What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda or what is scientifically called Sodium Bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is a white, powdery substance and is used for many household and industrial purposes. It has a salty, slightly alkaline taste. All of you may know baking soda as an ingredient for many baked items like cakes, bread, pancakes, etc., but it is indeed a very versatile product.
Uses of Baking Soda for Cleaning
The high alkalinity of the baking soda makes it an excellent cleaning agent, and eco-friendly at that. Baking soda is used as an ingredient in pretty much all categories of cleaning products:
- Used in face cleaning products like face washes and face packs. It helps unclog pores on the skin and remove impurities from it. It is also a part of many home remedies for the skin. Its main task in any skincare regime is exfoliation.
- It is used for whitening the teeth. It is often used in toothpaste and mouthwashes. Baking soda looks and feels like a fine powder but is crystalline, hence it works by mechanically removing stains and plaques from the teeth. It neutralizes the acid produced inside the mouth and its antiseptic quality help prevent infections.
- Baking soda is crystalline and thus abrasive. In a process called soda-blasting, baking soda particles along with compressed air are sprayed on a surface with full force to remove paint and rust.
- Baking soda can be used to remove tarnish from silver, copper, brass or aluminium articles. All you need to do is immerse the article in a solution of warm water and baking soda.
- It can effectively remove tough stains like those of tea and coffee, and is also intensively used to deodorize clothes after washing.
- It is intensively used for cleaning floors and various other surfaces, all of which will be discussed in the following sections.
1. Kitchen Cleaning
a. Cleaning an Oven
Put white vinegar inside a spray bottle and spray on the inside surfaces of the over (the walls, top, and bottom). Now, take some baking soda powder and cover all the surfaces by blowing some off your hand. Let this sit for an hour while the acid and the base react, and then scrub the insides with a heavy-duty sponge. Wipe off any excess powder or vinegar using a cloth or paper towel.
b. Cleaning Steel Utensils
Cleaning kitchen utensils can be a cumbersome task sometimes. However, using baking soda this task becomes much easier. Here is how to do it.
Pour some baking soda, dish soap, and warm water into the dirty utensils. The amount of baking soda will depend on the amount of residue to be cleaned. Let the utensils soak for about 15 minutes, then scrub and rub. If you’re dealing with burnt food, you may have to soak the utensils overnight.
c. Cleaning the Surface of the Sink
Wet a cleaning cloth. Cover it with baking soda (alternatively, you can cover the surface to be cleaned with baking soda). Scrub on the stains in a circular motion, both clockwise and anticlockwise. If a stain is tough, you can make a baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda and 1 part water) and apply in on the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then scrub off.
d. Cleaning a Stove
Firstly, wash the burners with plain water to do away with the initial layer of dirt. Then, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Cover all the burners with this paste and let it sit for around 20 minutes. Scrub away the softened residue of food or grease and then rinse thoroughly.
Read how to effectively clean a stove top.
e. Cleaning the Kitchen Platform
Kitchen platforms can be cleaned similarly to sinks. All you need to do is take a wet cloth and pour some baking soda on it. Rub the surface with this, scrubbing hard on stains. You could also let baking soda paste sit on the surface for a while and wipe it off with a clean cloth.
f. Shine your Tarnished Silver
Apply the baking soda paste of three parts of baking soda to 1 part of the water on the silver articles and gently rub the surface with a cloth towel. Do not use paper towels as they can scratch the surface of silverware. Now rinse the articles with clean water and immediately dry them using a clean cloth.
2. Treat Bad Odour
a. Deodourize your Refrigerator
Due to heavy usage, refrigerators tend to smell now and then. They require constant cleaning, but that does not guarantee deodorising. To clean your refrigerator with baking soda, follow these steps:
- Unplug your refrigerator and remove all items inside.
- On a damp sponge, pour some baking soda and scrub the walls, shelves, and compartments of the fridge with it.
- Wipe it off with a clean, wet sponge.
- After you’re done with the cleaning, you could place a bowl of baking soda inside and leave it for a day. It will further deodorize the insides. Discard the baking soda the next day.
b. Remove Odour from Carpets and Rugs
Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets and rugs inadequate amount, depending on the intensity of the odour. Let the baking soda sit and absorb the odour for a good 15 minutes and then vacuum the carpet. For much better cleaning, you could keep the baking soda on the carpets for 24 hours, and vacuum after that, but during this period you would need to seal off the area from people and pets.
3. Use for Laundry
a. Use as Detergent
For thoroughly washing the clothes in the machine, use equal parts of detergent and baking soda. So basically you could run a full wash with half the recommended quantity of soap and substitute the other half with baking soda. For tough stains like those of coffee and tea, apply baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda plus 1 part water) to the area and wash as usual. Baking soda also makes a very gentle cleanser for baby clothes.
Discover more about How to Use Soap Nut (Reetha) for Laundry.
b. Increase the Strength of your Bleach
Add 1/2 cup baking soda to a bucket full of water and soak the clothes overnight. Wash the clothes the next day as usual. Your clothes will shine and look fresh.
c. Deodorize Clothes
When washing clothes is a washing machine, sprinkle some baking soda on the clothes once ready to wash and then proceed to wash normally. Additionally, you can wash smelly sports gear with four tablespoons of baking soda in a litre of water (gym bags, golf bags, golf clubs, protective pads). Gym clothes, bed sheets, towels can all be deodorized simply by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle.
4. Surface Cleaning
a. Cleaning Tiles
Tiles are easier to clean, but getting rid of the grout around them is a herculean task. You’ll need to make a paste of baking soda and water in equal quantities and apply it on the grout. Alternatively, you can pour baking soda along the grout and then spray water on it. After letting it soak for 10 minutes, scrub it off using a toothbrush.
b. Shining the Floor
Fill a mop bucket with hot water and 1/2 cup of baking soda (more if necessary). Mix it well. Then, use this solution to mop the floor once, after which you’ll need to mop the floor again using clean water.
Three simple home cleaning recipes with baking soda
1. All-Purpose Cleaner
- Two tbs baking soda
- Two tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 cups of extremely hot water
- A spray bottle
How to prepare
- First, pour hot water into the spray bottle.
- Put in baking soda and stir well.
- After the soda has completely dissolved, add the lemon juice and again stir properly.
- Now, you can spray this mixture on any surface and wipe with a dampened, clean cloth.
- Discard the leftover solution after you have finished cleaning.
2. Unclog Drains
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 cup white vinegar
- Hot water
How to prepare
- Pour some boiling hot water down the clogged drain.
- After this, pour baking soda powder and let sit for about 10 minutes.
- Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of hot water and pour the solution on the baking soda.
- To let the substances react, keep the drain closed with a plug for ten more minutes. Again pour boiling water down the drain.
3. Natural Air Freshener
- Baking soda
- Distilled Water
- Preferred Essential Oil
- A Spray Bottle
How to prepare
- Take 20g of Baking Soda in a bowl.
- Add 20 drops of your preferred essential oil to it and mix it well.
- pour the mixture into a spray bottle and fill it with distilled water.
- Shake well and use.
Prepare Natural Homemade Air Fresheners in the home to reduce stress and anxiety up to certain extent.
Precautions of Using Baking Soda for Cleaning
- Keep the solutions out of the reach of children or pets. Baking soda in large quantities can be toxic.
- Baking soda can be abrasive to marble and granite, so you should use only a small quantity of baking soda when cleaning marble or granite.
- Prevent baking soda from getting into your eyes. In case it gets into contact with eyes, wash your eyes with water immediately. Consult Doctor if discomfort or irritation continues.
Also read: Ways to Reduce Hazardous Waste at Home.