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50 Household Uses For Baking Soda: {& More Quick Tips}

You’ll often find baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda or bicarb) a frequent ingredient required in many recipes, but here are 50 ways you can use it to make the job easier and save time when cleaning and freshening around the home.

ScoopUpdate: I’ve just added several quick tips for also using it in health & beauty remedies and some not-so-familiar ways in the kitchen, you’ll find these organized in their own sections at the bottom of the page.

There’s a lot here, enjoy!

  1. Stovetop A Mess? Generously sprinkle it around the top of stove then spray hot water (boiling hot if possible) over top–-enough to dissolve the soda without making it run all over. Let soak for about 30 minutes then scrub clean. Source: 8 Cleaning Tips For Crusty Stove Tops [1].
  2. Crusty Roasting Pan Fix: Sprinkle pan generously with bicarb, pour hot water over top about an inch or two deep and soak for a couple hours. Try boiling for a few minutes first if the mess is bad.
  3. Coffee Mug Stains: Remove stains from coffee mugs by wiping mug with a wet cloth then rub the inside of the mug with bicarb. If the stains are stubborn, soak overnight in hot water and baking soda. Source: How To Remove Coffee & Tea Stains From Mugs [2].
  4. Bathtub Miracle Paste: Make a cleaning paste with baking soda and bleach then apply to wet sponge to scrub off grime when wiping the tub down. Source: Clean A Bathtub With Oven Cleaner & More [3].
  5. Sink Scrub: Clean a stainless steel sink by sprinkling it around the sink then scrubbing down with a damp sponge. Source: How To Clean A Stainless Steel Sink [4].
  6. Remove Grey or Black Cutlery Markings On China: Dab a damp sponge in baking soda and rub the marks gently, they should rub out. Source: How To Wash & Care For Fine China Dishes [5].
  7. Remove Sticky Goo Left Behind By Stickers & Labels: Mix with water to make a paste then rub gently into the goo, then wipe off with a warm wet cloth. Source: 30 Helpful Items To Remove Sticky Adhesive Goo [6].
  8. Microwave Cleaner: Got the grungy microwave blues? Clean it up quickly & easily by adding a couple teaspoons of baking soda to a bowl of water and place in microwave. Heat for 3 – 5 minutes, depending how hard the crud is really stuck on. When microwave stops, keep the door closed to give the moisture and steam the heated bowl of water generated to have time to work. Remove bowl (careful, it’s hot) and take a moist, warm cloth to the inside of the microwave. The crud bits should wipe off easily. The added bicarb will act as a deodorizer. If you’re brave, you can use the hot water mixture to clean the insides of the microwave, but be careful–it is HOT water. Use a thick sponge and make sure to keep water away from your fingertips. You could also add a splash or two of cold water to bring the temperature down. Source: Cleaning A Microwave: How To & Tips [7].
  9. Crockpot Cleaner: Soak crock in warm water and bicarb before scrubbing for easier cleanup. Or you can make a paste with water, apply to stain and let set for a few hours. Spritz with water then scrub the paste to remove the stains. This also help remove sauce stains. Crusty Crockpot Cleaning Tips [8].
  10. Thermos Cleaner & Freshener: Put a large teaspoon of bicarb in thermos bottle, fill with boiling water and cap closed for a few hours. All adhering material loosens, comes off and sweetens the bottle.
  11. Luggage Freshener: Musty trunks and funky smelling luggage pieces can be freshened up by sprinkling baking soda inside, closing the case and then let sit a day or two. Remove the soda with a vacuum. Source: Quick Tip: Stinky Luggage [9].
  12. Refrigerator Freshener: After cleaning the refrigerator, keep it smelling fresh with an open box or an open bowl/container filled with baking soda. Source: Easy Refrigerator Deodorizer Ideas & Cleaning Tips [10].
  13. Homemade Air Freshener Spray: Mix 2 cups hot water with 1/8 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup lemon juice, shake to dissolve and spray in the air as needed. Source: Homemade Air Freshener Sprays [11].
  14. Stained Enamel Cookware: Use it to make a paste with water paste then apply to stains and let sit for an hour. Fill with water (leaving paste inside pot), stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve the mixture and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes, rinse then wash as usual.
  15. Cast Iron Cookware Scrub: Use bicarb as a scouring powder when trying to clean or remove rust from cast iron cookware.
