When it comes to cleaning our kitchen sink, baking soda and vinegar are my go-to solution — works like a charm. Not only is this remedy much more cost-effective than available cleaning supplies, I know I am not sending chemicals down the drain. Also, in today’s tough economy, we are all looking to save a bit of money.
Luckily, you can watch your wallet and make more eco-friendly decisions by utilizing a range of all-natural tips and tricks. When it comes to alternative solutions, especially those around the house, there a list of must-have items. These include distilled vinegar, lemon, coarse salt, essential oils and, of course, baking soda.
Believe it or not, people have been using baking soda since ancient times. Natron, a naturally-occurring mineral, contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate. The Egyptians used this mixture to clean. People even used forms of baking soda throughout history for bread making.
Exclusive: 9 Uses For Baking Soda That May Surprise You
21 incredible ways to use baking soda
Baking soda, more formally known as sodium bicarbonate, is often used for cleaning, cooking and even personal care. The list of possible benefits could go on, and on and on. I have chosen some of the most effective and beneficial, helping you take the next step towards a more balanced, cost-effective lifestyle.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and live in a cleaner, more environmentally conscious home — all while saving money — you’ll love this list. Here are all the ways in which you can use baking soda to improve your health, protect the environment and keep your savings account topped up.
1. Make a natural deodorant
This is by far one of my favorite uses. It is something I have been passionate about for the last few years. I make all-natural deodorants for my friends and family members. Why am I so enthusiastic about this use? Well, most conventional antiperspirants and deodorants on the market are packed full of harsh parabens and aluminum.
Each of the synthetic ingredients are worrisome on their own, so you can imagine the combined effect on your health. Both parabens and aluminum are what’s known as estrogenic chemicals. This means they will interact with your body’s hormones, mimicking the effects of estrogen. This is also why there are concerns surrounding the use of these products in terms of cancer risk.
To make your own for a fraction of the cost, simply combine equal parts coconut oil and baking soda, as well as shea butter and your choice of essential oils. Using a double boiler, melt approximately 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons shea butter. Once melted, remove from heat, mix in 3 tablespoons of baking soda, add essential oils and store in an airtight glass container.
This recipe will cost you around $0.40 for a much larger quantity that is actually higher in quality. In comparison to a $4 stick of deodorant, you can save big — not only in terms of finances, but your health as well.
2. Treat ulcer and heartburn pain
If you suffer from heartburn or ulcers, you are probably no stranger to over-the-counter antacids. These work by neutralizing stomach acid, helping relieve problematic symptoms. If you look at the ingredients, you’ll notice some form of bicarbonate. Depending on the brand you buy, these tablets can cost anywhere from $4 to $8.
Sure, that means that each tablet may only be around $0.30 on average. But if you’re taking four a day, that’s $1.20 daily — or $8.40 weekly. Instead, grab a box of baking soda for $2. This all-natural remedy will last you months.
Simply combine 1/2 teaspoon baking soda with water, taking every two to three hours. It is not recommended that you take more than seven of these doses in 24 hours. Since this is only a short-term solution, you should address the root cause of your ulcer or heartburn. Make sure to alter your lifestyle to improve symptoms long-term.
3. Soothe a sunburn
Last year, my husband and I went to Jamaica. Although I never purchase aloe vera gel (because we have three plants in our house), I wanted to make sure we had something to soothe our skin, especially because I am so fair. I could not believe how costly it was for a small bottle — especially when it’s such a questionable color.
Instead of purchasing a $12 to $15 bottle of aloe vera, have a bag of baking soda handy. When you add 1/2 cup of baking soda to a lukewarm bath, you will find natural relief. You can also create a cold compress using baking soda and water, applying it to a more centralized area. Either way, you will achieve a natural sunburn remedy for less than $0.10 an application.
4. Make a toothpaste
Of course, you can generally find toothpaste on sale, but trust me, it’s not the type of paste you want to put in your mouth. There has been a lot of discussion about toothpaste the past few years, especially due to our expanding knowledge and awareness of fluoride.
