15 Clever Ways to Use Baking Soda as a Cleaner

Smart Uses for Baking Soda in Every Room

jar of baking soda

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

What is it about baking soda that makes it so good as a cleaner? This fine white and natural powdery substance, also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda, is a mild abrasive that lifts stains and simultaneously deodorizes. You can use baking soda for many items in your home, but not all of them, and there's a popular misconception about what to mix with it to make it a more powerful cleaner.

Here, find 15 clever ways to clean with baking soda. But first, here are tips and warnings on what you can and cannot clean with baking soda.

Tips

Baking soda and vinegar make a dynamic duo when it comes to cleaning, but only when the mixture is vigorously bubbling. It's the immediate bubbling action created by the chemical reaction of mixing the two ingredients that lift grime and dirt. The mixture quickly neutralizes once the bubbling action is over.

What Not to Clean With Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild abrasive or it can cause tiny scratches when scouring a surface. In addition, baking soda leaves behind a white residue, so it should never be used on any item or surface with crevices or heavy texture that you can't rinse well. Avoid using baking soda to clean the following items:

  • Aluminum cookware
  • Antique silver
  • Ceramic stove tops
  • Clear acrylic furniture and accessories
  • Computers and computer screens
  • Glass and mirrors
  • Gold-plated items
  • Keyboards
  • Marble surfaces
  • Wood floors and furniture
  • 01 of 15

    Drains

    using baking soda to unclog a drain

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Baking soda can make a huge difference in the smell and the efficiency of your drains. Try adding baking soda under hot running water to freshen the drain as well as your garbage disposal. Baking soda can even be used in combination with hot water to unclog a drain.

  • 02 of 15

    Washing Machine

    washing machine

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    It's probably not a surprise to you that adding baking soda to a load of laundry can help freshen and brighten clothing and shoes. But baking soda can go beyond that when used in your washing machine. Baking soda can make a great fabric softener when added to the wash. Or try using baking soda to neutralize odorous spills. Baking soda is also a great tool to clean your washing machine.

  • 03 of 15

    Refrigerators

    refirgerator

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    If the most you've ever done with baking soda in your refrigerator was to open a box and leave it in there, you might be missing out on some of the best benefits of using baking soda in the fridge. Try sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of your crisper drawer. Baking soda can also be used to remove stains in a refrigerator.

  • 04 of 15

    Pots and Pans

    using baking soda to clean pots and pans

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    If you value your pots and pans, you will want to be gentle enough with them to keep them looking good. Try using baking soda with enamel and copper pans. If you have a stained pan, baking soda does a fantastic job removing, or at least reducing the visibility, of stains. Non-stick pans that tend to absorb the odor of the food that they cook could also benefit from a baking soda soak.

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  • 05 of 15

    Microwave Oven

    microwave

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Baking soda is a great tool to use when cleaning a microwave because it simultaneously tackles grease, odors, and stuck on particles of food. In addition, baking soda removes oily and tomato-based stains. Baking soda does wonders to clean the inside of the microwave and you won't have to worry about chemical residue left behind.

  • 06 of 15

    Ovens

    using baking soda to clean an oven

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Baking soda tackles tough stains in your oven as well as stuck-on grease and residual odors. Make sure your oven is completely cooled down before spreading a layer of baking soda in the bottom. Use a water bottle to spray the baking soda until it is damp but not saturated. Repeat every few hours and watch as the particles of food in your oven begin to dissolve.

  • 07 of 15

    Dishwasher

    cleaning a dishwasher with baking soda

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Baking soda with a little borax makes an inexpensive and highly effective homemade dishwashing detergent. What's more, adding a little baking soda to the rinse cycle of your dishwasher can help freshen a smelly machine and remove grime and dirt inside.

  • 08 of 15

    Trash

    trashcan in a kitchen

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Baking soda can help keep the trash smell from overpowering your home. Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the trash can, or directly into the trash sack. Baking soda also can be the perfect cleaner to help scrub your trash can, remove odors, freshen, and eliminate dirt and stains.

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  • 09 of 15

    Mattresses

    Mattresses, especially those without protectors, can get pretty yucky from sweat, body oils, and other accidents. Baking soda deodorizes and cleans the mattresses at the same time. A paste of baking soda and water lifts stains while sprinkling dry baking soda all over the mattress draws out odors.

  • 10 of 15

    Silver Jewelry and Silverware

    Baking soda can clean and polish silver jewelry and silverware. It can even brighten gemstones, though you need to be extra cautious and gentle when cleaning stones with abrasive baking soda. One age-old trick is to line a baking dish with foil, add baking soda and salt, add your silver, and let the bubbling action clean tarnish from the items.

  • 11 of 15

    Plastic Outdoor Furniture

    Plastic furniture is one of those gray areas when it comes to baking soda. Since baking soda is mildly abrasive, you can run the risk of scratching plastic, which is why clear acrylic is on the list of items never to clean with baking soda. But baking soda, along with vinegar and oxygen bleach, can brighten up dingy white plastic furniture.

  • 12 of 15

    Grout

    Light-colored floor and wall tile grout can benefit from the cleaning power of baking soda. Create a paste of baking soda and water. Slather it on dirty grout and leave it overnight. Scrub with an old toothbrush to remove dirt. Rinse the grout with a damp rag.

    Tip

    Add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to a bucket of water to mop your tile floors. Rinse and air-dry. The alkalinity and abrasive nature of baking soda break down greasy stains and dissolve them in water.

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  • 13 of 15

    Walls

    A light paste of baking soda can help you wipe down and brighten up dirty walls. Just dampen a sponge and dip it into some baking soda then lightly scrub the walls. Use a gentle scrubbing action so you don't take off any paint. Be sure to rinse and dry the wall thoroughly.

  • 14 of 15

    Grill Grates

    Grill grates can become especially dirty with caked-on (or rather burnt-on) food and sometimes you need a more powerful punch to clean them. Baking soda can reduce the amount of elbow grease you need to remove the mess. Fill a garbage bag with 2 cups vinegar and 1 cup baking soda, place grills overnight in the sealed bag, completely rinse, and fully dry.

    For a quicker clean, make a paste of baking soda and water, slather it on the grates, and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Then crumple up a piece of aluminum foil and use it as a "sponge" to scrub the baking soda on the grates. Thoroughly rinse and dry.

  • 15 of 15

    Toys

    Plastic and rubber bath toys may appear clean after using them in soapy water, but they are magnets for germs and mold that love moist surfaces. The same goes for plastic pool toys that also attract algae. Clean bath and pool toys using baking soda in two ways. Scrub the outside of the toys with a paste of baking soda and water, then rinse. Or dissolve baking soda in water in a spray bottle, scrub, rinse, then dry thoroughly.

Watch Now: How to Remove Hard Water Stains in a Toilet