  16. Wood Stains: Try removing water stains on wood surfaces by making a paste with a few drops of water. Rub into stain then wipe off. You can also try salt instead. Source: White Stain Removal Tips For Wood Furniture [12].
  17. Clean Freezer Tip: After you’ve thoroughly washed the freezer with soapy water and all food particles have been removed, do a quick rinse wipe with a solution of bicarb and warm water (about 2 TBS of baking soda per quart of warm water). This helps remove the soap residue as well as freshens things up. Wipe everything down inside with a clean cloth to dry.
  18. Floor Scuff & Stain Remover: Mix with water to make a paste, apply to wet sponge and scrub out the scuff marks. Source: Tips For Floor Cleaners, Spots & Scuffs [13].
  19. Clogged Drain Flush: Remove as much water as you can from the backed up sink. Toss 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour a cup of household vinegar down the drain, plug the drain with the sink stopper then let sit for half an hour. After about 30 minutes, unplug the sink and pour a kettle full of hot water on top. Source: Tips For Clogged Drains & Homemade Drain Cleaner Recipe [14].
  20. Teapot Stain Buster: Fill a teapot with boiling water, squeeze the juice from a wedge of lemon (1/4 lemon) and toss in the peel, add 1/8 cup of bicarb. Soak overnight, wash well in the morning.
  21. Fido Smelling A Little Off? Make a doggy deodorizer by mixing 1/2 cup baking soda with 2 cups water then soak 1 bandana (sized to fit dog). Dry bandana in the sun then tie around Fido’s neck to help keep the odors at bay.
  22. To Remove Odor From a Vase: Pour a solution of water and bicarb into the vase and let stand for several hours. Wash clean and odors should be gone, if not simply repeat the process.
  23. Smelly Ashtrays Fix: Mix equal parts white sand and bicarb then pour mixture into ashtrays. This helps diffuse the odor from cigar and cigarette butts and it also helps mask the smoke in the air.
  24. Grease Buildup On Range Hood: If the grease buildup inside the hood is especially thick, first make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Take a cloth wet with hot, soapy water and then scrub the grease with the paste in a circular motion–-then wipe off as much as the grease as possible then rinse the cloth in a bucket of hot, soapy water. Reapply paste on the cloth and repeat until most of the grease has been removed. Once the majority of grease buildup has been removed–-wash the unit with hot, soapy water to remove all traces of the paste and then clean with degreaser if needed.
  25. Musty Books Fix: For books that got damp or are musty, sprinkle bicarb on the pages and allow time to air out. If there’s mildew on the paper you can rub the soda into the spots and lay out to bleach in the sun. Source: 32 Household Tips – A Collection Of Timeless Wisdom [15].
  26. Cleaning Cake & Pie Pan Edges: Dip a raw potato into bicarb to scrub the rusted corners and edges of cake and pie pans. You could also try using bicarb with a few drops of lemon juice. Source: Cookware Cleaning & Stain Removal Tips [16].
  27. Mattress Freshener: When stripping the beds down for laundry, freshen up the mattress by sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda directly on top of the mattress. Leave sit for a few hours then vacuum the powder up. Source: Quick Tips For Mattress Care [17].
  28. Cheap & Natural Carpet Freshener: Sprinkle carpets with bicarb and leave sit for a few hours then vacuum up. Your carpets will smell noticeably fresher. Source: 10 Household Cleaning Quick Tips [18].
  29. Remove Plastic Melted On An Iron or Toaster: Simply heat the iron on low until the plastic has softened, yet the iron is not too hot to burn you. Unplug and use a soft bristle brush (first wet in soapy water) to scrub the plastic off. If the plastic won’t come off, try gently rubbing in a paste of bicarb and water. You don’t want to scratch the plate, so do this carefully. Same method applies for removing plastic from toaster.
  30. Dish Rack Freshener: Spruce up dish racks by occasionally scrubbing them with a paste of bicarb and water. Removes stains and odors. Source: 15 Kitchen Tip Quickies [19].
  31. Windshield Bug Scrub Recipe: Mix 70/30 (approx) Baking Soda and Liquid Dish Detergent until you have a paste. Dab a wet sponge into the paste to get a good glob of it then scrub the windshield. Rinse off well. Liquid dish detergent isn’t recommended for use on car paint, so keep this recipe for the windshield only.
