25 Baking Soda Cleaning Hacks That Are Worth Trying

Ever wondered why your grandma kept a dish of baking soda in the back of the refrigerator? Or why so many big-name brand laundry formulas include baking soda? That's because baking soda is what we call an absolute cleaning powerhouse. It deodorizes, scrubs, and cleanses — it basically does it all. And not to mention it's affordable, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. These are just a few reasons it comes up time and time again as a cleaning must-have. 

We found 25 of the best baking soda cleaning tricks in the book that will have each room (and piece of furniture) in your house sparkling. Some of these cleaning recipes may call for some other common household supplies such as hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, dish soap, and white vinegar, so be sure to have them in your cleaning arsenal as well. These agents enhance the cleaning power of baking soda and are safe to mix. 

1. All-natural oven cleaner

Even the non-toxic oven cleaners you find in the grocery aisles smell, well, toxic, and might not be what you feel good about putting in your oven. If you have a non-self-cleaning oven, try using a paste of baking soda and water. Baking soda is a natural and gentle abrasive that can scrub away burnt food and oils. Use a non-scratching scouring pad to really put the baking soda to work. If you have particularly bad food or oil buildup on the racks, consider letting them soak in the sink or bathtub with hot water and baking soda overnight. 

2. Affordable carpet cleaner

Carpets take a lot of hits throughout the day. They catch the debris from shoes, food crumbs, and potentially the muddy paw prints of our furry friends. And those carpet fibers can really hold onto debris and odors. That's where baking soda comes in. Simply sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda on your carpeted floors and leave it overnight. It will absorb smells, oils, and dirt as it sits, so the longer you leave it, the better it will work. Then just vacuum it up to reveal cleaner, stink-free carpets. 

3. Remove urine from mattresses

With pets and kids, all manner of accidents happen, and sometimes you need to remove urine from mattresses. Luckily, you can do so with a water bottle, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and of course, baking soda. In a spray bottle, combine hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of dish soap, then spray the stained area of the mattress. Then add a generous dusting of baking soda, which will help pull up excess hydrogen peroxide, soap, and urine particles. When it's completely dry, just vacuum the area; this will eliminate the stain and the residual odors. 

4. Revive spotty silverware

If your silverware never seems to sparkle anymore, even when it's fresh from the dishwasher, consider polishing it with some baking soda. Just use a wet microfiber cloth and a small amount of baking soda to gently buff away any water stains or rust spots, and your silverware will look like new. Keep in mind that baking soda should not be used on antique silver, as it can actually damage the finish. 

5. Neutralize litter box odors

Even the biggest cat lover will say that litter box maintenance is not the easiest task to take on. To make it a little less overwhelming, try adding baking soda into the mix. After you've completely cleaned your litter box tray, sprinkle some baking soda onto the bottom. This will neutralize odors and won't change the texture or smell for your cat, even if they're the most finicky of felines; you can even mix baking soda directly in with their litter, as you'll see many litter brands include baking soda in their mixes. 

6. Scrub your grocery hauls

Cleaning fruit isn't as simple as just giving it a rinse under some water and a wipe down with a dish rag, because when it comes to wiping away dirt and chemicals, you need more. We recommend adding some baking soda to a bowl of water and allowing the produce to soak for a few minutes. For fruits with a tough exterior, like apples and oranges, you can gently rub the skins and then rinse under water before drying. For more fragile produce like berries, toss them in a salad spinner after soaking to shed debris and shake off excess water. 

7. A cutting board cleaner

Ever cleaned a cutting board just to find it still smells (and might even make other foods taste) of red onion? Cutting boards, especially those made from porous materials like wood and bamboo, can hold onto odors, stains, and flavors even after washing. To eliminate them, use half a lemon and some baking soda. Just coat the cutting board with baking soda, then use the lemon as your scrubber. Finish by rinsing with water. The cutting board should be clean and have a fresh citrus scent. 

