Wouldn’t it be great if there was a versatile, eco-friendly substance that could clean everything from your teeth to your oven safely and effectively? That could gently soothe your skin and freshen the air in your home? Well, this amazing substance exists, and you probably have a box of it in your kitchen cabinet right now. It’s baking soda, and it has an incredible variety of personal and household uses.
Why Use Baking Soda?
Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is an odorless, crystalline powder with alkalinizing and electrolyte-replacing properties. You may know it best as an ingredient in your favorite cookie recipe! Don’t confuse it with the similar-looking baking powder!
If you’re seeking an eco-friendly alternative to chemical-laden household products, baking soda is an ideal solution. It is non-toxic and gentle, yet surprisingly powerful and effective. It’s inexpensive and you can find it at pretty much any grocery store, pharmacy, or bodega.
Best of all, this humble substance is incredibly versatile. Let’s look at some of the benefits of baking soda and nine ways to use it.
9 Ways to Use Baking Soda
Whether you’re looking to whiten your teeth or freshen your carpet, baking soda is a safe, affordable, and eco-friendly option.
Personal Health Uses
The first category for uses of baking soda involves personal care.
1. Cleans Your Teeth & Freshens Your Breath
To get your teeth squeaky-clean, consider switching to a toothpaste that contains baking soda. Compared to regular toothpaste, baking soda removes more cavity-causing plaque without damaging enamel.[2, 3] And brushing with baking soda toothpaste removes more stains than regular toothpaste!
In addition to gently cleaning and whitening teeth, baking soda can also freshen your breath. Plaque and debris in your mouth cause bacterial growth that makes breath smell bad. Toothpaste containing a high concentration of baking soda can prevent this before it starts.
How to Use: Use a fluoride-free toothpaste with baking soda, or make your own with this recipe.
Baking Soda Toothpaste
Clean your mouth naturally with this simple baking soda toothpaste.
- Glass jar with lid
- Measuring cup
- Spoon for stirring
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 5 to 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- Hot water (enough to form a paste)
- Put baking soda in a jar.
- Add sea salt and essential oil.
- Slowly pour in hot water. Stir baking soda and water until toothpaste reaches desired consistency. Let sit overnight.
2. Acts As a Natural Deodorant
An effective deodorant is key to good hygiene, but it can be hard to find one that works well — especially if you want to avoid synthetic ingredients. Baking soda absorbs odors, and many people have found it to be useful as a natural deodorant.
What makes baking soda a good deodorant? Alkaline baking soda appears to change the pH of acidic sweat in a way that neutralizes odor.
How to Use: You’ll find deodorants containing baking soda at most stores. You can also sprinkle a small amount of baking soda onto a damp washcloth and apply to your underarms, or use a makeup brush for dry application.
3. Soothes Your Skin
Struggling with itchy, irritated skin? Good old-fashioned baking soda may provide relief. People with skin conditions like psoriasis have found baking soda baths help reduce itchiness and irritation. This is good news for those who may wish to avoid topical steroid creams and other aggressive treatments for itchy skin conditions.
How to Use: To relieve itchiness, add ½ cup of baking soda to a tub full of warm water. You can also make a paste by mixing 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water and apply paste to affected areas.
4. Keeps Your Feet Fungus-Free
Nothing ruins sandal season like pesky foot fungus. Baking soda can keep feet dry, preventing the growth of bacteria, yeast, and fungus that cause foot odor and athlete’s foot — especially when combined with other natural ingredients like tea tree oil.
Athletes foot — also called tinea pedis — is caused by colonial fungi known as ringworm (though it's not a worm). It can cause itchy feet, scaly, yellow toenails, and red, scaly skin on the feet. Baking soda can reduce some of the symptoms.
How to Use: Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes or lightly dust your feet with baking soda as desired to keep them dry and fungus-free.
For an added anti-fungal boost, try Global Healing’s Candida Balance®. This all-natural formula supports the body’s natural cleansing of fungal organisms and yeast. Its wildcrafted and organic herbs and enzymes work with your body’s natural defenses effectively and without side effects.
