Chances are, you’ve been using baking soda in your kitchen or bathroom for years. After all, there’s hardly a baking recipe out there that doesn’t call for at least a teaspoon or two.
However, did you know you could also use baking soda to clean your pans, tenderize the meat and bake better beans? That’s only the beginning.
Find out the many ways you could be using baking soda in the kitchen below. Then, you may want to stock up on a few more boxes.
How to Use Baking Soda With Your Food
Tenderizing meat can make it softer and easier to cut and eat. You don’t have to go pounding to create these effects, however. Rub the meat down with baking soda, then let it sit in the refrigerator for three to five hours. Take it out, rinse thoroughly and cook as planned. The meat will be extremely tender ― even cuts of meat that are normally tough.
2. Clean Your Produce
Lettuce can be contaminated with salmonella. Strawberries and blueberries are high in pesticide residue. Cut through your cantaloupe without washing it, and you could take listeria contamination from the rind into the fruit.
Between 2002 and 2011, the Center for Science in the Public Interest showed that the highest number of foodborne illness outbreaks were caused by fresh produce. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees that in the United States, nearly half of all foodborne illnesses are caused by germs on fresh produce.
You know it’s important to wash your produce before eating it. You don’t have a buy a special produce wash product, however. Mix two or three tablespoons of baking soda to cold water, then use that solution to wash your fruits and vegetables. You can also sprinkle baking soda on a wet sponge or vegetable brush. Rinse the product thoroughly before serving.
3. Tame Fishy Smells
If you don’t like that fishy smell coming from your slice of salmon, soak store-bought, raw fish in one quart of water mixed with 2 tablespoons baking soda for about an hour. Rinse and pat dry before cooking.
4. Reduce Acids
If you find that things like coffee, beans and tomato sauce cause your stomach upset, try adding a pinch of baking soda during the cooking or brewing process. It will neutralize some of the acids, helping your stomach to tolerate these items better. As long as you limit your use to a small amount, it shouldn’t affect the taste.
5. Fluff Up Your Omelets
Take your omelets from good to great by adding baking soda to your omelet mixture. Choose 1/2 teaspoon for about every three eggs, then cook as usual. The baking soda will help create more volume in the eggs — like it does in baked goods — making them fluffier and melt-in-your-mouth tasty.
How to Use Baking Soda to Clean in the Kitchen
1. Freshen Your Refrigerator and Freezer
Sometimes, it’s difficult to find the source of the odors in your refrigerator. Even after you find it and get rid of it, those odors can linger, contaminating your food.
Open a container of baking soda and place it in the refrigerator. The food particles that are floating around, causing the odors will bond with the baking soda and, once they do so, they will be neutralized. You can do the same in your freezer. When you start smelling odors again — usually about every three months — replace the box with a new one.
Just remember not to use the deodorizing baking soda in your recipes as it will have absorbed those smelly food odors, which may affect the taste of your recipes.
Other ways to use baking soda to clean your refrigerator include:
- Use a solution of baking soda and water to wash the inside. It will help kill germs and get rid of any lingering odors.
- Sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of the crisper to eliminate odors there. Cover with a folded paper towel and replace about every three months.
- Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to create a paste, and then use that paste to remove stains and rust.
2. Clean Tile, Grout & Countertops
If you’ve got surfaces that you don’t want to be scratched, use baking soda to clean them. It’s slightly abrasive, so it can help get rid of stains and grime without harming your surfaces.
Mix baking soda with water to create a solution, then use a brush or rag to scrub away any grime, grease or stains. It’s much safer than using a chemical-filled cleaning solution. Use on countertops, floors, and backsplashes.
3. Clean the Sink
You can clean the sink the same way as you clean the countertops. Mix baking soda and water into a paste, apply it to the sink, brush it down and rinse thoroughly. You’ll get rid of dirt, grime, and germs and leave behind only freshness.
4. Clean Stainless-steel and Copper Cookware
It’s important not to scratch or scar these surfaces too, so the baking soda can be your go-to cleaning solution. Make a paste of baking soda and water, spread it around to cover the surface of the pan, let sit for 10 minutes ― longer for set-in messes ― then scrub clean with a soft cloth, brush or scrub sponge.
5. Freshen the Microwave
After numerous meals, the microwave can get pretty gross. Try spreading baking soda paste all over the interior surfaces, let sit for a few minutes, and then wipe away with a wet cloth and dry.
6. Clean Your Cutting Boards
Get rid of germs and stains on your cutting boards by applying a baking soda paste to the surface. Allow it to sit as long as overnight. It will vanquish any stains as well as kill any bacteria that have been left behind.
