Published: 11:52, 26 March 2018
| Updated: 12:52, 26 March 2018
Amanda Pollard, Houzz contributor
When it comes to cleaning and freshening your home, it pays to look in your food cupboard for help. One of the most useful products to keep in your larder is a box of bicarbonate of soda, as this relatively inexpensive baking item has all kinds of brilliant uses, from freshening a fridge to cleaning a burnt saucepan. Check out these ideas to find out just how much you can do with it.
Clean the sink
It’s amazing how quickly a sparkling stainless steel sink can begin to look dull and discoloured, but the last thing you want to do is clean it with abrasive products that can leave scratch marks. So how do you get it to look as good as new without damaging the surface?
Rinse the sink, then cover the surface with a sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda, ensuring you’ve got into all the nooks and crannies. Use a soft- to medium-bristled brush to clean the sink – the bicarbonate is abrasive enough to remove stains, but won’t scratch the surface. Spray with white vinegar and watch the solution fizz and foam, then rinse it all away with tap water.
Make your own air freshener
Bicarbonate of soda is brilliant at absorbing smells, so it works perfectly as an air freshener. Grab yourself a jar or bowl and half fill it with bicarb, then add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the powder and give it a mix or shake. Now all you have to do is put the container on a surface in whichever room you wish to freshen.
Freshen your fridge
If you want your fridge to look and smell fresh, there are two things you can do with bicarbonate of soda – clean it and deodorise it.
Add a tablespoon of bicarb to 2 pints of water and use it to clean all the surfaces in your fridge. Don’t be tempted to scrape at any dried-on food as you might damage the surface. Instead, soften the dried bits with the solution and then wash them off. For stubborn stains, use a little neat bicarbonate on a damp cloth.
Once you’ve cleaned your fridge, you can put a small dish or open box of bicarbonate at the back to absorb odours. It should only need replacing every couple of months.
Save a saucepan
Ever let a pan of rice boil for too long only to be left with a black, burnt mess at the bottom of your saucepan? If you (like many of us) have been there more than once, this tip might well be a life-changer.
Avoid the fruitless task of scrubbing the pan with a scourer and get out your bicarbonate of soda instead. Use a slightly damp cloth to wipe away as much of the charred bits as possible, then half fill the pan with boiling water. Sprinkle in three tablespoons of bicarb and give the solution a mix. Leave the liquid to do its job for 24 hours, then rinse and wash the pan as usual.
Deodorise your bin
If the aroma from your bin is causing a problem, there’s an easy way to solve it. Simply sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda on the bottom and it should help to absorb the bad odours.
Don’t forget to clean your bin first, though, perhaps by using this method: scatter a spoonful of bicarb on the bottom of the bin, add a couple of drops of tea tree oil or eucalyptus and some hot water. Clean the bin with a cloth or brush, then rinse.
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Tiles looking lacklustre? Don’t get your grout pen out until you’ve tried cleaning the edges with white vinegar and bicarb. Start by spraying the grout with a solution of half vinegar and half water, and leave for five minutes. Then make a paste with some bicarbonate of soda and a little water. Gently scrub the lines of grout with a small grout brush or toothbrush, then rinse it all away with water.
Remove crayon on walls
If your little cherubs haven’t quite grasped the difference between a wall and a piece of paper yet, don’t despair. Dip a damp cloth in your trusty bicarbonate of soda and give the area a gentle scrub. The crayon should come off in no time, leaving you with clean surfaces and time to spare for explaining (once again) why the walls aren’t an artist’s canvas.
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