There are dozens of different cleaning products out there, each one promising they’ll do the best possible job. However, even if some of them are effective, the majority of these cleaning solutions are packed with chemicals and toxins. These are not only harmful to our health, but they’re terrible for the environment.
We can breathe them in, let them seep through our skin, and even swallow them by accident. Meanwhile, they can damage the ozone layer and have the potential to pollute both water and soil. And that’s all without considering the problems caused by the packaging, much of which cannot be recycled or is very slow to biodegrade.
The great news is that there are many natural solutions that work well and can be used in place of the poisonous chemicals mentioned above. One of the best cleaning products to have in your household is baking soda. It’s versatile, effective, and eco-friendly. As a bonus, it’s a lot cheaper than the average commercial cleaning product, so using it as a natural solution will also help you to save money.
The next time you come up against a tough job in the house, do not underestimate the power of baking soda. You might think baking soda is unlikely to be as powerful as cleaning products just because it’s safer, but in some cases, it actually works better than the toxic alternative. The following ten cleaning scenarios can be targeted with baking soda, and we’ll tell you exactly how to use it in order to get the best results.
1. Dirty or Stained Toilets
Let’s face it, no one like to clean the toilet. It’s a highly unpleasant job, and it’s tempting to put it off for as long as possible. However, if you are located in an area that has hard water, your toilets are at risk for stains.
Minerals that are left in standing water, can create brown-colored rings within the bowl. As well as ruining the appearance of your bathroom, these unsightly stains can leave you feeling embarrassed when guests visit (as brown rings on a toilet can make it look like no one has cleaned the bowl in months).
When this type of staining has developed, you generally need harsh cleansers to make a noticeable difference. However, these products are also famous for causing damage to the porcelain of the toilet, and they can also easily irritate the eyes and nose.
When it comes to cleaning the toilet, prevention is a lot better than cure, and it turns out that baking soda can help you with this type of preventative maintenance. In order to prevent brown stains and keep your toilet clean, sprinkle your toilet with around a cup or so of baking soda at least once a week. After leaving the baking soda on the toilet’s surface for approximately half an hour, spray it with vinegar.
Vinegar acts as a mild acid that can help with the cleaning process. Finally, scrub the toilet, flushing after you’re finished. If you make a habit of doing this every week, staining should never become severe, and strong chemicals will no longer be needed.
2. Carpet Stain Remover
Nobody wants a stain on their carpet, but accidents happened. Food is dropped, glasses full of fruit juice are knocked over, muddy paws end up where they don’t belong and over-exuberant kids can color the carpet with their art materials when you’re not looking.
As a result, it’s very important to have a clear strategy about stains, and that your approach is one that allows you to target these problematic stains the very moment that they appear. If you don’t want to use toxic chemicals but also want to keep your home looking great, you need a natural solution that will go the distance.
This is where baking soda comes in again! If you have a stain, all you need is some baking soda and vinegar and you’ll be well on your way to getting the carpet back to its former glory. The first thing you need to do is cover your stain with vinegar, and let it soak in for a few minutes.
Next, pile on some baking soda and spray a little more vinegar on top of the baking soda. Leave this mixture sitting on your stain for at least half an hour. To get the best results, however, we recommended letting the baking soda and vinegar sit overnight. Once the stain is absorbed in the mixture, you can wipe the area and then finish the process by vacuuming. In most cases, this approach works so well that you’ll be hard pressed to see there was ever a stain in the first place
3. Improving Laundry Results
If you make sure that you get the best results when you wash your clothes, you can keep them looking virtually new for a long time and potentially save money on new clothes. Of course, there are lots of fancy products out there that promise to make your favorite outfits looking better than ever, but a lot of these treatments can break the bank if you keep purchasing them.
Further, you’ll quickly come up against the problem of toxic ingredients once again, and also risk damaging the environment due to the nature of the chemicals added to these types of products.
Baking soda is a fantastic addition to your laundry routine for a few different reasons. For one thing, when you add baking soda to your laundry you can make your whites look a lot whiter. This is especially handy if you have an office job that requires sharp looking shirts or blouses.
In addition, baking soda has a great reputation for making colored clothing brighter, so patterned dresses, vibrant sweaters and sunny summer skirts all look so much better.
A further benefit of using baking soda is that it softens your water, and this means you can actually use less detergent. This means you’ll save even more money by opting for a baking soda treatment. It also increases the potency of bleach, so you can minimize your bleach dosage. Just add half a cup of baking soda to your wash, along with a little less bleach and detergent than usual, and marvel at the results!
