Five Fabulous Uses for Bicarbonate of Soda

These days there are a lot of good proprietory eco-cleaning products available.  I’m always giving new products a go, generally I find them just as effective as their non-eco counterparts and they smell nice and are pleasant to use.  But I am never without a box of bicarbonate of soda.  (A bottle of distilled malt vinegar is never very far away either!) 

Unlike ready-to-use products I find that simple bicarb is versatile and lends itself to a variety of cleaning tasks that no one single ready-made product can tackle.  I like to think this homespun approach to cleaning cuts down on production and packaging and generally works out cheaper.  It is definitely a must-have for fans of papier-mache volcanoes.  So here is my list, by no means exhaustive, of five fabulous uses for bicarbonate of soda. 

Happy cleaning!

Use a box of bicarbonate of soda as a fridge deodorant.  We all do it, either leave something in there to the point of mouldiness or forget to cover food items. (I have a bad habit of doing this with half used onions!)  If your fridge has got a bit whiffy just leave an opened box of bicarb at the back of the fridge on one of the lower shelves.  Bicarbonate is well known for its odour absorbing properties.  If the smell was particularly offensive remove the box and dispose of after a couple of days.  As a general deodorant you should be able to leave it in there for two to three weeks.

If you’ve been hulling and chopping strawberries this summer, your wooden chopping board will tell the tale.  To get rid of these tell-tale stains rinse the board with water (do not dry) and scatter with a large spoon of bicarb.  Almost immediately the stains will begin to change colour.  Wash and scrub the board as usual afterwards and the marks will virtually disappear.  This works because bicarbonate of soda has a high alkaline content and neutralises acids.  Try it on other acid food stains as well.

Use bicarbonate of soda as a carpet freshener.  I do this especially on all the areas that our dog Willow  habitually occupies.  Again you are capitalising on bicarb’s ability to absorb odour.  Scatter the bicarb over your carpets. Leaving it there overnight is ideal but a couple of hours will do.  Next sweep up the excess with dustpan and brush and then hoover.

Use bicarbonate of soda as a gentle non-scratch scourer for sinks, basins and baths.  Just scatter over the surfaces, scrub with a clean cloth and rinse well. (Rinsing with vinegar gives an extra boost to the cleaning power.)

You really do have to make fizz bombs in your toilet bowls and down plug holes.  Pour a cup of bicarbonate of soda down the bowl or plug hole and follow this with a cup of distilled malt vinegar.  (You can use any vinegar of course, I suggest this as the cheap option save your nice stuff for salad dressing!)  Enjoy watching this fizz and feel the clean.  Don’t worry about a residue of bicarb in the toilet bowl, it will still be doing a good deodorising job down there and will eventually flush away.

If you’re keen to get going with eco-friendly cleaning  but don’t know where to start So Organic now provide complete ecover conversion kits and also ecover products in bulk, which saves on costs considerably.  Don’t forget to apply the fizz-bomb methods to your papier-mache volcanos, especially useful when you have children in the 7-10 age range.  You don’t make those all the time?  Shame on you!  It’s all compostable after the fun too.   

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17 comments to Five Fabulous Uses for Bicarbonate of Soda

  • hi visited your blog great and nice work

  • Hi,
    Yes, the baking soda makes miracles. Additionally you may find interesting our tips for cleaning with soda and vinegar for ovens, curtains etc here http://is.gd/2NZR4.

  • Katou

    Where do you get cheap bicarbonate of soda (ie not the cooking one)?

  • goo

    Hi Katou, I buy Dri-Pak boxes from a local hardware store in our nearest market town. Wilkinsons used to sell it but seemed to have stopped stocking it in favour of ready-made green products – it’s a shame, as I said in the article no one product is as versatile as Bicarb. You can visit http://www.dripak.co.uk/ They have an Ebay shop which sells six boxes for £6.00. Hope this helps you. Happy cleaning!

