Bi-carb of soda, the humble ingredient that many of us already have in the pantry, is inexpensive and amazingly versatile. Guest Live for Less blogger Cherie Pasion from Connected Mama has some excellent ideas using bi-carb to help you live for less.

In embracing a greener, healthier and toxic-free home, bi-carb of soda is a go-to product. Combined with other simple everyday ingredients you can create your own healthy and eco-friendly home products for less.

Also known as sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, it can be used on people and pets, in cooking and cleaning, inside and outside the house. The best part is that it’s extremely accessible and cost-effective – you can pick up a kilogram for around $3.50 or less at supermarkets.

Here are three DIY bi-carb products I’ve made which work and cheap to make.

Everyday cleaning spray

This handy and effective cleaning product is perfect to have on hand to clean down the stove and benches after cooking, and for general everyday cleaning. It only contains a few simple ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon bi-carb of soda
  • 1 part vinegar
  • 1 part water
  • A few drops of dishwashing detergent
  • Non essential: a few drops of essential oils such as lemon or tea tree oil

Mix ingredients together, noting that the bi-carb of soda may make the mixture fizz and bubble. Keep a spray-bottle filled with this mixture on hand for everyday cleaning. For attacking bathrooms and floors, mix the same recipe together in a bucket with hot water as you need it

Dishwasher detergent in-a-pinch

Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you have a loaded dishwasher ready to go, and then find your box of dishwasher tabs or powder is empty?

Bi-carb of soda can save the day, in combination with two other household essentials: dishwashing detergent and salt.

  1. Add just 1-2 drops of standard dishwashing liquid (no more!) to the dishwasher’s detergent dispenser.
  2. Fill 2/3 of the dispenser with bi-carb of soda.
  3. Fill the rest with salt.

If you want to add your own rinse aid, you can also add a tablespoon of vinegar to the rinse aid dispenser.

IMPORTANT! This recipe is designed for those unexpected  moments when your usual powder or tablets are not at hand. Homemade powdered dish detergent can be tricky, depending on how hard/soft your water is and the temperature you wash dishes at. Also, be aware that some dishwashers will not tolerate even a few drops of dishwashing liquid without causing a bubble apocalypse and/or blockages.

If you want to stop using off-the-shelf powder/tablets altogether, try this recipe from Wellness Mama based on washing soda. It contains no dishwashing liquid.

Personal deodorant

This one might be a bit controversial, as people don’t want to compromise on dealing with body odour! However, many conventional deodorants also contain anti-perspiring agents such as aluminium that some people don’t want anywhere near their skin. Packaging is also an issue: it’s usually single-use and may not be not recyclable.

Bi-carb of soda, together with a few other easily accessible ingredients such as arrowroot powder and coconut oil, offer a more sustainable and cheaper alternative. Bi-carb of soda helps balance and regulate pH in the body. It’s the key ingredient in this home-made deodorant as it neutralises odour as you sweat.

For a great deodorant recipe that I’ve been using for well over a year now – stink-free – check out this detailed article on my Connected Mama blog.

Just three ways…

These are just 3 ways to use bi-carb of soda at home, but really the uses are almost endless. You can use it to whiten teeth, remove odour, control dandruff, wash vegetables and much, much more. It’s truly a versatile ingredient allowing you to live for less.

* Savings are an estimate based on typical prices of manufactured supermarket products. Mileage may vary.