I grew up with one of those Arm and Hammer boxes in the back of the refrigerator. I once asked my mom why she did it, and she told me her mother had done it ever since they switched from an ice box, to an actual refrigerator back in the 1940s. Come to find out, one of those in the back shelf of your fridge would absorb any way-laying smells that may erupt from the fish or onions, or potato salad you had stored for later. This long-lasting item has been a staple in a kitchen for a very long time.
What Exactly Is Baking Soda?
It’s 100 percent sodium bicarbonate, which can be used as a leavening agent in baked goods.
When mixed with an acid, baking soda reacts, making bubbles and giving off carbon dioxide gas, which causes dough to rise. Anecdotal reports throughout history suggest that many civilizations used forms of baking soda when making bread and other foods that required rising.
In its natural form, baking soda is known as nahcolite, which is part of the natural mineral natron. Natron, which contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate, has been used since ancient times. And no, you don’t need to get aluminum-free baking soda (you are confusing that with baking powder), as baking soda is already aluminum free.…
For instance, the Egyptians used natron as a soap for cleansing purposes. It was officially isolated in 1790 by one Nicholas LeBlanc but it wasn’t until the Solvay Process was applied in the 1860s that allowed it to be manufactured to the masses and sell the compound we know as baking soda today. By that time, baking soda was featured in published cookbooks but was still primarily known as a cooking additive. By the 1920s, however, its versatility was expanded on and by the 1930s it was widely advertised as a “proven medical agent.”
My grandma (who was born in 1903) would tell us grandkids of the many uses they applied baking soda. One of the more memorable was her description of how they used to brush their teeth with it each morning (apparently tooth paste as we know it hadn’t been invented yet).
You still can purchase a box of baking soda inexpensively, making it one of the least costly and more widely used home remedies to keep on hand. In addition to using it for minor accidents and injuries, baking soda can become a part of your regular routine around the house.
- Baking Powder – to make your own, sift together 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 parts cream of tartar.
- Beans – to make them more digestible, soak dried beans in a solution of 4 cups water and ½ cup baking soda as you are soaking them ready too eat.
- Chicken – to easily remove feathers and clean, boil the chicken in a pot of water mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda for approx 30 minutes.
- Eggs – to make fluffier, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to three eggs. Obviously this is only for the scrambled egg lovers out there
- Fish – to reduce the fishy smell for keeping more than one day in the fridge, soak raw fish in 2 cups water and ¼ cup baking soda for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator.
- Fruits & Vegetables – to make sure all bacteria and pesticides are eliminated, wash them in a sink of water mixed with 1 cup of baking soda.
- Meat – to tenderize, rub meat with baking soda and allow it to sit for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Rinse before cooking.
- Homemade Gatoraid – to make your own, dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking, 1 teaspoon of salt, 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1 package of Kool-Aid in 2 quarts of warm water. Cool and drink to replace electrolytes which help you to absorb more water.
- Wild Game – to reduce the gamey flavor, soak it in a solution of 4 cups water and ½ cup baking soda for at least 4 hours.
- Baby Bottles – to clean and deodorize, wash bottles in a sink full of hot water and ½ cup baking soda.
- Cast Iron – to clean, sprinkle with baking soda and scrub with a rag. Rinse and season.
- Appliances – to clean stains out of the coffee maker, blender, juicer, etc., add ¼ cup baking soda to a tray of water. Let the stained portion soak in the solution for at least 2 hours.
- Cups, and Mores – to remove stains from mugs, sprinkle baking soda and fill with hot water. Let it soak until the water is cool. Empty and sprinkle with a little more baking soda and scrub clean.
- Dish clothes – to remove the smell, soak dish clothes in 2 cups water and 1 cup baking soda.
- Dishwasher – to clean and deodorize, sprinkle the bottom with 1 cup baking soda and run it through a full cycle using hot water. Then leave the door open for a few hours to dry out.
- Food Storage Containers – to remove odors, sprinkle with baking soda and allow them to sit covered for 24-48
hours. Wash in a sink of water mixed with ½ cup baking soda.
- Hands – to remove stubborn odors, wash hands with baking soda. It works!
- Oven – to clean, mix 1 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon baking soda scrub the inside of the oven and rinse clean.
- Pots & Pans – to remove burnt on food, fill pan with water and ¼ cup baking soda. Boil for 10-15 minutes and wash clean.
