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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tips & Tools Wednesday: Baking Soda

Cleaner, Secret Agent, $2 Deodorizer:

Welcome to the wide world of Sodium Bicarbonate. Although we are most familiar with baking soda as a leavening agent in breads, cakes and cookies this simple antacid has many more purposes in and around your kitchen. Try these top 10 ways to use baking soda in your apartment for cheap, simple cleaning and deodorizing:
  1. Stove top: Nothing is more unappetizing than a gritty stove top. Use a teaspoon or two on the delicate surface, working in circular motions with a damp towel or sponge. Baking soda will do wonders on tough cooked on stains without damaging your stove or your security deposit.
  2. Pots and pans: Burned on greasy foods? The next time you char the scraggly remains of an otherwise delicious dinner try removing the burned bits with a paper towel and soaking the pan in a little water. Remove the pan and add a sprinkle of baking soda, working with a damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly and scrub with dish soap to remove any remaining film.
  3. Before long winter or summer breaks: When you're the last to leave for break sprinkle a little baking soda in the drain to keep any bits of leftovers trapped below the drain from stinking up your kitchen while you're away.
  4. Refrigerator odors: For a mere eighty-nine cents you can buy a small box of baking soda to keep your fridge smelling so fresh and so clean. Peel back the box top and place it in the back of your fridge. The box should be replaced monthly. Do not use baking soda from the fridge for baking! Keep a clean box in the pantry and pour some baking soda into a Tupperware dish and place in the fridge for odor patrol.
  5. Gym bags: You can buy a variety of deodorizers that cost an arm and a leg but the "secret" ingredient in almost all of them is sodium bicarbonate. Empty the bag, sprinkle in some baking soda and allow the bag to dry overnight and dump out the soda.
  6. Shoes: You can also deodorize your gym shoes or hiking boots. Unlace them, folding the tongue back and douse the interior with a little baking soda. Shake it around and allow them to dry (at least overnight), pouring out the soda before wearing them again.
  7. Tubs and sinks: When it's your turn to scrub-a-dub the tub use a fresh damp sponge and a generous sprinkle of baking soda instead of expensive, harmful cleaners. Scrub as usual and rinse thoroughly.
  8. Trashcans: Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your kitchen or bath trashcan before placing your plastic liner to keep odors in check.
  9. Mouthwash: Did you say Thai food? Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. Swish generously and then spit.
  10. Carpets: When the party is over save yourself from your landlord and stinky odors. Spot wash the stains using a mild cleanser (dish soap and water on a towel) and let dry. When the spot is totally dry sprinkle a little baking soda over it and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Vacuum as usual. Warning: while mild, some carpets may be discolored by baking soda. Try testing a little baking soda and water on a spot say under the edge of the couch before treating a big area.
For more suggestions and coupons check out the Arm & Hammer website. Happy Spring cleaning!

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