You may think baking soda has but one use… after all, it does have the word “baking” in its name. But think again! There are multiple uses for Arm & Hammer baking soda in the kitchen, including cleaning, unclogging drains, eliminating odors, and more.
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Please note, this post is not sponsored by Arm & Hammer. You can use any brand you like, however Arm & Hammer has a few baking soda products specifically for the kitchen that other brands don’t have such as this, or this.
Baking soda has 3 main properties that make it useful in the kitchen
- It has a basic pH. The pH affects different chemical reactions, especially in cooking. When you add baking soda to muffin batter, it makes it rise by creating a chemical reaction. A basic pH is the opposite of acidic, so one of the uses of baking soda is to mellow out too much acidic flavor in savory foods.
- It has a gritty texture. The texture helps so much with cleaning because the grittiness is a mild abrasive which helps cut down on scrubbing! It also helps get into intricate spaces, like the scrollwork on your Grandma’s silverware.
- It’s totally safe to use. I’m always extra careful to use safe products in the kitchen as I don’t want to contaminate our food with harmful cleaning chemicals! It’s safe enough to use with bare hands, and gentle enough to use on delicate surfaces such as marble countertops.
Baking Soda Uses for Cooking & Baking
We all know baking soda for it’s main use as a leavener in baking. And it does a mighty fine job of it too! But there are some other handy ways to use baking soda in cooking:
Cut the acid in tomato sauce
You know how sometimes your tomato sauce is too acidic? This is usually because of the tomatoes you used. Certain brands are less acidic tasting than others, but there’s still variance even within the same brand because every growing season is different and affects the flavor of the tomatoes.
To easily fix it, add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per can of tomatoes you used in your recipe!
Tenderize cooked beans
When you’re cooking dried beans, you can use baking soda in the water to make them extra tender. This is perfect if you plan to use the beans for a recipe that calls for pureed beans, like hummus or black bean brownies.
Since the baking soda is a bit alkaline, it breaks down the bean skins and allows them to be blended really smoothly. No more chunky hummus!
How to do it:
When cooking dried beans, simply add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water, and another teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water.
You can also use baking soda to tenderize meat!
Simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup of water and marinate the meat in it for at least 15 minutes. Easy!
Since the baking soda only touches the outside of the meat, this works best for smaller pieces of meat that will be cooked quickly, like strips of beef used in a stir fry, rather than a steak. You could use it for chunks of meat used in a stew, but generally stewing is a cooking method that naturally tenderizes the meat already.
Make food change color
So this a really specific example, but it’s so much fun and perfect for getting kiddos excited about their food!
Because of the pH of the baking soda, you can make noodles that have been cooked with purple cabbage to change color just by adding a bit of baking soda! You can also make pink ones by adding an acid like lime juice! Here’s a good article that explains how it works.
Baking Soda Air Freshener Ideas
Baking soda is also helpful for freshening the air in your kitchen. Rather than masking unwanted smells, baking soda actually eliminates odor particles by absorbing them!
Freshen enclosed spaces
Enclosed spaces like inside the fridge or freezer may trap odors.
Keep an open box or cup of baking soda in your fridge to help neutralize unpleasant odors. Or even better, use a box of baking soda that is specially designed for odor absorption.
Arm & Hammer baking soda uses a proprietary box design specifically to absorb smells from your fridge or freezer without the risk of spilling. It has open sides for maximum airflow, exposing 2x the baking soda compared to a regular box.
They also have this design that has a suction cup and indicator to tell you when to replace it. I have to say I prefer the traditional Fridge-n-freezer box design made of cardboard just because I prefer to reduce plastic wherever possible.
DIY baking soda air freshener
You can also use baking soda to freshen the air in the rest of your kitchen. Use it as is, or make a DIY air freshener with baking soda.
Simply add a few drops of essential oils to the baking soda and place it in an open container to add a scent that fills the room in addition to absorbing odors. This is a safe alternative to commercial air fresheners.
Freshen the garbage can
Baking soda can also combat garbage smells which can spread through your house. Obviously the first step is to take out your garbage regularly, but sometimes there’s still a lingering smell inside the bin.