Instead, make a baking soda tooth and gum paste. Acting as a mildly abrasive cleaning agent, this ingredient has been shown to enhance plaque removal, neutralize bacteria and support optimal oral health. Best of all, instead of spending $4 on a tube of low-quality toothpaste, this DIY solution will cost you cents.
To make your own paste, combine five parts baking soda with one part sea salt. You’ll want to blend this combination well, blitzing before adding 1 teaspoon to a small bowl. Add a splash of pure water, creating an effective alkaline solution. Dip your toothbrush in and brush as you normally would — followed by a good rinse.
5. Brighten your smile
For those who have had their teeth professionally whitened, you know how expensive this service can be. Even when purchasing whitening strips, they are a bit of an investment — and who knows what’s in them. At an average cost of $40 for 14 treatments, there has to be a better way, right?
Once again, baking soda can come to the rescue. When you combine 1 to 2 large strawberries and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, you can create a solution that will remove surface stains for less than $0.30. The baking soda will help remove surface stains while balancing your mouth’s pH, whereas the strawberries offer an enzyme known as malic acid, which also break down surface stains.
6. Clean your sink
If you ever get a funky smell coming from your kitchen skin, baking soda will be your new best friend. Instead of pouring chemicals down the drain, all you will need is 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of vinegar, and some boiling water — easy peasy. Vinegar reacts with baking soda, offering a potent cleaning solution, which will also naturally deodorize.
Instead of spending $6 to $8 on a sink cleaner, this recipe will cost around $0.75 and works a treat. Start by pouring the boiling water down your drain, followed by the baking soda. After a couple of minutes, pour the vinegar down the drain. After 10 minutes, flush with more boiling water.
7. Remove stains
Whether you want to get a stain out of your shirt or carpet, baking soda mixed with distilled white vinegar is a proven remedy that works time and time again. Although a stain remover may only be around $5, that’s five of your hard working dollars spent on chemicals — yuck.
To protect you and your family, especially if you have babies or pets that come into contact with your carpet, try this natural solution. Once again, it only cost you cents. Simply sprinkle a spoonful of baking soda on the stain, wait five minutes and then dust the majority of baking soda away.
Next, spray equal parts water and vinegar on the area and dab with a clean cloth. After you allow this combination to soak for 30 minutes, blot and rinse immediately. You may also want to run your vacuum over a carpeted area after the solution has dried.
8. Deodorize your shoes
Antifungal spray for your shoes can run you around $5 and reduce air quality in your home. For less than $0.25, you can absorb shoe odor with baking soda. If your shoes are a bit too stinky for your liking, liberally sprinkle a mixture of baking soda and essential oils. Allow your shoes to sit overnight. In the morning, shake them outside and away you go.
9. Treat itchy skin
Itchy skin can occur for a number of reasons, including eczema and allergies. This is an old remedy which is still used today — soothing itchy skin that’s irritated. Instead of investing in $8 creams that are known to contain potentially harmful ingredients, soak in the bath for around $0.50.
While you run a warm bath, sprinkle about 1 cup of baking soda into the water. Once the baking soda has dissolved, you can happily soak. If you would prefer to target a more localized area, make a paste using one part baking soda and three parts water. Dab this solution onto an itchy bug bite or even diaper rash.
10. Soak your feet
Since you’re on your feet all day, treat yourself to a weekly foot soak. When using baking soda, you can also target dry, cracked feet that are often associated with the upcoming winter season. Once again, this can replace soothing creams that cost a pretty penny — all for less than $0.50.
Simply fill a bucket of warm water, stirring in 4 tablespoons of baking soda for every 4 liters of water. You can also add a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender — promoting enhanced relaxation. Pull up a chair, your new book and soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Not only will you promote softer, cleaner feet, but you will benefit from some well-deserved, stress-free alone time.
12. Keep laundry fresh
I use baking soda when doing my laundry all the time. It’s a great, cost-effective way to boost the effects of your all-natural detergent. When adding around 2 tablespoons of baking soda to your liquid detergent, you can achieve whiter whites and brighter colors.
