Did you know you can clean your house and go green quickly, easily and cheaply using food products in your kitchen?
This month I am on a crusade to spread the word about home made natural green cleaning ideas made with food, in an effort to help reduce the environmental pollutants that are washed down our drains and into our waterways every year from commercial cleaning products.
I don’t know about you, but I think our ancestors had it right on so many levels. As we all attempt to go green and become more environmentally conscious about the way we live our lives, I find myself going green by doing things I watched my parents and grandparents doing before so many convenience products became available.
I have watched my grandmother and mother blend up home made concoctions using lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda and essential oils for years. Not only are these home made cleaning products green and better for the environment, they are safer for your health, super quick and easy to make, and are cheaper too!
My favourite green home made cleaning ingredients are baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and essential oils. Rather than write an incredibly long post trying to cover all of these wonderful green cleaning ideas, I decided to write a series of posts focussing on each individual food and how it can be used.
So, today I start with baking soda, which would be my top green living tip for alkalizing, cleaning and deodorizing.
Baking soda (sometimes known as bi-carb soda) is pure sodium bicarbonate, a chemical compound that is available in the form of a powder. It releases bubbles of carbon dioxide when it is mixed with an acid and a liquid. These bubbles, when trapped inside a dough or batter help baked goods to rise. Baking soda is also a powerful alkalizing agent and helps neutralize acids and break down proteins making it a powerful deodorizer and PH balancing agent.
Whilst baking soda is typically used as a leavening agent in baking, there are literally countless ways you can utilize the magic of baking soda around your household. Baking soda can be used to clean surfaces and neutralize odours in much the same as commercial cleaners, without the hefty price tags and harsh chemicals.
Baking soda is extremely versatile, gentle, green and very inexpensive, making this wondrous product accessible to everyone. I always keep a few boxes of baking soda on hand. Baking soda can be used all over the household.
50 WAYS TO GO GREEN WITH BAKING SODA
1. Use baking soda to alkalize your body:
I add a pinch of baking soda and Celtic sea salt to my filtered water when I drink it to help alkalize my body throughout the day.
2. Use baking soda as an antacid:
Simply dissolve 1 teaspoon in a glass of water to relieve heartburn and indigestion.
3. Use baking soda as a toothpaste:
Mix a paste out of baking soda and filtered water in place of conventional toothpaste to brush your teeth. You could also mix baking soda and a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide paste.
4. Use baking soda as mouthwash:
Dissolve one teaspoon in 1 cup of water and gargle to neutralize mouth odours. This is also good for relieving pan from canker sores and ulcers.
5. Use baking soda to clean oral appliances:
Brush dentures, retainers and other oral appliances with baking soda and dissolve two teaspoons of baking soda in a standard glass of water or bowl to loosen food particles and neutralize odours.
6. Use baking soda to clean and freshen hair styling utensils:
You can also clean hair brushes and combs in the same way to remove soap residue and grease.
If you have any stiff brushes lying around your house that you want to revive, try boiling them in a solution of 1 cup baking soda, ¼ cup white vinegar and a gallon of water. This will soften and freshen them up.
7. Use baking soda to soak and clean skin:
Dissolve ½ cup baking soda in the bath tub with a few drops of essential oil for a relaxing soak that also cleans the acids off your skin and softens it.
8. Use baking soda to relieve diaper rash on babies:
Dissolve a small amount of baking soda in the bath water to help relieve diaper rash on babies.
9. Use baking soda to soothe aching feet and neutralize foot odour:
Dissolve a few tablespoons of baking soda and a drop of essential oil in a small tub of water to soak tired aching feet and neutralize foot odour.
10. Use baking soda to make face and body scrubs:
Mix just enough filtered water or cold pressed almond oil to create pastes to exfoliate your face or body.
11. Use baking soda to neutralize odours on hands after cooking:
Use a paste of lemon juice and baking soda to neutralize odours from cutting foods like garlic.
12. Use baking soda to wash your hair:
Mix a bit of baking soda in the palm of your hand with your favourite shampoo to boost the cleaning power and remove residue from your hair.
13. Use baking soda to relieve itchy skin:
You can pat it directly onto your body like talcum powder as a natural soothing agent for itchy skin.
14. Use baking soda to treat insect bites and stings, sunburn and windburn:
Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply to relieve insect bites and stings or sunburn, windburn. This paste is also good for drawing out jelly fish stings and soothing bee stings.
