Solve Simple Gardening Dilemmas With This Classic Solution

Take care of weeds, pests and more with this all-natural remedy.

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

Fill a vase with water, then mix in a teaspoon of baking soda. Your freshly-cut flowers will thank you.

Photo by: Hannah Slaughter

Hannah Slaughter

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!

12 Baking Soda Solutions

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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.)

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Shine-Up Stainless Steel

If your stainless-steel sink is looking dull, sprinkle baking soda onto a soft cloth and buff it back to life. Rinse well after buffing. Avoid harsh, powdered cleansers, as they may scratch the sink’s surface.

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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.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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!

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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.

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Clean Toilets

You’ll need a 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of borax and 1 cup of vinegar. Pour the vinegar onto the toilet stains, then sprinkle with the baking soda/borax mixture. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, then scrub and flush.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Blast Nasty Grout

Baking soda paired with warm water and bleach will knock out stubborn grout stains on tile floors and walls. If you need a heavy-duty cleaning, amp up the bleach (but wear gloves to protect that manicure).

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Wipe Down Outdoor Furniture

The gentle abrasiveness of baking soda is perfect for cleaning stains off painted outdoor furniture. And a baking soda mixture works well on outdoor fabric stains, too.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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.

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

Pour baking soda into cracks where weeds appear. The baking soda alone should kill any small weeds and prevent new ones from growing.

Photo by: Hannah Slaughter

Hannah Slaughter

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.

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

Sprinkle baking soda on your soil with a flour sifter to keep ants, roaches, slugs and rabbits away from your garden.

Photo by: Hannah Slaughter

Hannah Slaughter

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.

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

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 it doesn’t get on the plant.

Photo by: Hannah Slaughter

Hannah Slaughter

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.

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

10 Natural Uses for Baking Soda in the Garden

Sprinkle baking soda around your compost pile (or in the bin) to eliminate odor.

Photo by: Hannah Slaughter

Hannah Slaughter

Is your compost pile starting to scare the neighbors? Sprinkle baking soda around your compost pile (or in the bin) to eliminate odor.

How to Clean and Care for Your Garden Tools in 8 Easy Steps

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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

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Remove Dirt

Using a powerful garden hose, knock the dirt off and go after any stubborn caked-on dirt with a putty knife.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Remove Rust

If your tools have any rust, give those areas a good scrub with steel wool.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Remove Sap

Dab a bit of lighter fluid onto a cloth and wipe the tools to remove sap.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Soak Tools

Once the caked-on dirt and grime have been removed, give the tools a good soak in a bucket of hot water. Add dish soap for an extra boost of cleaning power.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Rinse + Dry

Rinse with clean water, then dry the tools with an old towel. Putting the tools away wet will cause them to rust prematurely.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Cleaning Maintenance

Keep the tools in good shape year-round with a "quick clean" bucket. Fill the bucket with sand and one cup of vegetable oil, then dip larger tools in the bucket at the end of a heavy gardening day to remove dirt and protect the finish.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Disinfect

If you have plants with fungal or bacterial problems, you should periodically disinfect your garden tools. Keep bleach-free disinfectant wipes handy to remove sap, bacteria or fungus from shears, so you don’t spread anything from plant to plant through your garden tools.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Sanitizing Soak

A quick soak in a bleach solution (two cups of bleach for every one gallon of water) can help curb the spread of annoying infestations. Just be sure to rinse and dry the tools thoroughly.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Spick + Span

Now your sparkling tools are ready to dig in the dirt again!

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

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