7 ways baking soda can save you time and money

Baking Soda

by AC Gaughen


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Baking soda is sold for pennies an ounce (and generally less than a dollar for a pound), and it's one of the safest substances that you'll ever use for any cleaning purpose since you can, and frequently do, ingest it. Yet, very few people use it for more than recipes. Instead, most Americans stock a full cabinet full of overly specific and harsh cleaners, deodorizers and chemicals. To save money and keep your home safe for yourself, family and pets, consider instead all these fantastic uses for baking soda.

1. Unclog the Drain

Most chemicals that you pour down the drain to break up clogs are extremely hazardous if they so much as touch your skin, and the pipes in many older homes can actually be compromised and weakened by such harsh chemicals. Add to that the high cost (upwards of $12 for a one or two dose bottle) and the fact that most plumbers don't recommend it for use in anyone's house, and baking soda becomes not only the cheaper option, but the safer one as well.

To unclog your drain with baking soda, shake one cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow it with one cup of vinegar (another cheap item) and wait 20 minutes before pouring six cups of boiling water down the drain. This is a great option, especially for dissolving hair in drains.

2. Cleaning Surfaces

Baking soda is a very effective cleaning agent because it absorbs and neutralizes bacteria and grease; the only thing you shouldn't use it on is aluminum and brushed metal surfaces, but it is a fantastic cleaner for ceramic, porcelain, stone, plastic and many other surfaces.

Mix baking soda with a few teaspoons of water until a thick paste is formed, and apply that paste to the surface you need to clean.

3. Acid Fighter

Baking soda is an amphoteric, which basically means that it's a neutralizer because it reacts with both acids and bases. This means that, in addition to being really useful in laboratories, it has several interesting uses in the house. Many doctors will prescribe baking soda mixed with water to reduce acidic buildup in your stomach and intestines.

4. Balance Out Your Water

Because of the neutralizing properties of baking soda, it also means that if your pool has too much chlorine, adding baking soda with increase the pH level of the pool and reduce the effect of too much chlorine. This trick also works for the same problem in aquariums.

5. Flame Retardant

Yes, baking soda even works as a flame retardant, and because of its common location in most kitchens, it's particularly effective in dousing stovetop fires. When using it to douse a fire, be generous with your application and cover all the flames and embers so that no air can continue to feed the flames. The only type of fire that baking soda is not as effective on is grease fires. It will still work with smaller fires, but larger grease fires will be resistant and should be treated with a fire extinguisher or flame blanket.

6. Deodorizer

Baking soda absorbs bacteria from the air, so in a closed environment like a refrigerator, it can absorb all the really horrible smells that can sometimes emanate from your fridge. Simply open a box and put it in your fridge to work, or place a small amount in a dish in your fridge for the same effect.

Just remember that once you use baking soda as a deodorizer, you can technically reuse it in baking, but it will carry with it the bacteria it absorbs, so reuse it with caution.

7. Baking!

Of course, the most popular use of all for baking soda is to use it in baking. When baking soda is combined with acidic ingredients like yogurt, cocoa, buttermilk, or cream of tartar (none of which sound acidic, but it refers to their chemical composition) and exposed to heat, it causes a chemical reaction that causes the baked goods to rise and become more fluffy and less dense.

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