Before you buy a bottle of blue glass and surface cleaner, sprinkle a little baking soda on a damp sponge, and wipe away water spots on glass shower doors. (Wipe down with plain water afterwards, to remove residue.) You can also wipe fixtures — baking soda and water are safe on stainless steel, chrome, brass, and bronze finishes, though it should not be used on aluminum. A damp sponge and baking soda will also remove stains from sinks and formica kitchen counters, such as those left by tomato sauce, coffee, etc.
Because baking soda is non-toxic, it is also safe to use for cleaning and sanitizing children’s toys or poolside toys, and a gentle rub with a damp sponge and baking soda removes crayon marks from tables and walls.
Removing Tarnish from Silver:
No need to buy expensive silver polishes that would bring toxic chemicals to your home. A paste made with three parts baking soda and one part water, rubbed on your silver with a clean cloth or sponge, will magically make tarnish disappear. Rinse off residue with water and dry with a towel, and your silver will look as beautiful as new!
Before you buy a bottle of harsh chemicals to unclog your drain, try this natural approach: pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour down half a cup of vinegar. Cover drain with small dish and let mixture sit for 10 or 20 minutes. Flush drain with hot water. The effervescence in the baking soda will mix with the cleaning acidity of the vinegar, breaking up hair, oils and other substances that have backed up your drain. (But don’t use this mix if you already used a commercial drain opener fluid, as toxic fumes will come up.)
Safely Cleaning Your Fruits and Vegetables:
Lightly sprinkle fruits and vegetables with baking soda, then rinse. Or mix a spoonful of baking soda and water in a medium-sized bowl, and dip fruits and vegetables in it for a few moments. Baking soda will help remove dirt, residues, and traces of mold, the natural way.
Tooth-Cleaning and Whitening:
Baking soda’s minimally abrasive and oxygenating properties make it an effective cleanser and polisher of teeth (and dentures). It helps remove stains and plaque, and whitens teeth. Just dip your toothbrush in a container and brush away for a minute. Or, if you prefer, make a baking soda and water paste, and use it as toothpaste. This is a great way to take a break here and there from brushing with toothpastes that have all sorts of artificial chemicals! (By the way, one study found that toothpastes with baking soda whiten and remove plaque better than toothpastes without it.)
Baking soda has the amazing ability to neutralize odors, not just mask them — even tough odors. Say that baby or Fido has a liquid accident on the carpet: instead of sprinkling fresheners that are likely to have artificial fragrances and chemicals, mop up the fluid with paper towels, then clean carpet according to manufacturer’s instructions. Let carpet dry completely; then, sprinkle spot liberally with baking soda, leave on for 20 – 30 minutes, and vacuum.
Baking soda also has medicinal properties: many people who have eczema, and parents of babies with eczema, find that a baking soda bath relieves itching and helps to gently sanitize skin. For adults: mix half a cup of baking soda into tub water. For babies: mix 1-2 tsp baking soda per gallon of water, being careful that infant does not swallow any of the water. No need to rinse off the baking soda water, but do apply a thick moisturizer immediately after bath while skin is still damp, as is always recommended for eczema. You can also make a baking soda and water paste, and apply it only to itchy spots. Wash off paste after a few minutes and apply thick moisturizer.
If your baby has diaper rash, baking soda will soothe it quickly. Sprinkle a little baking soda in the water that you use when cleansing baby’s diaper region in between baths. Or mix 1 tsp in baby’s bath water; no need to rinse off. Baking soda helps by neutralizing urine acid.
Sanitizing and Removing Stains from Laundry:
Baking soda added to your laundry detergent will help remove stains and gently sanitize clothes. Note that baking soda is different from soda ash, though the two are related, and both are good and safe to use in laundry for stain removal and extra cleaning power.
Two final points:
While some sources recommend baking soda as an antacid/reflux medication (a spoonful of baking soda, or less, mixed in a small glass of water, they say), experience will tell you that this use is ill-advised for several reasons: First, ingesting even a tiny amount mixed with water (let alone a spoonful or anything close to that) may immediately produce painful, moderately frequent gas that will last for hours. Secondly, taking baking soda with water will greatly increase your dietary sodium intake, which in turn can lead to other health problems, such as fluid retention and high blood pressure. Third, if you take in too much baking soda (and even a little may be too much), your system will reject it and cause you to vomit.
Last, baking soda is different from baking powder. The latter is used strictly for baking and has other ingredients that make it inappropriate for the uses recommended above. For above uses, make sure box says “baking soda” and not baking powder.
By Marc Courtiol