30 clever ways with bicarb

Who needs expensive products when can use trusty ol’ bicarb of soda? This cheap and eco-friendly household staple offers loads of uses to make your life easier. You probably have a box in your cupboard already. Bonus!

Household uses:

  • Have you ever opened your fridge and … whew … awful odour? Bicarb helps freshen a smelly fridge by neutralizing bad odours. To try this trick, fill a cup with bicarb and place it in the back of your fridge.
  • Combine one tablespoon of bicarb with five drops of essential oil. Spoon the mixture into a clean spray bottle, add distilled water and shake for an air freshener.
  • Get whiter, brighter clothes by adding a small cup of bicarb to a load of laundry (along with your regular liquid detergent) to get clothes cleaner and brighter.
  • From worktops to fridges, the sink and even your cooking utensils, you can clean the whole kitchen naturally by mixing bicarb with an equal amount of lemon juice and a bit of water. Apply the paste with a sponge to the appliance and scrub thoroughly.
  • Most kitchen drains can be unclogged by pouring in a cup of bicarb followed by one cup of vinegar. Give it several minutes to work, then add one litre of boiling water. Repeat if necessary. If you know your drain is clogged with grease, use a half cup each of bicarb and salt followed by one cup of boiling water. Let the mixture work overnight, then repeat if necessary.
  • Freshen up rugs by sprinkling bicarb on the carpet, wait at least 15 minutes (preferably overnight), and then vacuum. The same goes for a smelly pet bed! Sprinkle, wait 15 minutes and vacuum.
  • Kill garden weeds naturally by sprinkling bicarb into the cracks on your driveway and walkways. Rather avoid using it to kill weeds in your flowerbeds and gardens, as it may harm your other plants as well.
  • For a quick test of your garden soil’s acidity, scoop some soil into a small container and moisten it with water. Add some bicarb to the surface; if it bubbles your soil is very acidic.
  • Add a teaspoon of bicarb to your vase of flowers to keep the bunch looking and smelling fresher for longer.
  • Grimy grout lines? Make a simple grout cleaner by mixing together enough hydrogen peroxide and bicarb to form a paste. Apply the mixture to dirty grout and scrub with an old toothbrush.
  • Adding bicarb to your dishwasher is an easy way to get cleaner dishes and a cleaner dishwasher in one! Just add a couple of teaspoons of baking soda to your dishwasher along with your usual detergent.
  • Whether it was a leftover curry or spaghetti bolognese that did the damage, you can easily revive your old Tupperware or plastic food containers. If yours are stained, greasy or smelly, soak them overnight in a bowl of hot water with a sprinkling of bicarb to leave them spotless.
  • Scrub away marks on your wall. Simply make a 50/50 paste of bicarb and water and find any scuff mark or crayon art on your painted wall, gently rub in and wipe away.
  • Salvage a burned pot. Scrape out as much food as you can and then fill the pan a quarter full of water. Pour in a half cup of bicarb and bring the water to a boil. Turn it off and let it sit overnight. In the morning, you can clean off the black gunk with ease.
  • Make a winter day activity for kids. Boil two cups of bicarb with one cup of cornflour and 1¼ cups of water until thickened. Remove from the heat and cool. It makes a fun, pliable modelling clay that’s good for a day.

Health & beauty:

  • Sprinkle a small amount of bicarb into your shampoo to remove build-up from shampoo, conditioner, serums, and other products. Wash as usual and rinse thoroughly for cleaner, more manageable hair.
  • Fill a bowl, large enough to fit your hairbrushes, with warm water. Add 1 tsp of bicarb and soak the brushes for 20 minutes. Remove the brushes from the water and leave to dry on a towel.
  • Use bicarb as a replacement for mouthwash. It may help freshen your breath and even has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties! To make your own mouthwash, add half a teaspoon of bicarb to half a glass of warm water, then swish as usual.
  • Brighten dingy nails by using three parts bicarb and one part water to brighten your manicure! Rub the mixture over your hands and fingers in a gentle, circular motion to exfoliate and smooth your skin. Rinse clean with warm water and apply polish as usual.
  • Running short on toothpaste? Bicarb is the perfect solution to get you by. Simply slowly add water to the bicarb until you create a paste. Store in an airtight container and brush your teeth as normal.
  • For a spot treatment, mix a spoonful of bicarb with a small amount of water until it forms a thick paste. Apply to a pimple, leave on for 15 minutes, and rinse off with warm water. The bicarb will help to minimise redness and draw out impurities.
  • Chapped lips? Mix equal parts honey and bicarb (you could add sugar for a little more exfoliation). Apply the mixture to lips and rub gently in a circular motion. Don’t forget to apply lip balm afterwards to keep them moisturised!
  • For a relaxing end to a long day, add half a cup of bicarb to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration while you soak. Best of all … it makes the skin oh-so-soft.
  • Bicarb is an incredible exfoliator that unclogs the pores and lightens dark underarms. Lemon, on the other hand, is a powerful antiseptic and a natural bleaching agent. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and lemon each to make a paste. Scrub it over your underarms for about 5 minutes, wash it off using lukewarm water, and finish up by moisturising your skin. Repeat this method three or four times a week for effective results.
  • End of the day and smelling less-than-perfect? A quick dusting of bicarb under your arms will absorb your natural odour to leave you feeling fresh.
  • Cure heartburn with bicarb by making your own antacid. Mix half a teaspoon of bicarb with 50ml of water. Drink up!

But wait, there’s more:

  • Freshen up after your spinning class by sprinkling some bicarb inside your shoes and your gym bag, while you’re at it! Just tap it out before you use them again. • When your sterling silver stops shining, get rid of tarnish by making a paste – three parts bicarb to one part water. Apply it with a lint-free cloth (not a paper towel, which can scratch), and rinse. • When cooking green veggies, add a sprinkle of bicarb to the water and then bring to a boil as usual. The bicarb will help preserve the veggies’ bright green colour as they cook. • Adding a small amount of bicarb to your morning omelettes can make them extra fluffy! Just add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs in your omelette(s).