If you’re trying to avoid harsh chemical cleaners and big box stores and opt for more eco-friendly alternatives, making your own homemade products out of baking soda is a great solution. Today, Postconsumers has dug up ten eco- and budget-friendly opportunities for you to make your own household and personal health products from baking soda.

We think it’s important to be 100% upfront though. Despite the fact that people in the environmental community love it, baking soda isn’t a perfect eco-solution. Like anything else, it has its drawbacks. The process for making baking soda itself causes significant pollution. However, that doesn’t mean that making your own home-product using baking soda doesn’t help the environment (and your wallet). You’re avoiding big box stores and companies and you’re controlling which chemicals and processes you endorse. No, using baking soda solutions doesn’t bring your carbon footprint down to zero. It does, however, reduce it and free you from lots of consumer bonds.

Now, let’s take a look at ten ways you can be (more) eco-friendly with homemade baking soda products.

1. Forget Steel Wool Pads: Scour with Baking Soda

An equal mixture of salt and baking soda can be used to scour just about anything at all. From dirty pots and pans to that candle tin you forgot about for a year. You may be surprised that this combination actually scours better than many store-bought solutions.

2. Dump the Dishwasher Boosters. Add Baking Soda Instead.

Why add an extra plastic bottle or endless plastic pouches to the world when adding a little baking soda to your dishwasher will do the exact same thing to leave your dishes extra sparkling clean and streak-free?

3. Substitute a Large Canister of Baking Soda for a Chemical Kitchen Fire Extinguisher

Grease fires, common in kitchens, can be safely put out with baking soda by dumping the baking soda all over the fire. Rather than a chemical fire extinguisher in your kitchen, keep a safety canister of baking soda. (Sand can work this way, too, but it’s harder to come by in many environments).

4. Put Down the Chemicals You Use to Unclog Your Drain. Baking Soda Does the Trick.

The recipe here is simple. Mix one cup of baking soda and one cup of plain table salt. Then pour the mixture down the drain and follow it up immediately with half a cup of white vinegar. Go about your business for fifteen minutes and then follow the mixture up with two quarts of boiling water followed by running your hottest tap water for a few minutes. Your drain will be unclogged, you’ll have stayed away dangerous chemicals and as an added bonus you were more gentle on your pipes and plumbing.

5. Extend Your Laundry Budget with Baking Soda

You may not be ready to entirely let go of your laundry detergent, but if you create a mix of half laundry detergent and half baking soda, you’ll find that you get the same results with half the harsh chemical detergent and less cost. Think of using baking soda like you’re using a powder detergent – it will work better if you let it dissolve for a few minutes before you add the clothing.

6. Toothpaste, Toothpaste, Toothpaste

One of the most common eco-friendly ways that many people use baking soda is as a toothpaste substitute. Simply create a paste with some water and baking soda and then use it on your teeth. While this is an eco-friendly solution, we’d recommend alternating with store-bought toothpaste so that you’re sure that you’re getting enough fluoride.

7. Deodorize Your Home

From stashing the age-old box of baking soda in the refrigerator or other areas that can be “smelly” to using baking soda instead of carpet freshener or bowls of heavily perfumed potpourri, you can have a fresher smelling home with just the use of some baking soda and, if you want, some dried flowers or natural essential oils.

8. Use Baking Soda as Half of a Shampoo Combo

Not only are many modern shampoos full of chemicals and parabens, they can actually negatively impact the pH balance of your hair. Use a mixture of ½ baking soda and ½ water to wash your hair, then follow up by rinsing with ½ white vinegar and ½ water. Finalize by using whatever conditioner you typically use. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that your hair doesn’t smell like vinegar and you’ll be even more surprised at how amazing it looks and feels.

9. Bites, Stings and Rashes

Whether you make a mixture of baking soda and water and soak in it or whether you make a poultice or paste from baking soda and (less) water and apply it, you’ll be able to treat many bites, stings, rashes and skin irritations with this simple product.

10. Create an Acne Treatment Mask

If you’re trying to avoid costly and often chemically-produced acne treatments, try simply using a paste of baking soda and water combined with some fresh cucumber for a soothing effect.

Of course, the truth is that if you can think of something that you use a store-bought chemical product for, a baking soda alternative is probably just as viable. This is a great list to get you started, but be creative and think of all of the ways that you can reduce waste, pollution and cost by using baking soda.

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Photo Credit: Jessica Mullen via Flickr