Bicarbonate of soda (Baking soda) is my favorite natural cleaner, as it appeals not only to the environmentalist in me but also to my inner cheapskate! It won’t break the bank to buy, it’s very effective, and it’s extremely versatile.
Almost every area in your kitchen can benefit from a wipe-over with bicarbonate of soda. This will help to prevent a build-up of grease and grime whilst deodorizing the kitchen at the same time.
However, bicarbonate soda can leave a thin white film behind, so always rinse thoroughly with a damp cloth afterward to remove any remaining residue.
A Quick Word Of Caution
Bicarbonate of soda is a weak basic (alkaline), with a PH score of 8 and a chemical formula of NaHCO3. The Environmental Working Group score it an “A” on its scale, so it passes with flying colors; making it safe and non-toxic when handled correctly.
The powder when in dust form however can be an irritant to the eyes.
1. Cleaning The Kitchen Worktops
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda onto a damp cloth and wipe down the worktops to remove light grease and grime.
For heavier deposits, sprinkle more of the powder directly onto the area and leave to dissolve the grease, then wipe down as usual. (Vinegar will sterilize an area but will not dissolve heavy grease and grime).
For stubborn stains, make a strong paste of bicarbonate of soda and water, apply directly to a cloth and scour gently.
If necessary, leave overnight and rinse thoroughly in the morning. Depending upon the stain, this process may need to be repeated until the stain has disappeared.
2. Cleaning The Kitchen Walls
You can remove crayon and ink marks from painted surfaces by applying a paste of bicarbonate and water to a soft cloth and then gently rubbing the mark until it has gone.
Once completed rinsing the area with hot water to remove the white residue. (Use extra care on walls covered in wallpaper).
3. Cleaning The Kitchen Floors
Use a solution of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in hot water and use it as you would any other floor cleaner. This will both take up the grease and grime and deodorize the smells walked into your kitchen.
A good solution would be four tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda dissolved into one bucket of water.
4. Cleaning Metal Oven Hood Filters
Fill a sink or bowl with hot water and add up to half a cup of bicarbonate of soda and a good squirt liquid soap. Allow the filters to soak for ten to fifteen minutes, then scrub them with a non-abrasive brush or sponge.
Rinse thoroughly with warm water, dry, and replace. Liquid soap alone is rarely good enough for this demanding job.
5. Cleaning The Top Of The Oven
If the cooker top is ceramic, then do not use bicarbonate of soda. This is because the mixture will make the brilliant shine dull over time due to its gentle abrasive action.
Firstly, for metal tops, simply sprinkle bicarbonate of soda onto the surface and leave for about thirty minutes.
Secondly, use a damp cloth to remove the powder along with the stains and baked-on food. Lastly, wipe down with clean water to prevent a white film from occurring.
6. Cleaning Oven Gas Burners
Remove the gas burners, place them into a pan of boiling water, add four tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda, and leave for ten minutes. Next, empty them into the sink and cool rinse them with cold water before replacing them.
7. Cleaning The Oven Interior
Even if your oven has not been cleaned in years, you don’t need to buy a mega toxic; industrial-strength, oven cleaner when you have bicarbonate of soda on hand.
Although if the grease build-up is this bad, you will need to repeat the process before your wife finds out!
When your oven is cooled, make up a thick creamy paste of bicarbonate of soda and water. Paint this mixture onto the walls, floor, back, and door of the oven.
DO NOT APPLY THE MIXTURE TO ANY OF THE HEATING ELEMENTS.
If the mixture dries too quickly, do not disturb it but simply spray it with a little cold water to reactivate it. Leave the oven door open and let it rest overnight. In the morning, wipe the paste away with a cloth/sponge and warm water. All the accumulated baked on grime and grease will have been dissolved away, leaving a bright, clean oven interior.
For any stubborn stains, retreated these areas with the paste mixture and rub vigorously if required. Once done, spray the oven lightly with distilled white vinegar to prevent a white film from appearing. (The vinegar will neutralize the soda and turn it into slightly salty water).