8. Scrub away burnt pan bottoms

Don't toss your favorite stainless steel pan out just because it's become tarnished beyond recognition on its underside. Instead, opt for our friend baking soda. The gentle abrasive works on the bottom of these pans just as it would on an oven, breaking down burnt oil and food deposits. Think of baking soda as a single-ingredient alternative to Bar Keeper's Friend. Baking soda is safe on stainless steel, cast iron, and even nonstick pans. 

9. Clean and lighten tile grout

One generally recommended and safe choice for cleaning grout is good old baking soda. Combine it with a few drops of dish soap until it forms a viscous paste, then apply and scrub with a toothbrush or narrow cleaning brush. This method will require a little bit of elbow grease, but won't damage your grout finish. 

10. Stop drain odors

Food, hair, oil, and more can clog up drains and leave you with an odor most foul, even if you've gotten rid of the physical blocks. To eliminate these smells, you just need some hot water, white vinegar, and baking soda. Add a full cup of baking soda into the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes or more. Then add 1/2 cup of white vinegar; this will tackle any remaining odors. When you no longer hear fizzing, run piping hot water for a minute or two, and you should be left with a fresh-smelling drain. 

11. Remove soap scum from shower curtains

Have you looked at your shower curtain lately? They are very prone to grime, soap scum, and even mold. Luckily, baking soda can help. You can wash the curtain in your laundry machine with baking soda, or if you have a small capacity tumbler, just fill the tub up with baking soda and some dish soap. You may still have to scrub to get rid of particularly stubborn spots, so have a cleaning brush or old toothbrush on hand. Let the shower curtain air dry, and be sure to sanitize your tub after you're done.

12. A soap-free window cleaner

It's easy to ignore just how badly your windows need cleaning until the sun hits them in just the right light, and suddenly all you can see is water-stain city. When it's time to wash up, reach for some baking soda. Go over the windows with a wet cloth and some baking soda to remove the bulk of the dirt, then follow up with a spray bottle full of vinegar and baking soda. Wash with a rag, then rinse with clean water and thoroughly dry with a fresh microfiber cloth. 

13. Even trash can smell fresh

Baking soda is an unparalleled odor neutralizer. And while it's a given that trash will smell like, well, trash, that doesn't mean you need to be treated to that smell every time you lift your bin's lid. To reduce odors, put a small sachet of baking soda at the bottom of the can and change it out every three months to keep the nasty smells at bay. This trick also works in linen closets and fridges. 

14. Polish your stainless steel kitchen sink

Over time, we tend to just accept that our stainless steel sinks are simply stained beyond repair when regular washing and scrubbing don't seem to do it. But you're probably just missing a bit of abrasion because even if stains might not be raised, they can still be removed through physical scrubbing. That's where the baking soda comes in. Work dish soap and baking soda into a thick paste and apply it evenly all over the sink. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing at the stains, then rinse. 

15. An easy upholstery stain remover

Whether it was taking a gamble on another dinner in front of the TV, a little one climbing onto the couch with their shoes still on, or some vaguely icky smell coming from your favorite chair's cushions, baking soda can help revive upholstered furniture. To combat odors, just sprinkle the product onto the surface, spread it evenly, and allow it to sit for anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours before vacuuming. For stains, combine a teaspoon of baking soda with water, dish soap, and vinegar and wet down the area. Allow it to sit, then wipe, let dry completely, and vacuum any excess.

16. Eliminate mildew smells from dirty dish rags

How often do you remember to clean your rags? Sometimes these essential cleaning tools get forgotten in the sanitizing process, but they are magnets for bacteria and mildew growth because they are frequently wet, put in contact with grim, and then not allowed to dry properly before being tossed in the laundry bin. So if you've got some less-than-clean-smelling dish rags, give them a wash cycle with extremely hot water, laundry detergent, and baking soda to eliminate mildew. 

