Here at Greatist, we love a good cleaning hack — especially when it involves an ingredient that costs six bucks a pound. Yup, we’re talking about baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda, if you hail from down under).
Absorbent, antibacterial, and nontoxic to humans, baking soda is a celebrity cleaning ingredient. Often used in teeth whitening products and skin care, baking soda is probably best known for its role in home cleaning hacks.
Deodorizing, tackling grout buildup, removing stains — baking soda (almost) does it all. Here are 53 ways you can use it to freshen up your abode.
Opt for hydrogen peroxide when disinfecting
You’ll often see vinegar, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide in DIY cleaning solution recipes, but hydrogen peroxide is the only ingredient of the three powerful enough to effectively disinfect (i.e., kill germs, including COVID-19).
While vinegar and lemon juice can kill some germs, they don’t make the EPA’s list of effective disinfectants. Reserve these ingredients for aesthetic uses like polishing chrome, cleaning dirt and grime, and deodorizing.
1. Polish chrome faucets
Because who doesn’t love a sink that sparkles?
- Make a watery paste out of 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of water, lemon juice, or white vinegar.
- Cover all chrome areas with the paste.
- Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Scrub and buff.
2. Scrub the tub with half a grapefruit
Any old citrus will do, but a grapefruit is the best choice because of how big it is. Sprinkle the tub with baking soda and go to town with your grapefruit half.
3. Conquer lime deposits on a ceramic sink
Make a paste with 1 part baking soda and 1 part white vinegar and rub it all over the sink. Let it sit for around 15 minutes, and then scrub-a-dub-dub!
4. Unclog the drain
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by a clogged drain!
- Combine 1 part baking soda and 1 part vinegar, and then pour the mixture down the clogged drain.
- Pour a kettle of boiling water down after it.
5. Keep trash cans fresh
Every time you take out the trash, sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom so absorb lingering bacteria and odors.
6. Put the sparkle back in your toilet bowl
Nothing says #adulting like regularly cleaning your toilet.
- Combine 1 part baking soda and 1 part hydrogen peroxide.
- Use the toilet brush to rub the solution all around the bowl and up under the rim.
- Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Scrub and rinse.
7. Cut down on toilet cleanings
Baking soda is naturally abrasive, so sprinkle some into the bowl once or twice a day to kick buildup to the curb.
8. Banish grout gunk
Dissolve some baking soda in white vinegar and apply it to those hard-to-reach areas in between tiles. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and then use an old toothbrush to scrub away deposits.
9. Rejuvenate a mildewy shower curtain
You deserve the tiny joy of a clean shower curtain!
- Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry detergent before washing your shower curtain.
- Set the washer to hot.
- Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar right before the rinse cycle starts.
10. Clean a gunky showerhead
Yup, showerheads need cleaning too.
- Remove the showerhead and put it in a bowl full of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda. (If it can’t be removed, fill a plastic bag with vinegar and baking soda and secure the bag around the showerhead with a rubber band.)
- Let it soak for an hour.
11. Make the stovetop shine
After wiping any loose food bits off your stovetop, rub a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide over the whole surface. Let sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing with a sponge.
12. Clean stains from rubber, plastic, and wood
You can renew stained kitchen items made of rubber, plastic, or wood by soaking them in a mixture of baking soda and water for a few hours.
13. Clean the countertops
Baking soda is minimally abrasive, so you can use it to clean countertops without fear of scratches. For the best results, let it sit on the countertops for 10 minutes before wiping away.
14. Rejuvenate roasting pans
This solution is way cheaper than buying new cookware!
- Wet your cookware.
- Sprinkle with baking soda.
- Let sit for an hour.
- Wipe away.
15. Clean enamel cookware
Like we said, baking soda is a great choice for cleaning materials like enamel that scratch easily. Apply a baking soda and water paste and let sit for an hour before scrubbing.
16. Get stains off nonstick pans
Here’s how to clean these tough cookies:
- Combine 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of liquid bleach, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in the pan you want to clean. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Wash the pan.
- Use a paper towel to rub a small amount of cooking oil into the cooking surface to reseason it.
17. Cut through grease stains
You know those grease stains that look impossible to clean? Try using a mixture of 1 gallon of hot water, 1 cup of ammonia, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 1/4 cup of baking soda. And don’t forget to wear gloves!
18. Spruce up the kettle
Fill the kettle with water and add a tablespoon of baking soda. Let it boil for 10 minutes, and then (when it has cooled down) wash with soap and water.
19. Make the fridge smell fresh
Unless you’re super on top of your life, your fridge probably doesn’t smell like roses. Cut down on odor by leaving an open box of baking soda in the door. Make sure to replace it every 3 months!
20. Wash your produce
Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub all your freshly bought produce. Make sure the sponge is clean, please!
21. Clean out the bottoms of bottles
Clean narrow-mouthed vessels by swooshing around baking soda and hot water. If they smell mildewy or look extra dirty, add a teaspoon of bleach as well.
22. Get rid of oven crud
No one likes you, oven crud!
- Combine 1 part water and 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle.
- Spray down your whole oven.
- Sprinkle with baking soda.
- Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Scrub with a sponge.
23. Polish silverware
Oh, yeah, now we’re talking. Use a solution of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water to make your utensils shine bright like the diamonds they are.
24. Clean the microwave
Baking soda on a damp sponge can do wonders for the inside of a grimy microwave.
