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11 Baking Soda Uses And Substitutes To Save You Money

By Heather Levin

If I had to write up a short list of household products I couldn’t live without, baking soda might very well sit atop at #1.

The reason is because baking soda is amazing. This is one of those products that has so many uses I can’t fit them all into one post. I have saved a lot of money since I started using baking soda around the house because I’m not buying a variety of products any more. I just use baking soda.

Baking soda has also helped me reduce clutter in my house. Instead of having toilet cleaner, shower cleaner, surface cleaner and floor cleaner, I now just have my Costco-sized bag of baking soda. It’s great!

In fact, in “Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things: 2,317 Ways to Save Money and Time,” by Reader’s Digest, baking soda is considered a “Super Item” because they list 83 uses around the house for this common white powder.

Let’s take a look at some of the amazing uses of baking soda:

1. Household Cleaner

Aside from baking, using baking soda as a cheap household cleaner is probably its most well-known use.

Want to clean your sinks? Scrub them down with baking soda and lemon juice.

Want clean toilets? Put a handful of baking soda in there and let it sit for five minutes, or even overnight. Then pour a few glugs of vinegar in there and scrub. Cleaning your toilets this way is much safer for the environment than store-bought cleaners. I do this every few days at my house and it keeps the toilet sparkling.

You can clean any surface with baking soda, vinegar, and lemons. I do it all the time, and it works great. Yes, this includes hardwood floors.

2. Clean Your Produce

You don’t need to spend $7 per bottle on that commercial “Veggie Wash.” You can clean your produce with baking soda. Simply sprinkle some baking soda on a kitchen sponge and scrub your produce. It will help remove the wax, chemicals, and bacteria on the skin.

3. Put Out Fires

We should all have fire extinguishers in the kitchen. But if an emergency does happen, you can also use handfuls of baking soda to put out kitchen fires.

4. Kill Roaches

Don’t waste money on expensive (and environmentally toxic) bug killers. In a small bowl mix some sugar and baking soda together. Roaches love the stuff, but the sugar/baking soda combo is fatal to them.

5. Get Rid of Fish Smells

If you’ve purchased some fish that smells, well, fishy, soak the raw fish for one hour (inside your fridge) in 1 liter of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Rinse the fish after the hour is up and the fishy smell will be gone.

6. Clean and Deodorize Your Carpet

I’ve got three dogs. And white carpeting in my living room. I’ll let you use your imagination as to how often I use baking soda in this room.

You can freshen up your floors by sprinkling baking soda on the carpet (I often mix in some dried lavender I keep on hand) and then letting it sit for 10-15 minutes. After that, simply vacuum it up.

You can also use a wet paper towel to blot up a stain (especially if it’s a heavy one, like wine). Then, sprinkle the stain with baking soda. Let it sit for at least an hour to let the baking soda soak up the stain. Then, vacuum up the powder.

Make sure the powder has dried completely before you vacuum it up. Sucking up wet baking soda can coat the inside of your vacuum, and it’s not fun to get off.

7. Freshen Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers can get stinky. So, sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda on the bottom in between loads to keep it smelling clean and fresh.

8. Toothpaste

You can use baking soda to brush and whiten your teeth. Yes, it tastes a little funky. But you get used to it. And it’s way cheaper than buying Crest Whitening Strips.

9. Clean Scorched Pans

If your dinner is still stuck to the bottom of your pans, you can easily get rid of it with baking soda. Fill the dirty pan with a few cups of water and add 5 tablespoons of baking soda. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the baking soda do its work for a few hours, or overnight. When you’re ready to wash the pan, the baked-on food will come right off.

10. Soothe Poison Ivy

I’ve used this several times and it works! Make a paste with 3 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of water, and apply to the itchy area. No need for Calamine lotion!

11. Control Dandruff

Supposedly, baking soda works great for controlling dandruff. I haven’t tried this one, but a friend of mine used baking soda for her hair and it worked wonderfully for her. All you do is wet your hair and rub baking soda onto your scalp. Really put some effort into it. Then, rinse it out. Don’t use shampoo; the baking soda is removing dirt and debris.

Your scalp might get dry at first, at least according to my Reader’s Digest book, but keep at it. After a few weeks, your scalp will start producing natural oils and your flakes will be gone.

Last Word…

It’s truly amazing what you can do with baking soda. From relieving athlete’s foot to removing the mothball smell from clothing, this stuff does it all.

Substituting baking soda for commercially bought products not only helps immensely with saving money on household cleaners, but it’s going to reduce clutter in your home and eliminate the need to bring in harsh chemicals which can be dangerous for everyone in the house. Baking soda is cheap and natural, which is why it’s one of my favorite products.

Do you know of any additional uses for baking soda?

Heather Levin
Heather Levin is a freelance writer based in Detroit, MI. She's passionately committed to living green, saving money, and helping others do the same in their life.

