15 Smarter Ways You Should Be Using Baking Soda

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We should be ashamed of ourselves for taking baking soda for granted for so many years.

Remember that person who had a crush on you for years? The one who was right there with you, close by but not stalking you, quietly waiting to be noticed as you waded into the real glitz and glamour? When you look back on them as an adult, you think, “Oh, they were pretty good people. I should have given them a chance.” That “crush” is baking soda. We should all be ashamed of ourselves for taking it for granted.

If you’re like me, sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) is a kitchen staple that either sits in the back of the pantry or fridge, waiting for a useful moment, or stays in the box to be gummed up with sugar granules and vanilla crumbs that are hard to keep. But baking soda is an inexpensive, versatile cleaning ninja you never knew existed. And baking soda deserves respect.

Not only does baking soda react with acids to make cakes and cookies fluffy, this weakly alkaline compound also breaks down particles of grease stains and polishing dirt. In this way, an unassuming ingredient like bread is used in unexpected ways.

Putting out oil fires

If there’s a small oil fire or electrical fire in your kitchen and you don’t have a fire extinguisher, grab the nearest box of baking soda. (Don’t use water, as it will cause the oil fire to disperse and spread.) Meanwhile, the trusty Arm & Hammer box releases carbon dioxide as it heats up, which can quell the flames. Throwing a handful at the base of the flames is effective.

Relieve the itch of insect bites

If you’ve been bitten by summer bugs and have run out of anti-itch cream, treat mosquito bites with a homemade baking soda cream: According to MedicineNet, “Baking soda can relieve the itching, biting and redness of mosquito bites. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with enough water to make a paste, apply to the bite, leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse well.

Removing insecticides from produce.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that baking soda was more effective than bleach at removing pesticide residues from apples. To naturally remove synthetic chemicals from produce, add a tablespoon of baking soda (and lemon juice if necessary) to a large bowl of water and soak the produce for 10-15 minutes before rinsing. (Note: This method only removes insecticides from the skin, not from the inside of fruits or vegetables).

Cooking ground meat

If you want ground meat to brown nicely and stay tender without being soaked in an unsightly pool of juices, try sodium bicarbonate. According to Claire Lower, senior food editor for Lifehacker USA, sodium bicarbonate should be added before browning ground meat. This is because “sodium bicarbonate (which is very alkaline) raises the pH of the meat and prevents excessive protein binding (i.e., squeezing out water), which keeps everything nice and tender and prevents puddles from forming.” Scores.

Clean pots and pans, countertops and ovens

Baking soda is a mild abrasive, making it an inexpensive kitchen cleaning tool that, according to Healthline, not only removes grease and stuck-on food from pots and bowls, but “when mixed with acids such as lemon juice and vinegar, it can help prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms, such as mold and bacteria. It also effectively inhibits the growth of harmful microorganisms, such as mold and bacteria (14).” (Further? It releases carbon dioxide in the form of foam, which can help with scrubbing).

When mixed with water (and lemon juice or vinegar, if desired), the scrubbing paste can be applied to any surface, including countertops, dirty coffee cups, tarnished silverware and dirty oven walls.

Deodorize… You can basically deodorize everything in the house.

We know that baking soda absorbs odors in the refrigerator. But did you know that baking soda removes odors from all other places? Sprinkle it on the bottom of your garbage can, the bottom of your stinky sneakers and insoles, the inside of your gym bag and the bottom of your cloth basket and all you will smell is beautiful.

Apply liberally to less-than-fresh carpets, leave it on for an hour (or overnight), and vacuum it up.

Placing it at the bottom of the litter box (under the litter) can help reduce strong odors. Likewise, covering your pet’s bed with baking soda and leaving it on for at least 15 minutes before vacuuming will work to eliminate odors.

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