  32. Oven Cleaner: Clean a dirty oven by sprinkling the inside with water then covering with a mixture of 1 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup salt. Spray again with water, leave overnight and wipe clean in the morning. Oven Cleaner: A paste of bicarb and hot water or sprinkle the soda on a damp sponge and wipe. Source: Homemade Oven Cleaner Recipes [20].
  33. Freshen Lunchboxes & Bags: Sour smelling lunchboxes and bags can be cleaned out by opening the lunchbox and sprinkling a heavy layer of bicarb on both sides. Lay open overnight and then wash in hot water with dish soap. Source: Quick Household Tips & Resources [21].
  34. Hard Water Laundry Fix: Hard water giving you dingy laundry? Try adding bicarb to the wash as a laundry booster, suggestions are to start with 1/2 cup per load. Source [22].
  35. Freshen Linen: Mix dried, ground herbs with 1/2 cup bicarb to freshen bedding. Source: Fresh Summery Scented Bedding Year Round: Tip Sheet [23].
  36. Fishy Smell: Fish or onion odor can be removed from utensils and dishes by adding a teaspoonful of bicarb to the dish water.
  37. Garbage Pail Deodorizer: Mix 4 teaspoons Eucalyptus oil with 4 cups of bicarb. Store in an airtight plastic container. After cleaning garbage can, sprinkle a handful of mixture on the bottom (once dry). Source: Freshen Your Home With Eucalyptus: Recipes [24].
  38. Blood Stain Removal (Laundry): Blood stains, if fresh, may be removed by washing in cold water. If hard and dry steep for a few hours in cold water, to which add a pinch of baking soda. Washing and bleaching will finish the process. Never put blood stains in hot water. Source: Old-Time Stain Removal Tips: Timeless Wisdom [25].
  39. Tile Grout Shine: Clean and brighten tile grout by mixing 3 cups baking soda and 1 cup water. Use to scrub grout clean with a sponge, leave for a few minutes then rinse clean. Source: Grout Cleaning Tips & Recipes [26].
  40. Slippery Sidewalks: If you sprinkle a generous amount of bicarb on icy patches on walkways, it’s much easier on the cement than salt and makes a slip free zone. Source: 12 Quick Tips For The Home: Tipnut’s Mailbag [27].
  41. Curling Iron Cleaner: Clean the gunk off of curling irons by scrubbing it clean with a paste made from bicarb and water. Source: How To Clean A Curling Iron [28].
  42. Toilet Bowl Cleaner & Freshener: First drizzle 1 cup baking soda into the toilet. Top with 1 cup vinegar. Allow to fizz for 10 minutes then use a toilet brush to scrub toilet clean. Source: Homemade Cleaners For The Bathroom {Peppermint} [29].
  43. Funky Dishwasher: Freshen things up by sprinkling a layer of bicarb on the bottom of the dishwasher. Close it and let it sit overnight. The next day take a damp sponge and scrub the powder into the inside walls and door of the dishwasher. Remove most of the powder then run a full cycle on empty to remove all traces of the powder. Another method to freshen up the dishwasher is to toss in a cup of bicarb to an empty dishwasher then run it on the rinse cycle. Source: Tips For Cleaning A Dishwasher [30].
  44. Deodorant Stains Fix: To prevent deodorant stains on your clothes, apply baking soda to your underarms after applying deodorant. Source: Underarm & Deodorant Stains: Removal Tips [31].
  45. Marble & Granite Stains: Remove a stain from marble or granite countertops by first spraying the stain with water then covering it completely with a paste made from bicarb and water (to the consistency of sour cream). Cover with plastic wrap then allow to set for at least 24 hours, the baking soda will dry and pull up much of the stain. Source: How To Remove Stains From Marble & Granite [32].
  46. Crayon On Walls: Remove crayon scribbles from walls by making a paste with the soda and water then use it to gently scrub the marks. You could also just sprinkle bicarb on a damp sponge and rub. Source: 21 Crayon Busters: How To Remove Crayon From Walls [33].
  47. Crusty Casserole Dishes: Have a casserole dish that just won’t come clean? Try filling the dish with boiling water and 2 or 3 tablespoons of bicarb. Let sit until the water has cooled and you should be able to scrub the dish clean with no problem.
  48. Vacuum Bag Freshener: Make vacuum bag sachets filled with bicarb and dried herbs. Slip these fragrant sachets into your vacuum bag and enjoy the pleasant fragrance when you vacuum the floor. Source: Vacuum Bag Sachet Fresheners: How-To [34] (listed at bottom of page).
  49. Easy DIY Air Freshener: Keep a room fresh with bowls of baking soda and dried flower buds. Source: Winter Detox: 12 Easy DIY Air Fresheners [35].
  50. Brass Cleaner: Bring out the shine in brass by cleaning it with a wedge of lemon first sprinkled with bicarb, this will provide a gentle abrasion for cleaning. Source: How To Clean Brass [36].

