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Is there a small orange box lurking in the back of your fridge? If there is, you’re familiar with the use of baking soda as a refrigerator deodorizer.
The Arm & Hammer brand, which dates all the way back to 1846, has cornered the baking soda market with its bright carton and its familiar logo featuring the Roman god Vulcan’s arm. Even some knock-off brands use that recognizable orange color. But what’s in that small box exactly, and why should you have way more of it on hand?
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Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda, is a chemical compound (NaHCO3) that is crystalline in its natural form in nature but is ground to a fine powder for commercial use. Sold in most supermarkets for around $1 for an eight-ounce box or in bulk quantities online for as little as $.09 per ounce, baking soda is one of the most versatile and economic supplies you can have on hand.
Here are 101 homestead uses for baking soda:
1. Air Freshener – Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a small container or bowl of baking soda. Place several through your home.
2. Baby Bottles – Clean and soak baby bottles in a solution of baking soda and water.
3. Bugs – Sprinkle baking soda along windowsills, doorways, or wherever insects seem to be entering your home as a deterrent.
4. Carpet Deodorizer – Sprinkle rugs and carpet with baking soda and let it sit overnight. Vacuum in the morning.
5. Chrome – Polish chrome with a paste of baking soda and water. Buff and rinse.
6. Closets – Keep closets smelling fresh by placing a container of baking soda inside.
7. Coffeemaker – Clean by adding baking soda to the water and running it through for one or two cycles.
8. Cutting Boards – Clean and deodorize kitchen cutting boards by scrubbing them with hot water and baking soda
9. Dishcloths – Soak dishcloths in two cups of hot water mixed with one cup of baking soda to remove stains and odors.
10. Dishwasher – Sanitize your dishwasher by placing a cup of baking soda in the bottom and then running a hot water cycle.
11. Grease Fire – Stop a grease flare-up by sprinkling baking soda over the flames.
12. Fireplace and Woodstove – After removing ashes, place baking soda for a few hours or overnight in the hearth to remove odors. Remove before the next use.
13. Floors – Clean tiled floors and linoleum with a half-cup of baking soda mixed into a bucket of warm water. Rinse with plain water.
14. Flowers – Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water in your vase of fresh flowers to keep them looking better longer.
15. Garbage Can – Clean with baking soda and water mixture. Then, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the dry can to absorb odors.
16. Garbage Disposal – Pour baking soda down the garbage disposal regularly to keep stale food odors to a minimum.
17. Drains – Pour some baking soda down the kitchen and bathroom drains every week to keep it fresh and flowing well.
18. Grout – Scrub tile grout with baking soda paste and a toothbrush. Rinse clean.
19. Hamper – Place baking soda in the bottom of each laundry hamper to absorb those yukky smells.
20. Houseplants – Clean dirty household plant leaves and encourage healthy growth by rubbing them with a baking soda and water solution.
21. Laundry Detergent – Make your own laundry detergent with a grated base soap (such as Ivory) and baking soda.
22. Laundry Deodorizer – For extra smelly loads (like diapers or pet bedding), add a cup of baking soda to boost your laundry detergent.
23. Lunchboxes – Remove stains and odors from plastic and vinyl lunchboxes by scrubbing them with baking soda and water
24. Marble Counters – Clean with a solution of three tablespoons of baking soda mixed with four cups of warm water. Rinse.
25. Mattress – Clean and deodorize a mattress by sprinkling it liberally with baking soda, allowing it to sit for a few hours, and then vacuuming.
26. Microwave – Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe it down inside and outside.
27. Mugs – Remove coffee and tea stains by scrubbing with a baking soda paste.
28. Oven – Clean your oven with a solution of one cup of warm water and two tablespoons of baking soda.
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29. Refrigerator – Deodorize the fridge by placing an opened box of baking soda on a shelf.
30. Shoe Deodorizer – Get rid of smelly shoe odors by sprinkling insoles with baking soda and letting them sit overnight.
31. Shoe Cleaner – Clean dirty athletic shoes with a damp cloth and a baking soda paste.
32. Silver – Make a baking soda paste to buff silver before rubbing clean with a dry cloth.
33. Stainless Steel – Clean and polish stainless steel with a baking soda paste. Buff well, rinse, and dry with a soft cloth.
