As one of the original kitchen staples, baking soda is a must-have in any pantry. It is incredibly useful in both cooking and cleaning, from reducing the acidity in tomato sauce to leaving your sink sparkling clean. But how often do you actually pull baking soda out of the cupboard for the odd job?
You’d be surprised at just how many times you can use baking soda in a day. This magical stuff has plenty of uses outside the kitchen, too. In fact, it can save you from taking trips to the grocery store or pharmacy every time you need a new cleaner or a new medical ointment.
Though the reasons behind the functionality of it aren’t yet understood, researchers suspect that the product’s natural alkalinity and anti-fungal properties have something to do with it. A study published in the journal Mycopathologia, for example, found that sodium bicarbonate successfully eliminated fungal growth in 19 types of fungal infections. In addition, this basic substance makes a better cleaner than soap in most cases because it is more abrasive and lacks slippery fat molecules.
Ready to try out the endless possibilities of baking soda on your own? Check out these unique hacks and home remedies.
Soothe bug bites and itchy skin.
For quite some time now, baking soda has been used as a topical home-remedy for various ailments. In addition to treating fungal infections, many people have found that the white powder can treat bug bites and itchy skin.
To treat a bug bite, mix a little baking soda with water to create a paste. Apply the paste to your bug bites and let it sit for as long as possible without washing it off. Not only should the itching subside, but the bug bite should shrink and become less red as well. Some people report that the itching returns after some time. If this is the case, reapply the paste. Keep in mind that if you are allergic to certain bug bites, like mosquito bites, baking soda will not help as much and you may need stronger medication.
On the off chance that you are completely covered in bug bites (ugh, sorry!), you can also give yourself a baking-soda bath. Simply add one cup of sodium bicarbonate to your next bath, and make sure the water is at a neutral temperature.
Absorb oil stains and spills.
Because baking soda is a highly absorbent substance, it makes an excellent oil-stain remover. Sprinkling a generous amount of it on top of a clothing stain or a carpet will help slowly absorb the oil and do significant damage control.
To remove a stain with baking soda, sprinkle the product onto the stain without trying to rub it out at first. Doing so will only make the oil sink further into the material. Once it’s remained on the oil for at least 15 minutes, you can get to work removing the stain.
For clothing, gently rub off the baking soda and replace it with a fabric stain remover. Work it into the fabric with a brush or your fingers, and let that sit for a half hour before tossing it in the washing machine. For a carpet, try using a soft brush to gently scrub the baking soda and the oil. Then suck up the powder with a vacuum and blot the stain with a little dishwashing liquid, plenty of hot water, and a clean white cloth. Once the stain has lifted, use plain water and a cloth to remove excess residue.
Are you constantly worried about pesticides and dirt when it comes to your produce? If you are, research is on your side. The FDA strongly recommends that all raw fruits and vegetables should be washed before cutting, peeling, or eating anything.
Fortunately, baking soda works wonderfully as an edible cleaner. To begin, wash your hands well with soap and warm water. Then get a large mixing bowl and fill it about 2/3 of the way with cold water. Add about 3 to 4 tablespoons of baking soda to the water and mix it well to prevent clumping. For those who like to use ratios, about 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 2 cups of water should do the trick.
Add your produce to the water and let it soak for about 15 minutes, as this will allow the baking soda to do most of the work for you. For firm vegetables like carrots or potatoes, you can also use a brush to gently scrub the surface after the produce has soaked. For fragile fruits and veggies, like berries, gently rub the surface with your hands.
Once you remove your produce from the wash water, let it thoroughly dry before you begin prepping or eating. You can also use a clean cloth or paper towels to help soak up excess water.
Clean your microwave.
Most of us already know that baking soda and vinegar are amazing cleaners for kitchen sinks and floors. But did you know that baking soda alone can clean your microwave, too? The substance does an excellent job of breaking down crusted foods, grease, and sticky residues. It’s also non-toxic, making it a great food-safe cleaner.
To clean out your microwave, first pour a decent amount of baking soda into a microwave-safe bowl. Add water and mix the ingredients together. Place the bowl inside and turn the microwave on for about 5 minutes. The steam, heat, and aerosolized baking soda will all help dissolve tough stains so you have to do far less scrubbing.
When the timer dings, take out the bowl and use a cloth to wipe down the inside of the microwave. Wiping everything down should be a breeze! And because baking soda naturally absorbs smells, it should leave your microwave odor-free.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.