Green Cleaning Tips: 7 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda

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Many household cleaning products contain a cocktail of synthetic chemicals and artificial fragrances that can irritate skin and eyes and cause respiratory problems in a lot of people. Often they include antibacterial agents that, it has been suggested, can contribute to antibiotic resistance. These products are cleverly marketed and we’re led to believe all these harsh chemicals are necessary for a clean, hygienic home.  However, there is a simple, non-toxic alternative that is just as effective at many household cleaning tasks.  Baking soda is inexpensive, safe and does away with the need to buy a different product for every job.

Here are my tried-and-tested green cleaning tips for using baking soda around the home:

1. Drains

An effective way to unblock a clogged drain in the kitchen or bathroom is to pour half a cup of baking soda down the plughole, followed by a cup of vinegar.  This will cause a lot of fizzing, but won’t release a load of toxic fumes into your home like a chemical drain cleaner would.  After 5-10 minutes, once the fizzing has stopped, wash it through with a kettleful of boiling water.

I’ve also found baking soda is useful for keeping my kitchen sink free from future blockages.  Instead of throwing out the box of baking soda in my fridge when it gets old, I tip it down the sink and flush it through with hot water.

2. Kitchen Cleaner

This is the recipe I use to make my own multi-surface cleaner:  In an old spray bottle, mix 2 cups of hot water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of borax, 2 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice, and a squirt of eco-friendly washing up liquid.  I use this to clean most of the surfaces in my kitchen including the countertops, the refrigerator, the cabinet doors, and the wall tiles.

3. Oven Cleaner

It’s possible to remove grease and burnt on food from an oven by using baking soda instead of a toxic oven cleaner.  To do this, make up a paste of baking soda and water and wipe it all over the inside of your oven to loosen the grime.  Leave it several hours or overnight and you should then be able to scour it clean.

I try to keep my oven clean by wiping it after each use with 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water.  I regularly use the same solution to clean my glass hob.

4. Cups

I’ve found that baking soda is great for removing coffee and tea stains from my cups, which don’t easily come off with regular washing up.  All I do is sprinkle some dry baking soda onto a damp cloth and rub it over the stains to remove them.

5. Stainless Steel

Baking soda on a damp cloth is excellent for cleaning and bringing shine back to all kinds of things made from stainless steel.  I use it regularly on my barstools, my kitchen sink and my teaspoons.  After wiping with baking soda, wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue.  Then, use a dry cloth to polish to a shine.

6. Upholstery

My kitchen counter stools have faux leather seats made from vinyl.  They get a lot of use, so every now and again I like to give them a deep clean.  I mix up a paste of baking soda and water, which I spread over each seat and leave to dry before wiping off with a damp cloth.  I also reach for the baking soda to prevent spilled food from staining the fabric on my dining chairs or tablecloth.  I rub a mixture of equal parts baking soda and salt gently into the stain and leave it overnight.  I then use the vacuum to clean up the powder.

7. Wood

I also use baking soda to remove drink marks from wooden tables.  To remove alcohol stains, I rub a paste of baking soda and linseed oil into the stain, following the natural grain of the wood.  Similarly, baking soda mixed with mayonnaise can be used to get rid of water rings on wood.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly way to keep your home clean, why not give baking soda a try?  It’s a really versatile, natural product.  It can be used for a multitude of jobs, so there’s no need to fill your cupboard with a dozen different bottles of toxic cleaners, when a simple packet of baking soda will do.

Contributor Info

Caroline Smith is a writer with a keen interest in green living and interior design.  She runs GetBarstools.com and has written about green living ideas for a number of websites.  She enjoys finding eco-friendly ways to decorate her home on a budget.

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One Comment for “Green Cleaning Tips: 7 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda”

  • Definitely used the kitchen sink unclogging method. Though you do have to be careful with older pipes due to the pressure build-up in the chemical reaction.

    Baking soda is also really good for removing tea stains from your teeth.

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