34. Sinks – Clean sinks, showers, and tubs with baking soda as your scouring powder.
35. Toilet – Clean and deodorize the toilet by pouring a half-cup baking soda into the bowl and letting it sit for an hour or so. Then swish and flush.
36. Upholstery – Freshen upholstery by sprinkling and brushing in baking soda. Let it sit overnight before vacuuming it up in the morning.
37. Plastic Containers – Remove odors and stains from plastic food containers by scrubbing them with baking soda and then soaking them in a solution of baking soda and water.
38. Pots and Pans – Degrease cookware by scouring them with baking soda and then rinsing with hot water.
39. Vacuum – Add baking soda to your vacuum cleaner bag or bagless container to help keep rooms smelling fresh.
40. Vinyl – Clean vinyl shower curtains, tablecloths, and seat cushions with baking soda and a damp sponge.
41. Water Rings – Use a soft cloth and a baking soda paste to buff out water stains on wood furniture.
42. Antiperspirant – Use a powder puff or a cotton ball to dab some baking soda under your arms.
43. Bites and Stings – Make a paste with water and baking soda and spread it on the painful area.
44. Bad Breath – Mix one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda with warm water, then gargle and rinse.
45. Body Aches – Mix one cup of baking soda and one cup of apple cider vinegar in a warm bath.
46. Canker Sores – Mix one-half teaspoon of baking soda with a pinch of salt and gargle, focusing on the affected area of your mouth.
47. Chickenpox – To relieve itching, add a half cup of baking soda to warm bath water and soak in it for about 20 minutes. Gently pat the skin dry afterward.
48. Cold and Flu Congestion – Combine salt, baking soda, and water to make a natural nasal saline rinse for use in a neti pot or as a vapor mist in the shower.
49. Combs – Soak combs and brushes in four cups of hot water mixed with a half-cup of baking soda for an hour or more. Rinse well and air dry.
50. Cradle Cap – Use small amounts to gently loosen and remove the flakes on your baby’s head. (Take care to keep it from baby’s eyes.)
51. Dandruff – Massage one-quarter cup baking soda into the hair and rinse well.
52. Dentures and Retainers – Soak them overnight in a cup of warm water mixed with three tablespoons of baking soda. Rinse well.
53. Diaper Rash – Soothe diaper rash with a baking soda paste or add a couple of tablespoons to your baby’s bathwater.
54. Dry Shampoo – Brush baking side thoroughly through your hair to deodorize and give hair a gentle pick-me-up between shampoos.
55. Electrolytes – To balance electrolytes or rehydrate, mix one teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of salt, one package of unsweetened juice mix, and sugar (to taste) into two quarts lukewarm water. Drink as you would a sports drink.
56. Toothpaste – Mix baking soda with water to make a toothpaste. Brush and rinse.
57. Feet – Soak aching feet in three tablespoons of baking soda mixed into warm water.
58. Handwash – Get rid of lingering odors by washing your hands with baking soda.
59. Hair Conditioner – Add one teaspoon of baking soda to one cup of your hair conditioner to remove chemicals from the hair. Rinse.
60. Heartburn – Sip one teaspoon of baking soda mixed with about four ounces of warm water.
61. Hives – Rub small amounts of baking soda over the affected areas while you shower.
62. Indigestion – To relieve pain associated with stomach acid, mix one or two teaspoons of baking soda into a glass of water and drink.
63. Ingrown Hairs – Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a paste. Scrub the area and rinse well. Repeat as often as needed to loosen the hair.
64. Jellyfish Sting – Apply a paste made with baking soda and water to the painful area.
65. Mouthwash – Mix a quarter cup of baking soda with warm water and add a couple of drops of peppermint oil. Gargle and rinse.
66. Poison Ivy and Poison Oak – Apply a paste made with baking soda and water to the itchy and inflamed areas of the skin.
67. Skin Softener – Add to bath water to soften and soothe skin.
68. Splinter – Soak the area in warm water mixed with baking soda to soothe irritation and loosen the splinter for removal.
69. Sunburn – Make a thin paste with one teaspoon of baking soda and water to apply to the area or soak in bathwater mixed with baking soda.
