Amazing Uses for Baking Soda

by heather

19371741You know how it is when a white mug gets stained with coffee and tea? Well, some of my white mugs are starting to look decidedly brown, and no amount of scrubbing can set them right. So,Β I was surfing online this afternoon looking for a thrifty way to get the stains out.

I happened upon this great post, which suggested that scrubbing the mug with baking soda would do the trick.


And then it hit me: I’ve written about vinegar, honey, hydrogen peroxide andΒ vodka. How did I miss baking soda? It’s akin to a green blogger never writing a single word about recycling. I use the stuff almost daily, especially to clean my white kitchen sink. I’m baffled it hasn’t really been featured here at the Greenest Dollar.

So to remedy the situation here it is: a handy list of household uses for baking soda, better known as “The Wonder Powder”. Many tips I got online, but most came from my book Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things: 2,317 Ways to Save Money and Time. This book is put out by Reader’s Digest, and it’s amazing.

Tip: Ever wonder how long baking soda lasts? Open boxes last 6 months, and a sealed box for 18 months. If you’re not sure your baking soda is still good, then take out a teaspoon and pour a bit of vinegar or lemon juice on it. If it doesn’t fizz, it’s time for a new box.

Thrifty Uses for Baking Soda

  • Cleaning white sinks and, as I know now, white mugs. Just sprinkle and scrub.
  • Keep cut flowers fresh longer by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the vase water.
  • Mix with a bit of vinegar to freshen up your garbage disposal.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, let it sit, and then vacuum it up for a fresh clean smell.
  • Add a cup of baking soda to your toilet water. Let it sit for an hour and then flush. The baking soda cleans the bowl and absorbs odors.
  • Beans give you gas? Add a pinch of baking soda to the pot as you’re boiling them. This will reduce the aftereffects of the beans.
  • Freshen your sponges and dish towels by soaking them overnight in 2 tablespoons of baking soda with a couple of drops of dish soap dissolved in 1 pint of water. The next morning rinse them out, and they’ll smell good as new.
  • Get rid of grease on your stove top. Wet them first with water, and then cover them with baking soda. Wipe them off with a damp towel.
  • Clean your coffee maker without vinegar! Simply brew a pot with 1 quart of water and 1/4 cup of baking soda.
  • Get rid of stains in your nonstick cookware. In the pan, boil 1 cup of water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar for 10 minutes. Wash in hot soapy water and dry.
  • Remove wine stains from your carpeting with baking soda. First blot the stain to get up as much liquid as you can. Then, sprinkle with baking soda and let sit for one hour. Then, vacuum it up!
  • Get the smoke stains off your fireplace bricks by washing them with 1/2 cup of baking soda in 1 liter of warm water.
  • Remove cigarette smells from your furniture by sprinkling them with baking soda. Let it sit for about an hour, and then vacuum it up.
  • If your thermos, baby bottles, Β or water bottle smells stale, then mix some baking soda with hot water and use it as a soak. They’ll smell clean and fresh after a few hours.
  • Mop your floors with 1/2 cup baking soda with hot water. This works especially well on no-wax floors. You can also easily scrub off scruff marks with a sponge.
  • Get gunk off your bathtub by mixing a paste of 2 parts baking soda with 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Let the paste set for half and hour, and then scrub off.
  • If you’ve got build-up on your scalp or hair (or just dandruff), add one tablespoon to your hair while you’re washing it. The baking soda will remove chemicals and build up.
  • Adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry will give you whiter whites. And it softens water, which means you can use less detergent.
  • If your dishwasher gets stinky before it’s time to wash with a full load, just sprinkle a small handful of baking soda on the dishes in the lower level. It was absorb odors and leave your dishwasher smelling fresh.
  • Clean your car’s battery terminals safely with a mixture of 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon warm water. Scrub with an old toothbrush, and then dry completely. You can also dab with a bit of petroleum jelly around each terminal (once it’s completely dry!) to deter corrosive buildup.

Last Word…

What about you? What’s your favorite use of baking soda? I always love to learn new tricks and uses for this magic stuff. Now that I have a Costco membership I can start buying it in bulk (if they carry it…does anyone know?)

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Mrs. Money February 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm

They do carry it. πŸ™‚ We buy two bags at a time!

[email protected] Paradise February 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm

WOW! I am trying the toilet cleaning right now!! Thanks for the tips.

heather February 2, 2010 at 7:29 am

@Mrs. Money, thanks so much! I’m definitely going to pick some up next time I’m in. And I just realized if they have BS, they probably have jumbo tubs of vinegar. Yahoo! πŸ™‚

heather February 2, 2010 at 7:32 am

@Danielle- Yeah, I’m going to try that one today as well. There’s a spot on my bowl the toilet brush simply won’t reach, so I’m anxious to see if the baking soda will just dissolve it away.