Beauty & Health

  1. Homemade Deodorant: Make a quick and easy deodorant with 1 part bicarb, 1 part cornstarch and tea tree oil. Combine ingredients and mix well, store in airtight container. Source: Homemade Deodorant Recipes [37].
  2. Cold Sores Remedy: Treat cold sores by dabbing with baking soda. Source: Cold Sore Tips [38].
  3. Blackhead Remover: 50/50 Baking Soda & Water. Use gently on your skin as an exfoliator. Source: Easy Food Facials [39].
  4. Homemade Toothpaste: 1 tsp bicarb mixed with 1/4 tsp hydrogen peroxide. Mix into paste then brush teeth. Source: Homemade Toothpaste, Mouthwash & Teeth Whiteners [40]. Here’s another: Make your own homemade toothpaste with 1/4 cup Vegetable Glycerin + 1/4 cup Baking Soda + 10 to 15 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil (food grade).
  5. Nausea Remedy: 1/2 tsp bicarb in glass of warm water (not for pregnant women because of the high salt content). Source: 12 Home Remedies for Nausea [41].
  6. Sunburn Relief: Fill a spray bottle with cool water and dissolve 1/4 cup bicarb. Spritz on burned skin for relief. Source: Sunburn Relief Home Remedies – Over 50 Soothing Treatments [42].
  7. Dry Elbows Fix: Mix fresh lemon juice and bicarb to make a thick paste, apply to dry elbows. Gently rub in to exfoliate the skin and leave to sit for about 15 minutes. Wash off and apply a moisturizer or Vaseline. Source: Dry Elbow Home Remedies & Treatments [43].
  8. Poison Ivy Remedy For Itch Relief: Generously add baking soda to a hot bath to help with relief. Source: Poison Ivy Home Remedies [44].
  9. Canker Sores: Sprinkle bicarb onto sore or make a paste with water then apply. You can also rinse your mouth with a strong bicarb and water solution. Source: Home Remedies For Canker Sores [45].
  10. Wasp & Bee Stings (Mosquito Bites Too): Kill the pain of wasp stings dead by making a thick paste of bicarb and water then apply to sting. Same trick helps with bee stings and mosquito bites (for itch relief). Sources: Wasp Stings: Treatments & Home Remedies [46] and 15 Bee Sting Home Remedies & Tips [47] and Over 40 Mosquito Bite Itch Relief Tips [48].
  11. Wart Home Remedy: Looking for a simple home remedy to get rid of warts? Try White Household Vinegar & Bicarb: Sprinkle a heavy coat of baking soda on the wart then drizzle vinegar over it. Do this once in the morning and once at night until wart is gone. Source: 50 Wart Home Remedies & Treatments [49].
  12. Soothe Toothaches: Ease toothache pain by taking a cotton swab and moisten it with a bit of water, dip it in baking soda (coat the swab really well) then rub into tooth and gums until pain subsides. You can also make a mouth rinse by mixing a heaping spoonful of bicarb in a small glass of lukewarm to warm water, dissolve the soda then swish the mixture in your mouth around the sore tooth. Source: 25 Toothache Remedies For Pain Relief [50].
  13. Heartburn Relief: Suffering from heartburn? Use bicarb and water to neutralize stomach acid (this remedy should only be used moderately, regular use could dramatically increase your salt intake since bicarb is high in salt). Mix 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of bicarb per glass of water. Because of the high salt content in baking soda, pregnant women shouldn’t use this remedy. Source: 12 Heartburn Remedies Plus Causes & Prevention Tips [51].
  14. Sore Throat Relief: Relieve a sore throat by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of each bicarb and salt with a 1/2 cup of warm water and gargle a few times each day. Source: 12 Simple Sore Throat Remedies [52].
  15. Tooth Whitener: Brighten your smile with strawberries & baking soda. First mash a fresh strawberry and add about a tsp of soda. Spread on toothbrush and rub strawberry mash onto teeth. Leave for a couple minutes then brush teeth clean. Rinse mouth well. Source: 12 Simple Beauty Hacks From The Kitchen [53].

