There are three key reasons why baking soda is so good at cleaning. First, it’s a powerful deodorizer. Second, it provides mild abrasion, and third, it’s a whitener and a brightener—the perfect cleaning combo!
Clean a Stainless Steel Coffee Mug
If your stainless steel mug looks and smells a little bit funky, baking soda can solve that problem for you. Fill the mug up halfway with hot water, then add a tablespoon of baking soda to that solution. Fill the rest of the mug up with hot water and let it soak for a few hours, or overnight. The next morning take a sponge, or a bottle brush, along with a little dish soap, and give it a good scrub. This will effectively eliminate any stains and/or lingering odors.
If you had a nasty explosion in your microwave—no judging, we’ve all been there—there’s an easy way to clean that mess up using a cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. You’re going to mix this all up and microwave for 5 minutes. Once that 5 minutes is up, remove the bowl and then take a cloth and wipe the inside of the microwave down. The steam from the water is going to help loosen crusty food and help transport little granules of baking soda onto the sides of the microwave providing mild abrasion to help lift off stubborn messes.
If there’s a smelly little corner of your home that you want to help freshen up, baking soda’s got you covered. Take a jar or a can—an old candle jar is actually perfect for this—fill it about halfway with baking soda and add 5 to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (this is entirely optional) Place the container in the vicinity of any unpleasant orders, and voila—stink be gone! Baking soda is amazing at absorbing and neutralizing odors, and this is a great set it and forget it type of situation.
If you lean heavily on dry shampoo, or if you use a lot of styling products in your hair, you might notice that over time your scalp feels a little bit yucky and your can start to feel a little bit dull. In that case, you’d be looking for a clarifying scalp treatment and baking soda is the perfect solution. While in the shower simply add some shampoo to your palm the way you normally would, then mix in a tablespoon of baking soda. I actually bring a little bit in pre-portioned in a tissue and then I dump it into my shampoo when I’m ready to wash. I don’t actually wash the rest of my hair with this treatment, I just do the scalp, massage it in really nicely and then rinse and condition as usual. You’ll notice that your hair is squeaky clean afterward. Your scalp is going to feel particularly clean—you’re going to have a great hair day! I’m going to caution you against two things; First, don’t overdo this, I’m talking like once a month, at most. Second, if you have artificial color in your hair, you’re not going to want to use baking soda at all.
There’s no pleasant way to say this—you might have a smelly toilet. If you do, here’s a solution for you. The next time you go to clean your bathroom, before you do anything else, take a cup of baking soda along with you. Start by getting your toilet bowl brush out and use it to moisten the sides of the bowl. Then, you’re going to generously sprinkle the baking soda all over. Let this sit for as least 15-30 minutes to let the baking soda do its thing—deodorize, solve problems, make changes in the world! When you’re ready, go ahead and scrub that toilet clean, give it a flush, and then you can use your regular toilet cleaning solution to do one more cleaning. The pre-clean with the baking soda is going to help lift up any odors and then the regular toilet cleaning will get rid of any residue and fully clean your toilet.
Glass & Mirror Residue
Removing residue from glass surfaces can be tricky at times when using a liquid cleaner only. The abrasion you get from baking soda can help lift off stubborn residue from things like hairspray, toothpaste, etc. What you’ll do in this case is dampen a microfiber cloth and sprinkle some baking soda on it. There’s no real measurement here, but let’s call it a teaspoon, and then you’ll start cleaning the glass surface using the S-pattern from the top to the bottom. After that’s done, you’ll want to give it one more wipe down to remove any baking soda left behind. Finally, treat the glass with your glass cleaner of choice—I would use vinegar and water and a flat weave microfiber cloth.
Clean a Hairbrush With Baking Soda
The way to clean a hairbrush—and this goes for plastic hairbrushes and combs as well (if it’s wood, we’ve got to talk about that separately)—is to fill a bowl with 2 cups of warm water, and then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda. I also like to add a few drops of tea tree essential oil as well, but this is completely optional. Mix this well until it’s combined. Next, I’m going to pick out all of the hair (which isn’t the most pleasant task, but someone’s got to do it) with something pointy like a pen or wooden skewer. Once all the hair is out, you’ll notice there’s probably some residue left behind. Now, if your brush is hard plastic, you can actually soak it in that bowl and let time do the work. If it has one of those pads on it, I don’t like soaking so I like to use a cleaning toothbrush and give it a good scrub. Dip the toothbrush into the solution and brush the brush. You want to remove all the residue both from the pad, the bristles, and the sides of the brush. Then, give it a good rinse and let it air dry.
Now, I know YOUR shoes aren’t smelly, so this is more for your friend that has smelly shoes. If they want to deodorize their shoes, they can take something like a coffee filter, a couple of pieces of paper towel, or even a piece of an old T-shirt that’s been cut up, and dump in a half a cup of baking soda right in the center. Then, you’ll gather all of the sides together, secure it with an elastic and throw it in the shoe. Let that sit for a day, two days, a week, a month, whatever. Just throw them in whenever those shoes aren’t being worn and the baking soda will start to eat away at the odors in the shoe (the boot, the slipper, etc.). Your friend will thank you. 😉
If you hand wash your dishes, baking soda can really help things along. Fill your sink with warm water as usual. To it, add a squirt of dish soap, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Let your dishes, pots, pans, whatever you have, soak in there for about 10 or 15 minutes. When you start to do your dishes you’ll notice that the debris slides right off. In fact, even when I do pots and pans I’ll often throw some baking soda in there just to boost the abrasion and make things move along a little bit faster.
If you’re impressed with all the stuff that baking soda can do, you will not believe what hydrogen peroxide can do.
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Your tips are so helpful. Thank you!!!!! You have provided so many great and inspiring ideas and techniques. A tip for you that you might not know. I see you mentioned using baking soda for cleaning a coffee mug, but you dilute it with water and soak for a while. I worked at a couple different coffee shops and learned that you can clean coffee stains quickly and easily from just about any surface by pouring baking soda directly onto the surface or onto a damp towel, and rubbing the baking soda into the stain. You can clean the entire coffee maker and pot and burner that way, as well as mugs, countertops, and even your teeth. 🙂
Great tip, thanks Cyndi!
We use baking soda every day as part of our cleaning practice. I prefer it over some of the harsher abrasives on the market. Great article!
Thanks this is very helpful