15. Use baking soda to clear nasal congestion:
Add a teaspoon of baking soda to your vaporizer to clear nasal congestion.
16. Use baking soda to wash fruits and vegetables:
Dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a bowl of water to wash fruits and vegetables and remove acid residues.
17. Use baking soda to soften foods:
Baking soda is really helpful to soften and tenderize foods making them easier to work with. I will often soak dates and other fruits in a bit of water and baking soda to soften them before adding them to baked goods.
18. Use baking soda to reduce the acidity of foods:
I add a pinch to homemade tomato sauces and vegan soups to help reduce the acidity while cooking. A pinch of baking soda added into legumes helps to soften them and reduce the gas effect!
19. Use baking soda to clean stains on cutting boards:
A quick natural cleaner and bleach is to cut open a lemon and sprinkle some baking soda on the open juicy end or directly on the surface. This will clean most stains of cutting boards.
20. Use baking soda to as a drain cleaner:
If water has not started to back up, pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by 3 cups boiling water. Repeat this process if needed. OR pour 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let this mixture fizz for a while, then pour down about 3 litres of boiling water down the drain.
21. Use baking soda to remove odours in your dishwasher:
Fill the detergent container with baking soda and fill the rinse container with vinegar. Run the dishwasher empty to remove odours.
22. Use baking soda to clean and remove odours from your oven:
Mix 1 cup with enough water to make a paste. Spread on the inside of the oven and leave for a few hours. Use a scourer to remove residue.
To remove odours from your oven follow this up by baking orange or lemon peels for 5 minutes at 180 C / 350 F.
23. Use baking soda to clean your microwave:
Mix two cups of water with 2 Tablespoons in a glass bowl. Place in the microwave and heat on high for about 1 ½ minutes. Wipe off food residue with a soft damp cloth.
24. Use baking soda to cleaning kitchen pots and pans:
To remove baked on food from dishes: sprinkle the bottom with baking soda. Then mix one part white vinegar to 3 parts hot water. Pour this solution into the dish and allow to soak for at least an hour. Leave overnight for really baked on particles. Food should lift off.
To clean off burnt bottoms of saucepans: Dissolve 2 Tablespoons in 2 cups of water and bring to the boil in the burnt saucepan. Allow to cool for about an hour or more if needed, and burnt base should wipe off.
25. Use baking soda to freshen up dishcloths and cleaning rags:
Soak cleaning cloths in a solution of baking soda and warm water to remove odours.
26. Use baking soda to clean coffee and tea pots:
To clean stains and odours from coffee and tea pots dissolve a few tablespoons in warm water and allow to soak. Rinse thoroughly and dry.
27. Use baking soda to deodorize garbage disposals:
Sprinkle some baking soda with lemon wedges to remove odours from your garbage disposal.
28. Use baking soda to absorb odours in the fridge, freezer, pantry and closet:
Keep an open box in the back of your fridge, freezer, pantry and closet to absorb odours and neutralize smells.
29. Using baking soda to deodorize trash cans and recycle bins:
Sprinkle some in the bottom of your trash cans before you line them to keep odours at bay. You can do the same for the recycle container.
30. Use baking soda to neutralize carpet odours and vacuum cleaners:
Sprinkle a generous amount over carpets and allow to set overnight before vacuuming up. This will neutralize odours in your carpet and vacuum cleaner in one step!
31. Use baking soda to deodorize cat litter boxes:
Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the litter box and then fill with kitty litter. You can also deodorize dog and cat beds by sprinking baking soda, allowing to sit and then vacuuming up or washing.
32. Use baking soda to neutralize odours in ash trays:
Sprinkle some baking soda in ash trays, allow to sit and then wipe out.
33. Use baking soda to clean and deodorize shoes:
Sprinkle baking soda in runners and other soft gym shoes and shake out before wearing to neutralize smelly odours.
34. Use baking soda to clean and deodorize bags:
You can also sprinkle in work out bags and shake or vacuum out.
35. Use baking soda to clean sports equipment:
To clean golf irons, baseball bats, tennis racquets simply dissolve a couple of tablespoons in some warm water and wipe over with a soft damp cloth.
36. Use baking soda to clean kitchen sinks and bath tubs:
To clean hazy film on sinks: sprinkle a bit of baking soda on a wet cloth. Rub sink well and then rinse to remove films and residues.
