Those ahead-of-their-time ancient Egyptians used natron, gathered from dry lake beds, to make a soap product and to assist in drying and preserving their mummies. They also used it for oral care, mixed it into antiseptics, used it as an insecticide, and much more. They knew what they were doing – natron contains sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda. The baking soda that we use today primarily comes from other naturally occurring sources but the list of uses for this green-cleaning wonder is impressively long. Let’s take a look at just 10 ways to clean with baking soda . . .
1. Deodorize Smelly Things. In general, foul odors tend to be acidic and the pH-balancing properties of baking soda neutralize the odors as they come in contact with the baking soda. Sprinkle it in your shoes, sprinkle it on furniture and then vacuum it up after a while, or place an open container of baking soda in your fridge.
2. Freshen carpets. Generously sprinkle baking soda on your carpet (stock up for this task – you’ll need a lot of baking soda but fortunately it’s inexpensive). Wait at least 30 minutes, or even overnight, and then vacuum well. The baking soda will have absorbed odors, leaving your carpet much fresher. You can also mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil into the baking soda to leave a hint of scent.
3. Clean painted walls. Make a paste of baking soda and water, and then gently wipe away marks on walls with a soft cloth or sponge, followed by a wipe with a clean damp cloth and a buff with a dry cloth. Speed Cleaning recommends you test in an inconspicuous area first to make sure your particular paint can be safely cleaned with this method.
4. Clean your cooktop. First remove any loose debris, then generously sprinkle baking soda on the tough spots, or all over if necessary. Use a spray bottle filled with vinegar to soak the baking soda and let the bubbling combination work for 20 minutes or so, then wipe clean. Use a plastic scrubby if necessary remove all the burned-on drips. Try Speed Cleaning’s microfiber cloths and white pad for this cleaning task.
5. Clean your oven. Remove any loose bits of burned-up food as well as the racks. Make a paste of 1 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup salt, and water, and spread all over the inside of the oven. Lightly spray with water and leave overnight. The next day, wipe clean using vinegar on a cloth, and a light spray of vinegar if there are any remaining spots.
6. Clean the inside of a microwave. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 cup of water in a medium-size bowl and microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Don’t open the door yet – leave the bowl in the microwave for an additional few minutes or so to allow the steam to loosen spills and splatters, then remove the bowl. Wipe the inside with a damp cloth and you’re good to go!
7. Clean the inside of your dishwasher. Starting with an empty dishwasher, run on a hot cycle with one cup of distilled white vinegar in a container sitting on the top rack. For extra freshness, then run a second cycle with one cup of baking soda sprinkled on the bottom of the dishwasher. Read Speed Cleaning’s Clean Dishes – Dirty Dishwasher for how to do a really thorough cleaning.
Tip: Speed Cleaning’s Pro Scrub is a great alternative to baking soda for many
of these cleaning tasks. Like baking soda, it’s a non-toxic, non-abrasive green cleaner
but with more cleaning power and a delicate clean scent!
8. Clean grout. For mildly dirty grout, mix baking soda with water to form a paste and apply with a sponge or small brush. Wait a few minutes, then wipe off. For a deeper clean, use hydrogen peroxide instead of the water. Read Speed Cleaning’s 3 Steps to Cleaning Grout for more info.
9. Clean the toilet. Pour 1 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar in the toilet. Let this sit and bubble for about 10 minutes, then brush as you normally would.
10. Clear a slow drain. When the last of the water has finally gone down the drain, put a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Stop up the drain and wait a half hour, then pour at least a quart of very hot water down the drain. If the water from that sink’s tap doesn’t instantly come out hot, get the water from another source – don’t start out with cold water.
Wow, right? And this is just a sampling. Share with us your cleaning tips using baking soda. Speed Cleaning is always happy to hear from our fellow cleaning enthusiasts!