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Baking soda isn’t just for quick breads and capturing odours in your fridge. Contrary to what Febreeze and Tide would have you believe, that box of white powder can actually replace a whole lot of chemical-based household cleaning products (and for a fraction of the price). Cleaning doesn’t have to mean exposing yourself and your family to harmful chemicals like bleach and aerosols. Baking soda is the answer to all your cleaning problems and you probably have a box sitting in a cupboard right now, just waiting for it’s time to shine (literally, because you’re using it to clean stuff). So what can BS do for you?

Get rid of stubborn dirt

You might already use baking soda on dishes caked with baked-on food (no matter what the dishwasher commercials say, that lasagna is not coming off on it’s own). A baking soda and water paste can work miracles on pretty much any surface that’s greasy or dirty. Stoves, sinks and even the bathtub don’t require expensive chemicals, just baking soda and water. Add an essential oil like tea tree oil for a little natural scent and some anti-bacterial properties, if you like.

Give your laundry a colour boost

You know those detergent commercials that say their product will boost your colours and make your whites whiter? They might do that, but they will definitely use chemicals to get it done. Not only are those chemicals bad for the environment (the water your washing machine uses has to go somewhere), they can irritate lungs and skin and wear down your clothes. Skip the bleach and add half a cup of baking soda to your load of laundry instead. Same results, no chemicals.

Lift odours

One place the air freshener companies always get us is when it comes to our pets. How do you stop a dog from smelling like a dog? Truthfully, you can’t, but you can deodorize your pets’ beds without chemicals. Simply sprinkle the bed with baking soda, wait 30 minutes, then vacuum it up again. That goes for human furniture too. You can use that trick on your own mattress, just make sure you vacuum thoroughly so you don’t send up clouds of baking soda the next time you bounce into bed.

Clean your vacuum

Do you ever think about cleaning out your vacuum beyond the usual bag removal? Take a moment and think about all the dust that’s probably collected along the tubes in that thing. And what that dust is made out of (mostly skin cells). Okay, now stop thinking about it because it’s too gross and just vacuum up some baking soda instead. Same properties as when you throw a box of it in the fridge: the baking soda traps the odours it comes in contact with. Also, if you’re cleaning your pet’s bed with baking soda, you can kill two birds with one stone. Nice.

Spray the stink away

What about when the room just smells off. Aerosols may make the room smell like a summer’s day (whatever that means) but they’re loaded with cancer-causing chemicals that no one should actually breathe in. You can make your own air freshening spray with a spray bottle and baking soda. Fill the bottle with water, add one tablespoon of the white powder and voila, room spray. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture too.

Beautify yourself

Yes, you can use baking soda to clean your whole house and yourself too. It’s a great exfoliant on its own, but it’s also a good ingredient to have around if you like doing DIY beauty treatments. You can substitute it for a lot of simple scent-related products like deodorant and mouthwash (if you can handle the taste). It also works for whitening teeth and some people even swear by it as a shampoo (followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse).

Seriously, as a general rule: if it smells or has a stubborn stain, try baking soda. Cheap, natural and always in the house. Who knew it was the all-purpose cleaner we’ve been looking for?