Does Baking Soda Really Banish Foul Odors?

Baking soda, the common household item used for cooking, cleaning, and even personal hygiene, has recently gained popularity as a remedy for unpleasant odors. But does it really work? Can it effectively combat persistent unpleasant smells? Let’s dive deeper into this topic and find out if baking soda really banishes foul odors.

What is Baking Soda?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a white crystalline powder mainly used for cooking and baking. It is also used as a cleaning agent due to its abrasive properties. It has been used for centuries as a natural cleaning and freshening agent.

How Does Baking Soda Work to Banish Foul Odors?

Persistent foul odors can be caused by various reasons such as bacteria, moisture, and chemical reactions. Baking soda works as a deodorizer by neutralizing acidic or alkaline odors caused by these factors. It does so by reacting with the molecules that cause the unpleasant smell and producing carbon dioxide gas, water, and stable salts. This reaction results in a decrease in the odor concentration in the atmosphere, leaving the space smelling fresh and clean.

What Types of Odors Can Baking Soda Eliminate?

Baking soda is a versatile product that can eliminate a wide range of unpleasant odors including:

  • Musty smells in clothes
  • Odors in the refrigerator
  • Pet smells
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cooking smells
  • Bathroom and toilet odors
  • Mold and mildew smells

How to Use Baking Soda to Banish Foul Odors?

Baking soda can be used in various ways to eliminate odors:

1. Sprinkle It on Carpets and Upholstery

Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and upholstery where the odor is originating from. Leave it on for at least 15-20 minutes or overnight and then vacuum it up.

2. Place Baking Soda in Open Containers

Place open containers of baking soda in a room where you want to eliminate the odor. Leave them for several hours, or overnight. The baking soda will absorb the smell from the air, leaving the room smelling fresh.

3. Use Baking Soda in Laundry

Add baking soda to the laundry cycle to eliminate musty odors in clothes. Add ½ cup of baking soda to the wash cycle along with your regular detergent. This will eliminate any unpleasant odors in your clothes.

Are There Any Limitations to Using Baking Soda?

Baking soda is an efficient deodorizer, but it has limitations. It may not be able to completely eliminate potent odors, such as smoke smells. In some instances, baking soda might not even work at all, especially when the odor is from chemical reactions, like those arising from plastic or rubber products. In these cases, it is recommended to use specialized odor elimination products.

What Are Other Uses of Baking Soda?

Baking soda can be used for other purposes in your home, such as:

  • Cleaning pots, pans, and cookware
  • Cleaning jewelry
  • Polishing silverware
  • Removing stains from clothes
  • Removing burnt-on food from ovens
  • Cleaning floors and walls

Are There Any Precautions to Take When Using Baking Soda?

Baking soda is generally safe to use, but there are some precautions to take:

  • Keep baking soda out of reach of children and pets
  • Avoid inhaling baking soda dust
  • Avoid getting baking soda in your eyes
  • Do not use baking soda on aluminum cookware or surfaces


Baking soda is a natural and effective way to eliminate unpleasant odors from your home. It is versatile, easy to use, and affordable. While there are limitations to its effectiveness, baking soda is a popular choice for combating most household odors.

Common Questions About Baking Soda and Odors

1. Can baking soda remove pet odors?

Baking soda can effectively remove pet odors. Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets, leave it for a few hours, or overnight, and then vacuum it up. You can also sprinkle baking soda on furniture and pet bedding to remove any lingering pet odors.

2. Can baking soda remove cigarette smoke smells from the home?

Baking soda can absorb cigarette smoke smells to some extent. However, it may not completely eliminate heavy cigarette smoke smells. In such cases, it is recommended to use specialized odor elimination products or hire professionals to clean the area.

3. Can baking soda eliminate mold and mildew smells?

Baking soda can effectively neutralize mold and mildew smells. Mix baking soda with water to form a paste and apply it to the affected areas. Leave it for a few hours, then rinse it off with water.

4. Is baking soda better than air fresheners?

Baking soda is a natural and safe way to eliminate unpleasant odors without using harsh chemicals. It is more versatile and can be used in various ways to combat odors. Air fresheners, on the other hand, only mask odors and can contain harmful chemicals that can affect indoor air quality.

5. Can baking soda be harmful?

While baking soda is generally safe to use, it can be harmful if ingested in large amounts. It can lead to serious health problems such as dehydration, high blood pressure and can even be toxic when mixed with certain chemicals.



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