03 November 2011

35 Tips for Green Cleaning With Baking Soda

Baking soda is easy to use, versatile, and as far as I am concerned, it is the greenest cleaning agent! It can help sanitize nearly anything that comes to mind. Oh, and did I mention that you can cleanse your body with it as well?

In May I pronounced baking soda my personal beauty shock of the year because I learned that apart from using it around the home, I could wash my hair with it! Here I am, 5 months after I went shampooless, still happily washing my hair with soda.

Edit: Since I wrote this post in 2011 I have learned the hard way that baking soda is extremely detrimental to hair. You can read a very thorough article with my findings, called Baking Soda Destroyed My Hair and see for yourself. I do not recommend anyone to ever wash their hair with baking soda.

All of the tips you are about to read have been collected through the years and have been tested vigorously. What is more, they are environmentally friendly, which will save you any doubts associated with using harmful chemicals. Some of the applications of baking soda might come as a surprise to you but rest assured - they really work!

Photo: Jon Russel

1. Clean your oven – use baking soda to sprinkle generously the oven floor and then spray it with water. Wipe out after several hours and rinse with vinegar.
2. Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 4 cups of warm water to wash your microwave oven - boil the mixture in a microwave safe cup for a few minutes. Once the inside walls of the microwave get damp, clean them with a cloth. The soda will also remove any odors.
3. Take the dried crud off your dishes by letting it sit covered with baking soda, after you have rinsed them in warm soapy water.
4. Treat your cups to a warm baking soda bath to remove coffee or tea stains.
5. To boost your dishwashers efficiency and to decrease the smells, add a dash of baking soda.
6. You can clean and remove odors from your cutting board with the help of a sponge and a paste of baking soda and water.
7. When washing your fruits and vegetables, replace the store-bought spray with a few tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of cool water. Soak the fruits or vegetables for 5 – 10 minutes and rinse or wipe them with a sponge and a small amount of baking soda.
8. Soak dried beans in a baking soda solution to make them more digestible. 
9. Clean your refrigerator with the help of a thick paste of soda and water. Not only will you remove food stains but odor as well.
10. Place an open box of soda in your fridge or freezer to let it absorb the odors. Replace every 3 months.
11. To unclog your drain try pouring 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of hot vinegar. Wait 10 – 15 minutes before flushing the drain with hot water. You can repeat this process a few times if it is necessary.
12. If you sprinkle a bit of soda on the bottom of your trash container you will get rid of the unpleasant smells.

Photo: Nanon

Around the home
13. To absorb the odor from your shoes, pour 3- 5 tablespoons of baking soda into scrap tissue paper or a paper coffee filter, tie it up and put it in for a few hours.
14. Put your old books in a sealed container with baking soda for several hours to remove their musty smell. It is a tried method of used-book sellers. The baking soda will leave the books less malodorous.
15. Replace a tub of spackle and fill a small hole in plaster or drywall with a stiff paste of baking soda and white toothpaste. Once it hardens, nobody will be able to tell the difference.
16. Baking soda is the perfect way to polish silver, stainless steel and chrome without any toxins. Put some soda on a damp cloth and polish away!
17. You can remove oil, grease and wine stains from carpets and different types of fabrics with the help of a little sprinkled soda, left to work for a few hours and brushed off. If necessary, you can rub again with a paste of soda and water.
18. Another way to clean carpets and rugs and remove odor is to sprinkle a bit of baking soda and let it sit for a few minutes before you vacuum.  
19. Remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors and walls by making a paste of soda and water. Apply with a soft cloth.

Photo: Ella Novak

20. To get odorless, sparkling white clothes, add half a cup of baking soda to the liquid detergent you put in your washing machine.
21. Baking soda can also replace the fabric softener. Add half a cup to the rinse cycle and you will be surprised by the softness – much better for sensitive skin!
22. Put some soda on an old toothbrush to rub canvas handbags clean.

Photo: Donna Winton

23. Give your furry pet a dry bath by sprinkling baking soda on its fur and rubbing it well. Brush off after a few minutes.
24. With a dash of baking soda in your cat's litter box you will get rid of any extra odors.

Photo: Kathy Cassidy

25. You can use baking soda as an exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin cells, which can be discolored from hyper-pigmentation and scarring.
26. Brush your teeth with baking soda to whiten them. Since it is abrasive and might hurt your gums, do not overdo your brushing.
27. Wash your hair with a handful of baking soda diluted in half a cup of water. Rinse with vinegar instead of conditioner.
Edit: Do not ever wash your hair with baking soda unless you want to destroy it. Read more here: Baking Soda Destroyed My Hair.
28. Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in hot water to clean your hairbrushes.
29. Baking soda is the perfect helper against heartburn, gas or other stomach issues because it can neutralize acid. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it. You will quickly feel relieved.
30. To dry out a pimple or to spot-treat acne, prepare a thick paste of soda and water and apply.
31. Ease sunburnt skin by mixing 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a glass of yogurt and applying the mixture to the affected zones. Your skin will quickly cool off and you will not fell pain. If your entire body is red, take a warm bath with 1/2 cup of baking soda.

Photo: Eric__I_E

32. Dip a wet sponge in baking soda to clean the dirt on your plastic outdoor chairs and tables.
33. Melt the ice on your sidewalk in an eco-friendly manner, by sprinkling generously with baking soda and adding just a bit of sand.
34. If you want to get rid of the weeds growing in the cracks of of your sidewalk, sprinkle the cracks with baking soda and sweep the soda into the cracks with a broom.
35. To clean the hazy headlights of your car, or to quickly get rid of splattered insects, scrub gently with a thick paste of baking soda and water.

The most amazing thing about baking soda is that it is both eco-friendly and pocket-friendly! You can do all these things for a very small cost and still be green! Baking soda is truly a miracle product, whether it’s used for baking or not. 

What are your favorite uses of baking soda?