Baking soda is essential for making baked goods rise — but its applications don’t end there. This versatile ingredient is an incredible addition to any household, with many unexpected uses. Mixing it with vinegar creates an acid that cuts through grime. Still, even when used alone, baking soda has whitening, brightening, and flame-reducing powers that you won’t find in any other household item. Here are 10 surprising uses for baking soda.
Baking soda doesn’t just cover up pungent odors — it also neutralizes them. Place a cup of baking soda in the fridge to absorb strong smells, or let sit on a rug for an hour before vacuuming it up. This doesn’t only work for inanimate objects, however. Using this exact science, you can also use baking soda as a homemade deodorant — mix with coconut oil or cornstarch and apply to high sweat areas, such as your armpits.
Baking soda can reduce bacteria and plaque and make the mouth less acidic, which helps whiten teeth. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with equal parts water until it forms a paste, and gently brush your teeth with the mixture. Remember to use once a week in rotation with a fluoride toothpaste to protect your enamel and remineralize your teeth — or purchase a fluoride toothpaste that includes baking soda to enjoy the benefits of both.
Baking soda is an alkali that interacts with acidic substances to reduce their potency. For example, adding a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the washer while doing laundry will result in more pristine clothing. In the kitchen, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with equal parts lemon juice and 2 cups of hot water to remove stains from ovens, marble, and dishware.
Sprinkle baking soda on an oil or grease to put it out quickly. The baking soda reacts with the flames to produce carbon dioxide, which helps promptly suffocate the flames. This only works with small fires, so keep a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen for larger fires.
Baking soda makes a great alternative to chemical weed killers due to its high levels of sodium. Simply sprinkle baking soda on top of weeds to kill them. Be careful not to use baking soda near the plants you want to keep alive.
If you’ve got gum stuck in your hair, baking soda can help remove it. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with your shampoo to break down sticky residue and make it easy to wash out.
Treat Bug Bites
For itchy bug bites, use 1 tablespoon of baking soda and equal parts water to create a paste. Apply to the bite and let it sit for 10 minutes to help lessen inflammation and relieve itching before wiping it away.
Baking soda helps remove potentially harmful chemicals from fresh produce. Mix 2 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and submerge the produce in the solution for 15 minutes. Remove the produce and wash with plain water for a thorough cleanse.
Before using harsh chemical cleaners to unclog your drain, reach for baking soda instead. Pour 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar down a clogged sink or shower drain. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain to remove any leftover debris.
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