Solve Simple Gardening Dilemmas With This Classic Solution
Take care of weeds, pests and more with this all-natural remedy.
By now you probably know that a humble box of baking soda can go well beyond your kitchen cabinet and do some pretty amazing things. Personally, I go through a lot of baking soda living with two felines. But you can also use it with a variety of other inexpensive, multipurpose solutions to unclog drains, remove carpet stains, refresh grout and scour kitchen appliances. It's a safe alternative to harsh, chemical-laden cleaners you could use, and a box generally costs less than a $1 at the supermarket. You're saving pennies and the environment!
Unclog Slow Drains
Before you go the chemical route to clear a slow-moving drain, try baking soda and vinegar. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, then heat up a cup of vinegar and pour it on top of the baking soda. After approximately 10 minutes, flush with a pot of boiling water. (Don't use this solution on a clogged drain.)
All-Natural Oven Scrub
A dirty oven can pose a serious cleaning challenge. Avoid corrosive chemicals and toxic odors by whipping up a baking soda and salt paste made with water or vinegar. Spread the paste over the floor, walls and oven door using a brush. (Be sure to wear gloves when you do this!) Let the mixture sit for about 24 hours, keeping it moist with a spritz of water or vinegar periodically. The paste will help soften the burnt-on food and make scrubbing your oven a bit easier. Wipe the paste away with a sponge or cloth, then turn on the oven to around 100 degrees F. Keep it on for an hour to soften any lingering residue. Turn the oven off, then once it's cool to the touch, spritz any stubborn areas with vinegar and wipe down.
Scour a Ceramic Stovetop
Baked-on food residue tends to build up on cooktops no matter how hard you try to keep them clean. Luckily, a paste of warm water and baking soda spooned onto the surface will help loosen the residue. Let it sit for several minutes, then scrub to remove the gunk. Finish by spritzing with glass cleaner, then wipe dry.
Refresh the Refrigerator
It’s easy for crumbs and spills to gunk up your fridge in no time. Remove those mishaps with a paste of baking soda and dish soap. Use a scrub sponge to get up stubborn spots, then wipe away the mixture with warm water. Be sure to microwave your sponge for two minutes after use to keep it from harboring germs.
Quick Scour a Slow Cooker
Getting caked-on food out of your slow cooker doesn’t have to be a headache. Just fill the pot with water, then add 1/4 cup of baking soda and cook on high for three to four hours. The heated mixture will soften up any crusty residue. After a few hours, pour the water out, then lightly dust the inside of the pot with baking soda and scrub well. With a clean, damp cloth, rinse and wipe the pot out. You’re now ready for your next recipe!
Pretty-Up Tarnished Silver
Line a pan with aluminum foil and place silver pieces on top of the foil. Next, bring a pot of water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add baking soda into the hot water and stir. Once the chemical reaction kicks in, the water will become foamy. Next, pour the baking soda mixture over the tarnished pieces, and let them soak for about 10 minutes. This reaction causes the tarnish to change back to silver, while the sulfur attaches itself to the foil. Give the chemical reaction time to do its thing! When the pieces are ready, remove them with tongs, then rinse and dry each piece with a clean towel. Lightly buff each piece to a gorgeous sparkle.
Deodorize a Front-Load Washer
Front-load washers look great, they're more efficient and they use less detergent than a traditional top-loading model, but they’re also prone to smelling funky over time. Pour a half cup of baking soda into the detergent cup, then run a wash cycle with hot water to cut soap scum and deodorize the machine. A clean machine ensures your laundry smells its best, so deep-clean it monthly.
Remove Carpet Stains
If you've got an unsightly spot on your area rug or carpet, sprinkle it with baking soda to wick out any excess moisture. Let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it up. Next, blot the stain with 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar, working from the outside edges inward. Blot until the stain has transferred from the carpet to the cleaning cloth, then allow to air dry.
Did you know, though, that you can take this centuries-old solution out to the garden, too? These clever gardening hacks will keep your yard looking beautiful all year long.
Bring beauty back to your sidewalks. Simply pour baking soda into cracks where weeds appear. The baking soda alone should kill any small weeds and prevent new ones from sprouting back up.
Sprinkle baking soda on your soil with a flour sifter to keep ants, roaches and slugs away from your garden. (Be sure to avoid your plants!) It's a safe way to keep beneficial insects around and say sayonara to the ones you're tired of seeing.
Nothing's better than sinking your teeth into a sweet, juicy tomato right from the garden. Baking soda can actually make them taste even better! Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on the soil around your tomato plants to lower the acidity levels. (The lower the acid level, the sweeter your tomatoes are.) Just make sure the baking soda doesn't get on the plant.
Is your compost pile starting to scare the neighbors? Sprinkle baking soda around your compost pile (or in the bin) to eliminate odor.
Grungy Garden Tools Get a Seasonal Scrub
After multiple seasons of gardening wear and tear, it's time to give your beloved tools a good scrub-down. Here's what you'll need to get the job done: gardening gloves, putty knife, steel wool, 3 1/2 gallon plastic bucket, 1 Tbsp. dish soap, 2 cups bleach, 1 cup vegetable oil, 5 oz. can lighter fluid, all-purpose play sand, bleach-free disinfecting wipes, old towels, garden hose