Make Silver Gleam
For an effective silver polish, make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water; rub onto silver with a clean cloth, then rinse thoroughly and dry. If silver is extremely tarnished, line your sink with aluminum foil and place the silver inside. Pour in a cup of baking soda, a dash of salt, and enough boiling water to cover. Let rest for a few minutes and rinse with warm water; dry with a soft cloth.
Banish Soap Scum
Baking soda can be used as a nontoxic scrub for bathroom tubs, tiles, and sinks, even fiberglass. Simply sprinkle baking soda onto a clean, damp sponge and wipe down surfaces, then rinse with cool water. For heavier bathroom cleaning jobs, make a paste of baking soda, salt, and liquid dish soap. Spread evenly on the surface, then wipe clean and rinse.
Add one-half cup of baking soda to your liquid laundry detergent to get clothes fresher, cleaner, and brighter. For extremely smelly gym clothes, use another half cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle. To pretreat dirty diapers, dissolve one-half cup of baking soda in two quarts of water and soak overnight.
Remove Corrosion on Batteries
Baking soda is an alkaline substance and can therefore be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on car, mower, and other household batteries. First, disconnect battery terminals before cleaning. Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water; apply paste with a damp cloth and wipe clean. Reconnect battery terminals and wipe them with a thin film of petroleum jelly.
Clean Floors and Deodorize Carpets
Dissolve one-half cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water to make an effective cleanser for no-wax and tile floors. For scuff marks, sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge and gently rub until the scuff is gone. To remove odor from carpets and rugs, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the carpet and let it sit overnight. Vacuum until all baking soda is removed.
Everyone knows that an open box of baking soda can neutralize odors in the fridge. But you can also use baking soda to dispel foul odors in most smelly locations, including garbage cans, garbage disposals, dishwashers, and litter boxes. Simply sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the container or appliance, let sit for several hours or overnight, then rinse or wipe clean with a damp sponge.
Treat Insect Bites and Itchy Skin
Make a paste out of baking soda and water and apply to the insect bite. A baking soda paste will help loosen the stinger from bee stings and can also be used as a salve to treat poison ivy rash. To ease the itching, rub baking soda onto damp skin after a shower.
Clean Drains and Septic Systems
Here's a great use for baking soda that is “worn out” from fridge duty: Pour it down the drain while running warm water from the tap. Pouring about a half cup of baking soda down the drain on a regular basis will neutralize acidity and odors. One cup of baking soda per week will keep septic systems flowing freely by maintaining a favorable pH in the septic tank.
Make a Volcano!
A fun and instructive project for adults and kids alike is a baking soda volcano. Take a tall glass or empty soda bottle and build a large construction paper cone around it, centering the opening of the cone over the opening of the bottle. Place one cup of baking soda in the glass (or bottle) along with a quarter cup of dishwashing detergent and a few drops of red food coloring (to resemble lava). Pour two cups of vinegar into the bottle, and watch the chemical “eruption.”
Baking soda can be a real lifesaver in the kitchen, especially when you use it to smother minor grease and electrical fires. For small cooking fires, turn off the electricity or gas to the stove, stand back, and throw handfuls of baking soda at the base of the flame to put out the fire. You should immediately call the fire department…just to be on the safe side.
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