Baking soda, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder are all slightly different, although all used in baking and sometimes cleaning, in fact there are loads of uses for this handy cupboard essential.
How to use bicarbonate of soda?
There are so many weird and wonderful baking soda uses - or bicarbonate of soda - from cleaning your bathroom to getting rid of weeds in your garden.
We tend to mainly use bicarbonate of soda in baking. When you mix it with milk it creates carbon dioxide, causing the mixture to expand. This is how we get our light and fluffy baked goods. Never use too much though otherwise, you'll get a bitter taste in your baking.
Due to the reactions caused by mixing bicarbonate of soda with acids, it means it is also a gentle abrasive and a great natural deodoriser!
Related: 9 clever ways to clean with a lemon
Where to use bicarbonate of soda?
• Use baking soda to clean your kitchen
• Stop smelly trainers with bicarb
• Soothe a sore throat naturally with baking soda
• Use bicarb to kill weeds in your garden
• Make natural beauty treatments with baking soda
• Bicarb can help keep your carpets clean
• Defrost your driveway in seconds with bicarb
• Clean your oven with bicarb (or try our top oven cleaners)
• Find relief from insect bites with bicarbonate of soda
• Get your white laundry even whiter using baking soda
• Make a natural mouthwash with bicarb
• Stop dandruff with baking soda
Find out how to do all this and more below!
Related: 17 things you can do with olive oil
Where to buy bicarbonate of soda, baking soda and baking powder and measuring spoons!
1. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, 16 Oz
Arm & Hammer is a well-known, well-trusted brand you can rely on. This Baking Soda can not only be used for baking cakes to make them light and fluffy, it even serves as a useful helper for household chores.
Review: "I've used A&H for years as did my mother and grandmother before me. I've just used it in a mixture to treat black spot on my roses but it's nifty for absorbing fridge odours among other things."
Specs: Suitable for vegetarians, Kosher. Pack size: 454g.
2. Dr.Oetker Bicarbonate of Soda 200G
A storage cupboard essential that doubles as a multi-purpose cleaner! Dr. Oetker Bicarbonate of Soda delivers a gentle rise, ideal for gingerbread, parkin, cookies, pancakes and soda bread. This Bicarbonate of Soda can also be used to keep your home clean. Simply form a paste from one tablespoon of bicarb and one tablespoon of water, then use it as a homemade cleaning solution.
Specs: Suitable for vegans. Pack size: 200g.
3. Premium Food Grade Bicarb 2kg
As bicarb has so many uses, it makes sense to go big if you use it a lot for cleaning as well as baking. Buying yourself a large quantity will save money over time - this 2kg bag will keep you going for a while.
Review: "As long as you're not fussed about fancy packaging, then this bicarb is for you. It has loads of uses, but the one we use it for is a regular clean of the mattresses. We chuck around 500 grams on a mattress, rub it in and leave it for a few hours. It absorbs the smells, and then you can vacuum it up, and all the smells are gone. It has so many cleaning options, it really is great stuff."
4. H&S measuring spoons for baking
Every baker needs measuring spoons, here's a set of five stainless steel ones from H&S. The measuring spoons are made of stainless steel for easy cleaning, making them ideal for quick and accurate measuring while baking, adding spices or liquids to a recipe.
Review: "I love these spoons. They are accurate, easy to clean and brightly coloured (so you don't even have to keep looking at the written size, which is also on each spoon, as you learn the colours easy enough!) I also have arthritis in my hands so the grip of them is lovely and firm and very easy to use. There is also a lot of room for the other spoons when using one. These are very well worth the price and in comparison to the cheaper and more expensive these come out as a definite winner."
Bicarbonate of soda uses
Bicarb, baking soda, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder - whatever you want to call it, try these easy cleaning tips, and health and beauty tricks, and put baking soda to work in every room of your house!
1. Clean dirty fruit and veg with baking soda
Put some bicarb on a damp sponge, scrub your produce and rinse.
2. Give hair brushes a clean with bicarb
Soak hair brushes and combs in a mixture of 1 teaspoon of bicarb and a small amount of warm water. Rinse and dry.
3. Use baking soda to scrub your BBQ grill
Keep your bbq grill clean all summer long by putting some baking soda on a damp brush, scrubbing the grate, then rinsing.
4. Clean rugs and carpets with baking soda
Freshen up rugs by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda on carpet, wait at least 15 minutes (preferably overnight), then vacuum.
5. Get whiter, brighter clothes with baking soda
Add 1 small cup of bicarbonate of soda to a load of laundry (along with your regular liquid detergent) to get clothes cleaner and brighter.
6. Remove stubborn food stains from pans
Remove baked-on residue by shaking a generous amount of baking soda on pots and pans. Then add hot water and dish detergent, let sit for 15 minutes and wash as usual.
7. Give floors a shine with bicarb
To brighten a dull floor finish, dissolve 100g bicarb in a bucket of warm water. Mop and rinse for a shiny floor.
8. Make a natural homemade bathroom cleaner
Make your own bathroom scrub by mixing 50g bicarbonate of soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add vinegar to give it a thick, creamy texture.
9. Clean appliances with bicarbonate of soda
Clean the dishwasher and coffeemaker by running an empty cycle with baking soda.
