Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work?

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

By Cheri Liefeld & Pippa Armbrester

Baking soda is the secret sitting in all of our cupboards.

Did you know this inexpensive cleaning superhero can deodorize, cleanse, and neutralize a number of things in your house — including you? Among the best uses for baking soda are cleaning everything from the oven to your toilet, swapping out expensive beauty products like teeth whiteners, and getting the stink out of those old gym shoes.

If you’re still wondering what are the uses of baking soda you can try in your own home, our very own Pippa Armbrester put these baking soda uses to the test! Read on to find out which ones worked and which ones didn’t.

Stock up on this amazing natural cleaner with Arm & Hammer baking soda coupons, then find out how you can clean even more of your home with vinegar!

1. Whiten your teeth

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Make a paste with strawberries, lemons, and baking soda. Strawberries contain malic acid, which acts as an astringent to combat teeth discoloration.

Mix 1 strawberry, 1 Tablespoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon lemon to form a paste. Rub on your teeth and let sit for a few minutes, then brush and rinse.

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Pippa’s take: This tooth-whitening paste, made from baking soda, strawberry, and lemon juice, has a very unpleasant taste and texture. It’s difficult to keep on without spitting for the full five minutes recommended!

However, it did seem to whiten my teeth, removing a bit (if not all) of their yellowish tint.

2.  Soothe itchy or sunburned skin

Add baking soda to your bath water for relief from everything itchy, including bug bites and poison ivy. Livestrong recommends running a warm bath and adding 1/2-1 cup of baking soda to the bath water, allowing it to dissolve. Soak in the tub for as long as you like — no itching will ruin your relaxation experience!

3.  Save your money on dry shampoo

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Sprinkle a little baking soda on your roots for the same result.

Pippa’s take: I tried this out after a run when my hair was sweaty and in need of freshening up.

After sprinkling a bit of baking soda on my roots, I combed it through. Baking soda is a bit harder to disperse than my usual dry shampoo or baby powder, but it did freshen my hair up and remove some of the greasiness.

However, I saw the biggest improvement after an additional quick blow dry.

4. Brighten your nails

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Remove nail stains by mixing baking soda and peroxide and scrubbing it on your nails.

Pippa’s take: Baking soda is supposedly great for brightening nails. So, I rubbed a peroxide and baking soda paste onto my husband’s nails, left it for a couple minutes, then rinsed.

I can’t say I noticed a visible difference, but they did feel smoother afterward!

5.  Reinvigorate your skin

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Make a face and body scrub. Mix 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Exfoliate by rubbing in a circular motion and then rinse.

Pippa’s take: A baking soda and water paste makes for a very pleasant body wash exfoliator, it’s not too rough when rubbed on your skin.

It definitely left my skin feeling smoother and softer, and the redness from rubbing on the paste faded fairly quickly.

6.  Neutralize body odors

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Pat baking soda under your arms or sprinkle in your shoes.

Pippa’s take: My two year olds’ soccer shoes and my running sneakers were definitely a bit stinky!

I tried a sprinkle of baking soda that I left in for a few hours, then shook out. The sweaty stink was gone!

7. Freshen your mouth

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Stir one teaspoon of baking soda into 1/2 cup water. Swish around, spit, and rinse. Bad breath has been neutralized!

Pippa’s take: After a cup of coffee, I swished with a water and baking soda solution in my mouth for a few seconds.

While it didn’t taste great, it did neutralize my bad coffee breath. So, while this won’t give you minty fresh breath like a normal mouthwash, it will remove any unpleasant smell.

8. Clean kids retainers & mouthpieces

Soak in a bowl of water and equal parts baking soda, says Griffiths & Simister Orthodontics. Food particles will loosen up while odors are eliminated. Finish with a quick brush and rinse.

9. Clean your refrigerator

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Mix one teaspoon baking soda to one quart of warm water.

Pippa’s take: The drippings from our glass milk jugs always create a film on the top shelf of our fridge, and this baking soda-water solution did a beautiful job of cleaning it up. I simply dipped a sponge in the solution, wiped the shelf, and dried immediately.

10. Bug bite relief

Dr. Mercola recommends making a paste of baking soda and water, then applying to that pesky insect bite for natural relief.

11. Clean your microwave

Source: HowToDoYourself

If you’re struggling to scrub off all those food splatters inside your microwave, stop! There’s an easier way: HowToDoYourself says to put a solution of 2 Tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe container, then cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Leave the container inside the microwave for a few more minutes, then remove it and wipe down the interior with a damp cloth. Easy, peasy!

12. Clean your oven

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Sprinkle the bottom of your oven with baking soda and spray with water. Let it sit overnight and wipe clean the next morning. No more toxic fumes from oven cleaners!

Pippa’s take: While we usually keep a layer of foil on the bottom of our oven to catch any food drippings, this baking soda solution is a promising alternative.

A layer of baking soda followed by a spritz of water removed greasiness and food residue from the bottom of my oven.

13. Polish stainless steel & chrome

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

To get your stainless steel sink and chrome faucet back to its pristine, sparkling finish, Apartment Therapy recommends mixing together a paste of baking soda and water. Use this to gently rub down the sink and faucet, then wash away the residue.

Pippa’s take: I tried this method out on my stainless steel oven, and found that while it initially appeared to have cleaned away smudges, it left a white filmy mark. I found the same result when cleaning my stove.

Wiping with water didn’t solve the problem, so I think you’re better off with an all-purpose cleaner for these particular surfaces.

14. Unclog drains

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Learn how to unclog your drain naturally with baking soda, hot water, and vinegar.

