More uses for baking soda

By now most people know they can clean a lot of things around the house with baking soda.  I clean my toilet, counter tops, until the fridge died I used a container of baking soda to prevent odors,  sprinkle it on my carpet before vacuuming, and have even added it to the boys stinky shoes to be able to allow them inside the house.  But there is one thing most people don’t think of to use baking soda for.

 

What do you wash your dishes with?  I was a obsessed with Dawn from the time I rented my first apartment at age 18.  Until the Exxon Valdez spill.  When I saw animals being cleaned with Dawn dish soap to remove the oil that was clinging to their bodies I began to question what was really in the grease cutting power of Dawn.  I didn’t know what to use, but I decided I didn’t want this on my family’s dishes any longer.

I switched to Seventh Generation dish soap when I found it.  It was definitely a step in the right direction.  But the more I began to worry about the environment and our over use of the natural resources I didn’t want to buy my dish soap in plastic bottles.

An old spaghetti jar with holes punched in the top and a pretty picture from a magazine is a lovely way to hold my baking soda for kitchen cleaning.

An old spaghetti jar with holes punched in the top and a pretty picture from a magazine is a lovely way to hold my baking soda for kitchen cleaning.

I am a tea drinker, love a cup of hot tea but hate the stains tea leaves on my cups.  When washing my dishes  I would  need to break out the baking soda to remove some of the tougher stains on the cups.  It works amazingly well, I didn’t even need to add any elbow grease to remove the stains.

This got me thinking, if I feel my toilet is clean using baking soda and vinegar, and if I can remove stains safely from my cups, why am I not using it to wash my dishes?

I have switched to just baking soda to clean my dishes and have been extremely satisfied.  Yes, it is packaged in a cardboard box but I can find uses for the cardboard and not toss it away

Do you have good silver handed down to you from a loved relative?  What do you use to polish your silver?  I’ve used a polishing cloth in the past, but it can take hours to do just a few badly tarnished pieces.  Want to make the job super easy and fast?  Just sprinkle a little baking soda on a damp piece of silver and wipe away. Tarnish will be gone with no hard rubbing or chemical cleaners.  Here’s one piece I found when decluttering my kitchen a few weeks ago.

Take a look at the before.

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Now the after in less lighting.

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These were taken in the original lighting. The silver is so clean the light reflecting back prevented me from getting a good image.

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While this is off topic I wanted to share how the locally owned hardware store packaged the supplies I needed today.

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Rather than ask me if I wanted a bag, they pulled out a box from shipments they received and carefully filled it with my purchases.  I will reuse the box and it will live on for a new use.  No wasted resources there.

What do you use for washing your dishes?  Will you consider using baking soda?

23 Comments

  1. I use baking soda alot too for cleaning, have tried it on my hair and it’s very gentle. I also use it for my laundry, fa couple of tablespoons in each wash does a great job….I didn’t expect to be happy with the results but was and have used it ever since.

  2. I use baking soda as a scrub in difficult to clean pots and pans. It works really well for my large kettle that I heat the milk in to make yogurt. Milk can leave a tough to remove film on the bottoms and sides of pots. I’ll try it on silver the next time I need to polish. I often use toothpaste for silver polish.

    The cash and carry wholesaler that I shop at doesn’t have bags. If I want my food items to be corralled, I ask for a box. I really like that.

    • We have a few places around here that have bags, but you have to pay for them. They do leave boxes out for you to use. It’s a great way to get in the habit of taking your own with you.

      I’ve heard of toothpaste to polish silver but never tried it, baking soda works so well and so quickly I never thought to try anything else, now I don’t use toothpaste which means I have even more baking soda on hand :-) I have used toothpaste to fill small nail holes in the walls when renting when I don’t have spackling on hand.

  3. I’m not ready for baking soda for dish washing – obviously a wuss! But I have recently discovered others do! And I love it comes in cardboard too (with no plactic bag liner etc)! And Aussie hardware stores also stashes purchases in boxes, so much better than plastic!

    • LOL I’d love to hear if or when you do try using baking soda for your dishes. That’s great that your hardware stores will package your purchases in boxes too. My hardware store will ask you when you buy just a couple of things if you need a bag, I always say no, but when someone does say yes, they have paper bags, no plastic in the store!