17. Absorb pesky oil stains on your driveway

Not even the outdoors is free from the staining properties of oil. If you are tired of having a stained concrete driveway or garage, baking soda can come to the rescue. It is incredibly absorbent and can draw oils out of your driveway's surface. Sprinkle plenty of baking soda and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes, though the longer you leave it, the better results you'll have. Then scrub away the stain with a brush and rinse away the excess baking soda with water. 

18. Kid-friendly toy cleaner

Just because your kiddo's toys end up in the bathtub with them does not mean they are getting clean. Skip harsh chemicals and just give your little one's favorite toys a bath with some water, dish soap, and baking soda, then scrub them thoroughly with a clean toothbrush or soft cleaning brush before rinsing. This method will work best for hard toys made from plastic and rubber. For soft toys and plushies, simply add them to your laundry machine with a gentle detergent and baking soda. 

19. Lift water stains from wood

If the one time you forgot to set down a coaster is haunting you and your dining table, baking soda is here to help. Water stains are just tiny moisture particles that get trapped beneath the surface, which porous wood furniture pieces are especially prone to, especially if the wax or seal has been worn away. Make a baking soda and water paste and apply it to a microfiber cloth, then gently buff away along the wood grain for five to 10 minutes. When you're done, wipe away any excess moisture or baking soda residue. 

20. Save stained coffee cups

Just like coffee can stain your clothes, it can stain the mugs you sip it from. These pesky coffee rings can make even a clean cup feel less than appetizing to drink from. But the gentle abrasive power of baking soda will eliminate them with ease. Just buff baking soda and water onto the stains with a dish cleaning brush or sponge until they lift, then wash as normal. You can finally restore your favorite mug to its former glory. 

21. Maintain your marble

Marble countertops are unparalleled in their beauty, but they are nothing short of a nightmare to maintain. Marble is a soft, porous material, so many everyday cleaners can damage it, either chemically or by leaving scratches. Luckily, baking soda isn't one of them. It is a very gentle, alkaline abrasive that can scrub away at tough stains without wearing the marble down or scratching. Sprinkle baking soda onto the counter, then spritz with water and gently scrub. Just be sure to use a very soft rag, or you can inadvertently scratch the marble. 

22. Detox the drapes

It can seem impossible to clean these towering drapes without calling in the professionals or hauling all the curtains to the dry cleaner, which is a shame because just like carpets and upholstery, curtains can hold onto odors and debris. But you just need to fill a spray bottle about halfway with boiling water, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, and a dash of fabric softener to give them a refresh. Spritz and enjoy cleaner drapes. If your curtains are particularly dirty, consider vacuuming or lint-rolling them before and after spraying the solution. 

23. Tackle tarnished Tupperware

We've all made the mistake of putting tomato sauce in a plastic storage container, only to regret it. It's very easy for food stains to leach onto your Tupperware, even leaving little rough patches of residue behind. It can seem impossible to get off no matter how many times you've run it through the dishwasher, but a bit of baking soda and vinegar is all you need to revive stained food storage containers. Dust the container with baking soda, then spray it down with vinegar, shake the solution well, then rinse. 

24. Brighten whites

Did you know that most of the food we eat throughout the day is acidic? That's why baking soda is the perfect weapon against stained white fabrics. As an alkaline substance, it neutralizes acids and breaks down the pigmented particles that are dried into a fabric's fibers. Just toss some baking soda in with your next load of laundry along with your regular detergent, or allow a batch of whites to soak in a baking soda and water solution before washing as normal. 

25. Soften your laundry

Of course, everyone likes soft laundry, but we often limit ourselves to either using fabric softener, which can create buildup and residue on clothing, or disposable, wasteful dryer sheets. But baking soda is an excellent and environmentally friendly alternative. It softens the minerals in hard water, which is often what's responsible for leaving fabrics feeling rough. By softening the water, your detergent is better able to clean and be rinsed from your laundry, leaving you with buttery soft clothes and linens.