IN THE KITCHEN
Fridge odours… If you’re a keen home cook who enjoys exotic ingredients, you’ve probably had to endure a fair amount of odours in your fridge. A small pot of bicarb left in the door will help absorb strong food odours so they don’t linger. Left unattended, strong odours can affect the taste of nearby foods and cause them to spoil more quickly.
Fruit & veggies… Mixed with water, bicarbonate of soda helps remove signs of dirt and the waxy coating on different kinds of produce. Just remember to treat certain fruits delicately, and rinse all items thoroughly before eating.
Kitchen surfaces… There’s barely a surface or appliance in your kitchen which won’t benefit from the bicarb treatment. Mixed with water, use a small amount to clean countertops, stainless-steel sinks, microwaves and range cooker hoods.
Dirty dishes… Scrubbing for hours to remove baked-on food can quickly take the joy out of home cooking. Get rid of stains and residue by supercharging your washing-up liquid with some added baking soda.
Stale sponges… To lengthen the life of your kitchen sponges or cloths, soak them in a solution of bicarb and water to freshen them up. While an effective method to get rid of mildew, sponges showing real signs of degradation should be replaced immediately to keep things hygienic.
Stained containers… With more of us learning to store leftovers and reduce food waste, it’s common to see different foods leave their mark – particularly on plastic containers. To freshen them up, wipe with a clean sponge sprinkled with bicarb on the affected area, or soak tougher stains in a solution of 4 tbsp of bicarb to one litre of warm water.
Bin odours… With weekly bin collections, and much more cooking taking place at home these days, it’s easy for unpleasant odours to build up. To combat this, remove any old rubbish, place some bicarb in the bottom of your bin, and replace with a clean bag.
IN THE BATHROOM
Tile & shower mildew… Mildew is something you’re bound to encounter in any well-used bathroom. To remove it, scrub your tub, tiles, sink and shower curtain with a damp sponge covered with a sprinkling of bicarb. Just rinse afterwards to reveal sparkling surfaces.
Clogged drains… Clear a stubborn drain by pouring down 125g of bicarb followed by 125ml vinegar. Cover with a wet cloth to contain the science fair-like effects (remember DIY volcanoes?). Wait 5 minutes, and then flush with hot water.
Musty towels… Just like with other fabrics, washing towels in a bicarb machine load can help them come out cleaner, while sprinkling some bicarb and vacuuming up the excess after a 15-minute wait will give them a quick-fix freshen. Alternatively, an open box of bicarb placed near your towels in the bathroom can help fight musty odours from developing in the first place.
REST OF THE HOUSE
Pet beds… To remove unsightly stains or just freshen up old odours, sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda on the affected area, wait 15 minutes and vacuum up the excess. Repeat as many times as needed, and apply the same technique to mattresses and carpets.
Sticky toys… To keep toys clean and hygienic, wipe them down at the end of the day with a sponge dipped in a bicarbonate of soda and water solution. For soft toys, place them in a large plastic bag with around 100g bicarbonate of soda – then take the bag outside, and shake well so the bicarb draws out dust and other germs. After you remove them, vacuum up any leftover residue.
Marked walls… Whether it’s your kid’s marking a wall you just repainted, or removal men which have scuffed their way around the house, all that’s needed is a light scrub with a damp sponge sprinkled with baking soda. Work it in small circles to remove the mark – just make sure the sponge isn’t too wet to avoid causing further damage or stains.
Musty fabrics… Not many people realise bicarbonate of soda’s deodorising properties. Use it to freshen up the fabrics around your house – think upholstered furniture, curtains and carpets – by sprinkling the surface area with bicarb, letting it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuuming it up.
Dirty laundry… Getting your whites whiter is a challenge many of us face, but adding just 200g of bicarb to your next load can help both whites and colours come out brighter. Combine it as normal with liquid detergent, and watch to see it balance the pH levels to get clothes cleaner.
Old trainers… In the wake of all these at-home workouts, it might be time to freshen up your shoes before heading back to your weekly spin class. Simply sprinkle some bicarb on the inside of your shoes – and even your gym bag – and leave for as long as possible, preferably overnight. Finish by tapping it out before using.
Silver jewellery… When your sterling silver stops shining, getting rid of tarnish can be an intense job – and one which experts will tell you requires a special cleaning solution and plenty of elbow grease. Not so – make a paste of three parts bicarb to one part water and apply it with a microfibre cloth to any pieces in need of a shine. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards.
Inspired? Pick up a box of bicarbonate of soda in your next shop. Available from all good supermarkets, including Ocado.com
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