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9 Ways Baking Soda Will Make Your Home A Cleaner, Fresher Space

04/27/2015 05:51 pm ET

baking soda
Photo credit: Getty Images

Like salt, baking soda is one of those household ingredients that can cure and clean almost anything around your home.

The ingredient can make teeth extra white, wash dirty dishes and even clean car batteries. Inspired by a few more uses discovered by Popular Mechanics, we rounded up a few of our favorite ways to put this magical ingredient to work. Check out some of our favorite baking soda hacks:

1. Make shoes less smelly.
Instead of throwing shoes out or into the wash, dust the insides with baking soda, then shake it out before you wear them again.
sneakers

2. Revive stinky sponges.
In order to get rid of a bad odor and extend its kitchen life, place the sponge in a baking soda and water mixture.
sponges

3. Get rid of tough oven stains.
Scatter baking soda on the bottom of your oven and then spray with water. After a few hours, wipe the mixture off with paper towels and rinse with vinegar to prevent leftover baking soda residue.
cleaning oven

4. Brighten laundry.
Perfect for both white and dark loads, add a cup of baking soda along with your detergent for cleaner, fresher-looking clothes.
laundry

5. Give new life to tarnished jewelry.
Line a bowl with a sheet of aluminum foil and add boiling hot water. Submerge jewelry (make sure jewelry doesn't have gemstones or pearls), add a tablespoon of baking soda and stir together, allowing the jewelry to "stick" to it. Take the jewelry out of the bowl and polish with cloth for a beautiful shine.
silver jewelry

6. Eliminate shower door grime.
Shake a little baking soda onto a wet sponge, scrub your shower door and admire the sparkling results.
shower door

7. Freshen a smelly carpet.
To get rid of pet accidents and any other unseemly smells, sprinkle baking soda over your carpet, let it sit overnight and vacuum it up in the morning.
cleaning carpet

8. Clean your grill.
To increase the strength of your grill cleaning brush, add some baking soda to get your grill extra sparkly and sanitary.
grilling

9. Unclog a drain.
In order to keep drains clean, pour a 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a full cup of vinegar. To top it all off, pour down boiling hot water.
drain

  • Eat the Crusts for Curly Hair
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    How many of us had a grandparent convince us to mow down on the undesirable brown bits of bread if we lusted over Shirley Temple’s locks? It may sound like a sneaky picky eating parenting trick, but historians relate the association to class as historically, both curly hair and bread were associated with prosperity. Ladies, go ahead and eat those delicious crusts right up, but we wouldn't toss your curling wands just yet.
  • Marshmallows for a Sore Throat
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    Sick of medicinal throat lozenges? Apparently a youthful round of Chubby Bunny is the tastier way to soothe a hoarse throat. While the sap from the marshmallow plant originally used to make the candies has been praised for its anti-inflammatory properties, people continue to believe that the gelatin-based sweets we see in stores today still offer relief. Sounds to us just like a sneaky excuse to make s’mores.
  • Bread & Milk for Boils
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    Moistening bread with milk or water and slapping it on your skin seems like something only an infant could teach us to do. But seriously, there are full-grown educated people treating their boils this way today, too. Poultices (that is, any soft, moist substance used for healing) come from the word for “porridge,” which is likely where the idea to transform day-old bread into a skin remedy originated.
  • Hard-Boiled Egg for a Black Eye
    Adam Gault via Getty Images
    Bar fight? No problem. Asian tradition states that you should slip an old silver coin into a freshly peeled warm hardboiled egg, wrap it in a thin cloth and then rub it into the bruise until the coin “absorbs” the purple hue. No intell on the financial value of the smelly violet coin after the procedure, or how long your face will smell like a bad 90’s perm.
  • Wet Spinach Behind the Ears for Nosebleeds
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    Regular sufferers of nose bleeds have likely been advised to up their intake of vitamin K-rich foods like spinach, due to the nutrient’s role in blood coagulation. But some families figure, why bother eating it when you can just hang it like a dangling pair of slimy spinach bangles behind your ear? Well, we all had plenty of opportunities as kids to hide our greens in unforeseen places, it’s probably time we stop pretending this magically could work.
  • Put Fresh Basil in Your Bottom for Constipation
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    Basil has long been regarded as a natural laxative and home remedy for constipation, but most modern holistic websites just tell you to chew and eat the stuff. Some homemakers, on the other hand, swear you need to insert the fresh leaves up through the back door and let it sit there until something comes out. I can’t imagine how this awkward trick would work or who thought to test it out, but on the bright side, your bowel movements will smell like pesto!
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    John Rizzo via Getty Images
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    David Emmite via Getty Images
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    MakiEni's photo via Getty Images
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