Friday, March 4, 2011

March 4, 2011: The Many Uses for Baking Soda

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One thing I do not like is using harsh, toxic, strong-smelling cleaners in my home. And there’s really no need to use them. Not only do natural products cost less, they work just as well – and sometimes better – than their commercial counterparts.

Take baking soda, for instance. I buy it in the largest box available because I use it constantly. It’s great for deodorizing, cleaning, and a whole lot more. Just take a look at all the ways you can use baking soda around your house:

Baking Soda Deodorizer:
• Place a small, opened carton in the refrigerator and freezer.
• Sprinkle in the bottom of your garbage can before adding a trash bag.
• Sprinkle in the bottom of the baby’s diaper pail.
• Add to kitty litter.
• Pour a bit into a pretty dish and leave it next to the stove to absorb cooking odors.
• Sprinkle over the carpet a half hour before vacuuming.
• Use a small, opened carton or a can filled with baking soda on the floor in a corner of your closet to absorb shoe odors.
• Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with water and pour it into dirty baby bottles. Leave it overnight then wash as usual – gets rid of sour milk smell.
• Make a paste of baking soda and dishwashing liquid to clean spots on upholstery and carpet (test a small area first to make sure it doesn’t bleach the fabric).

Baking Soda in the Bathroom:
• Use in place of a powdered cleanser, such as Comet, to scrub the sink, bathtub and shower.
• For stubborn rust stains, make a paste with a bit of water and let it sit for about an hour before scrubbing, then rinsing.
• Clean the shower drain by pouring in a cup of baking soda. Let it sit for a few minutes, then add a cup of vinegar. Let it sit for about half an hour, then pour a half gallon of boiling water the drain to get rid of hair buildup (especially good for sensitive septic systems).

Baking Soda for the Laundry:
• Fill a small spray bottle three-quarters of the way full with water, add baking soda to the top. Keep it in your baby’s room and spray it on clothes to clean spit-up.
• Use it as a fabric softener by adding a half cup to the rinse water in your washing machine.

You can pretty much use baking soda for any type of cleaning – I’ve used it to scrub the pans underneath the burners on my electric stove before and it left them nice and shiny. Do remember that baking soda is an abrasive, though, and don’t use it on painted china or other types of decorative objects.

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