How to Make Baking Soda Paste

In this article I’m going to discuss how to make baking soda paste. There are a few different ways to do it, and it depends on how you want to use it. I’m also going to list a lot of uses for baking soda paste, and the environmental advantages of replacing your household products with DIY baking soda paste.

Baking soda is pretty incredible. It’s one of those products that when you hear all the things it can do, you just can’t help but laugh. It doesn’t seem real! It’s like the gateway drug to sustainability. Once you see all the things you can do with baking soda and just how effective it is, you start down a rabbit hole of replacing literally hundreds of things you used to think you had to go to the store to buy: toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, cleaning supplies, facial cleanser, anti-itch cream, and a lot more. 

It’s not only going to save you a lot of money from not having to buy all these different products, but it’s also much better for the environment. You just need to buy a few ingredients in bulk and then you can make what you need!

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How Baking Soda Paste Works

You might be wondering how baking soda is able to do all these things. Baking soda’s superpower is that it’s an alkaline, which means baking soda paste is basic. No, not like the people on Vanderpump Rules. Basic as in, the opposite of acidic. That means baking soda paste is really good at neutralizing acids. Since a lot of odors happen to be acidic, baking soda takes care of them! Baking soda paste is also slightly abrasive, which makes it good for cleaning. 

baking soda paste science
Science!

The Secret Recipe

First of all, let’s talk about how to make it. Here’s the super complicated recipe:

Baking Soda + Water

That’s it!

Depending on what you want to use the baking soda and water paste for, you can add other ingredients, but it’s not strictly necessary. Let’s get into some of the uses of baking soda paste and talk about ways you can modify it for different purposes.

Table of Contents

How to Make Baking Soda Paste For Teeth

The two primary uses for baking soda on teeth are toothpaste and teeth whitening. Baking soda has been shown in clinical trials to be effective against plaque and have antibacterial properties. Here’s a study about it published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).

baking soda and toothbrushes

Homemade Toothpaste

Making your own toothpaste is one of the best ways you can start saving money and helping the planet at the same time. 

It can be overwhelming to know where to start though. There are literally hundreds of different DIY toothpaste recipes out there using lots of different ingredients. 

For myself though, I like to keep it simple. Using fewer ingredients means:

  1. I save money by having to buy less stuff
  2. It’s easier to make
  3. I don’t have to worry about the carbon footprint of lots of different ingredients

Most recipes I’ve seen, including the one I’ve been trying out lately involve a simple mix of coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint essential oil. Like I said before, all you really need for baking soda paste is baking soda and water. 

So, I’ll list 2 recipes here – one for a baking soda and water toothpaste and one for a baking soda and coconut oil toothpaste. Both will be significantly cheaper and better for the environment than buying commercial toothpaste. 

Carbon Footprint Reduction and Savings

In the recipes below, I will show how much you can reduce your carbon footprint and increase your savings after a decade of switching from commercial toothpaste. 

The carbon footprint of a 59 ml tube of store bought toothpaste is 0.25 kg CO2e. Assuming you need to buy a new tube of toothpaste every 2 months at a cost of $0.84, this amounts to a carbon footprint savings of about 10 kg CO2e and $67.03 after a decade of making this switch. 

Those numbers might not seem that impressive, but just remember that every little change makes a difference, and these little decisions add up. Also remember that you’re saving 60 plastic tubes from landfills and the ocean every year.

Baking Soda and Water Toothpaste

Recipe Cost: $0.07 | Recipe Carbon Footprint: 0.082 kg CO2e

Ingredients:

Decade Savings: $67.03 | Decade Carbon Footprint Reduction: 10 kg CO2e (equivalent to driving about 24 miles)

Baking Soda and Coconut Oil Toothpaste

baking soda paste toothpaste
The final product!

