Bicarbonate of soda (or 'bi-carb' as we abbreviation-loving Aussie folk say) is a staple in all our homes.
It's the key to perfect Anzac bickies, honeycomb, pancakes and spongecake, but did you know you can use bi-carb for practically everything?
Okay, maybe not everything, but this fuzzy, versatile salt can be used all around the house (and body, for that matter), from eliminating smelly odours and cleaning dirty sponges to making bath salts and body exfoliator.
We don't want to sound like a late night infomercial, but bi-carb is a powerhouse of a product which is cheap as chips, non-toxic and kind to the environment, and is the answer to all your household and beauty needs. For reals.
Here are 86 ways to use bi-carb by McKenzie's in the kitchen, bathroom, outdoors and even with the kids.
To get started, you will need to make a bi-carb paste or solution.
To make a paste: combine three tablespoons of bi-carb soda with one tablespoon of water. Adjust for your desired consistency.
To make a solution: dissolve three tablespoons of bi-carb soda in one litre of warm water.
For wiping: apply bi-carb soda directly onto a damp sponge or cloth.
1. Eliminate kitchen dishwasher odours -- sprinkle bi-carb on the bottom of your dishwasher in between loads.
2. Eliminate fishy smells -- after cooking fish, use bi-carb solution to clean the pan to eliminate any lingering smells.
3. Freezer cleaner -- use bi-carb solution to clean out your freezer. Empty freezer, defrost and wipe.
4. Clean and deodorise stained or smelly plastic containers -- use bi-carb solution to deodorise smelly containers. Rinse well with warm water.
5. Clean burnt pots and pans -- soak the pan in dishwashing liquid, bi-carb and hot water for 10 minutes before washing. For severely burnt pots and pans, scrub pot with dry bi-carb and a moist scouring pad.
6. Deodorise kitchen rubbish bins -- sprinkle a handful of bi-carb in the kitchen bin.
7. Clean dirty, smelly sponges and cloths -- remove odours from sponges by soaking overnight in bi-carb solution.
8. Eliminate smelly hands -- to get rid of garlic, onion or fishy smells from your hands, wet and then sprinkle on bi-carb. Rub hands together well. Rinse and dry.
9. Clean dirty microwave -- place a bowl filled with water and two tablespoons of bi-carb in your microwave. Cook on high for one minute. Wipe down the microwave with a clean cloth.
10. Clean non-stick pans -- make a solution of two tablespoons of bi-carb, 110ml vinegar and 225ml water. Put this mixture into the pan and boil for 10 minutes. Wash as normal.
11. Non-toxic oven cleaner -- use bi-carb paste and scrub oven with a clean cloth. Rinse well. When cleaning electric ovens be careful not to get any on the element as this may cause it to corrode.
12. Deodorise refrigerator and freezer -- place a small open container of bi-carb in your fridge to eliminate unwanted food odours. Replace monthly.
13. Cleaning stainless steel appliances and sinks -- rub stainless steel with a moist cloth and dry bi-carb to shine. Rinse and dry.
14. Clean baby bottles -- safely clean baby bottles by placing two tablespoons of bi-carb into the bottle, pour in hot water, leave to soak, then rinse well.
15. Clean wooden chopping boards -- to remove food odours on wooden chopping boards, rub bi-carb paste onto the board and leave for a few minutes. Rinse well.
16. Polish silverware -- polish silverware with bi-carb paste. Rinse and dry well.
17. Clean stained cups/mugs -- restore life to stained tea and coffee cups by applying bi-carb to a damp cloth and rubbing on stain.
18. Washing dishes -- to remove grease add two tablespoons of bi-carb to your washing up water.
19. Clean water bottles -- wash out water bottles with bi-carb solution to get rid of stale smells. Rinse with warm water.
20. Clean rubbish bins and refrigerator -- periodically clean your rubbish bin and refrigerator with bi-carb solution.
21. Fruit and vegetable scrub -- for a safe way to effectively clean dirt and residue off fresh fruit and vegetables, sprinkle a little bi-carb on a clean cloth or vegetable brush. Scrub and rinse.
22. Clean oven racks -- place a towel in the bottom of a bath tub and fill with hot water, one cup washing powder and one cup of bi-carb. Gently place the oven racks in the bath to soak overnight. Polish clean with steel wool. Rinse and wipe dry.
23. Clean stove top/hot plates -- combine hot water, bi-carb and vinegar to make a solution for cleaning food spills on stove tops.
24. Cleaning stained laminate -- sprinkle bi-carb on stain, splash vinegar on top and while solution is fizzing, rub with a cloth or brush. Wipe clean and rinse.
25. Cleaning the blender -- add two tablespoons of bi-carb and ½ cup vinegar to blender, put the lid on and turn on for a minute. Rinse well.
Cooking and laundry
26. Meat tenderiser -- rubbing dry bi-carb on meat prior to cooking helps tenderise the meat.
27. Self-raising flour -- to make one cup of self-raising flour, combine one cup plain flour, one teaspoon cream of tartar and ½ teaspoon of bi-carb.