70. Facial Cleansing – Make a paste of one-part baking soda and two parts ground oatmeal mixed with warm water. Massage into the face and leave on for five minutes before rinsing with warm water.
71. Workout Boost – Remove lactic acid from your muscles and help lower fatigue by drinking water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda before your workout.
72. Beans – To reduce the bloating that eating beans can cause, soak dry beans overnight in four cups of water mixed with one cup of baking soda. Drain and rinse well before cooking.
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73. Chicken – Make chicken feathers easier to remove by dipping the chicken in a pot of boiling water mixed with one tablespoon of baking soda in it. Then, plunge the bird into cold water.
74. Eggs – For fluffy scrambled eggs, one quarter teaspoon baking soda per three eggs.
75. Fish Deodorizer – Soak raw fish in two cups of water mixed with a quarter-cup baking soda for about three hours to reduce odor. Rinse.
76. Fruits and Vegetables – Wash raw fruits and veggies in a sink of cold water mixed with one cup of baking soda.
77. Meat Tenderizer – Tenderize tough cuts of meat by sprinkling and rubbing them gently with baking soda. Allow meat to sit that way for a few in the refrigerator. Then rinse well.
78. Tea – Add a pinch of baking soda to a gallon of iced tea to get rid of cloudiness.
79. Tomatoes – To reduce the acid content, add a pinch of baking soda to tomatoes as you cook them.
80. Wild Game Flavor – To reduce the “wild” taste of game, soak the meat in a solution of four cups warm water and one cup of baking soda for three hours. Rinse well before cooking.
Pets and Other Animals
81. Dog Care – Deodorize a smelly dog in between baths by brushing baking soda through its fur. You also can brush your dog’s teeth with a baking soda paste.
82. Litter Box – Add baking soda to the kitty litter box to keep odors at bay.
83. Skunk Odor – Make a shampoo with one cup baking soda, one tablespoon of dish soap (Dawn works well), and one-quart hydrogen peroxide. Allow it to sit on your pet for 20 minutes before rinsing. Repeat.
84. Stall Freshener – Use in and around animal stalls and pens to deodorize and freshen the air.
85. Driveways and Concrete Walkways – Use baking soda as a cleaner along with a bucket of water and a scrub brush.
86. Paint Brushes – If your old brushes are in bad shape, soak them in a mixture of water and baking soda.
87. Grills – Scrub away sticky, greasy residue with baking soda and a scrub brush.
88. Patio Furniture – Sprinkle patio furniture with baking soda, scrubbing as needed, and rinse well with a garden hose.
89. Pillows – Clean plastic or vinyl patio pillows with a baking soda solution. Store patio pillows for the winter in a sealed plastic bag along with some baking soda inside.
90. Sidewalks – Baking soda helps to remove ice, so sprinkle some liberally on slippery sidewalks in the wintertime.
91. Tools and Equipment – Clean and scrub tools with baking soda.
92. Battery – Clean your car battery and prevent corrosion by wiping the terminals with a baking soda paste every few months. Remove the paste with a clean, dry cloth.
93. Windshield – A solution of one cup of baking soda and two cups of water helps repel rain on the windshield.
94. Mats and Floors – Sprinkle baking soda to freshen interior. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight before vacuuming.
95. Aphids – Sprinkle baking soda in and around garden soil to reduce aphids, spider mites, and scales.
96. Birdbath and Birdfeeders – Clean and deodorize these areas with warm water and baking soda as a scrubbing agent. Rinse well.
97. Compost Smell – Help neutralize the odor of your compost pile by sprinkling it with baking soda.
98. Mildew and Fungal Disease – Spray baking soda and water solution directly on leaves to limit the ability of fungal spores to grow.
99. Slugs – Repel slugs and snails by sprinkling baking soda wherever you’ve seen these pests.
100. Tomatoes – Want sweeter tomatoes? Sprinkle baking soda around the base of your tomato plants to lower the soil’s acidity level and thereby sweeten the fruit.
101. Weeds – Spread baking soda around your garden edges, walkways, and driveway cracks to kill weeds.
Whew! We made it. As you can see, having a large bag or two of baking soda on hand for use in and around your homestead is a good idea. It’s inexpensive, easy to store, biodegradable, and nontoxic. Just think of all the other products you can do without by using this amazing compound instead.
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