Recipe Cost: $0.22 | Recipe Carbon Footprint: 0.093 kg CO2e

Ingredients:
baking soda paste toothpaste ingredients
Baking soda toothpaste ingredients

Decade Savings: $53.97 | Decade Carbon Footprint Reduction: 9.42 kg CO2e (equivalent to driving about 23 miles)

Notes:
  • It smells great – the peppermint and coconut scents really complement each other, but it doesn’t taste great. It mainly just tastes like salt.
  • It’s runnier than store bought toothpaste, so make sure to brush over the sink.
  • It leaves a great minty feeling (if you use the peppermint essential oil) that I think lasts longer than commercial toothpaste.
  • It doesn’t foam up during brushing (which is a very odd sensation when you’re used to store bought toothpaste).

Like I said earlier, there are a lot of different DIY toothpaste recipes. The coconut and baking soda one I listed above is what I personally use, and I like the results. However, if you want to experiment with your toothpaste, here is a list of ingredients I came across during my research for this article:

Cleaning IngredientsSweetening Ingredients
Baking sodaXylitol
SaltClove
Coconut oilStevia
Activated charcoalRemineralizing Ingredients
Flavoring IngredientsBentonite clay
Peppermint essential oilCacao nibs
CinnamonDiatomaceous earth
Thickening Ingredients
Water
Guar Gum

So, experiment with these ingredients and see what works best for you. I personally like to keep it simple with just a few ingredients in order to cut down on having to buy a bunch of different things. 

Just know that the more components you add to the mix, the more expensive your toothpaste will be, and it may have a higher carbon footprint. But, you will also get the added dental benefits of each ingredient.

Disclaimer About Fluoride

There seems to be some question as to whether or not fluoride is good for you. I will not attempt to answer that here as I am not a doctor, dentist, or scientist. 

What I will say is, fluoride is naturally occurring. It’s in a lot of the food we eat and even naturally in most water. Fluoride is also added to a lot of water supplies here in the US. 

There is quite a bit of evidence that fluoride helps prevent cavities. For that reason the American Dental Association (ADA) will only approve toothpastes with fluoride in them. 

That being said, I’m personally willing to risk foregoing a fluoridated toothpaste for the following reasons:

  1. The act of brushing your teeth (even with just your finger, and even without any toothpaste) is mostly done by the brush itself. So, just brushing is already better than nothing.
  2. The stakes are pretty low. Worst case scenario, I get a cavity. I can always go back to using commercial toothpaste.
  3. The dentist uses fluoridated toothpaste to clean my teeth when I go twice a year for checkups.
  4. I drink city water at home, which has fluoride added to it where I live.

That being said, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do and if you’re willing to take on those risks. Once again, I am not a dentist or a doctor, and I’m not qualified to give medical advice.

a doctor
This is not me.

Other Eco Friendly Toothpaste Options

Not all toothpaste is bad for the environment. Here are 3 earth-friendly options:

1. Tom’s of Maine recently released the first recyclable toothpaste tube. This way you can recycle your toothpaste tube and still get fluoride.

2. Another way to have toothpaste without the environmental impact is buying chewable toothpaste tablets. These tablets are fluoride free and come in 100% compostable eco bags.

3. Earthpaste is another toothpaste made from natural ingredients. This toothpaste does not contain fluoride.

Teeth Whitening

I don’t personally whiten my teeth (beyond the whitening powers of the baking soda in my toothpaste). If I did though, I would use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda as this seems like the most effective method from my research. However, I wouldn’t advise doing this more than a couple times a week since you can damage your tooth enamel if you do it too frequently.

