Baking soda is a great non-toxic, natural household cleaner for cleaning a variety of items, from toilet bowls to teeth. This handy substance can dissolve away grease and grime and act as a mild abrasive to scrub surfaces clean. While the ever-versatile baking soda is helpful for cleaning many household items, it can be damaging to some objects and surfaces. Be aware of which surfaces are better cleaned with items other than baking soda. In addition, know which items require cleaning with professional products and which items can be safely cleaned with homemade cleaners.
9. Aluminum Pots and Pans
Baking soda can be useful for scrubbing food residue from kitchen pots and pans. However, baking soda can react with the metal in aluminum pans, causing an oxidation process that discolors the metal. Avoid scrubbing your aluminum pans with abrasives that can damage the finish. Soak dirty pots or pans with warm water to loosen food before cleaning. American Kitchen Cookware recommends cleaning their cast aluminum cookware in warm, soapy water with a plastic scrubber to avoid scratching the surfaces. This company also advise treating spots or stains with vinegar or lemon juice before giving the pan a good rinse and drying with a towel.
8. Antique Silver
There are many online tips promoting the use of baking soda for removing tarnish from silver. However, baking soda can be abrasive to these heirlooms and corrode the metal, damaging the finish. Jeffrey Herman of Jeffrey Herman Silver Restoration and Conservation offers great information on how to properly care for your silver. After all, the goal is to keep your silver pieces beautiful for many years to come. He recommends avoiding quick fixes like toothpaste, chemical dips, baking soda or tin foil. These methods can destroy the finish on your silver or cause etching in the metal. Instead, use a high-quality professional silver polish to preserve your pieces.
7. Ceramic Stove Tops
Baking soda can be abrasive to the surface of ceramic stove tops. Additionally, after it dries, baking soda can leave behind a gritty white residue that is difficult to remove. Whirlpool recommends using a non-abrasive ceramic cooktop cleaner to keep your stovetop looking beautiful. Burnt-on food residue can be removed with a scraper designed especially for ceramic cooktop surfaces. Achieve the best results by removing food remnants while the cooktop is still warm to the touch, but not hot. Then, after allowing the surface to completely cool, clean your stovetop with a cooktop cleaning product.
6. Gold-Edged Dishes and Gold-Plated Utensils
To preserve gold-plated utensils or dishes with delicate gold edging, avoid cleaning these items with baking soda. The mild abrasives of baking soda can wear away decorative gold trim on dishes and can pit the finish on gold utensils. Instead, wash your gold by hand in warm soapy water and dry with a soft towel. Never place these items in the dishwasher. If your gold utensils develop spots or discoloration, clean them with a professional metal or gold cleaner that will preserve the finish on your items.
5. Items with Deep Grooves
Baking soda can be a very effective cleaning agent when dissolved in water. However, as the solution dries, it can leave behind a filmy white residue or clumps of baking soda granules. For this reason, you should avoid cleaning objects that have deep grooves or fissures that can trap particles of baking soda. Baking soda isn’t a time saver if you need to spend extra time removing white clumps of the powdery substance from cracks and grooves. Baking soda residue can also be difficult to remove from black or dark surfaces, so you may want to stick to using it on lighter-colored surfaces.Related: 18 Great Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide You Didn’t Know About
4. Marble Surfaces
Marble makes a beautiful and elegant addition to your kitchen. However, the shiny outer layer of marble countertops and other marble surfaces can wear away with frequent use of baking soda as a cleaner. Reserve baking soda paste for treating oil-based stains on these surfaces rather than using it as a daily cleaner. For daily cleaning, use warm water to cleanse marble surfaces and dry well with a soft towel. Acidic or abrasive cleaners can dull marble surfaces and cause etching in the stone.
3. Wooden Floors or Furniture
The mild abrasives of baking soda can damage the sealants on wooden floors or furniture. To retain the shiny surface of your floor and protect the wood from damage, avoid the use of baking soda. Harris Wood Floors advises customers to shun the use of homemade or do-it-yourself cleaning agents on hardwood floors. This company recommends sweeping your hardwood floors regularly and then cleaning with a professional no-wax hardwood floor cleaning product. Wet mopping with plain water can be damaging to the surface of hardwood floors as well. Use a mop with a microfiber pad that can be tossed into the washing machine after use.
2. Your Hair
Baking soda is an alkaline substance with a pH of around 9. Research shows that your scalp, with a pH of around 3.67, can be damaged by shampoos with a pH above 5.5. Therefore, baking soda is not the cleanser of choice when it comes to washing your hair. Additionally, the abrasive nature of baking soda can damage delicate hair strands and be irritating to your scalp. Baking soda is also drying to the hair and hair follicles, and can strip your hair of its natural oils. This leads to hair that is dull, dry, and lifeless. To have clean, shiny, healthy-looking hair, look for products that are specific to your type of hair. There are products for oily hair, dry hair, and combination hair.
1. Your Skin
Baking soda can also be harsh on your skin. The alkaline nature of baking soda is not the best cleansing option for skin, which is slightly acidic. In addition to upsetting the pH balance of your skin, baking soda can be too abrasive, resulting in dryness and irritation. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends washing your skin with lukewarm, not hot, water and a gentle non-abrasive cleanser. Additionally, the AAD suggests using only your fingertips to wash your face, as washcloths and sponges can be too irritating. After washing, be sure to pat your skin dry with a soft towel and, if necessary, apply moisturizer.Related: 11 Smart Ways to Use Baking Soda For Your Home