Home & Outdoors

7 ways you never knew you could use baking soda

We bet you haven't tried these

You can do amazing things with baking soda Credit: Getty Images

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Even if you never bake from scratch, you probably have a box of baking soda in your home. Lots of people keep one in the refrigerator to absorb food odors. Look for it — it’s that bright yellow box way in the back. The last time I checked mine, I found three of them in there.

For less than a buck for a fresh box, you can afford to do loads more tricks with baking soda. Try these:

1. Get your hair clean

My hair takes forever to wash and blow dry. Does yours? When you don’t have time to shampoo, work it with baking soda. Sprinkle a handful on your roots. Rub it in, let it sit for a while, then brush it out. If you have dark hair, mix some cocoa into the baking soda to blend in any powder your hairbrush misses.

2. Save your garden

Powdery mildew is a gross white fungus that affects a plant’s leaves and stems. If you see it on your cucumber or zucchini plants, you’ll recognize it right away. To control it, mix a tablespoon of baking soda into a gallon of water. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of dish detergent to help it stick. Then, spray it on. It won’t kill existing fungus, but it will help keep it off new leaves.

3. Wash your floaties

Got some unicorns swimming in your pool? There are some adorable floats out there this summer. To keep them clean, wipe the floaties with a quarter cup of baking soda shaken into a quart of water. Rinse off, and toss ‘em back into the pool.

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4. Keep cut flowers alive longer

When someone sends you a bouquet, the flowers are gorgeous when they arrive, but they die way too soon. To make them last a little bit longer, add a pinch of baking soda and a pinch of salt to the water in the vase. Change the water every day, and do it again.

5. Deodorize sneakers

If your kids play sports, the smell in the mudroom can be overwhelming. For each pair of sneakers, fill a pair of socks with baking soda, and cinch the tops with rubber bands. Stuff them into the kicks whenever the kids are going barefoot.

6. Refresh your carpet

Carpets are comfy for us, and for our four-legged friends, too. To get rid of the doggie smell (or any smell), vacuum the carpet to get rid of loose dirt. Pour on plenty of baking soda, and let it sit for 24 hours. Vacuum again, and your rug will smell much better.

7. Get dead bugs off the windshield

Anyone who's ever tried to remove dried insects from a car knows how hard it is. Here’s why baking soda will work — it’s abrasive, but it doesn’t scratch. Make a paste of baking soda and water and glop some of it on the bugs. Leave it on for a few minutes, wipe it off with a microfiber washcloth, and hose down the car.

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