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There are literally hundreds of household uses for baking soda. Not to be confused with baking powder, which has added acidifying and drying agents (typically cream of tartar and starch, respectively), baking soda is pure bicarbonate of soda. The beneficial qualities of baking soda are the result of its ability to act as a buffer, neutralizing both acidic and alkaline substances to regulate pH. This is the secret behind its effectiveness as an odor remover—it doesn’t just mask offensive smells, it neutralizes them.
Baking soda is inexpensive, environmentally friendly, fragrance-free, and nontoxic, making it a perfect deodorizer for use in areas frequented by children or pets or where food is handled.
In the Kitchen and Bathroom
- Place an opened box of baking soda in the refrigerator and the freezer to absorb food odors; replace with a fresh box every three months.
- Smelly drains in the kitchen or bathroom? Run some warm water and spoon about ½ cup (120 g) of baking soda down the drain. If you like, you can do this every time you change the odor-absorbing box in your fridge/freezer—the old box will work just fine.
- To remove food odors from plastic food-storage containers, sprinkle a damp
- To get rid of garlic or onion odors from hands, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to a dab of liquid hand soap or dishwashing liquid and wash hands well.
- Sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of garbage cans and diaper pails to control odors. Periodically, wash out the garbage can or diaper pail with a solution of ¼ cup (60 g) baking soda dissolved in 1 quart (1 liter) warm water; rinse with clean water and dry well.
- When changing the cat’s litter box, sprinkle the bottom of the box with baking soda before adding the fresh litter, or mix a bit of baking soda with the fresh litter.
- To freshen up Fido’s bed, sprinkle with a generous dusting of baking soda, let sit 15 minutes, then vacuum. Test in an inconspicuous area first to be sure the fabric is color-safe.
- Baking soda works great as a dry shampoo for dogs. Rub baking soda into the dog’s coat, then brush thoroughly to remove.
Fabrics and Clothing
- To eliminate odors in athletic and other shoes, sprinkle the insides with baking soda after taking them off. Let sit overnight and shake out in the morning. Alternatively, fill the toe portions of a pair of clean, thin socks with baking soda and tie a knot in the top of each. Tuck the socks into the shoes whenever they aren’t being worn.
- Baking soda is an effective deodorizer for smelly carpet, upholstery, and cloth auto upholstery. Simply sprinkle with baking soda and let sit for about 15 minutes, then vacuum. Be sure to test for color-fastness in an inconspicuous area first.
- When putting clothes into storage, include a few baking-soda sachets to keep them smelling fresh. To make the sachets, cut off the foot portions of a few pairs of new knee-high stockings, fill the toes with baking soda, and knot to close.
Basement, Attic, and Garage
- To prevent musty odors from spoiling outgrown baby clothes, stuffed animals, and other textile items in storage, include a few baking soda sachets in the storage boxes.
- Place an opened box or two of baking soda in a car or camper that has been put away for the season.
- Store fabric patio-furniture cushions with baking soda sachets to keep them smelling fresh. Upon removing them from storage, sprinkle the cloth surface of the cushions with baking soda, let stand for 15 minutes, then vacuum. Repeat periodically throughout the season. Be sure to test for color-fastness in an inconspicuous area first.
- When putting clothes into storage, including a few baking soda sachets to keep them smelling fresh. To make the sachets, cut off the foot portions of a new knee-high stockings, fill the toe with baking soda, and tie into a knot.