Healthy and Helpful Uses for Baking Soda

Most people have a range of cleaning products hidden under their sink, but due to the known harmful effects of many of these chemicals (e.g. bleach and ammonia), many people are looking for safer, natural, alternatives. Many people know about using vinegar as a cleaning and disinfecting agent, but not as many realize that baking soda is another great option for cleaning your home. Not only can baking soda be used for your home as a healthy cleaning alternative, it also has many personal-care uses.

Baking soda is the common name for sodium bicarbonate. It’s a white powder that is found in every grocery store, often in the baking aisle. Baking soda is slightly alkaline, and when mixed with an acid it will react and produce carbon dioxide. You may remember this reaction from your grade-school volcano project, when you mixed baking soda with vinegar to make ‘lava.’ This is the same reaction that causes your cakes and biscuits to rise. These properties are what give baking soda its range of uses.

Healthy uses of baking soda in your home:

Odor Absorbent

Tear the top off a box of baking soda and leave it in your fridge to absorb any unpleasant odors. You can also pour some into the bottom of your trash can to absorb leaks and smells. It will kill the odor causing bacteria that it comes in contact with.

Pot and Pan Cleaner

Make a paste with the baking soda and place it on the tough stains in your pots and pans. Let it rest for 30-minutes or more, and then scrub and rinse off. The alkaline nature of baking soda will help break down the tough to scrub food particles.

Laundry Detergent

You can use baking soda as a stand-alone laundry detergent. It can also be used in addition to most laundry detergents to help deal with hard water. Add a half cup to a load of laundry to have it come out extra fresh!

Carpet Deodorizer

Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets and let sit for about an hour. Then, vacuum your carpets to remove the baking soda.This will leave your carpets smelling clean!

Stainless Steel Polish

Baking soda is mildly abrasive. Make a paste with water and baking soda and scrub in a circular manner to make your steel items shine. Rinse off the excess baking soda.

Vegetable Wash

Fill your sink with cool water and a half-cup of baking soda. Place the fresh vegetables in the sink to soak from 10 to 30-minutes. Rinse off your veggies and store the in your fridge. The baking soda will help kill any bugs and bacteria, while removing dirt and pesticides.

Healthy uses for baking soda on your body:

Tooth Powder

You can keep a small dish of baking soda in the bathroom and use it just like normal toothpaste. It is mildly abrasive, which polishes your teeth, and kills the bacteria that cause bad breath. Add a couple drops of peppermint oil to the baking soda for a more traditional toothpaste experience.

Hair Care

Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda in your hair and then use your shampoo as normal. The baking soda will help prevent shampoo build-up and leave your hair extra clean and manageable.


Many natural deodorants utilize baking soda as an antibacterial agent. You can rub a small amount of baking soda into your armpits to help neutralize odors, or make your own deodorant using baking soda, coconut oil, and essential oils.

Although baking soda is incredibly safe compared to standard house-hold cleaners, like bleach, there are a couple cautions to keep in mind. Baking soda can be hard on the skin if not mixed with a diluting substance. In the case of deodorants, it is often mixed with an oil to reduce the drying effect that can lead to skin irritation. Be mindful not to swallow too much baking soda at one time. It can neutralize your stomach acid and lead to an upset stomach or poor digestion. The alkaline nature can also irritate the throat and lead to ulcers if consumed in high quantities.

What is your favorite use for baking soda? Tell us in the comments below!

Josh Wood BHSc GCSC

Coach Josh Wood, BHSc GCSC is a TEDx speaker, health educator, and online fitness coach who lives in Hobart, Tasmania. Coach Josh works to help people find their passion for activity through online coaching, speaking, and teaching busy people how to eat like an adult. He spent most of his adult life studying the body through manual therapies, health science, and strength and conditioning. With a background in teaching massage therapists and personal trainers he also writes for various online publications to keep his communication skills sharp. His diverse background brings the many facets of health and fitness together. Head over to to learn more!

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