5 Genius Baking Soda Cleaning Hacks You Never Knew About

Photo: Getty Images/Kate Sept2004
When I was growing up, baking soda was simply the enigmatic orange box that my parents kept in the refrigerator to prevent things from getting smelly. As a (pretty much?) adult, however, I've slowly learned that the white stuff is useful for all sorts of things—from removing self-tanner streaks to working fabulously in face masks. There's hardly a hack it's not involved in at the moment.

Besides little-known beauty uses and, of course, baking, the multi-purpose powder can also do wonderful things to your home—AKA keep things nice and clean. And I'm not just talking about your laundry; baking soda can do all sorts of magical things around the house, from replacing Drain-O to making sure not-so-great-smelling locales, well, smell better.

Keep reading for 5 (simple) ways you can use baking soda to clean your home.

baking soda cleaning hacks
Photo: Getty Images/BSIPUIG

1. Absorb toilet odors

Chances are that your toilet's your least fave thing to clean (I mean, it's probably the dirtiest). While it may be a location that tends to get some pretty unideal odors, there are things you can do with baking soda to prevent others from smelling any stenches. "First, flush the toilet," says Marilee Nelson, co-founder of non-toxic cleaning brand Branch Basics.  "Sprinkle a cup of baking soda around the inside of the toilet and leave it for an hour before flushing. It'll clean the toilet and absorb the odor."

2. Garbage disposal deodorizer

When meal prepping, it's likely that all sorts of food debris winds up in your garbage disposal (guilty). And that doesn't lead to the best-smelling kitchen. "To help eliminate odors, slowly pour baking soda down your disposal while simultaneously running warm water while the disposal's on," says Kelly Love, the other co-founder of Branch Basics.

3. Make a liquid, multi-surface cleaner

So many different kinds of soap exist for different things—which is why I'm all for a do-everything, multifunctional cleaner instead to make life easier. This is where baking soda can come in: "Use one cup of baking soda, vegetable glycerin, a half cup of castile soap, and, if you prefer a scent, a few drops of an essential oil of your choice," says Nelson."This soap is great for toilet bowls, sinks, bathtubs, and other surfaces." Jackpot.

4. Unclog drains

When you think of unclogging drains, chances are that one product comes to mind: Drain-O. But it doesn't have to be the only option. "To use baking soda, just make sure to remove any drain stops or plugs first," says Allison Evans, third co-founder of Branch Basics. "Then pour a half to one cup of baking soda down the drain—use a funnel if necessary. Then pour in a cup or two of vinegar and quickly cover the drain to keep that fizz going. Once that stops, repeat the vinegar step and then keep it covered, letting the mixture sit for 15 to 30 minutes." The last step just involves a gallon of boiling water being poured directly into the drain, and voila: unclogged.

5. DIY fabric softener

Oftentimes fabric softeners can be laden with not-so-good-for-you chemicals. Unsurprisingly, baking soda can take the place of this, too. "Just add one cup of baking soda or a fourth cup of vinegar to the wash cycle to soften the clothes," says Love.  She notes that vinegar not only softens but reduces the static cling, too—bonus.

If you're in cleaning mode, these are 5 cleaning products the Well+Good team swears by. And here's how to use lemongrass essential oil, another DIY cleaning ingredient. 

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