One of the staple ingredients in green cleaning, good old fashioned baking soda works wonders and has myriad uses.
First things first though, before we get onto its uses. We refer to it as baking soda, which is the same thing as bicarbonate of soda. They contain just one ingredient - sodium bicarbonate. All three - baking soda, bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate - describe the exact same thing. However, baking powder does contain sodium bicarbonate, but is mixed with other ingredients. So, if you're looking to use baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate), steer clear of baking powder.
Right, onto just a couple of the many uses of this gently abrasive cleaner...
Baking Soda to Neutralise Odours
A good way to keep the strong smells down in your fridge is to keep an open box or cup of baking soda at the back or in the door. It will eliminate the unpleasant odours. If you want, you can add a nice essential oil to it for a fresh citrus smell. Baking soda is good for anywhere stinky - rugs, carpets, bins, you name it!
Baking Soda Oven Cleaner
Mix baking soda with warm water until you have a loose paste. You can add a couple of drops of essential oil for the scent if you want, but it's not necessary for the cleaning process. Remove the racks and spread the paste over the oven with a cloth and let it sit for at least half an hour.
Wipe the paste off with a warm damp cloth. You might find a brush or scraper might help get the tough bits off, or add a few drops of white vinegar, which will react with the baking soda, bubbling up and creating a foam. Although mixing acid (vinegar) and alkaline (bicarb) will not improve the cleaning abilities of each, it will help loosen stubborn stains and it's great fun for all ages to watch the reaction of the two!.
This is a brilliantly effective alternative to harsh oven cleaning chemicals. (white vinegar works extremely well on glass too).
One thing I have found is that it can leave a bit of a residue when used on surfaces as an all purpose cleaner. Be sure to give it a wipe with a microfibre cloth.
You can pick up baking soda really cheaply. Mixed with water and essential oils, it's a wonder ingredient no home should be without. No nasty smells either. Hooray for baking soda!