Baking soda is a common, inexpensive household item that can be used for many kinds of cleaning projects. In an era when we are all exposed to many toxic chemicals, it's nice to know that something so mild can be effective. We actually make a form of baking soda in our own saliva, where it helps keep plaque from forming!
Here are some of the uses of baking soda for cleaning:
I've long used baking soda and white vinegar to keep my kitchen and bathroom drains clear and fresh smelling. I just put a teaspoon or less of baking soda into the drain and then pour in about a tablespoon of vinegar. I must admit that I am the kind of cook who rarely measures anything, and the same is true for these proportions, so feel free to experiment to find what works best in your sinks. Start small, though -- the combination of baking soda and vinegar causes an active fizzling and bubbling!
In fact, that bubbling process is how you can tell if the box of baking soda you've had around forever is still good. Just follow the directions above. Your soda is still good if it bubbles away merrily.
Speaking of drains, if your drain is clogged, you can try using a lot more baking soda. One recipe is to pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, then a cup of vinegar. Wait a few minutes, or longer, and then run the hot water tap and see if you have cleared the drain. It could take overnight.
Another well-known use of baking soda is to keep an open box in the refrigerator to neutralize odors. Because baking soda cuts smells, it can also be put in the bottom tray of an oven-type electric toaster, to reduce burnt smells. Another smell-removing cleaning tip is to put baking soda into bottles or jars that milk has left a smell in.
Baking soda is an abrasive, milder than commercial cleansers. For scrubbing out the sink, bathtub, or shower stall, for getting gunk off the outside of my toaster, and projects of that sort, I find it very useful. Using a rag or sponge, pour some baking soda onto it and then add a little water, just enough to form a paste. Then scrub! You can also mix up the paste in a small cup or bowl and then throw out what you haven't used by the end of that cleaning session. I keep a small container of baking soda handy by the sink, in a closed jar so that the baking soda doesn't cake. You can also use a salt shaker, as you will probably go through that much baking soda before it gets caked up.
Pots and pans that have something burned on the bottom call for sterner measures. I admit that sometimes I just reach for my rarely-used commercial cleanser, but the baking soda cleaning method is to shake baking soda all over the burned stuff and then let the pot sit overnight. You can also add a little water and baking soda to the pot, bring it to a boil, and then let it sit.
For stained marble, a paste of baking soda and white vinegar can be effective. For washing windows, put some baking soda on a wet rag or sponge.
Tool Rust Prevention
Placing a piece of charcoal, chalk or several mothballs in a toolbox prevents tools from rusting.