4. Eliminate a Smelly Fridge
A fridge can start to smell unpleasant for a whole host of reasons. Odors don’t always develop because of poor fridge hygiene or rotting food; sometimes, the problem results from perfectly healthy food that has a strong smell or is hard to contain. Regardless of the reason why your fridge makes you scrunch up your nose whenever you open the door, you can use baking soda to neutralize the issue.
When you store an opened box of baking soda in your freezer or fridge, you can almost immediately eliminate bad odors. Just leave it sitting at the back or somewhere central, and it will work its magic. If you find that this approach isn’t effective, this is a warning sign that you probably need to commit to completing a thorough cleaning of your fridge.
However, you can also do this with baking soda! If you mix it with a little bit of white vinegar, you can create a powerful mixture that can be used to wipe the interior down. Once the fridge smells good again, leaving an opened box of baking soda inside should help to prevent odors from building up before the next cleaning is due.
Of course, it isn’t just the odor of the fridge that matters; you also want it to look shiny and clean. If you have any rust or food residue inside the fridge, you can target these areas with baking soda too, as it is effective for odor reduction and for stain removal. Just apply the baking soda to the discolored spots, and scrub with a cloth or toothbrush until the staining disappears.
5. Clean Your Coffee and Tea Pots
Coffee and tea stains can be stubborn, leaving formerly shiny mugs and coffee pots looking old, dirty and tired. In particular, you may be reluctant to serve guests in these mugs, in case it looks like you haven’t washed your dishes! In addition, this type of staining can actually influence the flavor of your drinks, so you have multiple reasons to look for a solution.
However, remedying these stains is easier said than done, because plain water and soak won’t do very much to fix long-standing marks and most of the commercially available cleaners are (once again) a potential hazard to both you and the planet. What’s even more frustrating is that these stains often seem to build up even if you diligently wash your mugs and pots immediately after use.
In order to reduce bitterness and remove brown stains, clean your mugs and coffee maker with baking soda. Since it’s non-toxic, you can soak your mugs in it without fear of ingesting anything harmful after the cleaning process is complete. We advise that you mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1 quart of water to create a great cleaning solution.
The longer you soak the mug or the pot, the more effective this approach will be. Many mugs with light staining will only need a quick soak of about half an hour, but for tougher stains, you’ll want to plan an overnight soak instead. Some people suggest that a mix of baking soda and vinegar is even more potent, so you might want to keep this option in mind if you’re dealing with a majorly discolored cup or pot.
6. Remove Dirt and Other Bathtub Stains
Whether you use your bathtub for regular, luxurious soaks or just step into it for quick showers, you’re still to notice that the tub begins to look worse for wear after a while. It can become stained, both by the products you use to wash and with the natural dirt that comes off your skin. Plus, the residue can build up, leaving unsightly residue and discoloration.
Baking soda will create a powerful cleaning paste that can eliminate bathtub grime. However, you need to sprinkle the baking soda on when the surface of the tub is heated, as the baking soda needs that moisture if it’s going to stick to the tub and help you eliminate the marks.
You’ll see the best results if you scrub the bath down with a stiff scrub brush; when the moisture meets the baking soda, a paste will form and it’s abrasive, cleansing properties will help you to get rid of everything from product buildup to mildew.
For tough stains, you can mix the baking soda with vinegar and spray it onto the troublesome areas. The vinegar has disinfectant properties too, making it an especially useful ally if you’re concerned about keeping your children safe from any bacteria that might be in the tub.
Allow the mixture to bubble, then wait for 15 minutes before wiping the surface down with a sponge and rinsing it with warm water. If you haven’t cleaned your bath in a very long time then you may find that you need to repeat this process to get rid of stubborn little spots, but regularly useful baking soda and vinegar should help you eliminate the need for intensive cleaning in the future.
7. Dirty Dishwasher
You need to maintain the cleanliness of your dishwasher so that it continues to works effectively. Although you might not realize it, failure to clean it can actually undermine its functionality. If you don’t attend to this necessary task on a fairly regular basis, you’ll find that your dishes emerge still looking dirty or perhaps covered in unappealing streaks.
To add insult to injury, you’ll end up spending way too much money as a result of running multiple dishwashings and wasting both water and electricity. However, no one would blame you for feeling apprehensive about using the average dishwasher cleaner. Many of these products come in a powder form, and in packaging that warns you how much danger you’ll be in if you swallow, inhale or even touch any of the contents.
