It sounds strange, but the same stuff we use to leaven cookies and cakes is also the key ingredient in a long list of homemade cleaning products. Rather than puzzling over the science, embrace baking soda’s versatility and put it to work in your kitchen and bathroom with these simple recipes:
Silver polish. Who wants toxic residue on their silverware? To make your forks and spoons sparkle, begin with an aluminum pan filled with hot water. Pour in some salt and baking soda and stir. Drop your silver into the solution and watch the tarnish disappear. Buff with a dry cloth for maximum sparkle.
Dishwashing liquid. Wish that stubborn char on the inside of your burnt saucepan would just go away? Try this: Fill the pot halfway with a mixture of water and baking soda and let it soak for about 12 hours. After soaking, turn on the burner and bring the solution to a boil. Cool and scrub that yuck away.
Drain opener. Supermarket drain openers often do the trick, but they also leach toxic chemicals into the sewage system and do a number on your pipes. For a homemade drain zapper, pour a cup of baking soda into the drain and chase it with three cups of boiling water. In hot water, baking soda becomes sodium carbonate, which eats away at the gunk that clogs drains.
Toilet cleaner. It won’t turn the water in your bowl blue, but baking soda will take care of the dirt. Pour ¼ cup baking soda and a splash of vinegar into the toilet and wait a half hour before scrubbing. If stains remain after flushing, pour in a bit of borax and scrub again.
Oven cleaner. Instead of opting for a chemical-based spray, wipe away the remnants of last week’s roast with a paste made from baking soda and salt. Combine ¼ cup baking soda with two teaspoons of salt and add water until the mixture has a paste-like consistency. Allow the mixture to set for at least five minutes before using. (Note: Be sure to avoid the oven’s heating elements, even though it’s not in use.)