If you only need to clean the oven floor, then spray the floor with water once cooled. Next, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over the area and spray again. Keep the mixture moist by spraying every few hours, then leave overnight. Follow up in the morning by rinsing as described above.
To clean the trays/racks, I apply the paste and wrap the trays/racks in cling film before leaving overnight. The next day I simply rub the paste off with a damp cloth or scourer, then rinse.
8. Cleaning Heavily Soiled Pots And Pans
Do not clean non-stick items with bicarbonate of soda.
For really burnt on grease and grime plus discolored items, you will need to assault them with the oven cleaning method. However, before applying the paste or powder method, it is a good idea to give them a thorough scrub first.
This pre-scrub will enable the bicarbonate of soda to penetrate deep down into the grime and actively dissolve it.
For pots and pans that are extremely soiled with burnt-on debris and stains, a second assault might be needed.
This is one of the rare occasions that I combine vinegar and soda, but it seems to have an effect here.
Firstly, make up a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water to cover the problem, then bring this to the boil. Secondly, remove this from the heat and place the pan into the sink. Thirdly, quickly dump about half a cup of bicarbonate of soda into the mix and stand well back.
The result will be a chemical fizzing reaction in the pan and the powerful smell of evaporating vinegar (most unpleasant to me). When the reaction has died down, you can return to the pan and then clean as normal.
One other method is to mix one teaspoon of kosher salt, two teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda, and the juice of half a lemon. Spread this paste over the burnt-on food and leave it overnight to dry. In the morning, add a little water and scrub the pan clean, then wash the pan as normal.
9. Steel Wool Pan Scrubbers
I have never been a fan of these as they hurt a man’s delicate hands; however, here is a way to prevent rust for those who do use them.
Once they are dry, pop them into a tray or box under your sink containing bicarbonate of soda, and they won’t go rusty.
10. Cleaning Down White Goods
All exteriors of white goods such as freezers, fridges, washing machines, etc., will generally benefit from a wipe down now and then.
Simply soak a soft cloth in a solution of bicarbonate of soda and warm water and then wipe down as usual. All light grease, grime, scuffs, and handprints will soon be removed, then just rinse down with warm water.
11. Cleaning The Washing Machine (interior)
Remove the powder tray from the machine and soak it in soapy water, wiping down its exterior. Using a toothbrush and a three parts bicarbonate of soda to one part water solution, scrub the hard-to-reach spots of the tray.
Repeat this cleaning process in the empty compartment area which houses the tray. Dry the tray, then spray with distilled white vinegar to disinfect and prevent mold from growing there.
Next, empty one cup of distilled white vinegar into the washing machine tray’s dry powder section. Choose a hot cycle that should last for at least one hour and run that cycle.
This will disinfect the machine without putting harsh toxic chemicals into the water system.
Run one more cycle but this time, use one cup of bicarbonate of soda.
This will help neutralize the vinegar’s smell and wash away any of the vinegar acid clinging to the rubber seals.
Dad’s tip – Add half a cup of baking soda to your detergent to boost your wash. It brightens colors, whitens whites and removes bad odors alongside being a water softener!
12. Cleaning The Fridge (Interior)
I confess that I use more bicarbonate of soda on my fridge than on any other appliance in my home.
Once a month, I remove all the produce and trays then wipe all the interior panels with a solution of bicarbonate of soda. I then use a stronger solution to wipe down all the shelves and trays.
As well as removing all the spills, marks, food deposits and fatty grease it also deodorizes. Gone are all the smelly pongs, strange odors, and whiffs that have built up from all the leftover foods, and in comes the freshness.
A little tip is to wipe everything down with some dry kitchen towel before replacing the produce.
Dad’s tip – You can remove stubborn stains with a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda mixed with a small squirt of toothpaste.
To prevent strong odors from returning to your fridge, just leave a small pot or open box of bicarbonate soda on a shelf. This will absorb any strong odors and be effective for many weeks if you give it the occasional stir.
13. Cleaning The Freezer (Interior)
Once the freezer has completely defrosted, follow the same steps as you would for the fridge. If you have wire baskets, first soak them in a solution of bicarbonate of soda for a few hours, then wipe down with a cloth to remove any stains.
