40 ways to clean with baking soda

Though most of us probably have a box of baking soda in the fridge to keep it smelling fresh, as it turns out, baking soda is right up there with vinegar as one of the best, non-toxic, inexpensive, and versatile cleaning agents you can possibly get your hands on. In case you need a refresher (no pun intended!) on how to make the most of this magic white powder in and around your home, I've compiled dozens of ways to use the stuff, many of which you might be surprised by. Got anything to add to this list?

1. Clean baby toys safely: dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart water and use the solution to wipe down toys with a sponge, rinse, and dry.

2. Get bathroom floors sparkling: mix ½ cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water, mop, and rinse.

3. Deodorize trash cans: dust a bit of baking soda over the can every now and then, and then when you empty it, rinse the canister with 1 cup baking soda to 1 gallon water.

4. Deodorize drains: sprinkle ½ cup baking soda down the drain while running warm water.

5. Refresh carpets: shake a bit of baking soda over the carpet before you vacuum to get out any lingering stinkiness.

6. Clean tile floors: add ½ cup baking soda to a bucket of warm water, mop, rinse.

7. Clean walls and furniture: sprinkle a bit of baking soda onto a damp sponge and apply directly to walls and furniture-it even works to get out crayon stains!

8. Refresh sheets and towels: add ½ cup baking soda to the rinse cycle to help get linens extra clean and fluffy.

9. To deodorize post-spill: after you've cleaned a spill off your upholstery and the area is completely dry, sprinkle the spot with baking soda, let sit for 15 minutes, and vacuum to neutralize any odors.

10. Clean ashtrays: sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of an ashtray to get out the smoky smell.

11. Clean camping and fishing gear: wipe gear down with a solution of 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart water.

12. Freshen up gym bags: just dust some baking soda directly on the bag to deodorize it.

13. Keep closets smelling good: leave a box open in a corner of your closet to mitigate lingering smells.

14. Make sure the recycling bin is fresh: sprinkle baking soda periodically over both the bin and its contents to drive away the stink.

15. Stave off refrigerator grossness: leave an open box in the fridge and swap it out monthly.

16. Clean countertops: apply baking soda to a clean damp sponge or cloth for wiping down food prep areas.

17. Clean produce: dust baking soda directly onto fresh fruits and veggies to get off lingering dirt. Scrub with a vegetable brush or clean sponge before rinsing.

18. Get silver sparkling: make a paste with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub onto sterling or silver-plated flatware and dishes with a clean cloth, then rinse.

19. Get your microwave spic and span: apply baking soda to a clean damp sponge to wipe down the interior and exterior of your microwave.

20. Clean Tupperware: scrub down plastic containers with baking soda, and for stubborn stains, let them soak in a mixture of 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 part water.

21. Clean the coffeemaker: give coffeemakers (and mugs) a thorough scrub with ¼ baking soda to 1 quart water.

22. Deodorize the dishwasher: sprinkle a handful of baking soda on the bottom of the machine to absorb food odors before your next load.

23. Clean sponges: to get out the musty smell, soak sponges in 4 tablespoons baking soda with 1 quart warm water.

24. Clean pots and pans: to help lift stubborn baked-on foods, shake on a hearty amount of baking soda, add dish detergent and hot water and let sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing.

25. Get dishes sparkling: add 2 big tablespoons of baking soda to your regular dish detergent to cut the grease and foods left on your tableware.

26. Remove tea stains on teapots: soak stained teapot in ¼ cup baking soda and 1 quart warm water overnight before washing.

27. Laundry booster: add a cup of baking soda to your laundry load to help brighten clothes.

28. Clean grills: for tough, greasy stains, scrubs grills with a wire brush and a paste made of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part warm water, then rinse well.

29. Get gunk and mildew off pool toys: use ¼ cup baking soda with 1 quart warm water and wipe down plastic and vinyl pool toys.

30. Clean patio furniture: before you store it for the season, scrub lawn chairs with baking soda and a wet sponge. You can also sprinkle baking soda underneath cushions every so often to keep them fresh.

31. Deodorize your dog: to keep Fido smelling fresh between baths, sprinkle fur with a bit of baking soda before brushing it through.

32. Remove grease and oil stains in the garage: dump some baking soda directly onto the spot and scrub with a wet brush.

33. Wash your car: mix ¼ cup baking soda in 1 quart warm water and use the solution to clean chrome, windows, tires, vinyl seats and floor mats without scratches.

34. Clean hairbrushes and combs: remove oil and produce buildup by letting brushes and combs soak in a sink full of warm water and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Rinse and let dry.

35. Refresh stinky sneakers: sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes to soak up sweat and odors.

36. Clean retainers and dentures: let them soak in a glass full of warm water and 2 teaspoons baking soda.

37. Clean stuffed animals: dust baking soda onto stuffed animals, let it sit for 15 minutes, then dust off.

38. As a shampoo booster: sprinkle a little baking soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo to help get out residue from styling products.

39. Deodorize baby bottles: fill bottle with warm water and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Shake, rinse, and clean thoroughly.

40. Clean pet toys: scrub down plastic chew toys with 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart warm water.

Sources: armandhammer.com; thefarm.org; thenewhomemaker.com

Related: How to make your own non-toxic oven cleaner; 25 ways to clean with vinegar