10. Make a DIY spa treatment at home
Add 100g bicarbonate soda to your bath for an at-home spa treatment.
11. Polish tarnished silver with baking soda
To shine tarnished silver, combine three parts bicarb with one part water. Rub onto silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry.
12. Keep litter tray smells at bay with bicarb
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda in the cat box, then add litter on top to keep smells to a minimum.
13. Exfoliate your skin with baking soda
Exfoliate your skin with a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Apply gently with your fingertips in a circular motion, then rinse.
14. Keep the loo white and clean
To clean a toilet add 50g (2oz) bicarbonate of soda to the bowl, swirl, then scrub.
15. Make a homemade hair treatment
Mix a little baking soda into your conditioner and lather on your hair to keep it healthy and resistant to split ends.
16. Kill garden weeds naturally with baking soda
Discourage weeds by sprinkling bicarb into the cracks on your driveway and walkways.
17. Clean your toothbrush with bicarbonate of soda
Soak toothbrushes in a mixture of 50g (2oz) bicarb and 50ml(1/4 pint) water; let brushes stand overnight for a thorough cleaning.
18. Cure heartburn with bicarb
Make your own an antacid by mixing ½ teaspoon of bicarb with 50 ml (1/4 pint) of water.
19. Soothe insect bites naturally
For instant relief from bug bites and sunburn mix bicarbonate of soda with a little water and apply it directly to the sore.
20. Clean the microwave with bicarb
Bicarbonate of soda on a clean damp sponge cleans gently inside and outside the microwave and never leaves a harsh chemical smell. Rinse well with water.
21. Make a fluffy omelette with baking soda
Make a fluffier omelette by adding ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda for every three eggs.
22. Make marvellous mouthwash with baking soda
Gargle with bicarb to freshen your breath and keep your teeth healthy.
23. Get rid of dandruff with bicarb
Lay off the shampoo for a few weeks and massage your wet scalp with a handful of baking soda instead.
24. Ice-proof your driveway with baking soda
Scatter bicarb on icy paths and driveways, it’s not as corrosive as salt.
25. Make a cheap bath soak
Add 50g (2oz) of bicarbonate of soda to your bath to neutralise acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration, it also makes your skin feel very soft.
26. Unblock drains with bicarbonate of soda
Pour in 100g (4oz) bicarb followed by 100ml (4 fl oz) hot vinegar to quickly unclog the kitchen drain.
27. Stop bins smelling with baking soda
Sprinkle bicarb on the bottom of your bin to keep stinky smells at bay.
28. Whiten your teeth naturally
Mix bicarb, strawberries and lemon juice together for a natural whitening agent. Combine the ingredients and use to brush your teeth.
29. Whiten yellow nails with baking soda
Leaving nail polish on too long can leave nails looking yellow. Get rid of stains by mixing bicarb and a very small amount of peroxide and scrubbing it on your nails.
30. Keep windshields clear with bicarb
Wipe a damp cloth sprinkled with bicarbonate of soda onto your windshield to repel rain.
31. Make a natural face mask
Avoid spot breakouts by making your own facemask. Mix 1 tablespoon of bicarb with 1 tablespoon of water. Splash your face with warm water then apply the mask liberally. Once dry, gently wipe off with a warm, wet flannel.
32. Use baking soda to treat chickenpox
Help soothe the itchiness and irritation of chickenpox. Stir 1 half tablespoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Use a soft washcloth to put the solution on the affected parts of the body and allow to dry.
33. Bicarb can help soothe a sore throat
There are lots of natural ways to soothe a sore throat, and gargling with baking soda in water is one of them.
34. Clean Tupperware and other food containers with baking soda
If storing too many packed lunches, pasta sauces or curries has left your plastic food boxes looking discoloured and grimy - once again, it's bicarbonate of soda to the rescue! Sprinkle a clean sponge with baking soda and give them a bit of elbow grease.
35. Clean your kitchen with baking soda
From worktops to the fridge, the sink and even your cooking utensils, you can clean the whole kitchen naturally with a mixture of bicarb and warm water.
36. Clean your sponges for reuse
If your cleaning sponges are a bit sad or smelly, leave them to soak in warm water and bicarb, and give them a good rinse through in the morning.
37. Clean a pet bed with baking soda
If your dog or cat bed is a bit smelly, sprinkle it with bicarb, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up.
38. Stop shoes smelling with bicarb
Sprinkle baking soda into stinky trainers - and even your whole gym bag - and leave it. Just tap it out when you next need to use them
39. Remove crayon marks with baking soda
Have your little helpers been redecorating your walls? A wet cloth with some baking soda on will wipe away any crayon marks from a wall.
40. Natural deodorant
To keep fresh without using deodorant, lightly pat baking soda under your arms to help any body odour.
41. Keep the ants away
Mix baking soda and salt half and half to keep the ants at bay in the summer.
42. Keep flowers fresher for longer
Add a teaspoon of baking powder to your vase of flowers to keep the bunch looking and smelling fresher for longer.
43. Freshen up your wardrobe
Pop a box of baking soda in your wardrobe. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil such as lavender to keep your clothes smelling fresh. This will also ward off moths.
44. Reduce unpleasant smells in rooms
Combine one tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda with five drops of essential oil. Spoon the mixture into a clean spray bottle, add (distilled) water and shake for an air freshener.