Your grandma taught you to keep a box of baking soda [sodium bicarbonate, "bicarb"] in the refrigerator, and rightly so. But out of 'fridge, often paired with its old science-fair pal white vinegar, you can clean half your house. And then you can make a volcano.
Brush your teeth: When your spouse or roommate takes the toothpaste for their weekend out of town, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with an 1/4 teaspoon of water and scrub away.
Stain removal: Use the recipe for toothpaste above to clean stains and spots on your china and dishes. If you use warm water and stir in a piece of aluminum foil, the solution will remove tarnish from your silver.
Freshen your closets: Store a box of soda in your linen closet to repel mustiness.
Scour your bakeware: Apply baking soda to baked-on or burnt spots on stoneware or ceramic casserole dishes. Let it rest for 6-8 minutes, then scrub and rinse.
Smooth your skin: Mix three tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon warm water for a lo-fi face scrub. Just apply and massage into your skin, then rinse.
Itch-Be-Gone: Apply dry bi-carb to rashes and itches left from poison ivy or poison sumac.
Unclog your drains: Cleanse your p-trap or garbage disposal with a cup of baking soda, following with a cup of vinegar. Let it sit for five minutes, then chase it down with a whole kettleful of boiling water. Check this out for more details.
Patch your plaster: Mix baking soda with white glue to fill cracks or dents in drywall and plaster.
Clean artwork gone astray: Dip a damp cloth in baking soda and scrub away crayon and pencil marks that have happened on your walls by developing artists.
Clean contact lenses: Mix a little water with baking soda to scrub all the residual eye goo from your contact lenses. Be sure to clean throughly to avoid any burns.
Kill fleas and ants: Baking soda can kill the crunchy exoskeletons of household and pet-hosted pests. Be sure to rinse thoroughly from your pet's fur and skin to prevent irritation.
As an antacid: Swallow a spoonful to relieve heartburn, upset stomachs, and indigestion.
While you vacuum: Sprinkle your carpet or rugs with baking soda and let rest for fifteen minutes before vacuuming to freshen up your floors.
Control Crab Grass: Lightly wet crabgrass, then sprinkle lightly with baking soda everyday for a week.
In the laundryroom: Soak smelly clothes in a baking soda/water solution to remove odors. Or, apply baking soda directly to affected areas to remove mildewy smells. Then, make a paste of bi-carb and water to scrub the inside of your machine, and to encourage stuck-on leftovers - such as candy or gum - to release themselves..
Control Odors: Sprinkle a little baking soda in your garbage can, underneath the liner, to control the inevitable scents, or leave a box under you sink to combat that secret funk that always seems to appear.
Combat Grease: Use baking soda to clean up grease and oil in the garage, and to remove grease stains around the house, in your car, and on clothing.
Fire Extinguisher: Sprinkle baking soda over unfortunate small fires in the kitchen or workspace. Hopefully, it can cut down on the need of the fire extinguisher, but it's better to be safe rather than burnt.
Remember: Baking soda is non-toxic, kosher, and inexpensive, and safer than most of the cleaning products you can purchase. [What was the last baked goods recipe that called for Drano?]