  • Michelle

    I stumbled across your site recently and am finding it really useful so thanks for that.I am in the process of developing my own site to record our sustainable journey at our newly acquired semi derelict quinta in the mountains of central Portugal. As we have spent up to buy the place living with very little money will be a challenge for us.Power will be our most pressing issue as I need a few hours a day online to scape a few quid in to the purse.So any more info you have to share on power would be much appreciated.

  • goo

    Hi Michelle I’m glad you’ve found this site useful. We look forward to following your journey, let us know when your site is up and running and I’ll put it on our blogroll. The most useful purchase we made was our inverter. We bought it ten years ago so the market has probably changed a lot since then. It is well worth doing your research on this subject though and not rushing into anything. The CAT centre has many useful publications on the subject of off-grid living and a visit there is always worthwhile.

  • my favourite use for bi-carb has to be as a scouring paste to clean the bath and remove light limescale. only takes a few seconds to sprinkle it around then a good sponge to scourer the dirt away.

    anyone tried borax? (also sold by dripak) i use it as a degreaser and it’s fairly good though there are quicker alternatives to removing grease.

  • goo

    Hi Adam, I use borax as a floor cleaner. I used to add lemon juice to the mix but I’m trying not to eat imported food right now, never mind clean with it :-)

  • Susan

    I cleaned a grease stain on my beige carpet with bicarbonate of soda and water and now have a n orange stain in its place. Any ideas how to get that area of carpet back to the original colour!

  • goo

    I’m sorry to hear that Susan, you could perhaps try my whipped detergent method on the stain outlined in the post Eco Cleaning and Sick Dogs. You don’t rub in, never a good idea with any form of stain removal, but allow the foam to dry up pulling the stain with it. You may have to repeat a few times. I would test an inconspicuous area first to see what effect it has on your carpet, you don’t say what it is made of and this will have an effect on outcomes. Another idea is to remove any mineral deposit that may be lurking in the pile, neutralize by spraying lightly with distilled vinegar but don’t soak, allow to dry completely and then hoover thoroughly. Good luck, I hope this helps, let me know how you get on.

  • Susan

    Thanks goo I will give this a go and let you know how I get on

  • Lynda

    Hi
    Can anyone help! I have an urine stain on my new bed matress (grandaughter). Will bicarb help? and if so how do I apply it? or do you know of anything else .
    Thanks
    Lynda

  • goo

    Hi Lynda, while a solution of bicarb might remove odours it is unlikely to remove the stain completely. Another trick I’ve heard of, but not tried (so use caution and spot test!) is to spray with sparkling mineral water – the more mineral rich the better as these are what do the trick. Don’t rub in, just dab off the excess and allow to dry out. Once you’ve treated the stains and they’ve dried you could try a little lemon juice which has a mildly bleaching effect. I guess a machine washable mattress protector is going to be your best defence against future accidents. Best of luck with your mattress.

  • Greencleaner

    I tried the fizz bomb approach to ‘power’ off limescale on taps. It was so fun and fizzy. I tied tissues lined with bi carb around tap then poured the vinegar on. Fizz fizz fizz and two hours later the limescale just peeled off.

  • goo

    What a great idea Greencleaner, thanks for the tip!

  • Jackie

    Does anyone know how to remove oil stains from sheets? The sheets for my portable massage table are discolored and smell from oil that wouldn’t wash out. I’m thinking of trying a quasi-fizz bomb approach: soak them in a bucket of weak vinegar solution and add a hand full of baking soda… I tried a similar strategy recently with burnt pots — beans forgotten on the stove, what a mess — and it was incredibly successful. Bring a 50:50 vinegar:water solution to a boil in the burnt pan, turn off the heat, and gradually add a few teaspoons of bicarb. Let it sit till it’s warm enough to put your hands in, and scrub with a new scrubber. Magic!

  • goo

    Thanks for the great tips Jackie! I’ve never tried removing oil stains with bicarb, I presume you mean massage oil – we mostly have to deal with engine oil here, which is hopeless! – I will look into it.

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