One way to channel your inner MacGyver: Get familiar with baking soda ASAP. You probably have a box of it tucked away in your kitchen cabinet for cooking and baking. But the unassuming ingredient can be used in so many different ways, from making DIY shampoo to clearing a clogged drain. Check out 23 tried-and-true uses for baking soda below.
1. Suds up.
When it comes to shampoo, try DIY-ing from time to time—or when you’re in a pinch. Baking soda, when mixed with plenty of water (think 1 tablespoon of baking soda per one cup of water), gives store-bought shampoo a run for its money. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t get tons of suds—it’s still working its magic.
2. …or make dry shampoo.
Dry shampoo is basically a godsend, so running out of the stuff can make for the worst kind of morning. Luckily baking soda’s a great alternative—just work it into your roots to help soak up some oil, stat. A word to the wise: Brush thoroughly to avoid the telltale white residue.
3. Knock out BO.
This may be your cue to ditch your deodorant—baking soda can keep your pits so fresh and so clean. Use a makeup brush to smooth it under your arms, and consider adding a drop or two of an essential oil to the mix for a pleasantly fragrant formula that you can tailor to your preferences. You can also mix it with coconut oil and shea butter for a deodorant that resembles the kind you usually find in the store.
4. Zap your zits.
Breakouts got you down? All you need is a baking soda paste—mix one teaspoon baking soda with one teaspoon water. Dab it onto trouble areas, and in a few days you should be breakout free thanks to baking soda being both an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
5. Soak in it.
Slipping into a warm bath is relaxing enough on its own. Add baking soda to easily rinse away any oil and sweat on your skin. Bonus: It’ll also help soothe sunburns and itchiness (including bug bites). Go on, take the time to treat yourself!
6. Clean hair brushes.
Baking soda can leave your hair brush looking just as good as the day you bought it. Once you remove the strands of hair, make a paste with a cup of water and a teaspoon each of baking soda and shampoo. Dab the paste onto an unused toothbrush and start scrubbing those bristles to clean and disinfect.
7. Boost gum health.
Baking soda can do your mouth a whole lot of good—health experts believe it may help treat gingivitis. Use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to whip up a paste that you’ll work into your gums. Leave it on for a couple of minutes, then rinse it off.
8. Protect your teeth.
This one’s geared mostly toward moms-to-be experiencing morning sickness—though it could come in handy if you’ve got a stomach bug. Not only is throwing up unpleasant (to say the least), but it could actually damage your teeth if you’re not careful. Dental health experts suggest a pretty simple solution: Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of water and rinse your mouth out before you brush your pearly whites. The baking soda rinse will neutralize the acid in your mouth after vomiting.
9. Soothe razor burn.
Say sayonara to rashes after using a razor. To soothe irritation, add one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water, apply to the affected area, then let it dry before washing it off.
10. Relieve heartburn.
There’s no need to buy Tums or Alka-Seltzer when you have a box of baking soda at home. The next time you feel the first signs of heartburn, mix a half teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water. The drink should reduce acid buildup and soothe your stomach.
11. Clean your fridge.
Don’t forget your fridge during your next cleaning sesh. The USDA recommends wiping down the insides with a mixture of hot water and baking soda to get rid of any pesky germs and odors.
12. …and keep your fridge fresh.
There’s no excuse for a smelly fridge. All it takes to keep odors out is a box of baking soda. Just open it up and stash it on a shelf—because no one wants to smell the leftovers from Taco Tuesday.
13. Get rid of grease.
So you cooked up a storm, and your kitchen has seen better days. Clean up your counters and stovetop with three things: baking soda, vinegar, and a little elbow grease. Start by applying white vinegar to the greasy surface. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrub it with a damp sponge or cloth that has baking soda sprinkled on it.
14. Wipe walls.
Whether you’ve scuffed up your walls or they’ve fallen victim to crayon-carrying tots, rest easy—you don’t need a fresh coat of paint. Just put baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub away.
15. Clear the air.
When a room smells more funky than fresh, you know you’ve got a problem. Luckily there’s an easy fix—as far as stamping out the smell goes. Just squeeze 10 drops of your favorite essential oil into a box of baking soda, and the bad odors will be gone in a few hours.
16. Stop carpet stains.
Few things are better than a glass of red wine after a long day, except of course when that vino spills on your carpet. In that case, quickly grab vinegar and baking soda. Pour the vinegar over the stained area and then sprinkle baking soda on top. The two work together to soak up the stain so that spill can stay a secret.
17. Clean produce.
Once you’ve gotten your fruits and veggies home, clean ‘em! Add two to three tablespoons of baking soda to a bowl of cool water, then throw your produce in. See you never, dirt and pesticides.
18. …and just about everything else.
Experts call baking soda an all-purpose cleaner for good reason: It works on just about every surface. Simply mix it with water or combine with liquid soap and essential oils for a cleaning paste that’ll tackle everything from toilets to grimy surfaces.
19. Keep steel and silver shiny.
You don’t want those surfaces to lose their luster. To keep them bright, you’ll need an alumnium pan (or a pan lined with aluminum foil), boiling water, and (you guessed it!) baking soda. Place the tarnished silver or steel in the pan, then pour in the boiling water and baking soda—use a quarter cup for every four cups of boiling water. It’ll start bubbling, and after a few minutes, most silver and steel will look good as new.
20. Care for your clothes.
Smelly gym gear? Stained clothes? Knock them both out with a baking soda paste. Use one-part baking soda, one-part water and rub the resulting paste into the smelliest or stained areas. Let it sit for five minutes, then wash it off with cold water.
21. Clear clogged drains
One of the worst things about cleaning the bathroom is dealing with gross drains. Those slimy hairballs? Shudder. Your plan of action: Pour one cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by one cup of hot vinegar. Finish up by pouring boiling water down the drain. No more showering with ankle-deep puddles at your feet.
22. Extinguish grease fires.
Cooking oil gives an irresistible flavor to some of our favorite foods, but when that oil gets too hot, you can have a grease fire on your hands. And that’s one type of fire you can’t douse with water. Instead, extinguish it with baking soda. Be generous with the amount you throw on—you’ll need a lot to put it out.
23. Freshen up the litter box.
Anyone with cats knows that cleaning the litter box is the worst part about having feline friends. But there’s a simple way to eliminate those pesky odors: Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the litter box. The baking soda soaks up the scents, making your home the cat’s meow.