Baking soda is an unimposing substance that most people have sitting in a cupboard next to the flour or stuffed into the back of a refrigerator.
It’s incredibly versatile, and not just for baking: It has brightening, whitening and even pain-relieving properties, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Thank Your Body, and we’ve highlighted 15 of those uses below.
1. Sweet tooth inhibitor:
If you want something sweet, but don’t want to indulge in the calories at the moment, a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with some water and used as a mouthwash should banish that hankering immediately.
2. Pain reliever:
Sunburn? Itchy skin? Toss some of that soda into the bath, take a soak, and steep in relief.
3. Bug bite reliever:
Likewise, if bug bites are driving you nuts, a mix of water and baking soda, applied as a paste, should handle it nicely.
4. Clothing stain remover:
A baking soda/water paste is also great for removing painfully obvious sweat stains on shirts. The paste should be applied to the stain and left to sit for at least an hour before being washed.
5. Food storage container stain remover:
You store spaghetti in a plastic container ONE TIME, and it’s forever branded with that reddish film. Make a paste for your plastic pasta holder, and it should be back to its clear, transparent glory.
6. Car polish:
The properties of this magical paste extend to automobiles, as well: a bit of the mix rubbed on cars with a damp cloth will help remove both tar and bug splats, but without causing any problems for the paint job.
The mildly abrasive and whitening properties of baking soda have resulted in its being used as a toothpaste. It doesn’t taste great, and it probably shouldn’t be used too often because it is abrasive, but it works.
8. Heartburn relief:
While most of the hacks so far involve external baking soda use, a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water can be taken to relieve heartburn pain.
9. Sink cleaner:
Grandma was right about baking soda’s cleaning properties — there are many! It’s great for use on sinks and tubs and will get them sparkling again when used either dry and rubbed with a damp cloth or used, once again, as a paste.
10. Drain cleaner/unclogger:
You can unclog your sink by doing your own, at-home school science experiment: first put a cup of baking soda in the offending drain, then chase it with a cup of hot vinegar. Wait a bit, run some clean, boiling water down the drain, and repeat if necessary.
11. Odor absorber:
Even if you didn’t know about the previous uses, most people are aware that baking soda also works to trap odors (which is why they sell packages with filters on the side so you can put them in your fridge to trap nasty smells).
12. Air freshener:
The powder can also be used in rooms to absorb ambient stink, and some people use it on carpet and then vacuum it up to make their carpets smell fresher.
13. Cat litter additive:
On the note of odor absorption, a bit of baking soda can be sprinkled underneath and on top of cat litter to help trap those smells that are distinctly cat-related.
14. Bug repellant:
Ants and roaches don’t like this white powder, so use a barrier of it anywhere you want to keep them away from.
15. Produce cleaner:
Especially now, with the viral concerns and people being more aware of their shopping and eating habits, this is useful to know. A quarter cup of baking soda in a full sink can be used to dunk veggies and fruit in before rinsing them off with tap water.
Do you have a tried-and-true use that’s not represented here? Tell us about it!
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