Pippa’s take: Our side kitchen sink has been slow to drain, so I tried this method of boiling water and pouring it down the drain, adding baking powder, then rinsing.

Right away I noticed the water draining more quickly!

15. Make an all-purpose cleaning scrub

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Clean sinks and countertops naturally with a homemade mix of baking soda, vinegar, liquid soap, and water.

Pippa’s take: This mixture of water, baking soda, vinegar, and hand soap acted just like a regular all-surface cleaner. I found it particularly effective at making the sides of our sink shiny and neutralizing odors.

16. Clean a toilet

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Add 1/2 cup baking soda to the bowl, swirl, then scrub.

Pippa’s take: While not quite as effective as regular toilet bowl cleaner, a half cup of baking soda followed by a scrub and flush did whiten the toilet bowl.

17. Clean your rugs

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Sprinkle the rug with baking soda and let sit for an hour and up to overnight. Vacuum up the next morning. Added bonus, the vacuum gets clean, too!

Pippa’s take: Our living room rug has some old dirt stains that I sprinkled with baking soda. I let it sit for a couple hours, vacuumed, and noticed only slight improvement.

The stains were still there, though a bit lighter. This might be more effective on recent rug stains, rather than old ones.

18. Remove refrigerator odors

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

This tip is a classic, but for good reason. Place an open box of baking soda in the back of your refrigerator to neutralize those pesky odors. Be sure to change out the box every few months.

Pippa’s take: I stuck an open container of baking soda in the top back shelf of our fridge and definitely noticed less of an odor problem. I’m no longer greeted by the smell of fish when I open the fridge door!

19. Make smelly coolers fresh

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Fill the cooler with water, pour in 1/2 cup baking soda and cover with the lid. Come back 1 hour later and rinse.

Pippa’s take: After an Oktoberfest party, our cooler was definitely in need of freshening.

I filled it about a third of the way full with water, added a 1/2 cup of baking soda, then let it sit for a couple hours. Once emptied the cooler smelled good as new!

20. Repel ants

If you keep finding little trails of ants in your home, keep them out without resorting to potentially harmful chemicals. Instead, JCiotta on Brighthub recommends pouring a line of baking soda near windows, doors, and under sinks. Ants won’t cross this line, so you’ll be able to safely keep them outside.

21. Clean your makeup brushes

Freshen up your makeup brushes with the help of a little baking soda. Violet LeBeaux recommends filling a small container with warm water and mixing in 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Add your makeup brushes one by one, swishing them around in the water and making sure all the bristles get wet.

If you have a lot of brushes to clean or if yours are extra dirty, you can empty the container and refill it with more warm water and 2 more teaspoons of baking soda, then let your brushes soak for about 20 minutes. Afterward, give the brushes a quick rinse under the tap, smooth the bristles back into shape, and squeeze out any excess water. Be sure to let them dry completely overnight.

22. Sweeten your tomatoes

Craving some sweet tomatoes this summer? The Gardening Cook shares a little tip for how you can easily grow sweet tomatoes: Baking soda!

Simple sprinkle a little bit of baking soda (less than 1/4 cup per plant) on the soil around your tomatoes — but don’t get any on the plant itself!

23. Remove driveway stains

Have a pesky oil or grease stain that’s stuck on your driveway? Get rid of that eyesore by dumping baking soda on the stain, getting it damp, and scrubbing with a brush, says Remove and Replace. You should continue scrubbing until the stain begins to come up, then hose off your driveway and repeat if the stain is still there.

24. Keep your grill clean

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Put baking soda on a damp brush, scrub the grate, then rinse.

Pippa’s take: After a summer of heavy grilling, our grill certainly needed a good cleaning.

I sprinkled baking soda onto a damp grill brush and scrubbed away, and also tried sprinkling baking soda directly on the grill before scrubbing. It did take away the worst of the messiness, but didn’t remove all the burnt food residue.

25. Freshen up your load of laundry

If the kiddos come home with extra smelly clothes, just add 1/2 cup of baking soda along with liquid laundry detergent at the beginning of the wash cycle, says Better Homes & Gardens. If you use powder detergent, add that baking soda during the rinse cycle instead.

Bonus! Cleaning burnt pots & pans

Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work? | thegoodstuff

Pippa’s note: This baking soda use wasn’t in the original list, but it’s one of my favorites so I had to share!

When stainless steel pans get burnt or scorched, it can be very difficult to remove the marks, but baking soda did make a significant difference.

I filled our stained pan with water and a fourth cup of vinegar, brought it to a boil, then added one tablespoon of baking soda. Be prepared for it to bubble and fizz!

I then poured out the water and baking soda mixture and scrubbed the pan with a rough brush. There were still some marks, so I rubbed a baking soda and water paste onto the pan, let it sit, and scrubbed some more. The pan wasn’t good as new, but significantly improved!

Overall, baking soda is a promising alternative to chemical-laden cleaners. It works beautifully at neutralizing odors and is an effective cleaning agent and beauty product, especially when combined with other natural cleaners like vinegar.

While it does have its limits (stainless steel, heavy-duty messes, and tough grime on grills being some of them), it’s worth keeping in mind as an alternative product for cleaning and personal care.

Do you have a use for baking soda we didn’t mention here? Share it with us in the comments below!


2 replies on “Does Cleaning with Baking Soda Really Work?”

My favorite is using baking soda to scrub out coffee stains from my glass coffee pot. Just sprinkle some in and scrub with a wet cloth and those stains are gone. My pot really sparkles and no scratches!

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