It’s natural. It’s in your cupboard. It costs less than $5. And it can clean just about everything. Yes, it’s baking soda. And, yes, it really does work.

In my own home, I keep a 5-pound bag on hand because there are literally hundreds of everyday uses for this miracle product. Don’t believe me? Here’s how it works and 10 ways you can try it out for yourself.

How baking soda works for cleaning

Baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) is a naturally occurring substance found in ALL living things! (Yes, it’s even in you.) Because of its chemical properties, it can:

  • Help dirt and grease dissolve in water
  • Act as an abrasive to scrub dirt and grime away
  • Neutralize odors
  • Regulate pH balance

Since it’s natural — really, it’s just salt, hydrogen, and carbon — it’s a safe, eco-friendly, and affordable method for cleaning almost anything in your home.

10 amazing uses for baking soda

From bringing the sparkle back to your bathroom to making your silver gleam, baking soda does it all.

1. Scrub the tub

Make a paste using one cup of baking soda, one teaspoon of liquid dish soap, a few drops of tea tree or peppermint essential oil, and just enough water. Scrub your tub as you normally would. The essential oil and soap helps disinfect while baking soda lifts away soap scum and dirt.

In fact, you can use this same paste to clean all the hard surfaces in your home (countertops, bathroom sink, etc.)

2. Bring the shine back to your silver

Line a deep pan or large pot with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Put your silver on top of the foil. Add boiling water and a few tablespoons of baking soda. Let everything soak for at least 10 minutes.

The chemical reaction will get rid of oxidation, which tarnishes silver, and make your jewelry, forks, and candelabra bright and shiny again.

3. Get the funk out of everything

A little bit of baking soda will go a long way towards deodorizing everything.

  • Pour baking soda in your trash or compost bin to eliminate odor.
  • Soak your lunch container in a solution of baking soda, soap, and water and that day-old-leftover-lunch aroma will disappear.
  • Sprinkle it on your carpet and upholstery. Let it sit for 15 minutes or more. Vacuum. Any residual smell from pets, smoke, etc., will be gone.

In short, if there’s an offending odor in your house, don’t make a stink about it. Just sprinkle some baking soda to neutralize it.

4. Scour baked-on food and grease from pots and pans

Why expend elbow grease to get rid of grease? Just soak grimy pots and pans in hot water, baking soda, and dish soap. Then, wash as normal.

Alternatively, you can add baking soda to a damp sponge to create a mild abrasive and scrub stubborn stains away.

5. Boost laundry detergent

Add a cup of baking soda to your laundry to get your clothes cleaner and fresher. As a plus, you can cut back on detergent too.

6. De-gunk your hairbrush

To get rid of oil and residue, soak your comb and hairbrush in a solution of baking soda and water for an hour. Then, rinse with hot water. Your hairbrush will look just like new again.

7. Remove coffee and tea stains

Yup, you guessed it. Add a bit of baking soda and a little water. Wipe it with a soft cloth or sponge, and presto: stains be gone.

8. Clean the oven

Get the grimiest of ovens spotlessly clean. Make a baking soda paste (1 cup baking soda, about 6 tablespoons of water) and spread it over your oven’s interior. Steer clear of the heating/electrical elements. Close the oven door and let it sit overnight.

Then use a damp cloth to wipe the paste away. Spray any residual paste with regular white vinegar and sponge off. Repeat as necessary.

9. Wash produce

Lift dirt and pesticide from fruits and vegetables safely. Simply sprinkle some baking soda onto a vegetable brush or clean sponge, scrub gently, and rinse.

10. Get rid of stubborn stains

Nothing can ruin your favorite shirt like a nasty sweat stain. Remove it by scrubbing the stain with a baking soda paste, letting it sit for at least an hour. Wash as you normally would.

Other uses for baking soda

Once you dig into it, you’ll find that baking soda can do more than just clean and deodorize. It can soften skin, ease heartburn, make omelets fluffy, and soothe itchy skin. And, of course, you can bake with it too.

Now that you’ve erased stubborn stains and cleaned the oven, organize your pantry for good, and give your walls that perfect color.

DIY hacks | Home and garden


about Anne

If variety is the spice of a copywriter’s life, then Anne’s career at Esurance was akin to sassafras. From 2010 to 2014, she added a touch of zest to topics ranging from cleaning with baking soda to becoming a first-time homeowner.