28. Laundry detergent -- adding ½ cup of bi-carb with your usual washing detergent can improve the performance of your detergent.
29. Heavily soiled/stained clothes -- to help remove stains and odours from clothes, soak in bi-carb overnight before washing.
30. Eliminate smelly laundry -- Reduce the smell of dirty laundry by sprinkling bi-carb into your laundry basket.
31. Wardrobe deodoriser -- keeping a small box of dry bi-carb in your wardrobe will absorb smells.
32. Shoe deodoriser -- sprinkle a small amount of dry bi-carb into your shoes to absorb smells. Shake out well before wearing.
33. Freshen new towels and clean musty towels -- wash new towels with ½ cup of bi-carb to increase fluffiness.
34. Whitening whites -- add two tablespoons of bi-carb to your regular liquid laundry detergent to refresh whites and reduce yellowing.
35. Stain remover -- use bi-carb paste to aid in the removal of greasy food marks (e.g. butter, margarine, cooking oil). Leave for 30 minutes, then soak in detergent.
36. Barbecue cleaner -- apply bi-carb paste with a wire brush, wipe clean and dry with a cloth.
37. Washing the car -- use bi-carb solution to wash your car. This will clean your lights, chrome, windows, tyres and floor mats. For stubborn stains, sprinkle bi-carb directly onto a damp sponge and cloth. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
38. Clean drive ways and pavers -- to clean oily stains from driveways sprinkle with bi-carb and scrub with a wet brush.
39. Camping -- bi-carb is such a multi-purpose and versatile item for your next camping trip. Use it as a hand cleanser, deodorant, dish washer, pot scrubber or toothpaste.
40. Clean dirty pool tools and plastic furniture -- remove residue and mildew by wiping down with bi-carb solution. Rinse thoroughly. Smaller items can be soaked and then rinsed.
41. Fungal prevention on plants -- dissolve one teaspoon of bi-carb and three drops of liquid soap in two litres of water and spray on plants. The soap helps the spray stick to the leaf surface.
42. Car deodoriser -- leave a small open packet of bi-carb in your car to absorb unpleasant smells. Replace every three months.
43. Clean chrome, stainless steel, ceramic and porcelain fittings -- use bi-carb solution to wipe fixtures and then rinse thoroughly.
44. Clean bathroom tiles -- mix half a bucket of warm water with ½ cup of bi-carb, mop and rinse floor with warm water.
45. Drain cleaner -- mix ¼ cup of bi-carb with ¼ cup salt, and pour mixture down the drain. Follow with at least one litre of boiling water. Leave for a few minutes. Then flush through with hot water from the tap for a few minutes.
46. Grout cleaner -- use bi-carb paste to scrub into grout with a sponge or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly.
47. Clean bath tub -- sprinkle bi-carb on a clean, damp sponge and scrub as usual. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.
48. Erupting volcano -- remember to always supervise young children.
Ingredients: used empty drink bottle, water, 4-5 drops dishwashing liquid, red food colouring, two tablespoons bi-carb, ¼ cup of vinegar, volcano shell.
Method: Step 1: fill the bottle almost full with water. Put 4-5 drops of dishwashing liquid into the water followed by two drops of red food colouring. Step 2: add the bi-carb to the mix. Put the volcano shell over the bottle so it is in place and ready to go. Step 3: pour the vinegar into the volcano bottle and watch it erupt.
49. Magic floating bits -- watch small items rise and fall. Step 1: fill a vase with water. Step 2: add 3-4 drops of food colouring. Step 3: Add ¼ cup of vinegar and three teaspoons of bi-carb. Step 4: add your items of choice and watch them rise and fall.
50. Carpet deodoriser -- to eliminate food and pet odours, sprinkle a handful of bi-carb onto your carpets, leave for a few minutes and then vacuum.
51. Deodorising smelly pet bedding -- sprinkle bi-carb onto dry bed. Leave for at least 15 minutes, then vacuum.
52. Cleaning kitty litter -- to absorb odours, cover the bottom of the litter tray with bi-carb then add a layer of kitty litter on top. To freshen between changes, sprinkle kitty litter lightly with bi-carb.
53. Outdoor pet bowls -- if you feed your pet outside, sprinkle bi-carb around the food bowl to keep insects away.
54. Cleaning pets' toilet accidents -- soak up the excess liquid and sprinkle bi-carb directly onto the patch. This will remove the odour.
55. Freshen smelly bags -- sprinkle bi-carb into smelly gym or golf bags to deodorise and freshen.
56. Cleaning furniture -- clean and remove marks on painted furniture by applying bi-carb to a damp sponge and rubbing lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.
57. Cleaning walls -- clean and remove marks from walls (crayons included) by applying bi-carb to a damp sponge and rubbing lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.