14. Cleaning The Microwave
Take care not to let any of the bicarbonate of soda seep through the holes or slits in the microwave walls, as this could cause problems later on. Firstly remove the turntable items and clean these down.
Do this with a weak solution of bicarbonate of soda and a small squirt of washing up liquid. Use a stronger solution/paste for baked-on food or heavy stains in combination with elbow grease.
Using a combination of water and baking soda (One cup of water mixed with two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda). Microwave on high for two minutes, then wipe dry with a kitchen towel or cloth.
Deodorize if required with one teaspoon of lemon juice to one cup of water in a microwavable bowl.
This will also bring a lovely lemon smell to your kitchen.
15. Cleaning The Dishwasher Door And Interior
Dishwashers tend to build up an awkward crust on the inner door frame. This can be both unsightly and difficult to remove using conventional cleaners.
Simply make up a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water and apply using an old toothbrush or cloth. Leave this solution to work for thirty minutes and then wipe it off before rerunning the machine.
To clean the inside of the dishwasher, simply run a cycle using bicarbonate of soda in place of your usual powder or tablet.
Dad’s tip – You can even clean your dishes using a mixture of two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to two parts of borax per load.
16. Cleaning Stainless Steel (Not Black Stainless Steel)
This is where bicarbonate of soda can really make a difference if used properly.
Its powdery texture makes a very light and gentle abrasive that shouldn’t scratch your stainless steel if you follow its grain.
To find the grain shine a light on the stainless steel and stand at an angle to it. At some point, you should see some very small but reflective scratches on the surface running in one direction; that’s the grain.
To clean the stainless steel, make a paste by adding just enough water to the baking soda so that it sticks together. Apply liberally and begin to scrub gently with a soft cloth, going with the metal’s grain as much as possible. Once done, wipe the surface dry with a paper towel.
When you have a grease-free clean surface, wipe away the bicarbonate of soda, then rinse. Rinsing can be done with club soda in a spray bottle and a clean cloth, but keep working in the direction of the grain.
Dad’s tip – Club soda is also an excellent choice for cleaning hard water spots that come from tap water.
17. Cleaning Silver Cutlery
Antique silver and silver inset with precious metals, stones, and pearls should always be taken to a specialist to clean.
Using a mixture of three parts bicarbonate of soda to one part warm water, spread the mixture over the silver, and allow to dry overnight.
In the morning, immerse the item in warm water, gently rub away the mixture, and then rinse under a running tap. Complete the process by rubbing down with a cloth soaked in distilled water and buff dry.
18. Silver Cleaner 2 - Alchemy!
I am told that this method works on heavily tarnished silver, but I have yet to try it.
Make up a light and creamy paste using bicarbonate of soda water. Apply this paste to your item and set it to one side for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a container with enough hot water to totally immerse the item, placing a large piece of aluminum foil in the water.
Take the item to be cleaned and place it into the water for about 15 to thirty minutes. Once the allotted time has passed, recover the item from the water and dry it off with a soft cloth and buff to shine.
19. Cleaning Brass Fittings
Cut a lemon in half, cover the half with bicarbonate of soda and then rub the brass clean with the lemon.
20. Cleaning Chrome Fittings/Taps
Mix a creamy paste of bicarbonate of soda and water. Spread the paste all over the fittings and leave to stand for about ten minutes. Next, wipe the paste gently over the fittings while applying gentle pressure, then rinse.
21. Cleaning The Drain
If your drain begins to smell or starts to clog, try dumping half a cup of bicarbonate of soda down it once a month and leave it to work overnight.
The bicarbonate of soda will begin to break down the grease deposits on the sides of the pipes and will naturally deodorize at the same time.
22. Unblocking The Drain
Many people will tell you that the best combination for unblocking drains is bicarbonate of soda and vinegar; however, I believe this to be wrong.
