The (Never-Ending) Uses of Baking Soda

Baking soda
Baking soda can be a whitening tool, but use it sparingly. Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock

Though the name might suggest otherwise, baking soda is not just for use in recipes. In fact, so many people use baking soda to deodorize their refrigerators and freezers that Arm & Hammer, one of the oldest and leading manufacturers of the ubiquitous powder, created new packaging specifically for that use.

What are some other uses of baking soda? Throughout your home, on your body and on your pets, baking soda is one of the most versatile products on the market. Try some of these uses for baking soda:

1. Clean and deodorize carpet. For stains or messy spills, scrub baking soda and water into the carpet and vacuum when dry. Sprinkle baking soda on a dry but musty or smelly carpet, and vacuum.

Baking soda in the washing machine
Baking soda added to your washing machine can brighten whites and remove odors from your clothes. CC7/Shutterstock

2. Wash clothing. Add half a cup of baking soda with your regular detergent into the washing machine for added brightness and whiteness. Many also use baking soda as a fabric softener by adding half a cup to the rinse cycle.

3. Clean a variety of surfaces. Baking soda can be used on its own — or as part of a paste with water — to clean surfaces including hardwood and tile floors, painted walls, glassware and upholstery. Various recipes exist online for creating baking soda solutions, but the most simple and multipurpose baking soda formula involves 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. This inexpensive baking soda cleaner goes a long way.

Baking soda down the drain and garbage disposal
Pour 2 tablespoons of baking soda down the drain or garbage disposal and run warm tap water to eliminate odors. ThamKC/Shutterstock

4. Keep away odors. One of the main uses of baking soda is eliminating odors. Mix baking soda, cornstarch and water into a paste and use it as a natural deodorant and antiperspirant. Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of your trashcans before adding the garbage bag, pour 2 tablespoons down the garbage disposal drain as you run warm tap water, and shake some baking soda into your smelly sneakers overnight (and tap out the leftover before wearing). If something is smelly in your home, chances are baking soda is part of the sweet-smelling solution.

5. Clean outdoor furniture and baby pools. Washing with a quarter cup of baking soda and a quart of water will make your outdoor furniture gleam. Add baking soda to the bottom of a mildewed baby pool and hose it down with water to clean and deodorize.

6. Clean your teeth. Baking soda has long been used as a toothpaste. Pour some baking soda into a dish, dip in a wet toothbrush and apply to your teeth. Though baking soda toothpaste tastes unpleasant (unless you buy commercial toothpaste with baking soda and flavor), it is effective. You can also use baking soda and water as a mouth rinse.

7. Soak in a bath. Add a half cup of baking soda to your warm bathwater, and emerge with your skin feeling soft.

Baking soda
Baking soda is a natural exfoliator. mady70/Shutterstock

8. Exfoliate your skin. Make a baking soda paste and gently rub it in a circular motion onto your face, feet or other dry areas. Rinse and pat dry.

9. Deodorize a litter box. Pour baking soda in the bottom of the litter box, then add litter. Sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter box to remove smells.

10. Eliminate pet odors. Pet accidents often smell even after they are cleaned. Apply a layer of baking soda to the area to neutralize the odor, then vacuum when the area is dry.

11. Refresh a dog bed. Like with a carpet, sprinkle baking soda onto your dog’s bed, wait about 15 minutes, then vacuum.

Know about other uses of baking soda? Leave us a note in the comments below.