Baking Soda Uses Beyond Food

Definition, Cleaning Uses, and More

Baking soda being poured into white canvas shoes

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

Baking soda is an inorganic salt often found in powder form. It is used in baking as a leavening agent, since it releases carbon dioxide when it reacts with acid or heat. It is also used in a wide range of non-food products, such as laundry detergents and personal care items.

Cleaning Uses

Very alkaline in nature with a high pH, baking soda is one of the top eco-friendly cleaning ingredients and is used in several cleaning products, especially green cleaning ones. You can find it in laundry detergents, cleansers, mold control products, cleansers, carpet fresheners and cleaners, dishwashing soaps, automatic dishwasher detergents, air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, floor cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, and stain removers.

It is known for its fantastic deodorizing, whitening, brightening, cleaning, and gentle scrubbing abilities. Due to its powder form, it is also great at absorbing grease and spills. In addition, it has bactericidal and stain removing dental abilities. If it can work on your teeth, it definitely will work on other surfaces, too. You can also mix up your own green cleaning creations with it.

Bag of baking soda placed inside canvas shoes

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

Other Uses

In addition to its use in cleaning products, baking soda can be found in several products, such as personal care products (bath products, toothpaste, deodorants, cleansers, soap), drugs (skin treatments), baked goods, and cat litter. Baking soda is also taken for heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomachs resulting from such problems. In addition, you can use it to adjust the pH of your swimming pool.

Baking soda is also considered a biopesticide, which are pesticides derived from certain kinds of natural materials.

Product Brands Containing Baking Soda

Aside from baking soda coming in the familiar Arm & Hammer box, baking soda is found in several other products as an ingredient. To see if certain products contain baking soda, try searching the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Household Products Database, the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Guide to Healthy Cleaning, or the EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. Remember, if searching using the general term "baking soda" does not generate a lot of results, try entering one of its synonyms.


When baking soda is used in personal care products, food, or drugs it is monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For other uses, such as pesticides and cleaning products, it is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency.


The only real safety concern with baking soda is that it can cause eye irritation and redness. Flushing the eyes with water for several minutes and then seeing a doctor is recommended if it gets in your eyes. Other than that, baking soda is very safe.

Environmental Effects

No data shows baking soda to have negative environmental effects. However, it is indeed mined from a material called trona, which is found in Wyoming, and then processed into baking soda. A secondhand environment impact is its carbon footprint from mining and processing it.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ciancio SG. Baking Soda Dentifrices and Oral HealthJ Am Dent Assoc. 2017;148(11S):S1-S3. doi:10.1016/j.adaj.2017.09.009

  2. What are Biopesticides? United States Environmental Protection Agency.