5. Soothes Your Stomach
If you’re plagued by heartburn or indigestion but can’t stomach over-the-counter antacids, head to your kitchen and grab the baking soda. The alkalinity of baking soda means it can act as a natural antacid, neutralizing acids that cause heartburn and other reflux symptoms.
Baking soda is gentle enough to treat the occasional upset tummy in children. Just make sure you only use baking soda as an antacid once in a while. Daily use can cause an electrolyte imbalances.
How to Use: For occasional relief of heartburn, dissolve a pinch of baking soda into a glass of water and drink.
As if its many personal health uses weren’t enough, baking soda can also be very handy around the house — and eco-friendly.
6. Clean Fruits & Veggies
Even when you buy organic, it’s still a good idea to wash your produce before you can eat it. Cleaning your fruits and veggies with a baking soda solution effectively removes pesticide residue that may be left behind when rinsing with plain old water.
Baking soda is so good at cleaning produce that, in a commercial setting, it worked better than a bleach solution to remove surface pesticide residue from apples after they were harvested.
How to Use: You can make your own produce wash using baking soda. Here’s a recipe.
Baking Soda Produce Wash
Naturally remove pesticide residue from produce using this wash.
- Medium bowl
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups filtered water
- Pour water into a bowl.
- Add baking soda and stir until dissolved.
- Submerge any produce in the solution for two minutes, then rinse.
7. Baking Soda DIY Cleaning
Baking soda provides an eco-friendly alternative to conventional cleaning products. With an inexpensive box of baking soda and a few other basic pantry items, you can create your own DIY cleaning supplies that may work just as well as store-bought cleaners — without the long list of unpronounceable ingredients.
How to Use: A sprinkle of baking soda can safely be used to deodorize your garbage disposal, clean the toilet, scrub the oven, freshen carpet and area rugs, and soothe bug bites. When mixed with powdered sugar, it can even deter roaches! Sprinkle on your counter and wipe off with a damp sponge.
8. Naturally Freshen the Air
Nobody likes bad smells in their home, but most air fresheners use chemicals to (poorly) mask the odors so that you end up with a bad smell plus the scent of fake flowers. Baking soda works better because it absorbs odors, eliminating them rather than covering them up.
How to Use: Try the following recipe. Create several of these in glass jars and leave around the house in high-use areas.
Baking Soda Air Freshener
- Small glass jar
- Scrap of fabric or piece of paper
- Twine or ribbon
- ⅓ cup baking soda
- 10 to 15 drops lavender or other essential oil
- Pour baking soda into the jar.
- Add drops of essential oils.
- Cover the jar with fabric or paper and secure with twine or ribbon.
- Leave out as long as desired.
- Leave out as long as desired.
- Refresh by adding 3 to 4 additional drops of essential oil every two weeks and shake to mix.
9. Works As an Eco-Friendly Weed Killer
How to Use: To put baking soda to work in your garden, spray weeds with water and then sprinkle them with baking soda. It will work best if you have sifted the baking soda using a flour sifter or nylon stocking to remove large lumps.
Points to Remember
Whether you’re searching for natural and eco-friendly ways to care for your home, your body, or your garden, baking soda can help. This versatile, inexpensive substance provides safe and gentle solutions for a wide variety of personal and household concerns.
Want a natural ingredient that can improve your well being? Baking soda can be used as a tooth cleaner and whitener, or as a natural deodorant. It can soothe irritated skin and keep feet fungus-free. Internally, baking soda can settle an upset stomach.
Looking to replace conventional cleaning products with an all-natural, eco-friendly option that is gentle yet effective? At home, baking soda can be used to remove pesticides from produce, as a DIY cleaner for every room in your house, and as a non-toxic natural air freshener. It can even eliminate weeds in your garden!
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- Yang T, et al. Effectiveness of commercial and homemade washing agents in removing pesticide residues on and in apples. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2017,65,44,9744-9752.
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†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.