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7 Genius Baking Soda Hacks Guaranteed to Save You Time and Money

This pantry staple works better than bleach in some instances!

As one of the original kitchen staples, baking soda is a must-have in any pantry. It is incredibly useful in both cooking and cleaning, from reducing the acidity in tomato sauce to leaving your sink sparkling clean. But you may want to pull your baking soda out of the cupboard more often since this powder has plenty of uses outside the kitchen too. Below you’ll find eight surprisingly useful baking soda hacks you’ll want to try!

1. Baking soda hack: Nix germs from toothbrushes

toothbrush with water and a dish of baking soda; baking soda hacks
Michelle Patrick/Getty Images

Toothbrushes left on bathroom counters can become magnets for airborne germs and microbes, says Shara L. Ryan of Simply Renewed Living. Though you can certainly toss cheap toothbrushes away and replace them, it’s easy and worth your time to extend their life with baking soda.

To clean them, pour 2 tsp. of baking soda into a cup of water and soak for 15 minutes. And to prevent germs from landing on bristles in the first place, store brushes in a cabinet or even a travel mug with a closed lid. (Click through to learn how baking soda helps get rid of canker sores, too.)

See this in action in the video below:

2. Make fresh produce safe to eat

Washing produce is one of many baking soda hacks
Pawel Kacperek/Getty

You love having fresh fruit and veggies around, but worry about consuming pesticides and dirt. Fortunately, there’s an effective way to get your produce clean. Fill a large bowl or your sink with cool water, add 2 tsp. of baking soda and mix well to prevent clumping.

Add your produce to the water and let it soak for about 15 minutes to allow the baking soda to do most of the work for you. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst discovered that this simple step removes up to 95% of pesticides — working even more effectively than produce cleaners that contain bleach.

For firm vegetables like carrots or potatoes, you can also use a brush to gently scrub the surface after soaking the produce. For fragile fruits and veggies, like berries, gently rub the surface with your hands. 

Related: Tricks to Keep Your Produce Fresh For Longer

3. Baking soda hack: Eliminate pet odors

jar of baking soda on a rug with scrub brush nearby; baking soda hacks
Halyna Romaniv/Getty Images

Fido gets regular baths, but between washings, he can sometimes smell less than fresh, which leaves lingering odors around the house. This can be particularly frustrating when guests are on the way! No need to buy pricey pet-masking perfumes to lift Fido’s shaggy scent: Just reach for baking soda. “It absorbs odors from both surfaces and the air,” explains Jamie Novak, author of Stop Throwing Money Away. Sprinkle a bit on your sofa and rugs, let sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum to eliminate the powder — and the smells.

Related: Out of Dog Shampoo? A Vet Explains Why You Should Never Use People Shampoo

4. Unclog a slow-draining sink

Unclogging a sink is one of many baking soda hacks
Andrei Zonenko/Getty

Ugh! You notice your bathroom sink is draining slowly, but you’d rather not resort to harsh chemicals to fix the problem. “Skip store-bought products and head to your pantry,” urges Paul Abrams, a plumbing and cleaning expert for Roto Rooter. “Dump 1 cup of baking soda, followed by 1 cup of white vinegar down your drain.” The combination of these household staples causes a chemical reaction — that familiar fizzing — that powers through even the toughest clogs. No stinky fumes or calls to the plumber required!

Watch how well this works in this video:

5. Baking soda hack: Remove oil stains on garments

Dropped some of your famous pasta salad on your shirt, and now you’re looking at an oil splotch? Reach for baking soda. “Absorbent powders like baking soda and cornstarch are your best bet to remove oil,” promises Leanne Stapf of The Cleaning Authority. First, blot the stain with a cloth to help pull out excess oil. Then cover the stain with baking soda and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes and launder as usual. And if it’s set-in? Repeat the powder process and wash as needed.

6. Freshen up a mattress

Freshening a mattress is one of many baking soda hacks
Helin Loik-Tomson/Getty

If your mattress smells a bit off, reach for baking soda! “Just combine 1 cup of baking soda and 10 drops of lavender oil and sprinkle over the mattress,” advises Noemi Varga, host of the YouTube channel Simple Living with Scandish Home. “Let the solution sit for 2 hours with the window open, then vacuum it up.” Baking soda absorbs odors while the fresh air dries the mattress, preventing new smells from setting in.

Related: Your Eye Irritation and Chronic Coughing Could Be Due To Your Mattress — Experts Reveal How To Find Out + Easy Fix

7. Baking soda hack: Help cut flowers thrive

The beautiful “just because” bouquet you received makes you smile whenever you see it in your kitchen. To help it last, enlist the help of the pantry staple. “You can use baking soda to extend a flower’s life,” says gardening expert Petar Ivanov of Fantastic Gardeners. “Add a teaspoon to the water in the vase to keep them blooming day after day.”  Baking soda is a natural fungicide so it will keep the water free of bacteria so your blooms thrive.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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