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  • Melanie

    As for the shampoo substitute, it works wonderfully however! However, my dandruff was pretty aggressive. Believe it or not, this can be treated with the occasional cider vinegar spray or rinse. Google “Shampoo Free” for more details.

  • Kira Botkin

    The carpet idea is great. I’m going to have to try that. I bet that’s all that’s in the “carpet deodorizers”!

  • Heather Levin

    Melanie- That’s a great idea for dandruff! I’m struggling with that right now, so I’ll have to try this.

    Kira- Yes, baking soda on carpet works amazing. My house would smell like “dog” if it wasn’t for my baking soda/lavender powder. Definitely will save you money over “store bought” carpet deodorizers. Thanks for writing in!

  • http://www.cardadvantages.com John

    Wow I had no idea of most of those uses.

    does it kill the roaches on the spot?

    • Jonesfamilyof7

      No, It actually scratches the exoskeleton of the roach and then they dehydrate and die. The sugar attracts them and the BS does the damage.

  • Heather Levin

    @John- It does not kill on the spot, but it does work quickly. The baking soda/sugar mixture creates a gas in the roaches stomach which will ultimately kill them. Works very effectively! Make sure you keep that mixture away from kids and pets, though. It’s not a good combo for anyone to ingest.

  • Windy City Woman

    I wash my face with a baking soda-and-water paste, after I have already taken off my make-up and washed with soap and water. It cleans out your pores and makes your skin shine.

  • http://change-is-possible.net Heather

    Love it for shampoo! I rinse with diluted vinegar (about 8 oz water to 1 tbsp vinegar) once or twice a week. I don’t smell like a salad when I’m done, either.

  • Heather Levin

    @Windy City- I’ve never heard of washing your face with baking soda, but I’m trying it tonight! My pores could really use a good refresher. Thanks so much for the tip!

    @Heather- Thanks for letting me know about the vinegar rinse! I think I heard that from someone else as well. Does the vinegar help get the baking soda out better?

    • http://change-is-possible.net Heather

      I’ve read that it neutralizes the baking soda. Actually, the blog where I found the recipe recommended rinsing with vinegar every wash, and I was doing that for a while … and then I got lazy ;) My scalp has been slightly itchy the last week or so which might be because I cut out the vinegar. Not sure. It’s a guess-and-check process. I like to do as little as possible and get the best benefit :)

  • Heather Levin

    @Heather, thanks for writing in to let me know! Since I’ve switched to natural shampoos my scalp hasn’t been the same…I don’t know if the natural shampoos don’t rinse out as well or what. I’m going to try the baking soda and vinegar rinse to see if that helps. Thanks again for writing in!

    • Harry

      I get very bad dandruff, and have found those methods helpful – but I actually found something better: Maleluca or “Tea Tree” oil. You can buy expensive shampoo that contains it, but I’ve found it much easier to buy a bottle of the oild for a few bucks, and then simply add a drop to my hand before I squeeze in whatever shampoo I am using that day.

      Even on really bad outbreaks, (to where I was bleeding), this has always worked with just one application.
      I like the smell too :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RBCGEHO5HFJZJ62F33OK5IGJNQ Craven

    Baking soda, salt, boiling water, and a pot with a sheet of aluminum foil at the bottom will clean your silver flatware instantly…I can’t remember the exact ratio, but look it up on the web. This is no joke, I dreaded doing this by hand and my mom hooked me up with that. It’s legit and takes no effort.

  • Jonesfamilyof7

    I have been using BS and ACV to wash my hair for almost a year, I love it. I love how much I save on shampoo because I am only buying conditioner. As one lady said a long time ago, shampoo is for your scalp and conditioner is for your hair. Problem is that shampoo gets on your hair and dries your scalp.

    It took my hair about two months to get used to this process and now everyone but my oldest child uses this. I’m still working on him. I did convince him to use and make his own laundry soap.

  • Kymckamel

    I use a mixture of baking soda and extra virgin olive oil to make a paste and use it as a fantastic skin exfoliating scrub. Use once a week and your sking will look beautiful!

    • Heatherllevin

      Kymckamel, I’ve done this as well, only I used lemon and honey with the baking soda. I found that it dried my skin out too much. However, I bet with the olive oil it would work really well. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Kymckamel

    I use a mixture of baking soda and extra virgin olive oil to make a paste and use it as a fantastic skin exfoliating scrub. Use once a week and your sking will look beautiful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/zelmarie.miller Zelmarie Miller

    baking soda is also a substitute for deodorant

  • sophie

    thank you for this very informational and helpful tips it really helps me and i save a few money because of these.

  • http://www.miniclean.com.au/ Mini Clean

    This is interesting. I mean I have read so many blogs telling me that baking soda is good in cleaning sinks and parts of our house. However, this blog gives me more information on the other side of using baking soda. Great!

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