This is so cost-effective because baking soda has the ability to soften the water — meaning, you need less detergent. And since it protects your clothes, they will last longer. Also, if you ever need to really soak your clothes (like your partner’s socks after work), place them in a gallon bucket with baking soda and soak overnight, before washing the following day.
13. Exfoliate your skin
Since baking soda offers fine granules, it acts as a highly effective exfoliant. Low-quality exfoliants cost around $4. Once again, they expose you to a long list of questionable ingredients. If you’re looking to shed dead skin cells, make a baking soda paste. Use your DIY solution just as you would a store-bought exfoliant.
14. Treat bug bites
As mentioned, baking soda can target itchy skin, including bug bites. After-bite care costs around $4 and contains ingredients that dry out your skin. If you have a bite that looks infected or swollen, combine a small amount of baking soda and witch hazel. This synergistic effect will not only benefit your skin, but cost you pennies.
15. Soak pots and pans
When you have pots and pans that are scorched, they can be a nightmare to clean. By the time you buy scrubbing brushes and a cleaner, you’re looking at around $15. This solution is quick, easy and most importantly, cheap. After you scrape loose bits of food, sprinkle baking soda onto the pot or pan.
Next, add enough water so that all burnt areas are covered by 1.5 inches and stir well. You’ll notice that the water looks dirty. Bring this combination to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Once you discard the water, it will be so much easier to clean.
16. Scrub fruits and vegetables
In terms of savings, you can’t put a price on your health. And while focusing on the produce you eat, the cleaner they are, the more valuable they are to your body and mind. For a lot of families, certain organic fruits and vegetables are outside of their price range — so why not clean the surface of conventional foods?
Not only will you target any residue, but also any lingering bacteria. When making a baking soda scrub, you should focus on fruits and vegetables with more sturdy skin. For dark leafy greens, simply sprinkle with baking soda and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes before thoroughly rinsing.
17. Boost the power of your dishwasher
Dishwasher products are costly, so why not stick to a more natural solution? Whether you want to freshen up your dishwasher or make your own DIY dishwasher detergent, baking soda will be your go-to ingredient. To clean, sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda inside your dishwasher and then run through the rinse cycle.
For your own homemade detergent, combine equal part baking soda and Borax, sprinkling onto dirty dishes before they are washed. When it comes time to clean your dishes, you will not only have a less smelly dishwasher, but you‘ll only need to add minimal detergent.
18. Freshen up your cat’s litter box
For those of you with cats, you know that it’s expensive to care for your pet. Between food and kitty litter, the costs can really add up. If you need to change your kitty litter too often, why not freshen up the litter box to expand its lifespan and reduce smelly odors?
This will reduce your reliance on scented litter, which can actually put off many cats. Instead, before you put kitty litter into the box, sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on the bottom. This will help deodorize without repelling your cat. Much cheaper than $4 air fresheners. And you will also reduce toxins in your home.
19. Target dandruff
Based on baking soda’s antifungal properties, it can help target overactive fungi that often leads to dandruff. When purchasing specialized dandruff shampoo, these products can cost you around $8. Instead, wet your hair and massage baking soda into your scalp. Although you may notice that your hair is a touch drier for the first week or so, your scalp will begin producing natural oils that will leave your hair softer and flake-free.
20. Fight acne
Acne cleansers are expensive, costing anywhere from $6 to $15. Unfortunately, for many, they do not work and actually dry out the user’s skin. Acting as a natural cleanser, baking soda is one of the cheapest methods out there. Offering anti-inflammatory benefits and exfoliating properties, this ingredient can target both acne and blackheads. After making a paste, using water and lemon juice, apply to problematic areas and leave on for at least 30 minutes.
21. Lessen the look of scars
Speaking of acne, many individuals suffer from scarring. Although these scars will often fade on their own, it can take a long time. Baking soda supports a more rapid process and prevents hyperpigmentation. Simply combine baking soda with olive oil, creating a paste. Apply to scars and leave on for 15 minutes. Repeat on a regular basis.
What starts as a $2 box of baking soda can quickly turn into a multifunctional ingredient. It can be used for health, cleaning and beauty. Start saving your pennies and welcome this powder into your home today!
— Krista Hillis