Frugal Uses for Baking Soda: Replace Personal and Household Products with Soda

Frugal uses for baking soda.... Baking soda is one of those inexpensive products that can save you money in any room of the house. Baking soda, the white powder that comes in the familiar orange box, is pure sodium bicarbonate.

Baking soda is a cheap replacement for many products. I buy it by the five-pound bag. The cost per ounce is less that way.

Here are some of my favorite frugal ways to use baking soda:

• It is an effective antacid. This is a traditional use long before the expensive pills and chalky liquids became popular. The directions are on the box.

• Sprinkle a layer in the bottom of the cat’s litter box. It absorbs smells.

• Use it as a bathroom cleaner. Add a cup to the toilet, let sit for an hour or so, swish, and flush. I use it to scrub porcelain and plastic tubs, toilets, sinks, and showers. Mix a tablespoon or so into a spray bottle and use for cleaning counter tops, mirrors, and walls.

• Use as an underarm deodorant. Apply with a clean powder puff or shaving cream brush.

• My dental hygienist recommends using a baking soda and peroxide paste instead of regular toothpaste. I put a bit (maybe ½ a teaspoon) of soda in my palm, add a couple drops of peroxide, mix with my toothbrush, and brush immediately.

• Keep cut flower fresh longer. Add about a teaspoon of soda for each quart of water in the vase.

• Add a spoonful to dishwater. It softens the water. The dishes come clean with less scrubbing. Be careful when handling the dishes; they become slippery.

• Use it to make a baking powder substitute to use in baked goods for leavening. You can find all sorts of recipes for baking powder that include baking soda. Most of them include cream of tarter. A simple one is to use one part baking soda and two parts cream of tarter. For example, instead of using 1 teaspoon baking powder, use 1/3 teaspoon baking soda and 2/3 teaspoon cream of tarter. Baking soda needs something acidic to make it react and the cream of tarter is acidic.

• I use baking soda with an acidic food instead of baking powder to leaven baked goods. For 1 teaspoon of baking power, I substitute ¼ teaspoon baking soda and change the recipe so it includes at least 1/2 cup acidic food. An easy way to do this is to substitute buttermilk for regular milk. Or, to add a splash of lemon juice to whatever liquid the recipe calls for.

• Use to scour pots, pans, and casserole dishes. It is mildly abrasive. It removes baked on foods and grease.

• Dry clean upholstered furniture and carpets. Sprinkle the baking soda over the fabric and gently brush it in. For carpets, brush it in with a broom. Let it sit for an hour or overnight. Then vacuum. It removes odors, body oils, and general grime.

• Use as a face and body scrub to gently clean and exfoliate. Massage damp baking soda onto elbows, knees, and heals to remove dry skin buildup. Add to a foot soak.

• Scatter a small handful in the laundry tub amidst the dirty clothes. It keeps odors at bay. At wash time, it boosts the detergent’s cleaning power.

• Mix baking soda with a little water to make a paste and use to polish chrome and stainless steel. This works on everything from the kitchen sink to car trim.

• Use it as a gentle scouring agent to remove black scuffmarks from vinyl floors and shoes. It also removes crayon marks from walls and vinyl furniture.

• Add a cup of soda to bathwater to soften skin, relieve the itch from insect bites, and to relieve sunburn pain. It will also prevent a bathtub ring.

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