21 Ways To Use Baking Soda: The Zero-Waste Multipurpose Household Gem

7 Mins Read

It’s unbelievable how much one teaspoon of baking soda can do for our bodies and households! Baking soda is an indispensable item in any zero-waste arsenal and the ultimate multi-purpose home ingredient. The fine white powder has innumerable applications not only in the kitchen and bathroom but also in helping to cure some skin irritations, sunburns, and for oral care.

Sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda is a chemical compound, a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. We found 21 ways in which you can use baking soda at home that you may not have heard of before.

Source: Pexels

1. Cure your heartburn

Heartburn or acid reflux is a common condition featuring burning pain in the chest after eating. Baking soda may relieve it if taken with care. Canadian Center of Intestinal Research explains: “It works because it has an alkaline pH, which helps to neutralize the acidity in your stomach, working in a similar manner to many over-the-counter antacids”. They suggest a half teaspoon of baking soda mixed in at least 125 mL (½ cup) of water to get a quick relief of symptoms.

2. Cure your sunburn

Getting sunburn can be very painful and last for a while aggravating skin irritation. Did you know that baking soda can relieve the pain? You either add it to the bath tube or – if you don’t have it – mix the baking soda with water in a bowl to create a paste that you can apply directly to your skin.

3. Soothe a canker sore

Canker sores aka mouth ulcers are unpleasant and irritating and can make our life a nightmare if we are prone to them. Did you know that some of them can last up to six weeks? Baking soda comes to the rescue here too: dissolve 1 teaspoon in 1/2 cup of warm water and rinse your mouth. Make sure you don’t eat any spicy foods afterward.

4. Treat a mosquito bite

Yes, baking soda can even work as a remedy to cure a mosquito bite. The recipe is quite simple as well:  mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with some water to create a paste. Apply it to the bug bite, and wait for 10 minutes before removing the paste. If your skin gets irritated stop the treatment!

5. Soak your smelly feet

Who hasn’t felt a little embarrassed after taking off the shoes and getting that particular smell spreading across the room? Regardless of the cause – could be humidity or poor shoe quality – we don’t want our feet to stink! It’s widely recommended to soak feet in warm water with Epsom salt. Adding baking soda to a foot soak can help exfoliate the skin, ease itching, and cleanse the feet. 3–4 tablespoons of baking soda added to a basin full of warm water should be enough.

Source: Pexels

6. Whiten your teeth

The easiest way to help whiten your teeth naturally with baking soda is to mix about a tablespoon of baking soda with about a tablespoon of water in a small bowl (roughly equal parts baking soda and water). You’ll make a thick paste that you can apply to your teeth with your fingers or a soft-bristled toothbrush. However, make sure you don’t overuse this method as you could damage your tooth enamel!

7. Whiten your clothes

Using baking soda to whiten your clothes – especially if you’ve got long term stains from your ‘sweat spots’ – is the most efficient solution with visible results! Start your washing machine, pour ½ cup of baking soda into the water until it dissolves, and run the cycle as normal. 

8. Refresh air indoors

Who hasn’t had enough of indoor pollution caused by humid weather and thousands of other factors? Add in 1 cup of baking soda into whatever you’re mixing or storing your air freshener in. Baking soda is great at absorbing odors and will leave your room smelling fresh and clean in no time.

9. Clean your bathroom

Known as a sanctuary for germs, our bathrooms need special attention with cleaning, especially these days! The recipe is very simple here too! Make a paste of baking soda and water. Wet the surface of the tub or shower stall; gently rub with the paste on a sponge or soft nylon brush. Rinse thoroughly. Enjoy your beautiful and clean bathroom!

10. Clear a clogged drain

Is there anything more annoying than a smelly clogged kitchen drain? Before you call a plumber try the following recipe: Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain. Next, pour a cup of baking soda and 1 cup water + 1 cup vinegar solution. Cover with the drain plug and wait for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour boiling water down the drain again. The bubbling reaction from the baking soda and vinegar helps to loosen the drain clog, and the boiling water in step 4 helps remove it from your pipes.

