In the world of cooking, baking soda is the white, powdery substance that helps baked goods to rise by forming small carbon dioxide bubbles. Sodium bicarbonate, its other name, is also useful as an agent for putting out small grease or electrical fires and is also useful for preparing pancakes, bread, cake, pastries and a variety of fare. When baking soda is mixed with vinegar, it forms a chemical reaction that you've probably seen in volcanic art projects. However, what you probably aren't aware of, is that baking soda has hundreds of uses that can not only help save you money but can also save you a trip to the doctor.

Baking soda has medicinal, neutralizing, deodorizing effects that make it a viable solution for many personal and home care remedies. This substance also has the ability to gently scrub away dirt and grime, among many of its countless talents. When it comes to keeping a box on hand to meet life's messiest needs, you'll be glad you did, because baking soda is the perfect solution to a variety of needs that don't involve cooking. Here are 20 baking soda uses to help make your life much easier.

1. Oven Cleaner

wiping down counter

Though baking soda is often used for cooking, it also helps to clean your oven. And since it isn't necessarily a good idea to run your oven's self-cleaning function right before a big dinner due to it's slow running time and toxic fumes it can produce, baking soda is the answer. Baking soda not only helps to gently scrub away cooked debris but also absorbs any unsightly odors that may otherwise seep into your food. Baking soda, especially when mixed with vinegar, also releases a chemical reaction that will help to loosen up any residue in your oven. For hard-to-remove debris, simply allow the baking soda to sit and then scrub with a brush.

2. Breath Freshener

Mouth open with hanging tongue

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a very common condition that is often caused by poor dental hygiene, throat infections, dry mouth, smoking and other chronic conditions. Unfortunately, there are many conventional types of mouthwash that are full of harmful ingredients, which means that you may be washing your teeth and gums with toxic chemicals that are bad for your overall health. Baking soda is the healthier, more natural alternative that can keep both your teeth and gums clean without the toxic elements. Baking soda is already a natural deodorizer that neutralizes bad odors in the mouth as well as helps to gently scrape off food particles on the teeth, caused by foods and other debris. Simply create a mixture of water and soda for a natural toothpaste, or dilute half a teaspoon of baking soda in about a quarter of a cup of water to use as an effective mouthwash.

3. Relieve Skin Irritation

Skin ointment

Skin irritations can be caused by a number of things, from allergic reactions and chemicals that we use to environmental factors, such as heat rash and even stress and lack of sleep. While there are numerous products that we can use to hide and alleviate such conditions, natural remedies work best due to their more gentle approach to eradicating the chemicals that sometimes cause rashes, to begin with. Baking soda helps treat a host of skin conditions due to its alkaline pH. Skin, on the other hand, tends to range between five and seven, however, healthy skin is typically about 5.5 pH. When the skin becomes too acidic, due to what we eat or our surroundings, rashes occur. Baking soda neutralizes the acidity in skin to help quell irritation, rashes, burning and other dermatological problems, such as acne.

4. Relieves Gastric Troubles

Woman clutching her abdomen

Common digestive issues include heartburn, GERD, IBS, stomach cramps and many more symptoms. This is due to inflammation, constipation, lack of fiber and other causes that may throw of the pH levels in your digestive tract. For this reason, antacids are created to help relieve pains caused by the stomach. However, sometimes antacids may not be available, so baking soda can easily take its place, helping to break down fatty substances from overindulgences, quelling the acid in your esophagus, which leads to heartburn, and even quells stomach pains, caused by hydrochloric acid in the gut. Baking soda is very effective for an assortment of common gastric issues, but since it is essentially sodium, it's best to talk to your doctor before undergoing it as a treatment.

5. Cleans Your Brushes And Combs

a brush and a comb

Hair brushes and combs can accumulate a lot of product and hair build up over time, which renders them ineffective as a result. However, they can be easily cleaned so that you aren't brushing or combing your freshly washed hair with dirty utensils. Not to mention, cleaning out your hair tools saves your money over time, since you aren't spending extra money on new hair items often. Baking soda's naturally cleansing nature makes it ideal for dissolving oil and dirt on your comb. Simply soak about one tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water for about 10 minutes. Rinse and dry. Just be sure to take out all the loose hair before trying this method.

6. Works As A Foot Soak

Feet soaking in water

Strenuous walking or straining your feet all day can lead to tired feet, especially if you wear ill-fitted or padded shoes all day long, which can lead to swelling and other discomforts. By mixing half a cup of baking soda in a gallon of warm water in a basin, you can help alleviate foot pain and swelling. Soaking for 30 minutes will help visibly reduce puffiness and quells soreness. Just soak for 30 minutes and you'll be back on your feet in no time.

