If there’s one multitasker you should keep on hand for common kitchen messes, it’s baking soda. A gentle abrasive, baking soda is a powerful way to scrub away gunk from surfaces in your home, without damaging delicate surfaces. It can also absorb pesky odors in the process, making it particularly useful in the kitchen.
The best part? Baking soda is far more affordable than many cleaning products you buy at the store—and you probably already have some of this versatile pantry must-have at home. Ahead, five places in your kitchen you should be cleaning with baking soda if you aren’t already.
1. Your Pots and Pans
It can be a huge hassle to scrub burnt-on food from pots and pans (especially if you’ve let them sit for a while). Solve that problem by creating your own baking soda paste to work away at the grime. Just coat the affected area with baking soda, add a bit of water, then allow the pot or pan to sit for 15-30 minutes. Scrubbing away the gunk with a sponge or cloth, then give the pot or pan a good rinse. Add a few drops of your favorite dish soap for extra cleaning power!
2. Your Smelly Trash Can
You’ve probably heard of using a bit of baking soda at the bottom of your trash bag or can to absorb gross smells. The same principle can help to remove existing odors and sticky spills from your trash can. After giving the empty can a good rinse, create a paste with equal parts baking soda and water, then scrub the inside with a sturdy brush and rinse again with clean water before adding a new bag.
3. Your Garbage Disposal
Another commonly stinky spot? Your kitchen sink’s drain and garbage disposal. To fend off unwanted smells, put a few tablespoons of baking soda down the disposal with the sink running, followed by a couple glugs of white vinegar to create a bubbly solution. (Bonus: Vinegar is also great at cutting through smells.) Add a few ice cubes to knock off stuck-on food from the garbage disposal blades if needed.
4. Your Tile Grout
If your backsplash or floor grout has seen better days, grab the baking soda. Combine two parts baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide and apply it to the affected grout, then let the mixture sit for approximately 15 or 20 minutes. Scrub away the stains with an old toothbrush, then wipe away the baking soda residue with a clean, wet cloth.
5. Your Microwave
Microwaves can quickly accumulate yucky spills and smells, but thankfully they’re no match for baking soda and its right-hand cleaner, vinegar. First, microwave a bowl of distilled white vinegar and water to loosen the gunk and cut through odors. Then, grab a clean, wet sponge and add a few teaspoons of baking soda to scrub away the more stubborn spots, and wipe everything with a damp rag when you’re done. Good as new!