How to clean your house with baking soda

In August 2011, Angie’s List website and call center yielded more than 1,200 requests for Los Angeles house cleaners. Some members turn to the List to find house cleaners to help prepare their homes for a special occasion, while others, including member Deanne Gresham, opt for regular professional cleanings.

Gresham hired Hawthorne, Calif.-based FCCS – Flor Cruz Cleaning Service – for a cleaning every other week.

“We have a basic list of things for [the cleaner] to do every time – baths, kitchen, floors, dusting,” Gresham says "Once completed, [the cleaner] goes beyond the list to do things she sees need attention – fridge, oven windows and laundry.”

For those who opt for professional house cleaning services, there is a hidden house cleaner in your kitchen pantry that can help keep your home spotless in between cleanings – baking soda.

There are many benefits to using baking soda for house cleaning. It's safe and non-toxic, incredibly affordable and highly effective. It’s the ultimate cleaner in a handy yellow box, providing you know how to use it. Here are some ways that you can use baking soda to clean items throughout the house.

Freshen up: A natural deodorizer for the air, you can place a box or small bowl in the fridge to absorb unappealing food odors. You can also sprinkle some in the bottom of the trash can every time you put in a new bag.

Silver cleaner: Make a paste using three parts baking soda to one part water. Rub the paste into the silver and then gently scrub it away using warm water. For a sparkling finish that your grandmother would be proud of, gently dry with a clean, soft cloth.

Baked on foods: Meals that stick to the bottom of the pan can take forever to clean out, but baking soda will speed up the process. Simply sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the pot, add a little hot water and allow it to soak overnight. The next morning you can easily remove that food and finish cleaning the pot, pan or glass dish.

Scuff marks: Linoleum and even tile floors can fall victim to scuff marks. Easily clean away by sprinkling the scuffed area with baking soda and then wiping it clean with a warm, damp cloth. This method is even appropriate for no-wax floors.

Countertop stains: Whether it’s the kitchen or the bathroom, stains on the countertop can be unsightly. Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and apply it to the stain. Allow it to sit for a few minutes then wipe it away along with the stain.

Clogged drains: Copper pipes in older homes require special cleaners that won’t corrode the copper. Use baking soda as an alternative that is safe for all piping and won’t create dangerous fumes. Just pour 1/4 cup or baking soda down the drain weekly, and then rinse away with hot water.

Carpet odors: Sprinkle baking soda into the carpets 15 minutes before vacuuming and you will soon enjoy a fresh smelling carpet.

Cigarette smoke: If you have smokers in the home, add some baking soda to the ashtrays to prevent the smoke smell from permeating your home.

Lawn furniture: You can even spruce up your lawn furniture by mixing ¼ cup of baking soda with 1 quart of water and scrubbing down the furniture.

Baking soda is for more than cakes and cookies, it can be an important part of your cleaning supply list. Keep a box in each bathroom and the kitchen for quick clean-ups that won’t irritate your airways or harm your skin. It’s safe enough to be used around children and yet effective enough for house cleaning in every room of the home.

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