So what is baking soda? Scientifically speaking, it is sodium bicarbonate. But for most of us, it is something we always have in the kitchen that is used for baking. There are a lot of things that you can use baking soda for around the house, though. Here are some of our favorite uses.
Flickr photo by Michael Francis McCarthy
You can add baking soda to your wash to not only serve as a fabric softener, but also as a deodorizer. Just pour one-quarter to half a cup of baking soda in the wash as you add your detergent.
My grandmother always kept an open box of baking soda in her refrigerator, as it neutralizes food odors. That's not the only place you can deodorize with baking soda: try leaving an open box in your closet or in the bathroom to take care of unpleasant smells.
Baking soda makes a great natural skin exfoliant, because it has a gently coarse texture. Try adding a teaspoon of baking soda to your face cleanser, mix it well and apply just like normal. This helps remove dead skin cells, leaving your face smoother and fresher looking. (My girlfriend says that it also gets rid of blackheads when used in lieu of cleanser.)
You can polish brass door knobs or window latches with baking soda. Its slightly gritty consistency helps wipe away gunk, but is still safe enough to not scratch the metal.
Remember in elementary school when you would make a volcano-like explosion by pouring vinegar on baking soda? You can use this same science fair trick as an environmentally-friendly drain cleaner. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by cup of vinegar. This helps loosen any debris or clogs. After ten minutes, flush the drain with a pot of boiling water to finish breaking up the clog.
Be sure to check out more clever ways to use household items in our slideshow below.