Eat. Home. Live.

In depth ramblings about cooking, homekeeping, and whatever else I decide to write about.

Natural Cleaning- The Science Behind Baking Soda

Welcome to part III of my natural cleaning series. Today’s natural cleaning wonder is baking soda. Baking soda is made from soda ash, which is a naturally occurring substance. Baking soda makes a great multi-purpose cleaner for grease and oil based messes. The most obvious way to use baking soda is as a natural scouring powder. It’s tiny granules make for a nice, safe, scouring powder that generally won’t scratch delicate surfaces (except aluminum. Do not clean aluminum with baking soda.) Not only does it act as a scouring agent when cleaning, its pH (8.2) allows dirt and grease to dissolve in water. I often mix it with dish soap on a clean sponge and use it to clean my sink and tough spots in the tub (most bathtub gunk is a combo of body oil, dirt, and soap, which has fat in it.) I have also used baking soda sprayed with hot water to clean my oven. I will let the paste sit and dry for several hours then wipe it away. It dissolves a lot of the grease and dried off gunk without using harmful sprays.  Baking soda is a great odor neutralizer because it balances pH. If you have a sour/acidic smell (say you spilled milk in the car) it will balance the pH and neutralize the stink a bit. It can also neutralize the pH of laundry water allowing your detergent to clean better.

Here is a recipe for a general cleaner that will supposedly clean anything from toilets to kitchen sinks (but again, baking soda is most effective when working with greases and oils.) Mix it in a spray bottle and use immediately. Discard after using:

  • 1 tsp borax
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 cups hot water
Happy cleaning!

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This entry was posted on January 20, 2011 by in Greener Cleaning, Home.