Dollars and Sense: How to save big on household cleaning supplies - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Voices

Dollars and Sense: How to save big on household cleaning supplies

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Linda Hutchings is a Gilbert resident and a life-long frugal consumer—uh, cheap skate. Please reach her at: Send her your penny-pinching ideas.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 7:41 am | Updated: 7:36 pm, Fri Feb 22, 2013.

It’s time to discover an old product that is inexpensive, versatile, and effective.

Check the cleaning-products and pets aisles at the grocery store and see all of the Arm & Hammer product labels: “Bwahaha, Contains Baking soda.”

Yep, plain old baking soda is a miracle product. It only costs 52 cents for a one-pound box at Wal-Mart. Or Costco sells it cheaper per pound at $5.75 for a 13.5 pound bag.

And boy do I ever save money using it.

You have three basic ways to use baking soda (I also call it just plain “soda” or “BaSo”) sprinkling it on dry like a carpet cleaner, making a paste of soda with water like a soft scrub, or dissolving BaSo in water like a floor cleaner. After cleaning and deodorizing, just vacuum up, or rinse and dry as needed.

But those are hardly the only uses for BaSo.

Personal care

BaSo paste cleans your teeth and sweetens your breath (don’t overdue it as BaSo is abrasive). Taste too strange? Then sprinkle some soda onto your toothpaste-loaded toothbrush. Also, clean your retainers, mouthpieces, and dentures in a solution of two teaspoons of soda dissolved in a small bowl of warm water.

To remove hair-product residue, add a little BaSo to a dollop of shampoo for cleaner, more manageable hair. To deodorize yourself, powder puff your armpits with Soda. (Ok, I can’t do this either; but those of you forced to live under the Washington bridge can do it, and God bless you.)

To scrub and exfoliate, rub BaSo paste gently on your skin. Pamper yourself by soaking your feet in warm Soda water or by immersing yourself in a tub of water mixed with ½ cup of BaSo. Oils, perspiration, and tension gone.

Often at night, Pele, the Hawaiian fire goddess, gyrates in my stomach. In my kitchen I dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of BaSo in a half cup of water and cure my acid indigestion immediately. Now when I need a midnight antacid, I don’t have to sneak to the store trying to disguise my nightgown as a skirt simply because I frumped on a jacket.


Clean your sinks, tubs, tile, grout, and fiberglass with BaSo; it does not scratch. Hand wash your big pans with a Soda solution to cut grease. For cooked-on crud, soak pans overnight in a mixture of water, detergent and BaSo, then scour out the pan using dry Soda. BaSo is a great produce wash for cleaning fruits and vegetables.

Clean the microwave by boiling a cup of plain water inside, removing the cup, then wiping out the steamy compartment with the Soda-sponge technique. Safely clean your glass cook top. Sprinkle BaSo in the bottom of your conventional oven, spray the Soda with water until damp, leave over night, and then scoop out the grime. Clean floors with a water-Soda solution; remove crayon and scuff marks easily with BaSo paste.

Boost your laundry-detergent power by adding ½ cup of BaSo to your washing machine along with your regular detergent. BaSo will whiten, deodorize, and soften your clothes as well as sweeten baby bibs and spitty shirts.

Once my guests were coming for dinner. Ashamed of my discolored knives and forks, I pictured my friends snorting their food rather than touching my silverware. With BaSo paste, I made my silverware sparkle before the doorbell rang.


In addition to your fridge/freezer, deodorize others things with BaSo: dishwashers, garbage disposals, trash cans, lunch boxes, kitchen plastics, diaper pails, sneakers, litter boxes, dog beds, and even your poodle, Cuddlepuffs. BaSo also helps eliminate Eau de Skunk. Also freshen Uncle George, who smokes cigars and chews garlic like gum.

Snuffing Out a Grease Fire

Keep a BaSo box near the stove and dump it on the flames. Never put water on a grease fire.

Car Stuff

Wash your car with a BaSo solution. Sprinkle Soda onto the stinky car upholstery; let it sit, then vacuum. Put BaSo in your ashtray. Clean vinyl surfaces with Soda on a wet sponge. Sprinkle BaSo on light-oil spills, and scrub. Clean your battery cables with a toothbrush and a mixture of one tablespoon BaSo in a cup of water. First, turn off the car, then disconnect the cables. Scrub the clamps, dry thoroughly, and reconnect the cables. You turned off the car first, right?

Voila! BaSo either boosts the power of many products or completely replaces them. It takes a book to catalog the numberless uses of BaSo. Read “Baking soda Bonanza: Hundreds of Household Uses” by Peter A. Ciullo. Or research online at, and slap your forehead that you haven’t been using BaSo all along

A wheelbarrow full of BaSo could deodorize the Gilbert garbage dump. Or unclog the Hohokam canals. Or exfoliate Rango the lizard. And now, you too, can brag about saving money in your house: “Bwahaha, I Use Baking soda.”

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