Baking Soda Surprises

The little orange box in your cupboard or tucked in the back or your fridge is full of surprises. Consumer Educator, Teresa Hunsaker, says you may want to stock up.

You have probably seen the big bags of baking soda at places like Costco and wondered what in the world you could possibly do with all that soda. Well, baking soda has some amazing uses that go far beyond just baking. Here are some terrific ideas…not only are they inexpensive options, they are really quite effective.

1. It is the end of summer, and perhaps you or your kids have a greenish tint to their hair from the chlorine in pools. (Chlorine from the swimming pool can turn your hair green). To help break this down, rinse your hair with lemon juice and a 1/4 cup of baking soda. Rinse and shampoo and condition as you normally do.

2. For puffy beautiful omelets, add ½ tsp. baking soda to every three eggs that you use.

3. Acid burns caused by battery acid, drain openers and toilet bowl cleaners can be neutralized by immediately washing the area with cold water. Then sprinkle baking soda on the affected area.

4. One of the more important uses for baking soda: Keep a box of baking soda near the stove. In case of a grease fire, you can sprinkle baking soda on the fire to extinguish the flames. This will not damage counter tops or the pans. It is safe for use on electrical fires. Baking soda will also put out fires from gasoline, burning clothes, rugs and upholstery.

5. Give your deck a weathered look by adding two cups of baking soda to one gallon of water. Use a stiff brush to spread onto the surface area. Work in the direction of the grain. Let it sit for an hour then rinse with cool water.

6. Use it as underarm deodorant by applying it with a powder puff.

7. To clean soap scum and even mildew off of plastic shower curtains, wash curtain with a couple of bath towels and 1 cup baking soda during the wash cycle. Adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle is also a good idea.

8. Remove the product build-up that makes hair limp and dull. A teaspoon of baking soda mixed in with your regular shampoo can be used as a clarifier once a week or so, and a little baking soda dissolved in hot water will clean crusty hairbrushes, too

9. Homemade baking powder: 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp cream of tartar. Sift together and measure as normal.

10. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to cool water and use as a fruit and veggie wash, then rinse well.

11 Baking soda makes an ideal natural face scrub. Many acne sufferers swear by the stuff, saying that mixing it into a paste with either water or facial cleanser can help clear up breakouts and prevent them from occurring in the first place. Just be sure to moisturize afterwards to prevent excessive drying.

12. Get rid of those burned spills on the bottom of your oven without much scrubbing. It really is as easy as sprinkling a liberal amount of baking soda all over the oven floor, spraying it with water until well dampened, and forgetting about it for a few hours. Come back, wipe it out and rinse with vinegar to prevent a white film of baking soda residue.

13. Bath salt: Add ½ cup baking soda to your bath water….it softens your skin, neutralizes body odor, and clears up itchy dryness.

14. Baking soda is great for whitening teeth…make a paste with water and brush your teeth with it…doesn’t taste very good, but is great for your smile.

15. Plant food: Mix 1 TBS baking soda in 2 liters of water and pour onto alkaline loving plants, such as dianthus and delphiniums. …they will love it.

16. Burn relief: Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl with some ice and water. Mix and then soak a soft cloth with the solution and place on the burn. Also good for sunburns as well.

17. Bad breath: If you enjoy eating onions and garlic, but hate the after breath, mix 1 tsp of baking soda in 1 cup of water and swish and gargle well with the solution.

18. Meat tenderizer: Soften tough cuts of meat by sprinkling with a fair amount of baking soda, let set in the fridge for 3-4 hours, rinse, and cook….meat will be nice and tender.

19. Sour milk smell in baby bottle: Just mix a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in with some water and shake in a baby bottle. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, shake again, and rinse.

20. Polish silver or flatware: Place a crumbled piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of a glass bowl. Place silver on the aluminum and sprinkle with baking soda. Pour enough boiling water over the silver to cover it. Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Tarnishing will transfer to the aluminum and the silver can easily be polished clean.

21. Dishwasher Detergent: 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda, ½ cup table salt, ½ cup citric acid. Mix together well and store in an airtight container, as moisture will make the mixture clump. Use ¼ cup mixture to dishwasher load. Source:

If you have any questions, contact Teresa Hunsaker at the Family and Consumer Science Education Department at the Weber County USU Extension office at (801) 399-8203 or online at

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