58. Rust remover -- cover rusty tools, gates and other equipment with bi-carb and then pour on white vinegar to make the solution bubble. When the bubbling stops, scrub off with a stiff brush.
59. Clean stuffed animals -- freshen stuffed toys with a sprinkling of bi-carb. Wait 15 minutes and brush off.
60. Clean plastic toys and baby equipment -- clean by soaking or wiping down with bi-carb solution. Rinse and dry.
61. Baby stains odour removal -- if your baby spits up on their or your clothes, moisten a cloth, dip it in bi-carb and dab at the stain. The odour will go away.
62. Freshen upholstered furniture -- keep upholstered couches and chairs smelling fresh. Sprinkle with bi-carb, wait 15 minutes and vacuum.
63. Clean smelly cats and dogs -- give your pet a dry freshen up between bathing by sprinkling bi-carb on their fur. Use a brush to work it through and then dust off any excess.
64. Clean and freshen sports gear -- use bi-carb solution to clean and deodorise smelly clothes and sporting equipment. Rinse.
65. Remove stubborn stains on carpets/rugs -- sprinkle bi-carb over the stain, then moisten it with a little soda water and rub gently. Do not over-wet carpet/rug. Allow to dry, then vacuum clean.
66. Prolong life of cut flowers -- add a pinch of salt and bi-carb to vase water.
67. Cleaning silver jewellery -- soak in a solution of ½ cup of vinegar and two tablespoons of bi-carb for two hours. Buff with a soft cloth.
68. Eliminate mildew on paper or books -- sprinkle with bi-carb and leave for a few days. Brush clean.
69. Remove wine stains on carpet -- soak up liquid with towel, then sprinkle with bi-carb to absorb the fluid. Vacuum when completely dry.
Health and beauty
70. Remove hair product build-up -- remove unwanted styling product build-up from your hair by washing weekly with one tablespoon of bi-carb mixed with your regular shampoo. Rinse thoroughly, then condition and style as usual.
71. Make bath salts -- combine 2½ cups bi-carb, two cups of cream of tartar and ½ cup cornstarch. Store in a covered container. Use ¼ cup per bath.
72. Refresh toothbrushes -- soak toothbrushes in bi-carb solution overnight. Rinse.
73. Clean hair brushes -- to clean brushes and combs, soak in bi-carb solution overnight. Rinse well and dry.
74. Athlete's foot prevention -- using bi-carb as a powder on your feet and between your toes after you shower.
75. Baby bath -- to help soothe skin irritations, add two tablespoons of bi-carb to your baby's bath water.
76. Deodorant -- simply dusting your underarms lightly with bi-carb will absorb body odours.
77. Body exfoliator -- use ¼ teaspoon of bi-carb with shower gel or body wash. Make sure the bi-carb is well dissolved and then apply in gentle circular motions to your body.
78. Facial wash -- mix ¼ teaspoon bi-carb and your liquid cleanser into the palm of your hand. Make sure it is well dissolved. Apply in gentle circular motions to your face and neck, avoiding the eyes and eye area. Rinse off with warm water. Pat face dry with a soft towel and wipe with a gentle toner.
79. Foot bath -- soothe tired and aching feet by soaking in a basin of warm water and three tablespoons of bi-carb.
80. Anti-dandruff treatment -- soak your hair in a bowl of warm water with one tablespoon of bi-carb for a minute, three times a week initially, then once a month for maintenance. Results will vary depending upon each case.
81. Oral hygiene -- apply a small amount to a damp toothbrush, brush as usual and rinse.
82. Mouthwash -- for fresh breath, add one teaspoon of bi-carb to a small glass of warm water and swish through teeth. Rinse.
83. Bath bombs -- for relaxing, colourful baths, use bi-carb to make homemade bath bombs.
Ingredients: 1½ cups bi-carb, ½ cup citric acid, potpourri or herbal tea bag contents, 24 drops essential oils (lavender or orange), two teaspoons sweet almond oil or light vegetable oil, food colouring.
Method: 1. For the base mix, sieve together bi-carb and citric acid in a large mixing bowl. Add potpourri. 2. To make one bath bomb -- combine six drops of essential oil, ½ tsp almond oil and food colour. 3. Take ½ cup of dry mix and stir in the oil mixture slowly. Wearing rubber gloves, work the oil mixture into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it stays compressed. 4. Wipe a little almond oil inside the mould and fill with the mixture, packing firmly. 5. Repeat from step 2 to make more. Leave to set for 24-36 hours before removing from mould.
84. Soothe aching muscles -- add ½ cup of bi-carb to a hot bath and enjoy a long soak.
85. Nail care -- clean fingernails and toenails by scrubbing with a nailbrush dipped in bi-carb. To soften nail cuticles, soak hands in bi-carb solution for 10 minutes.
86. Fake tan remover -- mix half a cup of bi-carb with ½ cup of lemon juice. Apply the paste to the skin and leave for a few minutes. Wipe or rinse off and repeat the process a few times.