these tricks to remove stains and odors.

8. Brighten yellow teeth on the cheap

Uses for baking soda: whiten teeth
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No need to buy pricey whitening strips to for a vibrant smile. Instead, brush your teeth with a mixture of equal parts baking soda and water two or three times per week. The coarse paste buffs away surface stains caused by coffee, tea and wine and reduces discoloration. Plus, baking soda neutralizes bad breath–causing germs.

9. Uses for baking soda: Eliminate trash can odors

Even if you regularly take out the garbage, it doesn’t take much for a smelly can to stink up your kitchen! “For a homemade deodorizer, you can take a thin sock, pour baking soda into it, tie it off and toss it under the bag at the bottom of your trash can,” says Forrest McCall, co-owner of home improvement site Mama Needs a Project. “It will help absorb smells for longer periods of time, plus it’s reusable. All you have to do is dump out the baking soda, wash the sock and you can easily make another deodorizer.”

10. Clean a lawn spreader

Acidic fertilizer tends to clump and clog the rotary of your spreader, where it can also eat away at the mechanism’s blades. To prevent that from happening, just hose down the spreader after each use, then sprinkle it liberally with baking soda, which helps neutralize the acid from any remaining fertilizer and coats the blades in a powder that repels corrosive elements for the next time you use it.

11. Uses for baking soda: Freshen up a well-loved toy

The little one in your life loves to bring her favorite teddy bear everywhere, but all that traveling takes a toll on the toy. Instead of tossing it in the washing machine, which might damage it, try this to make Teddy look like new again: Pour ½ cup of baking soda into a large zip-top bag, add the toy and shake. Let sit for 15 minutes; gently brush off excess. The baking soda will absorb odor and fluff-flattening oils hidden in the bear’s fur so he looks and smells fresh.

12. Remove pesticides from fresh veggies

Uses for baking soda: wash pesticides from produce
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The secret to ensuring your produce is clean? Mix 2 Tbs. of baking soda and 1 cup of water in a bowl, soak veggies for 5 minutes, scrub with a vegetable brush and rinse. Baking soda removes dirt and pesticides so you can crunch worry-free.

13. Uses for baking soda: Caramelize onions in no time

Sautéed onions are one of your favorite toppings for homemade burgers — if only it didn’t take so long to caramelize them! The save: Add a dash of baking soda (¼ tsp. per pound of onions) to onions as they cook. This will raise the onions’ pH, which speeds up the chemical reaction that turns them brown. (Click through for more tips on making caramelized onions).

See this in action below:

@theedgyveg

Caramelized Onions in Minutes?! Say goodbye to the wait and hello to flavor EXPLOSION! 💥 Unleash your inner kitchen magician with this quick and easy hack. Get ready to transform your dishes!✨👩‍🍳 #CaramelizedOnions #veganrecipes #vegancooking

♬ original sound – Candice Hutchings | Edgy Veg

14. Soothe blister burns fast

Ouch! A splash of hot oil hit you on the arm while you were cooking. To eliminate the pain fast, mix 1 tsp. of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Then apply to scorched skin and let dry. The slightly alkaline powder will balance your skin’s pH levels to help cut down on blistering and speed healing, while the cooling sensation provides instant relief. (Click through to learn how baking soda can help get rid of burning stomach pain, too.)

15. Uses for baking soda: Banish tarnish in a flash

Uses for baking soda: Lift tarnish from silver
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You took out your favorite silver jewelry for your niece’s wedding only to it’s tarnished and you have no silver polish on hand. Instead: Line a baking pan with foil, fill with hot water and add 2 Tbs. of baking soda. Then let jewelry soak in the mix for five minutes before buffing dry. The powder and aluminum combo will chemically react with the tarnish so the pieces sparkle again. (Click through for other ways aluminum foil can save the day).

16. Make detergent go further

The easy key to doubling your detergent? “Simply reduce the recommended amount by half, then add ½ cup of baking soda,” says Kay Escobia of laundry service Liox Clean. “Not only does this stretch my supply of detergent but my clothes also come out fresher because baking soda is a natural deodorizer.”

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.


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