Just One (1) kilo bag of bicarbonate of soda can help you achieve so much in your home and for your personal use. At only Rs 50 the kilo, it is a cheap solution which is environmentally friendly too – a win-win! Clean dirty or wax-off fruit and veg with bicarbonate of soda : Put some bicarb on a damp sponge, scrub your produce and rinse. Use bicarbonate of soda to scrub your oven grill : Keep your oven grill clean by putting some on a damp brush, scrubbing the grate, then rinsing. Remove stubborn food stains from pans : Remove baked-on residue by shaking a generous amount of baking soda on pots and pans. Then add hot water and dish detergent, let sit for 15 minutes and wash as usual. Give floors a shine with bicarb : To brighten a dull floor finish, dissolve 100g bicarb in a bucket of warm water. Mop and rinse for a shiny floor. Clean appliances with bicarbonate of soda : Clean the dishwasher, clothes washing machine and coffeemaker by running an empty cycle with baking soda. Polish tarnished silver with baking soda : To shine tarnished silver, stainless steel and copper cookware, combine three parts bicarb with one part water. Rub onto silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Clean the microwave with bicarb : Sprinkle Bicarbonate of soda on a clean damp sponge and clean gently inside and outside the microwave- this never leaves a harsh chemical smell. Rinse well with water. Refresh a foul-smelling fridge : Never worry that last night's tasty meal will leave your fridge smelling for months to come. Bicarbonate of soda will absorb strong food odours so they don't linger or change the taste of other foods in the fridge. Works for freezers too. Unblock drains with bicarbonate of soda : Pour in 100g bicarb followed by 100ml hot vinegar to quickly unclog the kitchen drain. Clear a stubborn drain by pouring a 1/2 cup of baking soda down it, followed by a 1/2 cup of vinegar. Cover with a wet cloth to contain any foaming ( like when we did DIY volcanoes for school projects?). Wait five minutes, then flush with hot water. Although these two pantry staples are very useful, each on their own — both bicarb and vinegar can help clean all over the house — you should avoid any DIY cleaner recipe that involves these two ingredients. Vinegar causes bicarbonate of soda to foam up. If stored in a closed container, the mixture can explode! Stop bins smelling with bicarbonate of soda : Sprinkle bicarb on the bottom of your bin to keep stinky smells at bay. Clean plastic food containers with bicarbonate of soda : If storing too many packed lunches, pasta sauces or curries has left your plastic food boxes looking discoloured and grimy - once again, it's bicarbonate of soda to the rescue! Sprinkle a clean sponge with baking soda and give them a bit of elbow grease. Erase tough stains by soaking in a solution of four tablespoons of baking soda and 250ml of warm water. Clean your kitchen with bicarbonate of soda : From worktops, countertops to the fridge, the sink, tiles, grout and even your cooking utensils, you can clean the whole kitchen naturally with a mixture of bicarb and warm water. Clean your sponges for reuse : If your cleaning sponges are a bit sad or smelly, leave them to soak in warm water and bicarb, and give them a good rinse through in the morning. Keep the ants away : Mix bicarbonate of soda and salt, in same proportions, to keep the ants at bay in the summer. Reduce unpleasant smells : Combine one tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda with five drops of an essential oil. Spoon the mixture into a clean spray bottle, add (distilled) water and shake for an air freshener. Keep posted for more tips on how to use Bicarbonate of Soda effectively, here on ecomauritius.mu.