[email protected] Paradise February 2, 2010 at 8:26 am

Well, I tried it this morning and it did seem to help quite a bit. I thought of trying it on the tub next.

Evelyn February 2, 2010 at 11:55 am

Love the tip for scrubbing your sink – however, I can’t use abrasive cleaners on my white sink (or tub, for that matter). I wonder if baking soda is considered abrasive?

heather February 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm

@Evelyn, I don’t know for sure, but it seems to me that it would be. When I’m scrubbing my sink it sure SEEMS abrasive. I just Googled “Is baking soda abrasive” and most of the sites say it’s a gentle/mild abrasive. Perhaps you could mix lemon juice and vinegar into a spray bottle and use that instead?

Ash February 3, 2010 at 7:05 am

I’ve tried it on the car battery, but honestly – a can of Coke (not diet) works much, much better. Just be sure to rinse with water to remove the sugar.

Evelyn February 3, 2010 at 8:51 am

@heather – Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’ve used it to scrub my mugs to get the tea stains out before. Well, dang! I thought I’d be able to get some stubborn stains. It’s probably not green, but I currently use silver polish on my sink. It gets out most everything and makes the chrome shine, too!

heather February 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

@Ash, wow thanks for that awesome tip! I’ll definitely try that one. Our needs cleaning just about once every winter it seems. I’ll give the Coke a try next time we have to do it.

@Evelyn- I think Method cleaners (available at Target) are fairly eco-friendly, and they might make a silver polish. Or maybe I’m thinking of their stainless steel polish…drat, I can’t remember. Anyway, the stainless steel polish might work on your sink too! It’s great for getting out greasy stains. πŸ™‚

Kate February 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Well, this is not quite a tip for baking soda, but I do know you can use Taco Bell taco sauce (the stuff that comes free in the little plastic pouch) to clean copper. Try it on a penny and see for yourself!

RenaissanceRonin February 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm


Did ya know that if you combine vinegar, honey, hydrogen peroxide, vodka and baking soda… and then hook it up to a car battery…

Ya get an explosive device that sticks to everything including teflon? πŸ™‚

My mom beat me with a wooden spoon until her arm got tired, and then… she toook a nap and beat me again!

Hey, wait a minute… You ain’t one a them “domestic terrorists” I’ve been reading about are ya?

I mean, this here Homeland Security comic book spells em out pretty clearly…

Says you can identify them by their scars, tattoos, and the fact that they’re always eatin crawfish, and rooting for the New Orleans Saints… πŸ˜‰

I’m tellin…

Hey, maybe there’s a reward! But with my luck, it would probably a coupon for a discount on Crawfish and Grits… Bleeeaa-aach!

Great post!


JN Urbanski February 8, 2010 at 8:59 am

Great post! You can also brush your teeth with it and it makes them a little whiter.

heather February 8, 2010 at 9:47 am

@Ronin-Actually, the reward is a gift certificate to Cormier’s in Monroe, LA, but don’t let that dissuade you. Their crawfish is so good that it might be worth losing a friend by turning me in! πŸ™‚

RenaissanceRonin February 8, 2010 at 11:06 pm

@Heather – What a shameless plug! What’s the address? πŸ™‚
Crawfish? Bleeeeah! I’d rather be foreced to eat my wife’s cooking… um…er … maybe crawfish ain’t that bad… Hmmm… πŸ˜‰

Oh gawd.. I said that out loud, didn’t I?

Drat… Oh well, nobody reads the Internet anyway… πŸ™‚

xochitl February 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

As a makeup artist, I offer a lot of organic and eco-friendly options to my clients.

For acne: Microwave some honey (a tablespoon or 2) until there’s bubbles, mix equal parts BS. Allow to cool a bit, apply while still warm NOT hot. Relax 10 minutes. Rub off in GENTLE circular motions.

For everyone else: Make a frothy paste with BS & apple cider vinegar, use it like a mask on your face. Wash your face with baking soda and vinegar (not your eyes), rinse with water or even mineral water. It can be a bit drying to some if you have dry skin already so either way follow up with lotion but it clears our grossness in your pores.

Jim Sawyer February 1, 2011 at 10:35 am

Mixed with water will baking soda inhance the color of a tattoo? and is the mix of equal parts?

Cyn April 23, 2017 at 6:54 pm

I use baking soda and origianl Dawn dishwashing liquid (blue) to get the brassiness out of my grey white hair. Make a paste, let it set a few minutes, shampoo and moisturize your hair.. Works every time.

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