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11 Baking Soda Uses And Substitutes To Save You Money

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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.

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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 writer with over 15 years experience covering personal finance, natural health, parenting, and green living. She lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband and two young sons, where they're often wandering on frequent picnics to find feathers and wildflowers.

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