Try the non-traditional cleaning power of baking soda

You don't have to use chemicals to make your kitchen sparkle; in fact, the solution is right there in your cupboards. Natural cleaners like baking soda can kill germs and fight stains better than some of the much nastier products.

Try the non-traditional cleaning power of baking soda

The many uses of baking soda

  1. Remove stains from plastic utensils and rubber spatulas with a baking soda paste rubbed on with a sponge or scouring pad.
  2. Protect stained enamel cookware, which can be scratched by abrasive cleaners, by coating the stain with a baking soda paste — then wipe it off after an hour.
  3. Add 15 grams (two tablespoons) of baking soda to your dishwashing liquid to clean greasy dishes.
  4. Deodorize your dishwasher by pouring in half a box of baking soda and running the empty washer through the rinse cycle.
  5. Dip a damp cloth in baking soda and rub it on china to remove coffee stains.
  6. Shine stainless steel by sprinkling it with baking soda and rubbing with a damp cloth.
  7. Moisten grease stains on your stovetop with water, cover them with baking soda, and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  8. Clean your coffeemaker by brewing about one litre (one quart) of water mixed with 50 grams (1/4 cup) baking soda.
  9. Loosen burned-on food from cast iron skillets by adding 30 milligrams (two tablespoons) baking soda to about one litre (one quart) water and boiling the solution for five minutes.
  10. Remove residue from a thermos by putting in 50 grams (1/4 cup) baking soda and about one litre (one quart) water and letting it soak overnight.
  11. Getting that tomato sauce stain off your countertop or cabinet is easier than you think. Simply wet the stain with lemon juice, let sit for 30 minutes or so, and then sprinkle baking soda on the abrasive side of an all-purpose kitchen sponge and scrub the discoloured area. Most stains will vanish, and your kitchen will smell fresher.
  12. The chemistry between baking soda and vinegar is so powerful that this combo can flush grease out of kitchen drains. Just pour 125 grams (1/2 cup) baking soda into a clogged drain and follow it with 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) white vinegar. Cover the drain for a few minutes as the chemical reaction dissolves the grease — then flush the drain with warm water. A caveat: Never use this method after trying a commercial drain cleaner; the cleaner could react with vinegar to create dangerous fumes.
  13. Degrease your garbage disposal by occasionally grinding five or six ice cubes along with 125 grams (1/2 cup) baking soda. The ice congeals the grease, priming it for attack by the fast-acting sodium bicarbonate and sending it down the drain. To flush out any residue, fill the stoppered sink with two to three inches hot water and run the water through the disposal.

Make your own spray cleaner

Why buy an antibacterial spray cleaner if you can make one in less than five minutes? Combine 250 millilitres (one cup) rubbing alcohol, 250 millilitres (one cup) water, and 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spritz on kitchen surfaces including tile and chrome, wipe off, and watch how quickly the germ-killing polish evaporates.

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