5 Creative Ways to Use Baking Soda at Home

Much more than a cooking aid, baking soda has many surprising uses.

Aug 22, 2020

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Sodium bicarbonate, popularly known as baking soda, is a staple ingredient in kitchens across the world. Created by a French chemist in 1791, baking soda was originally used to keep fresh fish from spoiling. Today, baking soda is used as the leavening agent that makes dough rise. It is what causes the fluffiness found in pancakes, bread, and other baked goodies. 

But baking soda isn’t just for making delicious pastries. Handy in places around the house other than the baking cupboard, it is an ultra-versatile compound with many surprising uses.

Check out these five creative ways you can use baking soda at home. 

Natural teeth whitening

Baking soda can help your pearly whites shine brighter than ever before. It has gained popularity as an at-home teeth whitener, due to its effectiveness in brightening smiles without weakening teeth.

A study by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, found that baking soda contains mild abrasive properties which dissolve the bonds of teeth-staining molecules. While these abrasive elements are strong enough to fight stains, they are mild enough so there is no risk of damaging tooth enamel.

Brushing with a dime-sized scoop of baking soda on your toothbrush, with or without your regular toothpaste, should whiten teeth within a few uses.

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Brightening up jewelry

If you have old jewelry in need of a touch-up, baking soda can help! Baking soda and water can be used to restore tarnished jewelry, making it sparkle like new again.

For cleaning silver jewelry, The Huffington Post recommends you line a small bowl with aluminum foil, pour in a mixture of baking soda and boiling water, then place your pieces inside.

Let silver jewelry soak for a few minutes, then wipe with a lint-free towel. This should give your pieces instant polish and shine with no scrubbing required!

For diamond and platinum jewelry, the same method can be used. Just add dish soap and salt to the original mixture of baking soda and boiling water.

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Cleaning fruits and vegetables

Baking soda is super effective in cleaning leftover pesticides from produce, found a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Instead of scrubbing fruits and vegetables, you can let them soak in the sink in a mix of baking soda and water for an easy and safe cleanse.

Fill the sink with water, add four teaspoons of baking soda, and leave your produce in the mixture for at least five minutes. Rinse with cold water, and voila, you can enjoy properly cleaned pesticide free fruits and vegetables that are safe to eat.

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Soothing irritated skin

From mosquitos to long beach days, summer can be the season for irritated skin. Luckily, baking soda is an effective home ready for treating skin irritated by sunburns and bug bites.

Lifestyle site MindFood recommends mixing baking soda with a small amount of water to create a paste. In order to make sure the paste stays thick, add water conservatively. Apply the paste to the irritated skin.

For extra relief, you can add one to two cups of baking soda to a room-temperature bath and soak in the tub for a soothing full-body baking soda treatment.

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Neutralizing foul odors

People often dispose of produce, meat, and other organic waste in their kitchen garbage cans. Those products tend to decay quickly, which can lead to serious stench within hours.

Rather than stopping odors, most air fresheners simply mask smells with heavy perfumes. But baking soda neutralizes odors at the source by breaking apart the compounds found in the odor molecules of decaying organic matter.

Try putting a handful of baking soda in your garbage can for a fresher-smelling kitchen, without needing to empty the bin every day. A study published in the journal Waste Management found that sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of a garbage bin reduced odors by an impressive 70 percent. 

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LAUREN MARCUS, CONTRIBUTOR
Fascinated by storytelling since childhood, Lauren is passionate about the written word. She’s a freelance writer who has covered everything from the latest developments in tech to geopolitics. When she’s not writing, Lauren is interested in genealogical research and family folklore.