smart spending

Discover the many uses of baking soda

With the economy tight and everybody pinching pennies, products that have multiple uses seem to be coming back into style. This month's Frugal $ense winner, Nadine Kush, uses one such product for all kinds of things around the house. It's cheaper and lasts longer than the fancy products you see in glitzy commercials.

November's Frugal $ense winner: Nadine Kush
Nadine KushNadine Kush won $100 for submitting the following tip:

Baking soda
  1. Use baking soda instead of expensive, abrasive cleaners for pots, countertops, etc. and in the kitchen and on bathroom fixtures. An added bonus is that any residue is not toxic. It actually removes stains and brightens my countertops as well.
  2. Baking soda and seltzer water, when mixed, work similarly to Alka Seltzer as an antacid. Use according to directions on the box and substitute seltzer for water.
  3. You can brush your teeth with it.
  4. Make a paste with a little water for insect bites and bee stings.
-- Nadine Kush of Acton, Mass.

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Bankrate.com: How did you find all of these uses for baking soda?

Nadine Kush: There are a couple of things. It's kind of on the box. So just read the box. When I first started using it I thought, "This is wonderful, I'm so excited." When my daughter was a baby, her baby bottles would start to look kind of grungy after you use them for a while. So I wanted to get the insides of them clean. And I didn't want to use anything toxic. So I thought, "Oh, just use a little baking soda." I scrubbed them with a bottle brush and they looked beautiful. So I thought that I could start using it in the kitchen. I have a dispenser with baking soda sitting next to the dishwashing liquid. People tell me that they use it in their kitty litter boxes. You can use it in your pool to fix the pH. There are like a million uses. I didn't even list all of them. See, I'm not really the expert on this, am I?

Bankrate.com: How much cheaper is baking soda than other cleaners?

Nadine Kush: You can buy those bottles of soft scrub stuff that are already in gel form. You might buy two or three of those in a year, or four, depending on your household. Those are $2-$3 each. And you can buy 2 pounds of baking soda for about $1.79. That lasts me probably close to a year. But it depends. If you're dumping it in your kitty litter box every week, you might use more of it. It's still cheaper than anything else out there for whatever purpose you're using it for.

Bankrate.com: How does it work as a cleaner?

Nadine Kush: It's in a dispenser, like the ones you see in a diner. It's a sugar dispenser kind of thing. I shake it out just like I would if I were using Comet.

Bankrate.com: Anything else you do to save money or be frugal?

Nadine Kush: Not really off the top of my head. Everybody's trying to save every penny possible. I do reuse supermarket bags. I do a lot of stuff. But baking soda is such an all-purpose substance. (The past Frugal $ense tip about vinegar) is the one I saw. I thought that I must know something as good as that.

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