23 Uses for Baking Soda in the Kitchen

June 21, 2011 Three comments View all articles in Home

Baking soda is the very definition of versatility, and accurately illustrates the age-old phrase, “make do with what you've already got.” It can be used for anything from cleaning and laundry to maintaining your swimming pool and preparing your grill. But how can just using a single household product in multiple ways be good for the environment? By using baking soda to restore, repair, or revive things in and around your home, you'll not only save time, money, and shelf space (because you're not buying dozens of products that all claim to do the same thing), you'll also avoid exposure to harsh chemicals that are found in some cleaners and are detrimental to the environment and your health. Altogether, relying on baking soda for the majority of your around-the-house needs means you'll be able to get the job done with few special tools or unique products, and with little expensive know-how. Here is a working list of all the ways baking soda may prove useful in the kitchen.

HOW TO USE BAKING SODA IN THE KITCHEN

  • Clean your produce: Wash fruits and vegetables in cold water with 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda to remove some of the impurities left behind by tap water. You can also put a small amount of baking soda on a wet sponge or vegetable brush and scrub your produce. Be sure to rinse everything thoroughly before serving, of course.
  • Tenderize meat: Soften meat by rubbing it down with baking soda, letting it sit in the refrigerator for 3-5 hours, and then rinsing well before cooking.
  • Soak out fish smells: Soak store-bought, raw fish in 1 quart water with 2 tablespoons baking soda for about an hour inside your refrigerator. Rinse the fish and pat dry before cooking.
  • Reduce acids in recipes: Lower the overall acidity of foods and beverages by sprinkling a pinch of baking soda while cooking foods like tomato-based sauces or brewing coffee.
  • Counteract the taste of vinegar: If you put too much vinegar in a recipe, just add a teeny, tiny bit of baking soda to the mixture to make the taste less overpowering. We seriously mean a teeny, tiny bit: add too much and the vinegar-baking soda combination will start foaming.
  • Bake better beans: If you like beans but could do without the after-dinner entertainment that accompanies them, simply add a pinch of baking soda to the beans as they're cooking. Their gas-producing properties will be significantly reduced.
  • Fluff your omelets: For every three eggs used, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Remove odors from hands: Simply wet your hands and vigorously rub them with about 2 teaspoons of baking soda instead of soap. Any smell from chopping garlic or cleaning fish should wash off with the soda.
  • Clean baby bottles and accessories: Keep all your baby bottles, nipples, caps, and brushes clean and fresh by soaking them in a container filled with hot water and a half a box of baking soda. Rinse and dry everything thoroughly afterward. Baby bottles can also be boiled in a full pot of water and 3 tablespoons of baking soda for three minutes.
  • Clean a cutting board: Keep your wooden or plastic cutting boards clean by occasionally scrubbing them with a paste made from 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon water. Rinse thoroughly with hot water.
  • Clear a clogged drain: Pour 1 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup hot vinegar (microwave for about a minute) to a clogged drain. Give it several minutes to work, then add 1 quart boiling water. Repeat if necessary.
  • Give dishwashing liquid a boost: Try adding 2 tablespoons baking soda to the usual amount of dishwashing liquid you use in order to give it more grease-cutting power.
  • Make your own dishwashing detergent: When you're all out of dishwashing detergent and in a pinch, combine 2 tablespoons baking soda with 2 tablespoons borax. The results may just be impressive enough for you to switch permanently.
  • Deodorize your dishwasher: Sprinkle ½ cup baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher between loads to eliminate odors. You can also pour in half a box of baking soda and run the empty machine through its rinse cycle.
  • Clean your refrigerator: Remove smells and dried-up spills inside your refrigerator by first removing its contents, then sprinkling some baking soda on a damp sponge and scrubbing the whole thing down. Don't forget to place a fresh box of soda inside when you're done.
  • Clean your microwave: Put a solution of 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 cup water in a microwaveable container and cook on High for 2-3 minutes. Remove the container, then wipe down the microwave's moist interior with a damp towel.
  • Remove coffee and tea stains from china: Dip a moist cloth in baking soda to form a stiff paste, then gently rub your cups and saucers to remove their stains.
  • Clean a thermos: Residue on the inside of a thermos is gross and unappetizing. Fill the thermos with a mixture of ¼ cup baking soda and 1 quart water, and let it soak overnight. Rinse clean before using.
  • Shine stainless steel fixtures and chrome trim: Sprinkle your stainless steel fixtures with baking soda before giving them a rubdown with a moist cloth. For chrome trim, pour a little baking soda onto a damp sponge and rub it over the chrome, then let it dry for an hour or so before wiping it down with warm water and drying with a clean cloth.
  • Get rid of grease stains on stovetops: Wet cooked-on grease stains on your stovetop or backsplash with a little water and cover them with some baking soda. Rub them off with a damp sponge or towel afterward.
  • Clean an automatic coffeemaker: Every two weeks or so, brew a pot of 1 quart water mixed with ¼ cup baking soda, followed by a pot of clean water to prevent your coffeemaker from producing bitter or weak coffee.
  • Clean cast-iron cookware: Remove even the most burned-on food remnants in your iron pots by boiling 1 quart water with 2 tablespoons baking soda for five minutes. Pour off most of the liquid, then lightly scrub it with a plastic scrub pad. Rinse well, dry, and season with a few drops of peanut oil.
  • Deodorize your garbage pail: Give your kitchen garbage pail an occasional cleaning with a wet paper towel dipped in baking soda. Rinse it out with a damp sponge, and let it dry before inserting a new bag. You can also ward off future smells by sprinkling a little baking soda into the bottom of your pail before inserting the bag.

Comments:

Tamara on June 23, 2011 at 7:47 p.m.

Thank you so much! Some of these things I've never heard of, but am so grateful to know now!

Chasing Green on June 23, 2011 at 8:33 p.m.

You're most welcome Tamara!

Granola Girl on June 24, 2011 at 6:25 a.m.

I have been looking for a way to deodorize my dishwasher! Thanks!

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