To clean soap scum and water residue: combine 1 1/2 cups baking soda with about 1/2 cup natural liquid castile soap and 1/2 cup water. Mix very welll and then add 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Use this solution to clean the sink with a damp cloth and then rinse well.
To clean bathroom tiles: pour vinegar onto a sponge and sprinkle with baking soda. Wipe the tiles over. Repeat this with a toothbrush to scrub in between the grout. Rinse the tiles down to remove any baking soda and vinegar residue.
You can also make a cream cleanser for bath and ceramic sinks and keep it in a squeeze bottle by mixing 1 and 3/4 cups of baking soda with about 2/3 cup of natural liquid detergent to create a cream like consistency. You could also add a few drops of essential oil to this mixture. Brands of detergent vary in composition so you may need to adjust the quantities of your mixture. Just don’t make the solution too thick or you won’t be able to squeeze it out.
37. Use baking soda to clean toilets:
Sprinkle baking soda around the bowl. Drip a few drops of natural liquid soap onto the toilet brush and scrub out the bowl. This will remove rings. To clean the outside of the bowl, sprinkle some baking soda onto a damp rag. Wipe over the lid and then rinse the cloth to wipe off any baking soda residue.
38. Use baking soda to clean floors:
Dissolve ½ cup baking soda in a bucket hot water to remove grease and odours.
You could add a drop or two of essential oil or a little lemon juice.
39. Use baking soda to boost the power of your laundry detergent:
To boost the power of washing detergent: place 1/2 cup baking soda to wash cycle to boost the power of the washing powder. By balancing the PH of the water clothes get cleaner and brighter.
40. Use baking soda to freshen clothes, linens and bedding:
Simply place ½ cup in with the rinse cycle. You can also add a couple of drops of essential oil.
41. Use baking soda as a natural fabric softener:
Add in 1/2 cup baking soda to the rinse cycle as a natural fabric softener.
42. Use baking soda to brighten whites:
You can soak cloth baby diapers or other whites in a solution of ½ cup of baking soda in a bucket of warm water to get them cleaner and whiter.
43. Use baking soda to clean silver:
To polish silver: dissolve ½ cup baking soda to about 5 litres of water in a stainless steel sink or bowl. Dip silver in this solution and wipe with a soft damp sponge to remove tarnishes.
44. Use baking soda to clean oil and grease stains in garages:
Simply sprinkle the affected area with a generous amount of baking soda and scrub with a wet brush. Rinse the area to clean thoroughly.
45. Use baking soda to clean and deodorize your car:
Simply dilute ¼ cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water to wash chrome, windows, car lights, handles and floor mats without fear of scratches. If you wipe your window with a solution of baking soda and water it helps to repel rain on your windshield. Deodorize your car by sprinkling generous amounts of baking soda over upholstery and allowing to sit before vacuuming.
46. Use baking soda to keep flowers fresh:
Mix in a tablespoon of baking soda into the vase of water to keep flowers fresher for longer.
47. Use baking soda to repel ants and cockroaches:
Instead of spraying harmful bug sprays, try sprinkling some baking soda along window sills to repel ants and cockroaches.
48. Use baking soda to stop animals eating your flowers:
Sprinkle some baking soda around your flower beds to stop rabbits from chomping on your flowers.
49. Use baking soda to make your tomatoes sweeter:
Just sprinkle some baking soda on the soil around your tomato plants to make them sweeter!
50. Use baking soda in your swimming pool:
Baking soda can be added to your swimming pool water to balance the pH and keep the water clear.
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Please feel free to email me with any other great baking soda tips you have!
Check out my favourite healthy gluten free recipes using baking powder at Healthy Blender Recipes.
Join the healthy food conversation on my Facebook Page.
Category: Go Green Kitchen
About the Author (Author Profile)
Tess Masters, a.k.a The Blender Girl is an actor, presenter, voice over artist, cook and writer. She writes a quirky food blog, Healthy Blender Recipes, sharing quick easy allergy free gluten free vegetarian recipes with whole foods. Tess writes the eco food blog for Go Green America TV and is a regular contributor to The Balanced Platter. She and her recipes have been featured on Chow.com, Epicurious.com, Glamour.com, and the LA Times, as well as countless websites and blogs around the world. Tess resides in Los Angeles, California with her partner and their dog, Cookie.