Note: These are simply home remedies I’ve collected, they’re not professional medical advice.

In The Kitchen

*First published May 15, 2009 and moved to this page for better organization

Here’s an assortment of vintage tips advising how to use baking soda in food preparation and cooking. Many are pretty original, I haven’t come across them before and usually I have to sort through these old tips carefully since many times they’re mentioned frequently in a variety of sources. These come from a recipe booklet published in 1936 by Church & Dwight Company, Inc. (Arm & Hammer and Cow Brand baking sodas).

HomemakerVintage Tips

  1. When parboiling dried beans for baking, the addition of 1/2 tsp of bicarb to each 2 cups soaked beans makes the beans tender in a shorter time. When baked, the beans have a much sweeter flavor than those parboiled in plain water. All dried legumes such as lima, kidney or navy beans and peas, have a better flavor if treated in this manner.
  2. Scalloped potatoes or other scalloped dishes are sometimes spoiled in appearance by curdling of the milk. 1/4 teaspoon bicarb to each pint of milk prevents the curdling.
  3. In the preparation of hominy, use 1 ounce of baking soda (2 level tablespoons) and 3 pints of water to each pound of field corn. Dissolve soda and add corn. Bring corn to boiling point, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Hulls and black eyes can be removed by rubbing between the hands. 6 or 7 washings will remove all traces of soda.
  4. When washing spinach, add a small amount of bicarb (about 1/4 teaspoon for each peck of spinach) to the last rinse water. Cook as usual. The vegetable will retain its lovely fresh color.
  5. When stewing rhubarb or gooseberries, add 1/8 teaspoon bicarb for each 2 cups. This reduces the quantity of sugar required by 1/3. For each 2 cups of rhubarb or gooseberries, use 2/3 cup sugar in place of the usual cup.
  6. If the skin clings to peaches or apricots when peeling for canning, prepare a solution of 1/2 cup bicarb and 2 gallons of water. Bring to boiling point and, while actively boiling, immerse fruit (using a wire basket) until skin is loosened. Remove fruit, wash at once in clear water and remove skins by rubbing.
  7. When baking ham or pork chops in milk, the addition of 1/4 teaspoon bicarb to each pint of milk prevents the curdling which so often detracts from the appetizing appearance of the meat.
  8. When boiling corned beef, add 1/4 teaspoon bicarb for each pound of beef. This will improve the color and flavor of the meat. Cabbage and other vegetables can be cooked in the same water without becoming dark or slimy.
  9. Clean all meat as soon as unwrapped with a baking soda solution (1 teaspoon per 2 cups of water). This removes foreign matter and dried blood. Put on a clean plate and place in refrigerator.
  10. After drawing fowl, wash well, both inside and out, with a baking soda solution (1 tablespoon to 2 quarts of water). Let solution run through the bird several times. Rinse well with clear water. Pat dry with clean towel.
  11. Clean fish, both inside and out, in a bicarb solution (1 tablespoon to 2 quarts of water). Dip entire fish in the solution; wash quickly and rinse in clear water. Dry immediately and store in cold place. Before opening, wash clams and oysters with a brush dipped in the solution. Fresh shrimp and other shell fish should be washed well in the same strength solution before cooking.
  12. When preparing cream of tomato soup from canned tomato soup or home-made tomato puree, add 1/8 teaspoon bicarb to each cup of soup or puree. This prevents curdling when the milk is added.

Source: Tested Recipes: Successful Baking For Flavor And Texture (1936)