Perfectly Practical #104 - Baking Soda

Oooooh how I love multi-purpose items and baking soda is one of those items that I'm not sure I could live without - even if I could, would I want to?

In the Little Pink House we have several pantry items that infiltrate other areas of the house: distilled vinegar, olive oil, and especially baking soda.

We use baking soda for:

Carpet Deodorizer: When I need a carpet deodorizer I crunch up bay leaves, rosemary, or cinnamon sticks (all dried of course) and mix them in with baking soda. Then I sprinkle the mixture on the carpet and leave it for about 30 minutes before vacuuming it up. It's a natural and frugal way of keeping the carpet fresh.

Oral Hygiene: Do you know what the natural toothpastes are made of? Yep. Baking soda. In fact, the toothpaste I am currently using was made by Do It Yourself Mom and it is coconut oil, soda, and essential oil.  You can use straight baking soda, or mix in essential oils, or flavor extracts, or if you want whitening power, mix it with hydrogen peroxide. You can also mix soda with water and gargle for a mouthwash or put it in a cup and clean your toothbrushes in it.

Cleaner: You could take that same peroxide/soda mix and use it to clean grout. Mix the soda with water and run it through the dishwasher, washing machine, or coffeemaker to sanitize them.  Sprinkle around the tub or toilet and give them a good scrub with a wet sponge or toilet brush, respectively.

Extinguish Fires: I am about to incriminate myself here, I have had to put out a fire in my oven before with baking soda. You can't throw water on electrical or grease fires so baking soda is the safe alternative to throwing your nice dishtowels on top of the fire to put it out.

Absorb Odors:  This is the most classic use for soda (besides the whole baking thing.)  Just stick an open box in the fridge and it will absorb the pungent smells.  Also, we use to sprinkle it over the kitty litter (back many moons ago when we had inside cats.)  You can make sachets using baking soda and potpourri to absorb odors and leave a nice smell.

Softens Water:  Baking soda works kind of like bath salts whereby it will soften the water and make for a nice relaxing bath.  I've made my own bath fizzies using baking soda and essential oils.

No Poo:  Use baking soda and water to clean your hair.  About 1 Tbs. to 1c. water and then you can play with the amounts from there depending on if you have dry or oily hair.  It will strip your hair of all of the product that you may use on a regular basis.  If you have dandruff, this is a natural way to clear it up.

Drain Cleaner/Freshener:  We don't use drain cleaner 'cuz that stuff is an assault on my olfactory system, oh yeah, and not so great for the pipes either.  Instead, we pack baking soda in the drain then pour over hot vinegar and finish off with boiling water once the fizzing subsides.  Between the chemical reaction and the heat from the vinegar, most of the grody drain goo gets washed away by the time I pour the boiling water down the drain. 

Antacid:  In England they had something called health salts, which did the same thing as baking soda.  Mix 1/2 tsp. soda in 1/2 c. water and down the hatches.  It's not tasty but will settle your stomach and to use English terminology, "it will aid in the symptoms of overindulgence" (translation:  it will help cure a hangover or a food binge.)

Skin Problems:  You can make a paste with soda and water to help take the sting out of bug bites, sunburns, poison ivy, and even acne.  I don't use this if the skin is broken.

Cooking:  Do I really need to say anything here?  I will say that if you add a little soda in with your eggs, it will make them fluffier.

Clean Silver:  I have read that you can make a paste with soda and water to clean silver but that is abrasive so I tend to go with the boiling water and soda method to cleaning silver.  Put 1 Tbs. each of soda and salt into an aluminum disposable pan (or you can put a piece of foil in a glass pan) put your silver on the aluminum then pour over the boiling water.  Leave the silver for a few minutes then take it out of the water.  Once the silver has cooled down, wash it with soap and water and dry it with a soft cloth.

This is part of Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. The girl at the checkout thought I was crazy when I bought 20 small boxes during a store brand sale (paid $1.08 for all). I keep a box in each of two cleaning pails, each bathroom, the old garage refrigerator, and one in my baking cupboard. I still can't get my kids to brush their teeth with it.

    1. $1.08 for 20 boxes?!?! AWESOME! I have baking soda envy right now. :) Brushing your teeth with it isn't the most tasty product but I love the taste and feel of my mouth afterwards.

  2. Great tips - I use a tsp in my laundry load too.


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