Cleaning Silver

Have You Tried Baking Soda?

 Baking soda is a great cleaner.

Baking soda is a great cleaner.

When I was a home economist with the Cooperative Extension Service in SC, one of my job responsibilities was to answer questions about cleaning things, all kinds of things. My colleagues would joke about my favorite and most common reply, “Have you tried baking soda?”

I’ve been retired for almost 18 years, but baking soda is still my favorite go-to cleaning supply. And you can’t beat the price.

  • Baking Soda safely cleans appliances that come in contact with food. Commercial cleaning products might leave unhealthy chemicals and undesirable odors behind. Most recently, I used baking soda to clean the refrigerator in our motor home. An unfortunate breakdown caused us to leave it in the hands of tow truck drivers and repairmen, not at all concerned with the food left behind. After removing the contents, I wiped down the freezer and refrigerator with a solution of water and baking soda. (This may be handy if you lost power during any of the recent natural disasters).
  • Baking Soda eliminates odors. Ditto above. I still can’t get that smell out of my head. Fortunately, leaving containers of dry baking soda in the refrigerator and freezer has completely eliminated the odor. You can also add it to the final rinse in your washing machine to make clothes smell good.
  • Baking Soda is a mild abrasive. I love white, and I picked everything white when we remodeled the kitchen. Baking soda is the best thing I’ve found to remove stains from a white laminate countertop. Here’s how:
 Clean Countertops with baking soda

Clean Countertops with baking soda

  1. Wipe the stain with a wet cloth.
  2. Sprinkle Baking Soda onto the stain.
  3. Wait 1 minute.
  4. Scrub with the cloth.
  5. Wipe clean.
 Baking soda cleans my wire wrapped turquoise.

Baking soda cleans my wire wrapped turquoise.

  • Cook with it. You’re on your own here.
  • Baking Soda safely cleans most jewelry. I know, I know. This is a jewelry blog, so here is my latest discovery:

    Some jewelry can be damaged by the usual commercial jewelry cleaners on the market. Modern Turquoise is often treated with wax, oil or other enhancements. These coatings are easily removed, causing the color to fade. Pearls and many other stones are soft enough to be damaged by ultrasonic jewelry cleaners. Cleaners containing ammonia will dissolve organic stones, such as fossils, pearls, shells, coral and petrified wood.

    What can you do if your silver is tarnished, and the stone is delicate? Well…

    "Have you tried Baking Soda?!!

    Simply rub dry baking soda onto the silver with your fingers or a soft clean cloth, then rinse. You should still avoid rubbing the stone as little as you can, and rinse only as needed. If possible, try this in an inconspicuous place on the stone, just to be sure.

This only scratches the surface of uses for baking soda. Just because it is common and inexpensive doesn't mean that it isn't a powerful cleaner. Try it and see!