If you spread baking soda inside the bottom of your kitchen garbage can or place one of the Arm & Hammer fridge-n-freezer packs near the garbage bin, you can neutralize garbage odors significantly.
Baking Soda Uses for Cleaning
Baking soda is a great weapon against stubborn stains or grease.
You can clean your oven, coffee-stained mugs, marble, grease stains, kitchen tiles, tarnished silver, microwave, rusty pans, and more using baking soda. You can clean using Arm & Hammer pure baking soda, or combine it with other, common ingredients to make a general-purpose cleaner.
Simply use your baking soda or baking soda mixture to scrub your oven, stove, coffee cups, and etc. until they are clean, then wipe or rinse them.
You can also scrub your floors, countertops, and even stainless steel appliances with baking soda to restore them to a shiny, squeaky clean state. It’s like magic!
Baking soda can also help remove sticky labels from jars!
Cleaning with baking soda is pretty simple:
- Baking soda: Sprinkle baking soda on your cleaning cloth for a bit of extra scrubbing power.
- Baking soda paste cleaner: Make a paste of baking soda and water to scrub off stuck on messes, soap scum, or rust. These two options are perfect for cleaning:
- inside the microwave
- inside of the sink and around the faucet
- rusty or tarnished silverware
- rust spots on cast iron pan
- marble counter tops (be gentle and make sure to rinse thoroughly)
- tile backsplash or tile floors
- tea or coffee stains from mugs
- Baking soda degreaser: Create a mixture of baking soda, dish soap, and enough water to to make a paste that works as a degreaser. Combine 6 Tablespoons baking soda, 1 Tablespoon dish soap, and enough water to form a paste. This is perfect to clean greasy messes like:
- inside the oven
- under the range hood
- greasy cookware
- Baking soda cleaning spray: Use a mixture of baking soda, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide to make a spray that cleans and whitens tiles and grout. This is perfect for:
- whitening grout
- remove grease stains out of tea towels
- killing bacteria on countertops or cutting boards
Read: Why is your Kitchen Cleaning Taking so Long?
Baking Soda & Vinegar to Clean a Drain
Baking soda, being slightly alkaline, easily dissolves mineral deposits and organic material like grease. Because drains are commonly clogged by fat, oil, and grease, baking soda and vinegar are best used to break down organic material clogged in your drain.
A baking soda mixture is also a much safer option than chemical drain cleaners, which can be dangerous if they come into contact with your skin. Also they’re just not good for the environment!
Using baking soda and vinegar to clean a drain is safe, simple, and inexpensive—not to mention pretty effective! It’s great for a slow drain or one that is lightly clogged, but will not be powerful enough for heavy clogs or clogs caused by objects stuck in the drain pipe. Definitely call a plumber to help with bigger jobs.
How to do it:
Simply put 1/3 cup baking soda down the drain, then pour 1/3 cup vinegar down after it. Close the drain with the plug, and let the baking soda and vinegar sit in the drain for at least 30 minutes before running water. Repeat as often as you need to.
List of Uses for Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
- Balance out acidity in cooking
- Leaven baked goods
- Tenderize meat
- Tenderize beans
- Create cool color-changing foods
- DIY air freshener
- Absorb odors from fridge and freezer
- Get rid of smelly garbage odors
- Clean stuck on messes
- Clean the microwave
- Polish stainless steel appliances
- Clean soap scum from the sink
- Remove rust
- Remove sticky labels
- Clean marble
- Whiten grout
- Remove tea-stains from mugs
- Clean greasy messes like inside the oven
- Clean a drain
- Remove stains from fabric
- Kill bacteria
Baking soda is a powerful tool to employ when tackling tasks in the kitchen. From eliminating frustrating stains to eliminating unpleasant odors, baking soda is a versatile and inexpensive alternative to many more costly and even risky cleaning supplies.
Pick up an extra couple boxes of baking soda, or order a jumbo sized box so you’ll never run out— Now that you’ve seen the many uses for baking soda in the kitchen, you can see how it comes in handy in more ways than one!