7. Cleans Floors

Cleaned floor

Baking soda works superbly for cleaning floors, especially if you have stubbornly stained grout on tile floors, which can make them appear dirty. In which case, a mix of water and soda will form a paste to help you to scrub off extraneous dirt, or you can simply sprinkle some baking soda over the grout, then spray it with a water bottle as an alternative. Each method works and once you allow the solution to sit for at least 10 minutes, you'll be ready to scrub up any impacted dirt. Once you're finished, you may also fill a mop bucket with water, about half a cup of baking soda to keep your floors looking brand new.

8. Refreshes The Air

Woman opening French doors

Air fresheners not only make your home or office smell good, but they also clean the air and brighten your mood. There are a variety of air fresheners on the market, some that are natural, and some that have more chemicals. Baking soda, on the other hand, is one of the natural odor absorbers that can be added to any essential oil for a refreshing scent to add to a room. Unlike commercial odor inhibitors, baking soda doesn't mask smells but absorbs them so you aren't left with a room that has a pungent odor on top of a sweet scent. Instead, you'll smell the scent without the odor.

9. Clarifies The Dishwasher

A red cup in a dishwasher

Dishwashers are useful because they efficiently cleanse grimy dishes, alleviating you of all the hard work. Dishwashers can also get clogged with food particles and grime, so sometimes, they also need a good rinsing. Baking soda works perfectly for clarifying dishwashers so they actually get your dishware clean without leaving residue behind. It's important to clean your dishwasher often so that your dishwasher keeps running smoothly and you won't have to re-rinse all the time. Just take off the bottom rack, clean the drain of any particles, replace and your dishwasher should be good as new.

10. Boosts Laundry Cycles

Laundry wash cycle

If you do your laundry often, then sometimes, you'll need a boost to help your clothes get cleaner. Dirt, grease, oil, and sweat are all culprits that cause our clothes to become extra dirty, and sometimes dirt and grime don't always come off in the wash cycle. However, baking soda helps to not only make clothes less smelly, it also assists with brightening colors and whitening whites, which also makes you less dependent on the use of chemicals for all your laundering needs. Since baking soda balance the pH levels of water, it works with laundry detergent to help dissolve away bacteria that may otherwise linger in the wash.

11. Keeps The Fridge Smelling Fresh

Inside a fridge

Since the refrigerator is where we tend to store all of our perishable items, it can become a breeding ground for smelly, rotten food. Therefore, when odors emanate from edibles, this can cause your entire fridge to wreak. However, with the odor-neutralizing qualities of baking soda, this won't be much of an issue. Baking soda neutralizes refrigerator odor by attracting odor molecules to its crystals, so if you have enough surface area to absorb all of the odor coming from your fridge, it is going to smell much fresher. Of course, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't clean out any old food whenever necessary. However, an adequately clean fridge should be sufficient enough for baking soda to absorb all of the odor molecules.

12. Unclogs Drains

a drain

A clogged drain can be a pesky problem to deal with because not only does it render cleaning less sufficient, but it can accumulate more dirt. Using chemical drain cleaners can help, but they have their drawbacks, in that they can cause chemical burns and sometimes don't always dissolve the issue. Baking soda, on the other hand, helps to vanquish grease and oil that sometimes get trapped within the pipes. Additionally, baking soda can also help neutralize odors that come from clogged drains. If you have a clogged drain, try pouring one cup of baking soda down, followed by one cup of vinegar, which will fizz to break up some of the particles. Then wait five minutes to flush it all down. You may repeat this method or allow the mixture to sit in your drains overnight for deeper cleaning action.

13. Deodorizes Garbage

a bunch of garbage

Garbage can cause a host of odors within the home. When it comes to baking soda, you can alleviate garbage smells two ways. On one hand, a sprinkle of baking soda on the bottom of your trash pale helps to penetrate odors from overlapping trash smells. Secondly, baking soda can be used to scrub out the inside of a dirty garbage can, which helps eliminate unsightly smells altogether. The solution is simple, just add about a quarter cup of baking soda each time you change trash bags, then by the time it's ready to be taken out, odors will be nonexistent. Additionally, leaving one cup of baking soda at the bottom of your trash can will help absorb odors all week, until it's time to clean the inside of it again.