There are many youtube videos and websites which combine these two elements. However, the frothing and fizzing are only the chemical creation of water and salt. (H2O) & (C2H3NaO2).
whilst this activity may dislodge something, all you are really getting is a mild soft scrub and some fizzing, not an effective cleaner. For a list of 23 effective cleaners, please see follow this link to my post.
My favorite way to unblock a drain is to pour half a cup of bicarbonate of soda and a squeeze of liquid soap down the drain. Follow this up by probing the blockage with a flexible curtain rod.
Once loosened, pour down a kettle full of boiling water and leave to sit for 30 minutes. Once the blockage is cleared, use a plunger and running hot water to clear the U bend trap.
22.1 Unblocking A Stubborn Drain
If you truly want to unblock a stubborn drain then washing soda, liquid soap; boiling water, and a plunger is a great combination. Just be sure to cover the overflow first so that the air pressure is not released.
Use a cup of washing soda and a squirt of liquid soap to dissolve the grease and grime in the drain, then follow this up with very hot water.
Washing soda is an even more powerful version of bicarbonate of soda and should only be handled with rubber gloves on. Although non-toxic and easy on the environment washing soda is a strong alkaline which is classed as an irritant and you should not breathe in the dust.
That being said, once it is dissolved in water it does not give off any toxic fumes.
The chemical formula for washing soda is NA2CO3 and has a PH score of 11 which makes it a very strong alkaline. The Environmental Working Group gives it an “A” on its scale, so it passes with flying colors; making it safe and non-toxic when handled correctly.
Dad’s tip – If you can’t find your plunger use the flat of your hand to pump and create the necessary vacuum.
23. Cleaning The Bin
Dads job! Bicarbonate of soda is a great natural deodorizer and so is well suited to this purpose.
Use a fairly strong solution of bicarbonate of soda and hot/warm water, wash the bin out, and remove any mold build-up, not forgetting the lid. Dry with a kitchen towel, and then pop some dry bicarbonate powder at the bottom to reduce any nasty odors whilst in use.
24. Cleaning The Bread Bin
Empty the bread bin and wipe all surfaces with a cloth soaked in a mild solution of bicarbonate of soda and water. Ensure that all cracks and crevices are covered, as these are the places where mold will take hold in a warm kitchen environment.
25. Cleaning Grout And Kitchen Tiles
Vinegar will eat away at the unsealed grout between your kitchen tiles; however, bicarbonate of soda will not due to it being a base/alkaline. This makes the gentle abrasive effect and mold-killing characteristics of the product perfect for this job.
Simply make a light creamy paste of bicarbonate of soda and water, apply to the grout with a small cloth and wipe away any stains.
Rinse away with warm water to avoid a white film-forming.
If you are trying to eliminate an area of mold, then make a thicker paste (at least a 50/50 mix minimum); apply with an old toothbrush, wait for about 10 minutes, then scrub and rinse.
Alternatively, use a mix of two parts bicarbonate of soda to one part hydrogen peroxide whilst following the steps above.
If your aim is to clean the kitchen tiles, then just wipe them down with a cloth soaked in the bicarbonate of soda; and then rinse off with a clean cloth and warm water.
26. Revitalize Kitchen sponges
You can easily revitalize your sponges/scrubbing brushes and cleaning cloths by soaking them overnight.
Use a 1/20 mix of bicarbonate of soda and water, then rinse thoroughly in the morning. Cleaning Cloths take up a lot of the mixture, so they may feel slimy to the touch if not thoroughly rinsed.
27. Removing Grease Spills
Cooking in the kitchen will undoubtedly create the odd accidental grease, oil, or butter spill, proving dangerous if not immediately cleared up. Firstly, you will need to soak up as much of the spill as possible using a kitchen towel wiping into the spill center.
Do not use liquid soap at this point, as it may just spread the grease into a thin coating. This is how we get the dangerous skidding effect on shiny floors.
Just like sand on petrol, the best way to deal with this problem is a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda onto the affected spot. This remedy will simply absorb, dissolve and clear the problem, ready to be wiped away.
28. Removing Stains From Mugs
If the stain is on the bottom of the mug, sprinkle a little bicarbonate of soda into the bottom and add water to form a light paste.
