Raising agents, such as baking powder is something that most households will have tucked away in a kitchen cupboard. After all, why wouldn’t you? Everyone loves baking perfectly light and fluffy cakes.
You might not know, however, that some raising agents have an extra handy use – they can be used as a cleaning product!
Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda
Since the names are remarkably similar, even experienced bakers sometimes assume that baking powder and baking soda are two names for the same substance. In fact, they are chemically different.
Baking soda is comprised of one chemical – sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda is also known as bicarbonate of soda. When used in a cake, sodium bicarbonate requires the use of an acid to start the chemical reaction that causes the cake to rise.
Baking powder, on the other hand, contains sodium bicarbonate as well as acid – usually cream of tartar. This means that baking powder only needs a liquid for the reaction to start.
When it comes to home cleaning hacks, raising agents can have a surprising part to play. You’ll find that most cleaning guides will use baking soda; it is a purer chemical and is often much cheaper to buy in bulk than baking powder.
Baking soda and baking powder are not chemically the same, and so you should not substitute baking soda for baking powder when following a cleaning guide. Whilst baking powder may offer some cleaning effect, it really is just designed for baking, and so it is not recommended that you use it for any cleaning purposes.
Save it for the cakes!
Baking Soda Cleaning Hacks
If you do have baking soda in your cupboard, there are a whole host of ways that you can use this to clean various areas of your home. This substance is gentle, surprisingly effective and a natural deodoriser too.
1. Stained plastic containers
Leftovers have a nasty habit of staining plastic food containers. To refresh your containers, wipe the surfaces over with a clean sponge dusted with baking soda. If the stains are tough, try soaking the box in a solution made from four tablespoons of baking soda and around one litre of warm water.
2. Deodorising the Fridge
No matter how careful you are, certain foods will always leave a lingering smell in your fridge. Whether it’s last night’s salmon or the chunk of cheese you forgot about, the lingering odour can cling to the rest of the food in your fridge. If that sounds like your fridge, have no fear! Baking soda can absorb these strong odours, leaving your fridge fresh as a summer breeze.
3. Pots and Pans
Scrubbing burnt-on food from pots and pans is no fun. Instead of scrubbing constantly and not seeing any results (and perhaps even damaging non-stick coatings, step up your cleaning game with the addition of some baking soda.
Soak the pans in hot water with a sprinkle of baking soda before getting to work with the sponge, and the grime will come away much easier.
4. Upholstery and Fabrics
Over time, fabric sofas, mattresses and pet beds can all start to smell a little… off. These smells can quickly be banished by sprinkling baking soda on the surface, leaving it to sit for around fifteen minutes, and then hoovering it off.
5. Cleaning Toys
Little ones’ hands are always grubby. Whether it’s food, mud or goodness knows what else, this muck ends up all over their toys.
Over time, they can become a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and other nastiness. Fortunately, toys can be quickly and easily freshened up by using a sponge dipped in a mixture of baking soda and water.
If your kids love drawing all over your gorgeous, clean walls in crayon, have no fear! Use a damp sponge that has been sprinkled with baking soda to carefully scrub at the marks and breathe a sigh of relief as they come away.
Bathrooms can quickly attract grime. Baths, tiles, sinks and shower curtains can all end up looking less than fresh very quickly. Fortunately, this can be quickly rectified with a little elbow grease and a sponge dampened with baking soda and water. Rinse the residue away to reveal shiny surfaces!
Stubborn, clogged drains don’t always need expensive and nasty chemical solutions. Whatever your drain is clogged with, it can be quickly cleared with the use of baking soda and vinegar. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. At this point – we recommend covering the drain with a wet cloth to contain the volcano-like reaction. Leave the mixture for five minutes, then flush through with hot water.
Both white and coloured clothing alike can come out of the washing machine looking a little sad. Simply add baking soda to the detergent in your washing machine for brighter, cleaner clothes.
10. Water Rings
If someone neglected to use a coaster on your coffee table, leaving an ugly water ring, you can quickly clear these up with baking soda. Mix one part baking soda with one part of white, non-gel toothpaste. Using a damp cloth, buff out the ring with the toothpaste and baking soda mixture. Wipe away the residue with a dry cloth, and polish to finish as normal.