How to Clean Almost Everything with Baking Soda

Is there anything this pantry staple can't do? 

When it comes to natural cleaning solutions, you can bet that baking soda is somehow involved. It's a mild abrasive, making it ideal for scrubbing surfaces without scratching, and when mixed with vinegar, it creates a bubbling reaction that cleans every nook and cranny. Plus, you probably already have a box of it hanging out in your pantry. From freshening up white sneakers to scrubbing a stainless steel sink, here are eight things you can clean with baking soda.

Clean a Mattress

To help freshen and deodorize your mattress, sprinkle the top of the mattress with a thin layer of baking soda. Let it sit for five to ten minutes before vacuuming it off using the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner.

Clean Shoes

Keeping your white sneakers sparkling clean is an ongoing challenge. To clean white canvas shoes, combine one tablespoon of baking soda, two tablespoons of white vinegar, and one cup of water. Use a clean toothbrush or cloth to rub the solution onto your shoes, scrubbing away any visible dirt or stains.

Scrub a Stainless Steel Sink

If your stainless steel sink is coated in layers of grease and grime, baking soda can help. Here's how: Sprinkle the basin with a layer of baking soda, then add a very small amount of water to form a paste. Scrub the sink with the baking soda paste using a soft cloth or sponge. Follow the complete sink-cleaning instructions here.

To clear a drain, try pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture foam for 5 minutes before rinsing with a kettle of boiling water.

Shine Your Silver

To polish your silver without all the elbow grease, start by washing each piece with warm, soapy water. In a pot, combine one quart of boiling water, 1/4 cup baking soda, and two teaspoons salt. Line a separate pot with aluminum foil, add the silver and pour in the mixture. Let sit for five minutes and watch as the tarnish falls off. Rinse and dry each piece thoroughly.

Remove Stains

On porcelain and ceramic dishware, baking soda serves as a stain remover. To remove stubborn coffee stains from your favorite mug, mix baking soda with water to form a paste, then use it to scrub away the stains.

For stubborn sweat stains on white shirts, follow the advice of Mary Gagliardi, a cleaning expert at the Clorox Company, and saturate the stain with equal parts baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water. Rinse, then toss the shirt into the washing machine with bleach.

If you get an oil-based stain on your upholstered sofa, reach for the box of baking soda. Sprinkle it onto the area and let sit for 15 minutes. Vacuum up the powder before applying a dry-cleaning solvent and allowing it to sit overnight. The next day, apply water, scrub carefully with a toothbrush, and blot with a clean cloth.

Clean a Stovetop

Scrubbing a stovetop is a balancing act: you want a formula that's tough enough to remove stuck-on grime yet gentle enough that it won't scratch the surface. That's where baking soda comes in. Mix equal parts baking soda, mild dish soap, and a few drops of water to form a paste. Use it to scrub cooked-on food on a gas or electric stovetop, let it sit for 10 minutes, then wipe it away.

Clean a Dishwasher

To remove buildup from the interior of your dishwasher, mix up this homemade spray. Combine two tablespoons of baking soda and 16 ounces of water in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for two minutes. Carefully transfer to a spray bottle and spritz the inside of the machine before wiping clean with a microfiber cloth. Still have a smelly dishwasher? Try these tips for deodorizing a dishwasher.

Wash the Inside of Your Refrigerator

In our guide to deep-cleaning a refrigerator, baking soda is one of the secret ingredients. After turning off the appliance and removing the shelves, wash the inside surfaces with two tablespoons of baking soda and one quart of warm water. Then rinse with clean water and wipe dry.

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