It's white, it's absorbent, and it probably sits in your cupboard all year because you have no idea what to do with it. Yes, baking soda is a kitchen staple that almost never lives up to its potential.
It's great for almost everything, because it's completely natural and cleans really well.
Start getting the most out of your baking soda with these 30 helpful tips:
1. Make a face scrub
Remember this recipe, because we'll use it a lot: three parts baking soda and one part water makes a paste that's easy to spread around. Rub it on your face and rinse it off for a cheap but handy exfoliator.
2. Clean your drains
Pour some baking soda in your drain and then chase it with a dash of vinegar. Put the stopper on quickly and the frothy mixture will scrub the gunk out of your drain by itself.
3. Wipe away burnt-on food
If you have a serving dish with scorched food stuck to it, soak it in soapy water with a few sprinkles of baking soda. A soft rag should wipe off the food afterwards.
You can also rescue a pan with burnt food. Simmer water inside it with baking soda. After a few minutes, the food will scrape off easily.
4. Freshen your litter box
Before you add litter to your cat's box, pour in a layer of baking soda. As your pet uses the box they turn up the litter, so the baking soda will keep it fresher for longer.
5. Eliminate carpet stains
Every spill is a little different, but baking soda works well on almost all of them. Just blot out the stain, pour on some baking soda, and vacuum it up after a few minutes. The carpet should be good as new.
6. Clean Jacuzzi jets
If your tub has these pulsing water jets, you know they can get stinky after a while. To clean them, fill the tub until the water is just above the jets. Pour in two cups of baking soda and run the jets for 10 minutes.
Then, drain the water and refill the tub. Now run the jets for another 10 minutes and they should be much nicer.
7. Freshen your fridge
This is one of the most common uses for baking soda, but some people still don't know about it. A small container in your fridge will keep it from getting stinky. If you buy bulk sizes, filling a mason jar or cup with the powder will also do the trick.
8. Polish silverware
For this trick, line a baking dish with aluminium foil. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda, then slowly add a 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of boiling water.
Place your silverware in the dish and the gunk should start coming off right away. Make sure you only leave your pieces in for about 30 seconds, unless they're seriously dirty.
9. Make toothpaste
Some people prefer baking soda toothpaste to the store-bought version, because it uses less chemicals. You can find a recipe here. Even sprinkling a little powder on your regular toothpaste will help it whiten your teeth.
10. Make natural deodorant
If you hate the sticky, gooey feeling of deodorant, dusting your underarms with baking soda will also keep them smelling fresh. Or, make your own deodorant using the powder.
11. Erase marks on your walls
Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge and rub the messiest parts of your walls. Wipe with a soft cloth and the marks should be gone.
12. Keep your septic tank regular
Flushing a cup of baking soda once a week will help keep the pH balance in your tank at a good level.
13. Fight grease fires
If there's a fire in your home you should call the fire department, but baking soda can handle some small grease fires.
Turn off the gas or electricity (if it's safe to do so), stand back from the flames, and throw handfuls of baking soda at the fire.
14. Freshen your carpet
Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on your carpets, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuum it up. The powder will take any nasty odors away with it.
Try mixing in a little cinnamon to add a pleasant aroma.
15. Keep garbage or recycling smelling nice
When you replace your bin liner, sprinkle a little baking soda into the bottom of the bag, to neutralize your kitchen's worst odors.
16. Clean grout in your bathroom
Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste, then scrub it into your grout with an old toothbrush to clean mildew easily.
17. De-stink your mattress
Sprinkle some powder onto your bare mattress and let it sit for an hour. Vacuum up the powder and the nice scent will remain. Plus, this keeps mites away from your bedroom.
18. Keep green beans green
Here's a little kitchen chemistry for you: a pinch of baking soda will keep green vegetables from turning brown when you boil them.
19. Keep your hair clean
Once a month, many people like to scrub their hair with baking soda to get rid of product buildup. Just add a tablespoon to your regular shampoo and apply it like you normally would in the shower.
20. Remove grease stains
If your car has left a grease stain on your driveway or in your garage, a little baking soda will remove it. Just sprinkle some on, let it sit, then wipe it off with a wet brush.
21. Mix it into your tea
Yes, really. A pinch of baking soda gives sweet tea a smoother taste. You can also get the same effect with a mug of hot tea.
22. Scrub fruits and vegetables
Rub on some baking soda with a damp sponge and you'll know your veggies are really clean.
23. Whiten your nails
Make the baking soda paste (three parts powder, one part water) and rub it over your nails to whiten them. The same mixture will keep your fingers and hands smooth.
24. Freshen up food containers
Smells linger on these lunch containers, but a wash with a damp sponge and some baking soda will keep them in good condition.
25. Deodorize a sports bag
Golf bags, gym bags, hockey bags, any of these could use a little scent correction. Sprinkle some powder into the bottom of the bag, or make a handy sachet to hold the powder.
26. Fight itchy skin
Bug bites, bee stings, and rashes can all be soothed with baking soda. Mix a paste and rub it on, or draw a bath and add 2 cups of powder for extra relief.
27. Clean your coffee pot
Hard water buildup in your coffee pot can affect the taste of your morning brew. Leave 1/4 cup of baking soda in a full pot overnight to soak, then rinse thoroughly.
28. Keep your laundry white
Drop half a cup of baking soda in with your regular detergent. It's also helpful when you have to wash out a nasty stain.
29. Kill weeds
Sprinkle baking soda right on the weeds or where they're growing in and it's guaranteed to kill them.
Don't use this in your flowerbeds, because you could kill your flowers by accident.
30. Make your own mouthwash
A teaspoon of powder in half a glass of water makes a homemade mouthwash that eliminates stinky breath. It can also relieve painful canker sores.