Baking Soda Is Very Useful

Here’s your semi-annual reminder that cleaning things with baking soda is hip. (And don’t forget, you can bake with it, too.) DIY blog Curbly has a nifty list of baking soda ideas, some of which were new to us.

    Control Crab Grass: Lightly wet crabgrass, then sprinkle lightly with baking soda everyday for a week.

    Kill fleas and ants: Baking soda can kill the crunchy exoskeletons of household and pet-hosted pests. Be sure to rinse thoroughly from your pet’s fur and skin to prevent irritation.

    Clean artwork gone astray: Dip a damp cloth in baking soda and scrub away crayon and pencil marks that have happened on your walls by developing artists.

Crabgrass? Seriously? Is this cost effective, or more of a science project? Let’s hear your odd uses for baking soda in the comments. —MEGHANN MARCO

Clean [Nearly All] Your Home with Baking Soda
[Curbly]
(Photo: peyri)

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  1. Papercutninja says:

    Clean your garbage disposal with it and vinegar. I read about it on eHow. Pour a cup of baking soda in the disposal…follow it up with a cup of vinegar…then i stopped reading the rest of the instructions because i want to make a grade-school volcano in my sink. Now i just have to get rid of those pesky dirty dishes.

  2. mantari says:

    “Kind of okay” for insect bites if you put it on as a paste.

  3. cde says:

    Baking Soda is the Duct Tape of the powder world…

  4. peachkellipop says:

    You can use it for at home microdermabrasion

  5. Re: Home toothpaste. Some people put a little salt in with the baking powder for better abrasion but I don’t know if that’s a good thing for the teeth … Regardless, it’s a kick-ass practical joke: put a little baking soda and salt on someone’s toothbrush. They won’t notice until they start brushing. It tastes AWFUL and, mixed with toothpaste, often foams. Like you’re rabid. It’s awesome.

    Their sink-defunking process also works for basement floor drains (well, obviously), where I hesitate to use draino-type stuff because I can’t lock the cats out of that room and they walk right across it since it’s part of the floor. And then lick their paws. Vinegar, baking soda, and boiling water makes me feel much better.

  6. KopyKat says:

    Whenever I chop something stinky (onions, garlic, etc) I use a paste of baking soda and lemon juice to deodorize the cutting board. Also good for scrubbing burnt bits out of your pots and pans, stuff that never comes up with a sponge.

    Baking soda is a good stand in for toothpaste if you run out unexpectantly. Just dip your damp toothbrush in some baking soda and brush away. It makes the tap water taste really sweet when you rinse.

  7. KopyKat says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Great minds think alike!

  8. Oh — re: baking soda as a pesticide/herbicide

    Apparently this DOES work, and reasonably well for certain pests/plants. Apparently Arm & Hammer (and other companies) have repeatedly declined to test and market baking soda as a pesticide/herbicide because the testing for safety is extremely expensive, the labeling requirements extremely rigorous (and expensive), and so forth. IOW, for baking soda to be an official pesticide/herbicide, it would have to be treated like a “poison.”

    There’ve been a few studies out of univerisites on it, and apparently if you go to any rose grower’s forum, there’s a lot of info about it there.

  9. aparsons says:

    I put a little baking soda in the bottom of the kitchen trash can to keep it from smelling super nasty. Also, it absorbs any liquids that your trash bag may leak.

  10. ahwannabe says:

    add a drop or two of peppermint or cinnamon oil to 1/8 cup of baking soda for tooth powder; it tastes a lot better than plain.

  11. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    I like to rub it all over me. Thats just me. You can bake with it?

  12. ShadowFalls says:

    Well, for the things you can do with it, and the generally cheap price, baking soda tends to be very useful.

  13. Yourhero88 says:

    Heres a vid that shows how baking soda can be used to clean cd’s/dvd’s!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N560NCIsaS8

  14. tcabeen says:

    I want to learn more about using it against ants. We have those tiny Argentinian ants all over the place. They’re maddeningly difficult to get rid of. And I’m a little iffy about using boric acid (and don’t even know where to buy any).

  15. kimsama says:

    @tcabeen: Just get yourself some Terro at the hardware store or a big box. Works pretty well if you give it some time!

    P.S. Baking soda is also good for scones. Mmm…scones.

  16. ElizabethD says:

    I have used it medicinally. A weak solution in water works as an antacid, which is obvious when you consider what baking soda *is*. Great for bringing up a much-needed belch and settling the ol’ tumaroo! Also, back when I used to get a lot of UTIs, I drank the same solution to make my urine more alkaline, which is less irritating than acid to an inflamed bladder. TMI? Nah, you can handle it!

