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20 surprising uses for baking soda

Jan. 1, 2013 at 11:36 AM ET

20 Surprising Uses for Baking Soda
Photo Researchers/Charles D Winters/Getty Images /
20 Surprising Uses for Baking Soda

The uses for baking soda go far beyond simply deodorizing the refrigerator. Read on for some baking soda uses that solve a variety of common problems.

1. Make a quick substitute for spackle.To fill in a small hole, mix a bit of baking soda and a bit of white glue until you have a paste, then use your fingers to ply the paste to fill in the hole.

2. Stop pool chlorine from turning your blond hair green. When you leave the pool, rinse with 1/2 cup baking soda stirred into lemon juice. Wet hair, then pour the mixture on top while it's still bubbling.

3. Clean chrome. Rub chrome with dry baking soda and a dry cloth.

4. Extinguish fires on the barbecue grill. You can douse a flare-up by sprinkling baking soda on it, and since baking soda is of food-grade purity, you won't contaminate the food.

5. Remove the odor of a spraying cat. Make a paste of baking soda and water, cover area, leave for at least three hours but preferably overnight, then vacuum when powder has dried.

6. Relieve pain of sunburn. Apply a paste of baking soda and water to soothe and cool the area.

7. Clean (plastic) piano keys. Baking soda is a gentle abrasive.

8. Remove scuffs from vinyl flooring. A little baking soda on a damp sponge will make them disappear right away.

9. Remove the sour milk smell from baby's plastic bottle. Fill it with warm water, add a teaspoon of baking soda, shake it well and leave it overnight.

10. Polish the silver without elbow grease. Fill a nonaluminum pan with hot water, place a small square of aluminum foil (5 inches or so) in pan, add baking soda (1 teaspoon per quart) and bring to a boil. Drop silver in briefly and remove with tongs. Wash with soapy water and rinse and buff to a gloss. (Not recommended for figured pieces: It will remove shading, so fine silver may look like plate.)

11. Make cloudy iced tea clear again.
Add a pinch of baking soda to the pitcher.

12. Prevent mildew in bathing suits. On a beach outing, bring along a large zippered plastic bag containing 1/4 cup of baking soda. Put wet suits in, then shake the bag well. The soda absorbs moisture and sour musty odors until the suits can be rinsed or washed.

13. Clean corroded terminals. Make a paste of baking soda and salt. After the paste bubbles up, wipe the area, then dry it.

14. Help with heat rash. After a lukewarm shower, use a cleaning product that doesn't contain soap (such as Dove). Towel dry and put a paste of baking soda on any rashy area. Leave it there as long as practical.

15. Keep your dishwasher smelling good when you're away. Sprinkle some baking soda inside the dishwasher and leave the door open just a bit. It won't smell musty when you return.

16. Substitute for other toiletries on a camping trip. You can use it as toothpaste, as deodorant and as a balm for bug bites.

17. Make a "fishy" taste disappear. Soak your catch of the day in a quart of water to which you've added a couple tablespoons of baking soda. Leave for an hour, then wash off and pat the fish dry.

18. Spell doom for slugs. Just sprinkle baking soda on them.

19. Get rid of a musty scent. If the clothes aren't completely dry when the dryer shuts off and smell musty, sprinkle baking soda on them, then put them back in and turn the dryer back on.

20. Clean crayon off a chalkboard. Just use baking soda on a damp rag to remove the wax and make the board clean for chalking again.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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