You can put all your worries to one side if you simply pour a cup of baking soda into the dishwasher and let it run for a full hot water cycle. Not only will this approach help to combat crime, but it will freshen your dishwasher. You’ll likely notice that it smells better, and leaves your dishes looking especially good.
Your glassware, in particular, will sparkle and look bright. And if you want an even more powerful clean, try adding vinegar to the dishwasher. Pour some into a dishwasher-safe receptacle and sit on the top shelf of the dishwasher, then sprinkle a cup of baking soda onto the bottom of the appliance. After a full hot water cycle, your dishwasher will be cleaner than ever.
8. Maintaining Patio Furniture
After patio, the season comes to an end and you’re no longer likely to want to sit outside due to poorer weather, you will need to store your furniture. However, if you don’t do so in a smart way, you will likely be pretty disappointed by the condition of the patio furniture once you take it back out of storage in the warmer months of the year.
Unfortunately, even if you’re prepared to expose yourself to the hazardous chemicals in popular cleaning products, many of the common ingredients are too harsh for patio furniture and can leave cracks or unsightly marks.
Sprinkle some baking soda under the chair cushions. This will keep it fresh, even if the furniture is being stored and left untouched for months on end. Also, consider creating a baking soda paste and using it to wipe down all of the furniture. Use a sponge, and make sure you get every little dent and crevice on the furniture.
This is an especially great trick when it comes to keeping white, plastic chairs in good condition. They can easily become discolored, but (as noted when discussing laundry) baking soda is fantastic at keeping colors looking bright and clean. Meanwhile, vinegar-based cleaners can make a real difference to wooden furniture that is vulnerable to a buildup of mildew during humid weather.
While you’re outside, you can also tackle the grease on your outdoor grill. By this stage, it should come as no surprise to learn that baking soda is a great help when removing grease as well!
9. Deodorize Drains or Garbage Disposal
Drains can create unpleasant smells, even if you think of yourself as having pretty good kitchen habits. Meanwhile, garbage disposals are extremely useful appliances, but they too can give off an odor that makes the whole room uncomfortable to be in.
In order to combat this problem and ensure that your kitchen smells clean, pour around half a cup of baking soda down the drain or garbage disposal. Once you’ve done that, pour half a cup of vinegar down on top of the baking soda. Wait about 15 minutes to let the potent mixture work, and cover the drain with a plug if you can (so that the chemical reaction is contained and doesn’t overflow into the sink).
After the quarter of an hour has passed, pour boiling water down the pipes. The reason this process works is that baking soda loosens up residue and grime that’s at the bottom of the drain, and it will all come loose when the vinegar reacts with the baking soda. Finally, the water washes all the grime away!
If you’re dealing with the smelly garbage disposal, follow this cleaning procedure with fresh lemon or some lemon juice for added freshness. However, there’s one cautionary note that you should be aware of when tackling drains and garbage disposals with a mix of baking soda and vinegar; it’s vital to note that you should only use this particular method if you know for sure that you have metal pipes. Otherwise, you risk damaging the pipes.
10. Clean Stubborn Pots and Pans
Pots and pans can easily build up baked-on residue, even if you’re quick to wash them after use. Sadly, you’ll often find that hot water and soap isn’t strong enough to return them to their former glory. In addition, residue sometimes becomes almost impossible to remove if it gets stuck to the pan during overheating; if you’ve ever tried to remove a burned sauce from the bottom of a pan, you’ll know just how frustrating it can be!
To clean these tough messes, simply shake some baking soda across the interior of your pots and pans. Then, add boiling water and a little dish detergent. After you let this mixture soak for 15 minutes, wash the pots and pans as you would normally.
You can also add vinegar on top of the baking soda, and enjoy watching the explosive chemical reaction that takes place! While the baking soda loosens the baked-on residue, this chemical reaction caused by the vinegar will ensure that the residue actually comes straight off the pot’s surface.
So, as you can see, baking soda should be a staple not just in the kitchen cupboard but also in your cleaning collection. It is capable of dislodging a huge number of stains and residues, and it is can really brighten up the color of anything it cleans. Plus, if you have vinegar at your disposal as well, this dynamic duo can help you resolve almost any cleaning problem! Leave all those toxic cleaning products behind, and go for natural, affordable solutions that work just as well.