Uses for Baking Soda: Cleaning Your Kitchen
by Christine Halvorson
Abrasive cleansers may scratch Formica. Instead, use a general purpose baking soda cleanser.
Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate, is most known for removing
odors in the refrigerator and in your home. It is also known for use in baking, but is also a non-toxic
compound that can be used as a replacement for hundreds of other less environmentally friendly
Use handfuls of baking soda to put out small fires around the house. Do not use to put out deep fat
fryer fires. Only do this, if safe to do so, and be sure to call the fire department to make sure the fire
Use baking soda to keep sink drains smelling sweet. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the drain
and run warm water for a couple minutes. This will help keep your drains from becoming stinky.
Deodorize carpets. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and let set for about 15 minutes. Vacuum up as
usual. Be sure to check for colorfastness in a hidden location. To test, apply a mixture of 1/2 cup
water and 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda mixed together to the carpet. Let dry and then sweep up as
usual. Use if the carpet did not show signs of color change or damage.
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to laundry for sweeter smelling and hopefully cleaner clothes.
Use baking soda in powdered form, much like bathroom cleansers, to clean almost any
kitchen surface without using a toxic cleaner. Dampen a clean rag and and a bit of baking soda. Scrub
the surface. This works in almost all household surfaces including bathroom shower stalls, bathtubs,
bathroom counters, kitchen counters and kitchen sinks. Another bonus is the baking soda is easy to
rinse off, so be sure to rinse the area well after cleaning with baking soda.
Use baking soda to scrub baked on food in casserole dishes. Add a bit of baking soda powder to a
dampened dish cloth. Scrub the casserole to remove the baked on food. You can also apply the
baking soda powder directly to the surface and scrub.
Use a box of baking soda to help keep the refrigerator smelling sweet. Be sure to change the box
about every month or so to maintain the deodorizing effect.
Brush your teeth using baking soda. This is more of an "emergency" measure but it does brush teeth
in a not-so-tasty way. It works though.
Use as a pesticide. Mix with sugar to keep cockroaches and silverfish away. This is unproven but it
Clean induction and glass stovetops:
Apply a baking-soda solution.
Use a toothbrush to get into tight corners.
Wipe the stovetop clean.
For a thorough oven cleaning:
Leave 1 cup of ammonia in a cold, closed oven overnight to loosen dirt.
In the morning, wipe away the ammonia.
Then wipe the surfaces with baking soda.
To make cut grease buildup on stoves, backsplashes, or glossy enamel surfaces, use this
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup ammonia
1 gallon hot water
Always wear rubber gloves and use in a well-ventilated area.
REFRIGERATORS AND FREEZERS
To remove stains on laminated countertops:
Apply a baking soda paste.
Let it dry.
Then rub it off.
Rinse the surface.
To clean a countertop made of tile and grout:
Use a mixture of 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup clear ammonia, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon
Apply the mixture with a sponge.
Be sure to protect your hands with rubber gloves.
To clean encrusted grease and food on roasting pans:
Dampen with hot water.
Sprinkle with baking soda.
Let the pot sit for an hour.
Sponge it clean.
Vinegar: (Almost) the Only Cleaner You'll Ever Need
Cleaning with vinegar is powerful, natural--and cheap!
by Noël-Marie Taylor
Most cleaning products fall into one of two categories: toxic or expensive. While both types will clean
almost anything (or at least, anything within their limited range of capabilities), there's a third option.
It's inexpensive and not at all poisonous to humans. It's multi-purpose as well--one container will
take care of laundry, kitchen cleaning, even bugs and weeds. This "miracle cleaner" is vinegar.
Vinegar is a weak form of acetic acid that forms through the fermentation of sugars or starches. It is
completely edible, and cannot harm your stomach.
Your Vinegar Spray Bottles
In addition to your regular bottle of vinegar, a really useful item is a spray bottle. Ideally, you want
two--one with pure vinegar, the other with half vinegar, half water combination. Having vinegar in a
dispenser of this type makes its use much simpler in many cases.
All Around the House
To remove stickers that have been used to "decorate" furniture and other surfaces, moisten with
vinegar. Let sit for at least ten minutes, then remove.
For persistent room odors, place a bowl of vinegar in the room overnight.
For spills on carpet, use a sponge or cloth to soak up as much liquid as possible. Then spray with
a mixture of half vinegar, half water. Let stand for about two minutes, then blot with towel or
sponge. Repeat as needed.
To clean windows, spray with half vinegar, half water. Wipe clean with either newspapers or
To clean silver, pewter, copper, or brass, dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in one cup vinegar. Add flour
to create a paste (1/4 cup or more). Apply the paste to the metal item, and let stand for at least
fifteen minutes. Rinse with warm water and polish with a soft cloth.
No-wax floors can be cleaned with a solution of 1 cup vinegar per gallon of water for a shinier
In the Bathroom
To remove corrosion or chemical build-up from showerheads, soak in vinegar overnight.
Remove stains from the toilet bowl by spraying with vinegar and spraying.
To remove soap build-up from faucets, clean with a mixture of 1 part salt to four parts vinegar.
Spray shower walls and shower curtain with vinegar to help prevent mildew.
In the Kitchen
To keep ants away, spray vinegar along doorways, windowsills, countertops - anywhere that
ants are likely to appear. If you find an ant trail (path that ants use repeatedly), clean it with
To remove odors from the sink or garbage disposal, pour in a cup or more vinegar. Do not rinse
out again for at least an hour.
For a clogged drain, first pour in 1/2 cup baking soda. Then add an equal amount of vinegar.
When the mixture finishes bubbling, rinse with warm water. (Note: some garbage disposals do not
react well to this cleaning method; check with the manufacturer first.)
1Wipe your hands with vinegar after chopping. It will remove strong scents like onion and
garlic, as well as stains from fruit juices.
To clean wooden cutting boards, wipe with vinegar.
Remove strong odors. Rinse jars with a half and half mixture of vinegar and water to remove
garlic or other strong odors. Boil water with several spoons of vinegar to remove the smell of
burnt food from your kitchen.
To clean your microwave oven, put a microwave-safe bowl of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 cup
water in the oven, and cook long enough to boil. In addition to removing any lingering odors,
this will loosen any baked-on food from the microwave's walls.
To remove coffee or tea stains from china, clean with a mixture of vinegar and salt.
In the Laundry
To keep colors from running in the wash, soak in vinegar before washing.
To decrease lint on clothing, add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Many persistent stains can be removed with vinegar: coffee, chocolate, ketchup, jam, cola,
wine. Gently rub stain with vinegar, then wash.
To make your "brights brighter", add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
To remove scorch marks from an iron, rub with a mixture of vinegar and salt.
To remove soap residue from the washing machine, run an empty (no laundry) cycle with one
cup vinegar added.
To remove the smell of smoke from clothing, add a cup of vinegar to a tub of hot water. Let
clothing hang in the same room for several hours.
Giving Your Windows a Streak-Free Shine
Separate individual pages from a newspaper. You will need about one sheet per window.
Crumple each sheet of newspaper into a loose ball.
Spray the window with window cleaner.
Wipe the window cleaner away with the newspaper ball, in a downward motion.
Throw away the balled-up newspaper and use a new one for the next window.