  17. NeoteriX says:

    @tcabeen:

    Call me skeptical, but I see no reason why baking soda would do anything to the exoskeleton of insects. There’s a really easy test though if you’re interested–just scoop up a couple of your Argentinan friends, stick them in a cup and apply baking soda liberally. If they die, you’re all set.

  18. Eanlaith says:

    Baking Soda on burns has been standard in our house for years. I’m a clumsy cook, and I keep a small tupperware of baking soda above the stove for the inevitable burnt-thumb-plunge.

    A cup or two of baking soda in a bath is also a great way to soothe a sunburn.

  19. swalve says:

    The granules probably get in between the spaces of the insects’ skeleton and wreck everything.

  20. mac-phisto says:

    i haven’t tried the baking soda on pests thing yet, but if it’s anything like DE (diatomaceous earth), it will work very well. just plan on replacing your vacuum cleaner when you’re done trying to get it out of your carpet.

    so, essentially i would say skip the baking soda & use DE instead (cheap & available at most garden centers). put a ring around the outside of your house, but keep in mind that inside use will require extensive cleanup.

    DE is made of diatoms that dehydrate insects. it’s not an entirely accurate description, but i liken it to microscopic razor blades that slice the exoskeleton causing massive hemorrhaging & death to unwanted buggies. after dealing with a major flea infestation, i can tell you that the mental picture of thousands of fleas hemorrhaging their internal organs all over my floor makes me a very happy person.

  21. karmaghost says:

    Those scones look awesome.

  22. virgilstar says:

    I hear you can dilute other “white powders” with it, and therefore make more $$$ on your narcotic transactions.

  23. homerjay says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: There IS one little company marketing baking soda as an organic herbicide. The problem with it is if you’re using it on a lawn you have to make sure that the grass you want to keep is warm season grass (Zoysia, Bermuda, or St Aug). If you hit fescue’s rye’s, and blue’s its going to kill that too.

    Thats why if you look it up online, 99% of people using it are from Florida.

  24. mantari says:

    @mantari: Oh. Wait, you said baking SODA, I was thinking baking POWDER. I’ll never get the two straight. I’ve only got a 50/50 chance when a recipe calls for one or the other.

  25. MeOhMy says:

    @mantari:Even worse: A recipe that calls for both. Last time I tried to make soda bread I misread and reversed the proportions of baking soda and baking powder. It didn’t work very well.

    Baking soda is a great mild abrasive. You can also use it to clean the corrosion off of battery terminals.

  26. marshmallowfreya says:

    I use it to scrub the bathtub and clean the toilet. Plus it’s fantastic on crusty dishes or the stovetop, and is gentle enough not to hurt the surface. After inhaling oven cleaner fumes and being unable to breathe well for 2 days, I ditched chemicals and clean almost exclusively with it and vinegar. Seriously, works wonders!

  27. markwm says:

    When I was a child, I’d get bad poison ivy outbreaks. The doctor had mom put a baking soda paste on it. It seemed to draw out the pus and relieve itching, but it was quite messy.

  28. synergy says:

    The baking soda abrades the exoskeleton and they dehydrate. Just like someone else said about diatomaceous earth.

  29. reykjavik says:

    You forgot a major thing that baking soda does: it cures the gout! I suffered from gout and read on a bunch of sites about how baking soda cures gout. Of course, I was skeptical and didn’t believe it. But I tried it, and honestly, it really does work! (they say its because Gout is caused by high acidity levels in the blood and the basic qualities of BS lower the acidity level in the blood). Tastes awful, but if you can down a spoonful of it in a glass of water, you’ll be gout free like me.

  30. anmlStyl says:

    @ElizabethD: …had a bad stomach/flu/vomit ailment during this past flu season, and remembered that baking soda can be used as an antacid. a 50/50 solution of water and the b-soda, it provided immediate relief with the helpful belching to release the built-up gas pressure in the tummy! I’mma testifyin’ to this use!

  31. LandruBek says:

    Here’s another chestnut: keep some soda handy in the kitchen to extinguish (very small) fires. Perfect example: if you make toasted cheese in the toaster oven, but the cheese drips down onto the element, and flares up.

    From what I’ve seen, it totally kills fires instantly. I don’t know if it decomposes into CO2 on contact with flame or what but it’s impressive, in a minimalist way.

  32. markwm says:

    @Troy F.: The reason some recipes call for both is because baking powder contains both an acid and an alkaloid, matched so that when liquid or heat is applied, they’ll react, giving off gas. However, the baking powder is only balanced against itself, not the other ingredients. So, when you have dairy (lactic acid), or other acidic ingredients, you need the alkaloid of the baking soda to balance it out.

  33. hop says:

    baking soda tastes good in muffins too………………

  34. mroach says:

    Baking soda mixed with a little bit of water is also really great on bee stings. I don’t know what it is about baking soda, but if you mix up a bit with some water and put it on a bee sting it will alleviate much of the pain.