14. Balances Gassy Beans

Cooked beans

Beans cause a gassy issue in some and even though gas is a natural bodily function, it still remains a taboo subject to talk about at the dinner table. Beans cause gas due to oligosaccharides, a natural sugar that the human body has a difficult time fully breaking down, which means that a few beans can make it all the way through the digestive tract undigested. A simple remedy to this problem is utilizing baking soda to decrease the likelihood of flatulence, according to research. By soaking dry beans in baking soda and water, raffinose, as well as other types of sugars that lead to gas are greatly reduced, therefore increasing your enjoyment of this delicious staple without the discomfort.

15. Washes Fruits And Veggies

Washed strawberries

According to the EPA, pesticides are used to control diseases and pests, such as rats, mosquitoes, ticks, rats, and mice. When produce is in the ground, particularly potatoes, they are at an increased risk for contamination, due to living cultures that are found within the soil. Many types of fruits and vegetables are likely to come in contact with contaminants that can seep into your kitchens if they aren't properly washed after bringing them home from the grocery store. Produce, such as apples can especially benefit from being rinsed with baking soda to help rid them of germs and pesticides that can be harmful to ingest.

16. Reduces Ants

An ant

Ants are particularly attracted to the scent of sugar, so it's no wonder why you would normally see them piling around melted candy, ice cream or other sweet confections that have fallen to the ground. However, ants can also very much averse to baking soda due to its properties, which blends with acidic substances within their bodies once ingested. Ants also carry food to their queen, so it can also help kill off large colonies. Just mix an equal parts sugar with equal parts baking soda to sprinkle around the areas where ants congregate. This may not kill them immediately, but over time, you will notice less and less of an issue with ants. While the sweetness of the sugar helps attract the ants, the baking soda reacts within their bodies. It's a win-win situation and natural remedy to help rid your home of pests.

17. Keeps Flowers Fresh

A red rose

Flowers have blooming seasons, in which they are at their peak in size, strength, and durability. However, certain conditions can also cause flowers to wilt and die. Other issues, such as planting too early and watering too much or too little can also cause your shrubs to deplete. Baking soda helps keep flowers look their best longer due to its carbonation when mixed with water, which also helps it to grow much faster since they like to feed on sodium bicarbonate. Plants are fed through their roots so when it's time to water, simply add four tablespoons to one quart of lukewarm water. Baking soda also helps fight off certain plant illnesses and keeps your plant thriving for much longer than with regular tap water.

18. Naturally Deodorizes

Woman applying deodorant

Conventional deodorants are typically full of carcinogenic ingredients that can lead to serious illnesses like cancer. Fortunately, there are a variety of natural deodorants that you can use that will still keep you fresh. However, these deodorants can also become costly over time. Although there are many ways to make all-natural deodorant utilizing coconut oil and other components, did you know that you can also create deodorant from baking soda? That's right! Baking soda already contains sodium bicarbonate which helps manage your body's natural pH levels and wicks away sweat. Just use an eighth of a teaspoon of baking soda to blend with 1/4 teaspoon of water until a thick paste forms. Next, apply to your underarms to enjoy baking soda's deodorizing benefits.

19. Polishes Your Teeth

Teeth

Certain foods, such as coffee and tea can stain teeth, but baking soda is a great remedy which helps counteract that to get those coveted glowing pearly whites. Although some people may argue that using baking soda every day can be harmful to your teeth and gums, it is actually an adequate remedy to use every once in a while for scraping away stains. Teeth are living organisms that need upkeep in order to thrive and baking soda is a mildly abrasive element that can gently whiten teeth. Simply mix 1/2 teaspoon with water or lemon juice and brush as usual for refreshingly clean teeth and gums.

20. Scrubs Your Home

Woman cleaning a kitchen

Because baking soda is a gentle abrasive, it is also ideal for scrubbing around the home. Kitchen and bathroom sinks, tubs and toilets can all get dirty very easily and quickly since we tend to use them every day. Baking soda is also a nice alternative to stain scrubs that contain harsher ingredients, so you'll get the same amount of clean, without the chemicals. If you're cleaning dirt, residue and leftover food particles from your tubs and sinks, it's important that you remain diligent about cleaning them, since they can become a magnet for griminess that can make your overall kitchen and bathrooms look dingy. Just sprinkle on to soak up any oil and grease, rinse with warm water and apply again until clean. For built-on residue, sprinkle a little baking soda on, then apply water until a soft paste builds and scrub with a brush or towel. Rinse and repeat as needed and you're good to go.

Baking soda has many different uses, whether medicinal, around the home or for use when dealing with pesky bugs. If you are seeking a holistic approach for many home remedies, then you may be presently surprised at how useful baking soda can be for a variety of different things.

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