Why baking soda is the MVP of cleaning hacks

For surfaces that shine brighter than your future

In the world of domestic alchemy, where ordinary pantry staples transform into jugaadu DIY solutions, one ingredient stands apart from the rest. We’re talking about baking soda, the humble powder that quietly uplifts our cakes and lends our bakes a delightful fluffiness. Much like Clark Kent, who conceals his superhuman abilities, baking soda’s extraordinary powers lie dormant, waiting to be unleashed.

Much has been written about baking soda’s cleaning prowess (we also recommend giving your appliances some baby oil), and for good reason. But what’s the science behind its magic? For those of us who snoozed through chemistry class in school, let’s try again: Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, boasts a pH level of 9, making it a strong alkaline agent, and formidable adversary of grease and grime. Combining it with a splash of water, along with lemon and vinegar in the right proportions, triggers a fizzy reaction that allows it to lift stains and banish odours with flourish.

But before you grab that box of baking soda and embark on your cleaning experiments​​, a word of caution: though versatile and effective, this ingredient is not compatible with all surfaces. For instance, cleaning wooden furniture with baking soda? Let’s just say that’s a recipe for disaster. And mixing it freely with all kinds of acidic substances like bleach? Well, that’s best left to the experts in lab coats.

Baking soda cleaning hacks that prove it’s the MVP of your pantry

Scrub your shower

We’re not talking about body scrubs and polishes of the leftover coffee grounds and coconut oil variety. We mean a sparkling scrub for your shower, from floor to fittings, which will be a breeze with baking soda as your cleaning sidekick. To begin, dampen a microfiber cloth, sprinkle it with baking soda, and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Use the cloth to scrub soap scum and grime from the shower walls, and then use a wet brush to work on the floor tiles in the same manner. Rinse with warm water and wipe dry. You can also repeat this process on shower fittings and door hinges (depending on the material).

baking soda cleaning hacks shower
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Remove smudges from mirrors

Start by dampening a microfiber towel and sprinkling it with a teaspoon of baking soda. Gently wipe down your mirrors and glass surfaces, allowing the baking soda to lift any dirt and grime. Finish with a final rinse to remove residue. Voila, your very own magic mirror to have conversations with. And for parents of sticky-fingered kids, this might just become your go-to cleaning hack.

Make your oven squeaky clean

Unlike the self-cleaning oven in our bodies, actual ovens need routine cleaning. Start by mixing baking soda and water (the quantity will depend on the surface area you want to cover) until it forms a thick paste. Apply this paste to the sides and bottom of your oven using a brush or sponge. Now, for a bit of magic, spray the paste with vinegar. Sit back and watch the foam come to life as it reacts with the baking soda, loosening tough food particles and grease. Wipe away the residue with a damp cloth, and enjoy a squeaky-clean oven without any laborious scrubbing.

Shine your stovetop

If your cooking sessions end with your stovetop looking like a crime scene, then this is the cleaning hack you need. This battlefield of oil spills and stubborn stains meets its match with baking soda. Sprinkle it generously over the surface, allowing it to sit for some time to absorb all the grease and dirt. Then, with a damp sponge, gently scrub away the grime. Give it a final wipe and behold—a gleaming stovetop.

baking soda cleaning hack stove top
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Protect your plants from bugs

Try this stop-gap solution if you spot pesky bugs creeping up on your plant babies. The US Environmental Protection Agency lists baking soda as a registered fungicide, meaning it could help combat fungal diseases in plants. You can concoct this bug repellent at home by combining one teaspoon of baking soda with one litre water. Adding two or three drops of a mild liquid soap can help the solution stick better. Spray the solution directly on the affected area, especially the underside of leaves where pests tend to hide. Keep the plants away from pets and kids to prevent toxicity, and out of direct sunlight, as it can trigger a reaction that causes burns on the leaves. Reapply the solution every few days, especially after you have watered the leaves or it has rained.

Brighten your laundry

Add half a cup of baking soda to your wash, along with detergent, to bid adieu to stains and odours. Its alkaline properties work to lift away dirt and grime, restoring the vibrancy of your clothes, and leaving them fresher and brighter. For tough stains, create a paste with two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon water, and apply it to the required area before washing. Remember, not all fabrics play nice with baking soda, so do check the care label first.

Power wash your veggies

Plan a spa day for your fruits and veggies by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of lemon juice in 1.5 litres of cool water. Let your produce soak for 15-20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly under running water. Be especially diligent with fruits and veggies that are likely to react negatively to lemon’s acidity, like berries and leafy greens.

Unclog drains

First, to the best of your ability, clear out any clogged water. Then, pour one cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by one cup of white vinegar, and you will begin to see a foam bubbling up. Wait for 30 minutes, then carefully pour hot water down the drain. The water helps flush down the loosened debris and buildup of soap scum, dirt and hair.

baking soda cleaning hacks unclog darins
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Get to the grout

Dimming the shine of your sparkling tiles are its grout lines, which attract stubborn dirt and buildup. But fear not, as grime-fighting baking soda comes to your rescue, yet again. Sprinkle it on the grout, then mist with water to form a paste, and scrub vigorously with a brush. Rinse off the mixture well (or you might end up leaving more residue) to reveal clear grout lines and shiny tiles.

Whiten your whites

With this hack, you can finally drop the ‘off’ from your white-turned-off-white sneakers. Start by removing the laces and insoles, and brushing off any surface dirt from your shoes. Then, with a mixture of water and laundry detergent (one teaspoon), scrub away any remaining dirt with a toothbrush. While your sneakers air dry, create a paste by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda with water. Apply this gently onto the sneakers with the toothbrush, air dry again, and wipe off any residue with a dry cloth. You’re left with brighter, whiter shoes (this also works on clothes, here’s how). Remember to test a small area first; baking soda doesn’t work with all fabrics, especially leather.

Clean out your combs

Just like makeup brushes, your hairbrush needs regular cleaning too. Start by removing any hair that may be entangled in your combs or hairbrush. Then, fill a bowl deep enough to hold these combs with warm water, and fully immerse them. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and a little shampoo, and stir gently. Let your combs and brushes soak in this solution for at least 15 minutes. During this time, baking soda’s alkaline properties will get to work, neutralising bacteria and removing dirt and grime. Finally, rinse your tools under running water and pat them dry with a towel. Let them air dry completely before use.

Rid the house of funky smells

Mysterious and musty odours can sometimes lurk around the house, especially during the monsoon. For an instant air freshener, grab an old jar (an old jam jar or an empty candle jar should work well), and fill it halfway with baking soda. You can also add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Place the jar in areas where these unpleasant smells feel most potent, and let the baking soda do its job. Soon, its odour-absorbing properties will freshen up your space. This is because baking soda has a unique chemical structure that traps odour-causing molecules on its surface, protecting you from smelly surprises.

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Modified by Maaaty at Cheap Generic Pharmacy

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