  4. I just used up an enormous bag of baking soda that I bought about a year ago at Costco. I use it for just about everything… including hand washing dishes. Although, I do have to admit that with 12-16 cat food dishes to clean daily, I let the dishwasher and my Finish Powerball tabs to the work for me most of the time. :-)

    But, my step mother grew up in post WWII Germany and she said everybody did their dishes with baking soda. Ironically, she doesn’t use it anymore – I think it’s mostly an emotional thing for her. She associates it with a very difficult time in her life when she was living in abject poverty. To her, detergent is synonymous with “the good life” and she simply cannot be convinced that baking soda works just as well!

    • My grandmother was the same way, she grew up in extreme poverty and wanted all the new things to prove to herself that she had escaped. Surprisingly she still hung her laundry outside and in the basement in the winter, especially her sheets which never saw a dryer until her health was so poor that she couldn’t do it any longer.

      So glad I am in good company dish washing with baking soda, and just about everything else..

  5. The uses for baking soda are almost endless and at the right price. Dawn is used on animals with oil on them because it can break down oil. That’s what needed in those situations because oil is not water soluble. Do you have any problems cleaning greasy dishes with only baking soda? Or do you just use really hot water when needed?

    • I haven’t had many really greasy dishes. The only greasy foods I cook with are some oils I use in small amount or butter. So far it hasn’t given me any problem. I’m not a meat eater, but I would have to say that if you have made the switch to enamel or stainless steel pans for cooking that a little soaking with hot water will make them very easy to clean when you are ready to wash them. If I had greasy dishes I may try a little vinegar with my baking soda. But I would love to hear what you think.

      • I’m going to have to do a little more studying and experimenting about the whole subject. What I can tell you is that baking soda can absorb the grease, but doesn’t break it down. But that may be good enough. Also, if you want to kill germs while cleaning, vinegar or a combo of vinegar and soda will probably do the job. (This would only be for household use. Not public places. Bleach is what is needed there.) However, baking soda by itself will not kill germs. This is something to consider especially if you are trying not to spread illness.

        • I use baking soda and vinegar for just about every cleaning need I have. I also read an experiment by a scientist who was affected by the use of bleach to disinfect her work space and found that a spray of vinegar and then a spray of hydrogen peroxide killed more bacteria/germs than bleach alone, so when needing to kill germs I follow up with hydrogen peroxide.

          Thanks for letting us know that baking soda will absorb grease as I didn’t have that answer from personal use.

        • Well… I did some research on this when I was first using baking soda as part of my “no poo” method for my hair. My understanding (which is kindergarten level, I assure you) is that baking soda is alkaline, like lye, only not as strong. Soooo…. soap is usually made by combining grease or oil with lye… and the same principle applies here. So the baking soda combines with the grease/oil to form a mild soap which both cleanses and is soluble in water. You’re basically making soap “on the fly.”

          In terms of germ killing ability, I haven’t really researched this, but I heard once that soap itself actually has no germ killing ability – it simply provides an environment where the germs can be easily rinsed away. I think the same is true of detergent but I’m not sure.

          Anyhow, I suppose this all raises the question that cleaning with baking soda might leave a bit of a “soap scum” film, though I’ve never experienced that with dishes. I suppose you could put some lemon or vinegar in the rinse water if it was a problem.

          That’s all I know on the subject! :-)

          • That’s a lot to know. I never did much research into the properties of baking soda like you have. Interesting that it is similar to lye which my skin could never handle. I haven’t had a problem with a residue on my dishes but the suggestion of vinegar is a good one. I use simple vinegar and water to clean my bare floors. If it works on floors without leaving a residue it surely can work on dishes.

            I had heard the same information on soap. But then we don’t want to kill all germs. I’ve also heard that people who have a septic system on their property are needing to have it emptied quicker when using anti-bacterial soaps as the waste can’t break down filling the tank much quicker.

          • Well… baking soda and lye are similar in that they’re both on the alkaline side of the scale, but baking soda is WAY milder. 7 is neutral, baking soda is around 8.5 or 9, and lye is WAY out there near the end of the scale at about 13 – I think the only things more caustic are stuff like drain cleaner and caustic soda, which you wouldn’t want coming anywhere near your skin. Interestingly, soapy water comes in at about 12… which may explain why my skin has such a hard time with soap.

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