Also known as baking soda and sodium bicarbonate, we tend to mainly use bicarbonate of soda in baking as 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, making it very useful around the home.
Whatever you want to call it, try these easy cleaning tips, and health and beauty tricks, and put bicarbonate of soda to work in every room of your house.
Household bicarbonate of soda uses
1. 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. This is also a brilliant hack for cleaning your oven too.
2. Clean rugs and carpets with baking soda
One of our favourite bicarbonate of soda uses, freshen up rugs by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda on carpet, wait at least 15 minutes (preferably overnight), then vacuum.
3. 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.
4. 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. This works great for cleaning your shower head.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Keep the loo white and clean
To clean a toilet add 50g (2oz) bicarbonate of soda to the bowl, swirl, then scrub.
10. Kill garden weeds naturally
Discourage weeds by sprinkling bicarb into the cracks on your driveway and walkways.
11. Clean the microwave
There are a few ways to clean your microwave but this one is super simple.
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.
12. Unblock drains
Pour in 100g (4oz) bicarb followed by 100ml (4 fl oz) hot vinegar to quickly unclog the kitchen drain.
13. Stop bins smelling
Sprinkle bicarb on the bottom of your bin to keep stinky smells at bay. Another tip for next time you're cleaning out your fridge is to put a ramekin of bicarb in your fridge to prevent unpleasant food smells.
14. Clean Tupperware and other food containers
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.
15. 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.
16. Stop shoes smelling
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda into stinky trainers - and even your whole gym bag - and leave it. Just tap it out when you next need to use them
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. Descale your kettle
Descale a kettle by filling it with around three quarters of the way with water and add a large tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda before boiling the kettle.
Once boiled, allow the kettle to sit for an hour before pouring out the water and rinsing. Fill the kettle with water again and boil to remove any lingering bicarbonate of soda flavour and rinse.
Health and beauty bicarbonate of soda uses
21. Give hair brushes a clean
Soak hair brushes and combs in a mixture of 1 teaspoon of bicarb and a small amount of warm water. Rinse and dry.
22. Exfoliate your skin
A fab DIY skincare product, 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.
23.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.
24. Clean your toothbrush
Soak toothbrushes in a mixture of 50g (2oz) bicarb and 50ml(1/4 pint) water; let brushes stand overnight for a thorough cleaning.
25. 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.
26. Get rid of dandruff
Lay off the shampoo for a few weeks and massage your wet scalp with a handful of baking soda instead.
27. 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.
28. Whiten yellow nails
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.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. Use baking soda to treat chickenpox
Help soothe the itchiness and irritation of chickenpox. Stir one 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.
32. Remove fake tan
If you've had a fake tan disaster and you're wondering how to remove fake tan off your body or hands, then a baking soda paste left on your skin for a few minutes should do the trick.