Leave to stand for an hour, then rub gently and rinse thoroughly. If the stains are higher, make a thicker paste and apply directly to the stain using a cloth or sponge; rub clean and rinse.
29. Cleaning Coffee Makers
Running a weak mix of bicarbonate of soda and water through the machine will give it a good clean and refresh it. Be sure to rinse it with plenty of water afterward to clear the harmless taste of bicarbonate of soda.
30. Cleaning Tupperware
Tupperware can become stained and smelly very easily, but it’s just as easy to clean them. Fill a bowl with hot water and add a generous sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda (approx 1/15) and leave to soak overnight.
Dad’s tip – use a cup or a mug to weigh them down and double your items cleaned!
31. Freshen A Vacuum Flask
Freshen a vacuum flask by placing two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda into the flask and then topping it up with nearly boiling water. Leave the solution to work overnight and then wash out as per normal in the morning.
32. Washing Fruit And Vegetables
To remove pesticides from fresh produce, soak them in a bowl of water mixed with bicarbonate of soda. Mix one teaspoon of bicarb to two cups of cold water and place the produce in it.
This mixture will kill at least two key pesticides (including thiabendazole) if left in the solution for a minimum of fifteen minutes.
33. Cleaning Out A Food Processor/Blender
Food processors can often require a freshen. This is due to the many different types of produce we put into them.
To freshen, put a couple of teaspoons into a cup, fill with hot water, and then pour it into the blender. Run the machine for a few minutes, drain and then rinse thoroughly with water.
34. Fire Prevention
Bicarbonate of soda is used in some fire extinguishers as it creates carbon dioxide. It is, therefore, a useful product to have on hand in an area where there are naked flames and flammable material.
Keep a box or tray handy to combat grease fires as it will prevent oxygen from feeding the flames.
35. Air Freshener/Deodorizer
An open box or tray of bicarbonate of soda will absorb moisture and neutralize odors. Simply place a few drops of essential oil into the open box or tray, and you will have an instant air freshener.
What Shouldn't You Clean With Bicarbonate Of Soda?
- Black stainless steel – You should never use bicarbonate of soda on black stainless steel surfaces, as this can lightly scratch away the decorative coating over time and marr the surface.
- Non-stick pans – Don’t use bicarbonate of soda on non-stick pans as it may ruin the surface coating.
- Aluminum cookware – Always rinse thoroughly as bicarbonate of soda can cause aluminum to oxidize and turn brown if left on too long.
- Ceramic stovetop – As a mild abrasive bicarbonate of soda can scratch this highly reflective surface if force is used.
- Items with deep grooves or cracks – Bicarbonate of soda leaves behind a thin white residue when dry and will be visible.
- Antique silver – Old silver pieces may not react well to the light abrasive nature of bicarbonate of soda. Moreover, some antique pieces are precious and may carry inset gems or pearls; therefore, only a true professional should clean them.
- Gold leaf or gold plated items – As gold is a soft metal, the light abrasive action of bicarbonate of soda will scratch and wear away this surface. Better not use it on that gold-rimmed dinner service that only gets used at Christmas!
- Marble surfaces – Stone manufacturers advise that repeated use of any mild abrasive can wear away the sealants used on marble, leaving it open to etching and wear. I would, therefore, recommend that you use hydrogen peroxide and a soft cloth instead of an abrasive cleaner. Even better, use special stone soap such as Simple Green Stone Cleaner and Polish, which can be found on Amazon.
- Jewelry – As a mild abrasive bicarbonate of soda can scratch precious metals and thus remove their shine.
So there you have it.
35 uses for bicarbonate of soda in the kitchen.
I hope you try them all, and remember, if you love the smell of a vinegar clean home, then you can always rinse down with vinegar to sterilize an area afterward.
It’s just not for me.
Mark Aspland is a proud father of two boys and an amateur actor and green living enthusiast. He has been sharing hints, tips, and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019.
He now has an army of like-hearted individuals passionate about the environment and how to affect positive change through peaceful action.