Source: Pexels

11. Clean your fruits and vegetables

Now, that your sink is clean and clear it should be easier to wash your food. But do you really need to? Unfortunately, even organically grown food contains some pesticides. Washing apples in water with a dash of baking soda proved to be the most effective way to remove pesticide residue. Just mix some baking soda with water, then soak your produce for 12-15 minutes. Bon appetite!

12. Soften your beans

Preparing beans may take too much time due to its gassy properties. To degas with baking soda, add a teaspoon of baking soda to 4 quarts of water. Stir in the dried beans and bring to a boil. Then turn off the heat and let the beans soak at least four hours (or let them soak overnight). Drain, rinse, and rinse again.

13. Sweeten your potatoes

It may sound strange, but baking soda can make your potatoes sweet and crispy. And the recipe is ridiculously simple as well. Boil your potatoes – with or without skin – in alkaline water: add salt and baking soda to boiling water and throw your potatoes in, then let them cook until they’re soft. Let the excess steam to evaporate and put them into a bowl. Add some herbs and olive oil and bake your potatoes for another 50 min.

14. Remove garbage smell

Although we hope that you are composting your food waste, sometimes you can’t avoid odours coming from your trash bin. Baking soda can work wonders here too. Sprinkle it in the bottom of a trash can or directly into the trash to help absorb stinky odours. As a bonus, baking soda is great for scrubbing out your trash can to remove odours that may have seeped into it.

15. Remove carpet stains

Carpet stains don’t have to be here to stay! Sometimes, it’s hard to identify them on time, and a simple wash can be useless. Make a paste of baking soda and distilled white vinegar, rub it into the stain, and leave it overnight. Vacuum it completely the following day. Your carpet will look like new!

16. Remove odors from your shoes

Our favourite shoes tend to absorb the odors from our smelly feet. Freshen them up by sprinkling a little baking soda on the insoles to dry up any residual moisture. Leave the baking soda overnight, and then pour it out in the morning. 

Source: Pexels

17. Remove dusty odors from your books

We rarely pay attention to the dust coming from our books. Did you know, that paper surfaces act as a magnet of dust particles – one of the most harmful matters that you can inhale? If you are not quite ready to get rid of your paper books then try the following. Place a cup of baking soda or an opened box in a plastic box or bin with a lid. Put the book in the box with the baking soda and close the lid. Leave it for 48-72 hours, then check on the book. Repeat until the odor is gone.

18. Clean your silverware

Remember all the shiny rings and necklaces from your grandma’s jewellery box? Chances they’ve used baking soda to keep ’em sparkling clean! There are many ways and recipes and the most common one is to add one tablespoon of baking soda into the boiling water (make sure the pan is made of aluminium). You can also add a bit of white vinegar. Add your silverware to the boiling mixture and let it sit for 1 min.

19. Prevent plant diseases

Baking soda can help to prevent fungal diseases on plants. A solution of 1 teaspoon (5 mL.) baking soda to 1 gallon a (4 L.) of water reduces instances of leaf burn. Add 1 teaspoon (5 mL.) dormant oil and ½ teaspoon (2.5 mL.) of dish soap or horticultural soap as a surfactant to help the mixture stick. Keep in mind the solution is water soluble, so apply on a dry cloudy day for the best results.

20. Make paintings with kids

Painting with baking soda? Why not! Apparently, it’s one of the best DIY tools where you can boost your kid’s artistic side and add some science. Check out this detailed process and create your own piece of art

21. Improve your athletic performance

Believe it or not but baking soda can be used here as well! Apparently, it’s a popular workout supplement and it’s backed by science! Sprinters, swimmers, and rowers have improved performance by taking baking soda prior to their competitive sport, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Additional research has indicated baking soda may be beneficial during challenging workouts lasting 30 to 60 minutes.

Lead Image courtesy of Little House Living


  • Flor De Luna

    Having previously reported on climate change and environmental issues for the media outlets in South America, Flor De Luna decided to make a bigger change when she moved to Hong Kong. Combining her storytelling and leadership skills, Flor has co-founded two startups focused on zero waste lifestyle and mindfulness, organized a number of events – from small meetups to big-scale conferences, including StartmeupHK Festival with Invest HK and multiple sustainability-themed Startup Weekends with Techstars.

    View all posts

You might also like