- Skillets & Fryers – to remove grease, scrub pans with baking soda.
- Refrigerator – to clean and deodorize, make a cleaning solution using 4 cups water and ¼ cup baking soda.
- Refrigerator – to remove odors, place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator.
- Stove – to clean a glass top stove, make a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the mixture to the stove top scrubbing away the mess. Rinse with clean water.
- Combs & Brushes – to clean like the local barber or hair stylist do, soak them in a solution made of 4 cups hot water and ½ cup baking soda. Soak for 1-2 hours then rinse clean.
- Drains – to keep them flowing freely and smelling fresh, clean them every other month with a non-solution powder form and run warm water down the drain.
- Drains – to unclog, remove as much of the standing water as possible. Pour 1 cup baking soda into the drain then pour 1 cup hot vinegar. Allow it to do its magic for 10-15 minutes and then run the hot water for a few minutes.
- Shower Curtains – to clean and remove mildew, soak them in 1 gallon warm water and 1 cup baking soda. Allow them to soak overnight, rinse and hang to dry.
- Sinks, tubs and showers – to scrub, mix ¼ cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap. Use as you would any scouring powder.
- Toilet – to clean and absorb odors, add a cup of baking soda to the bowl and let it sit for an hour. Clean with a toilet brush and flush.
- Toothbrushes – to clean, soak overnight in a mixture of ¼ cup water and ¼ cup baking soda. Rinse before use.
- Detergent – learn to make your own.
- Cloth Diapers – to clean and deodorize, add ½ cup of baking soda to the washer.
- Disposable Diaper Pail – to deodorize, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom.
- Laundry – to boost your detergent’s cleaning power and brighten clothes, add 1/4 cup to your wash.
- Line Drying – to keep clothes from being stiff, add baking soda to your washer. Very old school but when in a pinch…
General Cleaning & Use
- Air Freshener – to make your own, mix a cup of baking soda with a few drops of essential oil. Place mixture in a small bowl.
- Carpets – to clean, sprinkle with baking soda and gently brush it in. Allow it to sit overnight then vacuum.
- Chrome – to polish, make a paste using baking soda and water. Buff with paste and rinse clean.
- Fireplace – to freshen, remove ashes then place a container of baking soda in the fireplace.
- Floors – to brighten and clean, in a bucket of warm water dissolve ½ cup baking soda. Rinse.
- Garbage Cans – to clean, make a thin paste using baking soda and water. Scrub the garbage can and rinse.
- Garbage Cans – to deodorize, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom.
- Hamper – to freshen, sprinkle the bottom with baking soda.
- Marble – to clean, make a cleaning solution using 4 cups warm water and 3 tablespoons baking soda. Pour solution in a spray bottle.
- Rugs – to freshen, sprinkle with baking soda, let sit overnight. Shake.
- Shoes – to clean, make a thin paste using baking soda and water. Rub the paste on the shoe with a clean cloth. Rinse.
- Silver – to clean smooth surface silver, place the silver in an aluminum foil pan, add enough boiling water to cover the silver and 4-5 tablespoons baking soda. Let it sit for 1-2 hours. Rinse and polish with a clean dry cloth.
- Silver – to shine, mix 3 parts baking soda with one part water. Buff silver with the paste and rinse.
- Stainless Steel – to polish and clean, make a paste using baking soda and water. Buff with paste and rinse clean.
- Upholstery – to clean, sprinkle with baking soda and gently brush it in. Allow it to sit overnight, then vacuum.
- Vacuum Cleaner – to freshen, vacuum up a ½ cup of baking soda.
- Water Rings – to remove from wood furniture, make a paste using baking soda and toothpaste (not the gel kind). Using a soft cloth dipped in the mixture rub the spot.
Health & Beauty
- Antiperspirant – to make your own, apply baking soda with a powder puff under arms.
- Bee Stings – to sooth the pain and draw out the stinger, apply a paste of baking
soda and water to the affected area.
- Breath – to freshen, gargle with 2 ounces of water mixed with ½ teaspoon baking soda.
- Bug Bites – to relieve itching, make a thick paste using water and baking soda. Apply paste to the bite.
- Canker Sore – to relieve pain, mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt in 1 cup of water. Gargle.
- Chicken Pox – to relieve itching, add ½ cup baking soda to a lukewarm bath.
- Colds – to relieve stuffy head and nose, use vapor disks in your shower made with 2 cups baking soda, 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Slowly add water to make a thick putty. Divide into muffin tins and allow them to air dry for 24 hours.
