One of the things I like most about writing this column is I’m constantly finding friends, family and readers, who love telling me about things they are having trouble with or suggestions for story ideas.

My friend Brianne recently asked me about a good way to clean walls, without using harsh chemicals. I told her to get a damp sponge, add some baking soda and wipe gently.


We got to talking about how useful baking soda can be, and began listing our favorite uses for the substance, other than baking.

De-stinking the stinky stuff

My husband, Scott, and I are both avid workout junkies. Needless to say, we have our fair share of sweaty clothes at the bottom of the hamper each week, that don’t smell flowery fresh.

To deodorize, wash clothes as usual, but add one extra step before drying. Run clothes through the rinse cycle once more, and add a half cup of baking soda. (No extra detergent is needed.) Dry as usual.


Removing scuff marks


The same formula for cleaning walls that I gave to Brianne, also works well for removing scuff marks on tile floors. Simply add baking soda to a damp sponge and scrub away. Make sure to test an inconspicuous spot first, and avoid using on floors that require wax.

Preventing the ring around the toilet

If you’ve ever had to scrub away the ring around the toilet, you know it’s not an easy job. Prevent it from forming in the first place by following this routine once per week: Sprinkle one cup of baking soda around the inside of the toilet and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, pour vinegar around the basin and scrub. Flush to rinse.

Brightening grout

Nothing spoils the effect of sparkling tile like dirty grout. Clean it up by applying a thick paste of baking soda and water, and scrubbing with a brush. For troublesome areas, I like to use a paste of baking soda and bleach (about three parts to one, respectively). Rinse and dry well when done, and remember to test an inconspicuous spot before going all out.


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