25. Help out the dishwasher
It definitely won’t hurt to sprinkle some baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher before you run the next cycle.
26. Soak smelly rags
Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar and a couple tablespoons of baking soda to a bucket of warm water and soak those dirty rags overnight.
27. Renew old sponges
Sponges get gross quick, but you can prolong their cleaning lives by soaking them in 1 cup of water + 1/2 cup of baking soda + 1 tablespoon of bleach.
28. Clean out the slow cooker
Slow cookers are amazing for making quick, delicious dinners, but they can also get pretty funky inside. To clean yours, fill it halfway with water and add 1/2 cup of baking soda. Turn it on low for 3 to 4 hours before rinsing out.
29. Reduce weird closet smells
Smells — they happen whether we like it or not. An open box of baking soda left in the corner of a closet can help keep the air fresh and clean.
30. Get stains out of the carpet
Make a paste out of 1 part baking soda, 1 part salt, and 1 part vinegar and apply it to that red wine disaster. The trick is to let it dry and absorb as much of the stain as possible and then vacuum off the debris.
31. Make DIY spackle
Did you know a mixture of toothpaste and baking soda can be used to fill small holes in the wall? You’re welcome.
32. Make a DIY air freshener
Add a tablespoon of baking soda, a cup of water, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a spray bottle and voila!
33. Scrub tile floors
You can get gunk off tile floors by dissolving 1/2 cup of baking soda in a bucket of warm water and mopping as you normally would.
34. Keep dresser drawers fresh
Fill old socks or small cloth bags with baking soda and stick them in the corners of your dresser drawers to absorb any weird smells.
35. Freshen your mattress
If you’re stuck using an old mattress, chances are it looks (maybe smells) a little funky. Baking soda to the rescue yet again! Take off your sheets and sprinkle it over the mattress, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then vacuum it up.
36. Cut down on litter box odors
If you’ve never smelled a dirty litter box, count yourself lucky. But by adding your trusty friend baking soda to the box, you can reduce these outrageous odors.
37. Get the gunk off your brushes
Hairbrushes, makeup brushes, toothbrushes — life requires lots of brushes. Soak them in a solution of baking soda and water overnight to remove accumulated dust and bacteria.
38. Keep ants out of your room
Sprinkle baking soda around doorways or anywhere you see ants coming into your house. Eating baking soda kills ants, and they’ll bring it back to their nest, essentially poisoning the whole colony (RIP).
39. Overcome smelly laundry
One of baking soda’s superpowers is that is can help balance out pH levels, which cuts down on bacteria growth, aka odor. So if you have extra-smelly laundry, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the load.
40. Make DIY fabric softener
Baking soda’s ability to balance out pH levels also means it can fight hard water (water high in minerals) that would otherwise make your laundry stiff.
41. Brighten aged white fabrics
Baking soda is especially good at removing stains and yellowing on old white clothing and linens. Simply add 1/2 cup to your next load of whites.
42. Clean the washing machine
If you have an old or mildew-prone washing machine, you’ll want to pay attention to this.
- Add 3 to 4 cups of white vinegar to an empty washer and run it on hot.
- After a minute, add 1/2 cup of baking soda.
- Run for another minute.
- Stop the cycle altogether and let it sit for an hour.
- Restart the cycle.
43. Make bleach work better
Whenever you’re bleaching clothes, it’s a good idea to add some baking soda on top. This increases the potency and effectiveness of the bleach.
44. Combat smelly shoes
No one likes a smelly shoe (OK, maybe your dog does). Use a dash of baking soda to absorb odorous bacteria.
45. Cut down on foot fungus
If your shoes are smelly, that probably means you have some foot fungus (don’t worry — this is super common!). If you have a mild case, it could help to soak your feet in a mixture of warm water, vinegar, and baking soda.
46. Whiten your teeth
Research suggests that adding baking soda to toothpaste can help scrub off tooth stains, which can make your teeth look whiter.
47. Make a DIY face mask
Rid your face of lingering dead skin cells by making a baking soda and water paste. Leave it on your face for 15 minutes, or until it starts to dry and flake off. Then rinse your face with warm water.
48. Exfoliate dry skin
Similar to the face mask idea, you can use a baking soda and water paste to exfoliate your body, especially dryness-prone areas like your heels and elbows. Make sure to moisturize afterward!
49. Freshen your breath
Some people believe the antibacterial, absorbent nature of baking soda means it can make your breath smell better. Add a tablespoon to some water and swish, swish, swish — but don’t swallow, please.
50. Touch up greasy hair
Baking soda is great at absorbing grease, and who says that doesn’t include your body grease? Gently rub a little baking soda into your scalp wherever it looks greasy and gain another day between hair washes.
51. Make a DIY lip scrub
Our lips have poor barrier function, meaning they don’t retain moisture very well. For most of us, this means the skin on our lips dries out and flakes. That’s why it can be helpful to use a gentle exfoliant like baking soda on your lips once a week or so.
52. Soothe insect bites
Next time you get bitten by a mosquito, make a little paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the bite. Once it dries, you should feel less irritated.
53. Make natural deodorant
If you’re not a fan of commercial deodorant, you might try adding a couple drops of essential oils to a tablespoon of baking soda and rubbing it on your underarms. (Be warned: This may come off on your clothing.)