- Dandruff – to control, massage your wet scalp with a ¼ – ½ cup of baking soda. Repeat for two weeks.
- Dentures and Retainers – to clean, soak them in 1 cup warm water and 3 tablespoons baking soda.
- Detox – to relieve aches and pains, mix 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a warm tub of water.
- Face Scrub – for a soft, smooth face, make a paste using 1 part baking soda, 2 parts ground oatmeal and water. Gently rub you face with the paste, leave on for a few minutes and then rinse.
- Feet – to relieve aching feet, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to a tub of warm water.
- Heartburn – to relieve, drink 4 ounces of water mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda.
- Jellyfish Sting – to sooth pain, apply a thick paste of baking soda and water to the affected area.
- Mouthwash – to make your own, mix 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon salt, a drop of two of peppermint in 1 quart of water. Gargle.
- Poison Ivy – to relieve itching, make a thin paste using water and baking soda. Gently apply to affected area.
- Skin – to exfoliate, make a paste using 3 parts baking soda and on part water. Gently apply with your fingers using a circular motion, rinse
- Split Ends – to resist, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 6 ounces of conditioner.
- Stuffy Nose – to clear, add 1 teaspoon to vaporizer.
- Sunburn – to relieve pain, soak in a bath tub full of lukewarm water and a ½ cup baking soda. Air dry.
- Teeth – to clean, make a paste using baking soda and peroxide.
- Teeth – to whiten, mix ½ teaspoon baking soda with 1 crushed, ripe strawberry. Apply the mixture to your teeth and allow it to remain for 5 minutes. Brush teeth and rinse.
- Ulcer – to relieve pain, dissolve 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda in 1 cup water and drink.
- Clay – to make your own, mix 1 cup cornstarch, 2 cups baking soda and 1 ¼ cups water. Knead until well mixed.
- Cradle Cap – to loosen and remove, wash infants hair/scalp with a watery mixture of baking soda and water.
- Diaper Rash – to relieve rash, put a couple tablespoons of baking soda in their bathwater.
- Dogs – to deodorize fur, brush their coat with baking soda.
- Dogs & Cats – to clean their teeth, dip a damp toothbrush into baking soda and brush away the tarter.
- Dogs & Cats – to deter bugs from getting into their food bowls, sprinkle baking soda around their bowls.
- Litter Box – to absorb odor, sprinkle the litter with baking soda.
- Skunked – to remove odors, bathe in a tub of warm water and 2 cups baking soda.
- Skunking – to remove odors from clothing, soak clothing in a bucket of warm water and 1 cup of baking soda.
- Concrete – to clean off grease, sprinkle on the spot and scrub using a hard bristle brush. Rinse clean. Repeat as needed.
- Grills – to clean, sprinkle a damp brush with baking soda, scrub, allow to sit for 24 hours and rinse.
- Patio Cushions – to store for winter, place cushions in a large plastic bag and sprinkle with baking soda. Seal bag and store.
- Sidewalks – to remove ice, sprinkle with baking soda.
- Sidewalks and Driveways – to remove weeds from the cracks, sprinkle them baking soda.
- Flowers – to keep cut flowers fresh, add 1 teaspoon to the water.
- Gardens – to keep rabbits out, sprinkle garden beds with baking soda.
- Tomatoes – to sweeten, sprinkle baking soda on the soil around the plants.
- Ants – to rid your home, sprinkle baking soda along their paths.
- Cock Roaches – to rid your home, sprinkle around windows and under sinks.
- Battery – to keep it from corroding, every couple of months wipe the terminals with a paste made of baking soda and water. Remove with a clean, dry rag.
- Windshield – to repel rain, wipe your windshield with a solution of 2 cups water and 1 cup baking soda.
- Fires – to put out a small grease fire, pour baking soda on it.
- Paint Brushes – to restore stiff brushes, mix ½ gallon of water, ¼ cup vinegar and 1 cup baking soda in a sauce pan. Place paint brushes in the pan and bring them to a boil.
- Shoes – to remove odors, sprinkle baking soda in your shoes
- Walls – to fill nail holes, mix baking soda with white toothpaste. Fill the holes and allow to dry.
What Other Uses Have You Found for Baking Soda?
Let us know what other uses you have found for baking soda, or what your grandmas and grandpas used to use it for! We love to hear your comments and experiences down below.