15 Ways to Use Baking Soda as a Green Cleaner

This eco-friendly option is a powerful cleaner at home

bowl of baking soda on a counter

The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

Baking soda, a common kitchen ingredient, can be used for so much more than just baking. As a green cleaning agent, baking soda can combat germs, odors, and burnt-on foods. Use it in your sink, on carpets and rugs, and in your washing machine to give your detergent a boost. Baking soda can also whiten porcelain, brighten laundry, and act as a scrubbing agent that won't scratch surfaces. Best of all, this cleaning product is eco-friendly, non-toxic, and safe to use in households with children and pets. Below we list some fantastic baking soda cleaning hacks for those conscious of their indoor environment.

  • 01 of 15

    Banish Burnt-On Food

    person pouring baking soda into a pot

    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

    Combat burnt-on food by boiling baking soda and water in your soiled pan, and then letting it cool. Let the concoction soak overnight, if necessary, and then wipe it clean. You can also spread a paste of baking soda and green dish soap onto your pan, and then leave it for several hours. After that, wash your pan as usual. If spots still remain, sprinkle more baking soda into the pan and scrub away. 

  • 02 of 15

    Boost Your Automatic Dish Detergent

    person adding baking soda to dish detergent

    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein 

    If you've got especially dirty dishes and hard water, don't add extra detergent. This recipe may undermine your cleaning efforts and leave a filmy residue behind. Instead, add a teaspoon of baking soda to your dishwasher, which naturally softens the water and improves the function of your detergent.

  • 03 of 15

    Clean Carpets and Rugs

    person using bakinda soda to clean a rug

    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein 

    Instead of reaching for harmful, conventional carpet cleaners, consider using baking soda as an earth-friendly alternative to deodorize and clean your rugs naturally. For a safe and effective rug cleaner, sprinkle baking soda onto your carpet, mist it with warm water, and let it sit for several hours. Then, vacuum it up. Pet odors, dirt, and stains will be banished for good.

  • 04 of 15

    Combat Dishwasher Odors

    Your dishwasher may develop a nasty smell with everyday use. To combat the odor, try sprinkling 1/2 cup of baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher in between uses. After a few cycles, the smell will begin to neutralize.

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  • 05 of 15

    Deodorize Drains and Garbage Disposals

    person pouring baking soda into a sink

    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

    Sprinkle baking soda into your drain and garbage disposal, and then let it sit for a few minutes or up to several hours. Next, pour in some distilled white vinegar and then run the hot water. Food residue, germs, and soap scum will be washed away, and your drain will smell fresh.

  • 06 of 15

    Freshen the Air Naturally

    room spray of baking soda and lemon

    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

    Absorb foul odors and add an uplifting scent to your home with this baking soda and lemon room deodorizer recipe. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, a few drops of lemon essential oil, and 2 cups of hot water to a clean spray bottle. Shake it up and spray it into the air.

  • 07 of 15

    Boost Your Laundry Detergent

    person using baking soda in laundry

    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

    Dingy laundry can be brightened up by adding 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda to your washing machine cycle. Baking soda will enhance the effectiveness of your laundry detergent by softening the water naturally. As a result, you'll notice cleaner and softer clothes. Baking soda can also remove odors from both clothing and shoes.

  • 08 of 15

    Refresh Your Refrigerator

    person using baking soda to clean the refrigerator

    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

    Make a paste of baking soda and water before cleaning out your fridge. This non-toxic cleaning formula can be added to a wet microfiber rag and used to wipe away residue from food, condiments, and produce. Rinse the rag well in between uses, and buff off any remaining baking soda residue.

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  • 09 of 15

    Scrub Without Scratching

    person using baking soda cleaner on the counter

    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

    Delicate bathroom surfaces, like porcelain or white subway tiles, can be scrubbed clean with a recipe of baking soda and distilled white vinegar. You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil to transform the concoction into an aromatherapy cleanser. With a soft brush or a reusable plastic sponge, spread the paste onto the surface, and then wait a few minutes before rinsing it clean. This effortless method is effective for whitening sinks and showers.

  • 10 of 15

    Tackle Dirty Toilets

    baking soda next to a toilet brush

    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

    Sprinkle baking soda into your toilet and let it sit for several minutes. Then, scrub away dirty toilet scum. For extra germ and mold-fighting action, pour in distilled white vinegar for a boost.

  • 11 of 15

    Wash Fruits and Veggies

    Person washing grapes under the faucet

    Manki Kim / Unsplash

    Conventionally grown fruit and vegetables bought in the grocery store may have a waxy coating used to protect them during shipping. They can also harbor bacteria or carry a chemical residue from pesticides. You can remove all these impurities with a quick wash in a sinkful of water mixed with baking soda. Use 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 2 cups of water, and then let your produce soak for up to 15 minutes to assure it's clean.

  • 12 of 15

    Polish Your Silverwear

    tarnished silver plated flatware

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Modern silverware can be brought back to life with an au natural paste made from baking soda. Combine 1/2 a box of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Then, using a soft, clean cloth, apply the paste to the silver. Wait 30 seconds for slightly tarnished items, and up to 10 minutes for heavily tarnished. Next, rinse the silverware under cool water and use a clean cloth to buff it out.

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  • 13 of 15

    Clean Your Grill

    Gas grill grates cleaned with brush after cooking

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

    Tackle grease and burnt-on food by cleaning your grill grates with baking soda. Make the same paste used for cleaning silverware, and then brush it liberally onto damp grates. Allow the concoction to sit for 10 minutes, and then use a scouring sponge dipped in warm water to wipe the grates clean. Rinse your grates under cool water before drying and returning them to your grill.

  • 14 of 15

    Deodorize Pet Bedding

    Empty green dog bed in middle of living space

    The Spruce / Sarah Crowley

    Stinky pet bedding can be freshened up in between cleanings with a simple baking soda hack to remove odors. Shake some baking soda onto the bed, let it sit for an hour, and then vacuum it up. Flip the bed, and treat the other side, as well.

  • 15 of 15

    Clean Kid's Toys

    using surface wipes on baby toys

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    Your toddler's favorite toys can get yucky fast, so it's important to keep on top of germs that may make their way into his mouth. You can easily make a cleaner that's safe for babies and kids by dissolving 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Add this to a spray bottle and spray on toys, and then wipe them clean with a soft cloth.

What Not to Clean With Baking Soda

You should never use baking soda on marble counters or ceramic cooktops. Baking soda will remove the protective finish on marble counters and will scratch cooktops, leaving a thin, white film. Similarly, gold-plated items and aluminum pots should not be cleaned with baking soda. Baking soda may scratch the soft precious metal, and will oxidize when used on aluminum, causing your pot to change color.