See that little flexing bicep on the baking soda below? It's not just there because baking soda is strong stuff: It's also a symbol of how you feel—resourceful and capable—when you use it.
Because beyond baking soda's muffin-leavening powers and fridge-odor-absorbing abilities (a claim that's as frequently disputed as it's made, though Ted Allen says it really does work), it can also make your counters shine, your pets less smelly, your hummus creamier, your hazelnuts skinless. And all that, from one box!
While we couldn't possibly list the "hundreds of uses," here are some of our frequently used—food-wise and cleaning-wise. We hope you add your own baking soda brilliance to the comments below!
Soak fruits and vegetables in a bowl of cold water mixed with a couple tablespoons of baking soda for 5 minutes before scrubbing clean and, according to Good Housekeeping, you can say goodbye to dirt and the waxy coatings.
Baking soda's the magic ingredient that gives honeycomb candy its crunchy, porous texture.
And that makes soda bread rise high without the uncertainty of yeast.
...and other stubborn stain, like beets, from enamel pots.
When that enamel pot is more burnt than stained (and all feels helpless), it needs a baking soda soak. Sprinkle it with a generous amount of baking soda, add hot water, and let it sit overnight; the next morning, scrub it with a dish brush and repeat as needed. If you're impatient, simmer white vinegar in the pot with a bit of baking soda added to it, scrubbing as needed and repeating the process until you've achieved homeostasis.
Stop your trash can from being so darn stinky: Sprinkle baking soda all over the inside of the can—or even throw some directly into the bag. It's also a powerful cleaning tool: Mix it with lemon juice and vinegar to scrub down your can between trash take-outs.
Clean your oven: Use a sponge or spray bottle to wet down the inside surfaces, then sprinkle baking soda all over (or make a thick paste of the two and cover the surfaces). Let it sit for a few hours (or overnight), then wipe clean.
Return your painted wall to its pristine, un-crayoned state with baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge.
Let it help you to remove an oily stain on a linen: Tap some baking powder onto the stain and let it sit to aborb; then brush off the excess, apply dishwashing liquid directly onto the trouble spot, and dab—don't rub—it in. Launder in the warmest possible water that your linen can handle. Repeat the process if any of the stain is left after the first try.
Get rid of grub in your fine mesh strainer. Set the dirty strainer immediately into a pot of warm water with a bit of baking soda mixed in and let soak while you do the rest of the dishes (or eat your meal).
Clean your sink. When you have a lemon leftover from cooking or juicing, don't toss it: Sprinkle some baking soda in the sink, then use the lemon-half as a scrubber. It'll save your sponge from the sink scum for a bit longer.
Wash the washer. To clean a front-loading washing machine, PopSugar recommends adding a mixture of baking soda and water to the detergent caddy, then pouring vinegar directly into the drum. Run your washer on its hottest cycle, then wipe with a clean sponge.
Use it to spot-clean a wooden cutting board: For any stained areas, like residue from blackberries, beets, or steak, make a coarse paste of salt, water, and baking soda, and then scrub it on the area with a tea towel or brush.
No more stinky, stainy plastic containers: Make a thick-ish paste of warm water and baking soda and rub it into the inside the container. Let it sit for at least one day, then rinse it out thoroughly. Continue until no stains remain and the container smells fresh. (It'll work on an old-smelling reusable water bottle, too.)
Mix together toilet bowl cleaner. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar into the toilet. Let it sizzle, then scrub and flush.
How does baking soda help you out on the regular? Tell us in the comments!
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.