[This post originally appeared on The Alternative Daily here.]
If there’s one thing everyone should have in their home, it’s a box of baking soda. It’s great for way more than just baking! Here are 22 ways to use it around your home and on your body.
1. Cure bad breath
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of water to get rid of nasty breath. A study by the University of British Columbia found that baking soda reduced bad breath of participants. In fact, baking soda can rebalance the residue from acid-forming foods. Baking soda can also discourage plaque formation and prevent gum disease.
2. Relieve itchy bug bites
With summer upon us, it’s time to start thinking about natural remedies for bug bites. Here’s a fun one: add 1 cup of baking soda to your warm bath, soak for 30 minutes, then air dry. You should feel relief in no time. If you’d rather apply topically, make a paste of equal parts baking soda and water.
3. Make a DIY deodorant
Commercial deodorants contain ingredients that are damaging to your health, including aluminum, which has been linked to breast cancer. It’s better to use something all-natural every day, like a deodorant made of baking soda. Simply mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 10 drops of your favorite essential oil, then put it under your armpits. Easy!
4. Clean your toothbrush
When it comes to your toothbrush, it’s easy to neglect keeping it clean. Ironic, since it’s supposed to be keeping your mouth clean. Luckily, there’s a simple solution. Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup water, then soak toothbrushes over night.
5. Remove yellow nail stains
After you remove red nail polish, ever notice how a yellow hue gets left behind? For a quick fix, rub equal parts baking soda with peroxide. Scrub the mix with an old toothbrush to get the job done in a snap.
6. Treat heartburn
Instead of popping Tums like they’re going out of fashion, try this all-natural remedy instead. Combine 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda with water, taking it every two to three hours. Make sure not to exceed seven doses in 24 hours.
7. Make natural toothpaste
There’s no need to use all the chemicals, like fluoride, in store-bought toothpaste. There’s plenty of easy-to-make options that can do the same job. Combine 5 parts baking soda with 1 part sea salt. Combine ingredients, then put 1 teaspoon of the mix into a small bowl. Add water, dip in your toothbrush and get to work!
8. Whiten your teeth
Getting a brighter smile doesn’t have to be expensive or come with gum sensitivity. Try this instead: mix a few teaspoons of baking soda with juice from 1/2 a lemon to make a paste. Apply to teeth with your toothbrush, leave on for one minute, then rinse. Repeat several times a week for best results.
9. Get rid of shoe stink
If your shoes are smelling gross, try sprinkling some baking soda inside your shoes and leaving them overnight. You can even try essential oils. In the morning, shake the baking soda out of your shoes and you should be good to go.
10. Remove laundry stains
If you have a stubborn stain on one of your shirts, it’s baking soda to the rescue. Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1/4 cup of water. Rub the paste into any stains before putting clothes in the laundry, then wash as normal. You’ll be amazed by the results!
11. Make your eggs fluffy
The next time you’re cooking Sunday morning brunch, add 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda to a three-egg omelet. Your friends will be dying to know your secret ingredient.
12. Clean fruits and veggies
If you’re worried about pesticide residue and bacteria on your fresh produce, baking soda can help with that. Mix equal parts baking soda with purified water to make a paste, scrub fruits and vegetables with it, then rise. Enjoy your peace of mind!
13. Deodorize kitty litter
Even before you see a cat in someone’s home, you know often know when one lives there — usually because of the smell of kitty litter. It can be pricey to change kitty litter too often, which is why baking soda really is a great solution. Simply pour a light layer of baking soda onto the bottom of the litter box, then put kitty litter over it. Done!
14. Put out a fire
This is just another great reason to keep a box of baking soda in your kitchen. In the case of a small fire, toss baking soda on the flame from a safe distance. This should help to extinguish the fire fast.
15. Reduce that fishy smell
If fresh fish is on the menu for dinner, the smell might be a bit overpowering. Fortunately, this trick can help. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of sea salt to a gallon of water. Soak the fish in the mixture overnight in the fridge. The next day, rinse with cold water and enjoy a fresher smelling entree.
16. Keep germs off sponges
Rather than throw away your sponge, try cleaning it first to reduce waste. Mix 5 tablespoons with a quart of water. Soak your sponges and cleaning rags in the mix for several hours to get them squeaky clean.
17. Get rid of acne
If you’ve been feeling a little too stressed lately, perhaps it shows on your face in the form of acne. If that’s the case, make a paste of baking soda, water and lemon juice. Apply to acne or blackheads, leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse. You should be seeing clearer skin in no time, thanks to baking soda’s anti-inflammatory and exfoliating benefits.
18. Repel ants
Ever notice how ants can take over a space in a matter of hours? Here’s a natural way to keep pests at bay. Sprinkle baking soda wherever the ants are taking entry — they should get the memo pretty quickly. You can also try cinnamon to deter them as well.
19. Whip up a dry shampoo
If your hair needs a little TLC between washes, baking soda can help put some life back to your hair. Flip your head upside down, then pour 1/8 cup baking soda into your hand. Cover as much hair as possible with baking soda, then brush hair normally.
20. Soften your hands
If you work with your hands, perhaps they could use a bit of softening up. Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda to your liquid hand soap. This will act as an exfoliant to remove dead skin and soften the skin on your hands.
21. Soak your feet
After a long day on your feet, give yourself a luxurious foot spa at home. Simply fill a basin full of warm water along with 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Relax and enjoy!
22. Make a healthy sports drink
Store-bought sports drinks are anything but healthy, often containing boatloads of sugar, preservatives, caffeine and more. Instead, boost your workout the natural way with this baking soda recipe.
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
7 cups coconut water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup raw honey
Heat the coconut water on low and mix in baking soda until it is dissolved.
Add other ingredients and pour mixture into a glass jar.
Shake well before use. This will keep for a week in the refrigerator.
— Hilary Lebow