7. Degrease Your Kitchen Cabinets
If you haven’t cleaned for a while, you may notice a buildup of grease and grime on your kitchen cabinets. They have surfaces you want to be gentle with, so sprinkle some baking soda onto a damp sponge, and then use that sponge to scrub off the grease. Because baking soda makes an alkaline solution, it interacts with grease in such a way that it dissolves it easily. Your cabinets will look shiny and clean.
8. Replace High-priced Chemical Oven Cleaners
Those store-bought chemical oven cleaners may work well, but you may not be thrilled with the chemical fumes they emit into your living space. Safeguard your health by using baking soda instead. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and then cover the inside surface of the oven with that paste.
Next, add a vinegar-water solution ― heavy on the vinegar ― to a spray bottle and spritz the inside surface of the oven with the solution. The interaction of the baking soda and vinegar will release carbon dioxide, causing the paste to bubble up and fizz. Let the oven sit overnight, and then scrub out the stains the next day with a brush or scrubby. Finish by wiping the interior down with hot, soapy water.
9. Unclog Your Kitchen Drain
If your drain is a little slow lately, pour 1/2 cup baking soda into it, followed with a cup of vinegar. Watch for that fizzing action as the two solutions interact. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with very hot water.
10. Remove Tarnish on Your Baking Sheets
Sometimes when you bake using aluminum foil, you may get some tarnish on your baking sheets. Baking soda and warm water can help remove that tarnish. Apply the paste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub the tarnish away.
11. Boost Your Dishwashing Liquid
If your dishwashing liquid isn’t doing a good enough job of getting the grease off your dishes, try boosting its performance by adding 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the water you’re using to clean.
12. Make Your Own Dishwashing Detergent
If you’re tired of spending on store-bought dishwashing detergents or worry about contaminating the environment with unknown chemicals, you can make your own dishwashing detergent with 2 tablespoons baking soda and 2 tablespoons borax. Put the solution in the dishwasher as usual.
You can also deodorize your dishwasher by sprinkling about 1/2 cup baking soda over the bottom of it between loads or pour about a half box of baking soda into the dishwasher and run it through its rinse cycle while empty.
13. Clean Your Water Bottles and Thermoses
These containers can get gross on the bottom over time, but they often aren’t made to go into the dishwasher. Fill them with a mixture of 1/4 cup baking soda and water, let them soak overnight and then rinse clean.
14. Clean Out Your Automatic Coffee Maker
Every few weeks, add about 1/4 cup baking soda with the water in your coffee machine, then run it as usual without coffee to clean it out. Run the machine once more afterward with clean water only. This will help freshen the interior and prevent bitter or weak coffee.
15. Deodorize Your Garbage Can
If that trash can is starting to smell, clean it with a wet paper towel dipped in baking soda or a baking soda and water solution, then rinse with a damp sponge and let dry. To ward off future smells, sprinkle a little baking soda into the bottom of the can before inserting the trash bag.
16. Make Your Chrome Fixtures Shine
Whether on your sink, refrigerator or elsewhere, you can shine up your chrome with baking soda. Sprinkle some on a damp sponge or moist cloth, and then rub it over the chrome. Let it dry for about an hour, then wipe down with warm water and dry with a clean cloth.
You can use the same process to clean your silver or stainless-steel cutlery and serving utensils. Rub these down with a paste made of three parts baking soda and one part water, and then rinse and dry.
17. Freshen Your Sponges and Dishcloths
These hold onto germs and dirt and can start to smell quickly. Create a cleaning solution in the sink or a pan by mixing warm water with about 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Place your dishcloths and sponges inside this mixture and allow them to stay in this solution overnight. They’ll be fresh and ready to use again the next day.
18. Extinguish Small Fires
19. Freshen Your Hands
After cutting onions, cooking with garlic or handling fish, your hands may smell a little icky. Washing with plain soap and water may not be enough to get rid of these odors. Try baking soda instead. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water, then rub it vigorously all over your hands along with some hand soap. Scrub well, then rinse and dry. The smells should be gone.
20. Clarify Your Iced Tea
If you like a pitcher of iced tea to shine with clarity on your porch table, vanquish any cloudiness with a small amount of baking soda. It will help control the “tangy” taste as well. Use about 1/4 teaspoon per 8 cups of water.
CDC. (2019, June 6). Steps to Safe and Healthy Fruits & Vegetables. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/steps-healthy-fruits-veggies.html
Hussain, M., & Gooneratne, R. (2017). Understanding the Fresh Produce Safety Challenges. Foods, 6(3), 23. doi:10.3390/foods6030023