Making the switch to a DIY baking soda paste tooth whitening solution will definitely save you a lot of money. Teeth whitening can cost thousands of dollars for a professional service, or as little as $25, but the recipe below only costs 12 cents to make.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Tooth Whitening

Recipe Cost: $0.12 | Recipe Carbon Footprint: 0.069 kg CO2e

Ingredients:

Decade Savings: $4,310.58 | Decade Carbon Footprint Reduction*: 65.04 kg CO2e (equivalent to driving about 158 miles)

Baking Soda Paste For Cleaning

One of the best ways of using baking soda paste is to make an effective and natural cleaning solution that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals.

cleaning a toilet with baking soda paste

All Purpose Cleaner

The best all-purpose baking soda paste cleaning solution I’ve found is a simple mix of baking soda and water. Add just enough water to baking soda to create a paste and scrub it onto the surface you’d like to clean. Leave it on the surface for at least a few minutes to give the baking soda time to react. Then wash off the surface. You can wash the surface off with water, or for tough stains and extra cleaning power, you can put a little vinegar on the surface to react with the baking soda before rinsing it off. You can also add essential oils like lavender, pine, or lemon to give your cleaning solution a nice scent. I like to use pine

Recipe Cost: $0.15 | Recipe Carbon Footprint: 0.191 kg CO2e

Ingredients:

Decade Savings: $90.44 | Decade Carbon Footprint Reduction: potentially none or negligible depending on what cleaner you compare it to.**

How to Clean Your Oven with Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is a super effective and simple way to clean your oven. As you can see from the pictures above, I used this method on the metal racks in my smoker, and I think the results speak for themselves. I also dropped one of the racks in the grass, which stuck to the grease making it an extra tough job. Also, I didn’t even let the baking soda work for 12 hours like I should have, only about 30 minutes!

Method

  1. Remove your oven racks and coat them with a baking soda and water paste (recipe below).
  2. Coat your oven with the baking soda and water paste.
  3. Let it sit overnight for about 12 hours.
  4. Wipe it off in the morning.
  5. To get places where the baking soda is caked on, spray vinegar to react with the baking soda and then wipe it down again.
  6. Replace the oven racks.

Since most commercially available oven cleaners come in aerosol cans, this baking soda paste solution is also much better for the environment. However, I don’t think carbon footprint is a good measure of just how bad aerosol cans are for the environment. Despite CFCs being banned in the 1970’s, the propellants used in modern aerosol cans still aren’t perfect. 

They release volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) which have other effects on our environment. VOCs actually create ozone, which might sound like a good thing since our ozone is being depleted, but the ozone created by VOCs is at ground level, so it just contributes to air pollution and smog.

Baking Soda Paste Oven Cleaner Recipe

Recipe Cost: $0.13 | Recipe Carbon Footprint: 0.184 kg CO2e

Ingredients:

Decade Savings: $196.73

Things You Should Not Clean With Baking Soda

There are some things you should not clean with baking soda paste. This is mainly because baking soda is mildly abrasive.

  • Marble
  • Quartz
  • Glass
  • Wood furniture
  • Wood floors

You also want to avoid leaving baking soda paste on aluminum cookware. You can still clean your aluminum with baking soda paste, but don’t leave it on there for extended periods of time or the metal will begin to oxidize.

Baking Soda Paste For Skin

Like most industries, the cosmetic industry could use some reform when it comes to their carbon footprint and contribution to climate change. For one thing, these industries rely very heavily on single use plastics to deliver their products. Think about it: deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, pomade, baby powder, razors – almost everything you buy in the beauty / cosmetic section at the store is in a plastic package.

Until that industry gets their act together, for now the best solution is to just make your own. You can buy just a few ingredients in bulk and combine them to make all sorts of cosmetic products.

Baking soda is one of those ingredients. You can apply a simple baking soda paste to your skin to act as a facial cleanser and anti-itch cream.

hands using baking soda paste lotion

Anti-Itch / Facial Cleanser Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda anti-itch cream can be used to relieve the itchiness of everything from poison ivy to mosquito bites to eczema. 

I will say I don’t recommend using baking soda paste as an every-day facial cleanser because it can dry out your skin long term. If your face feels particularly oily, it can work great every once in a while, but I mainly consider baking soda to be a remedy for itchiness when it comes to your skin.

Baking Soda Paste Anti-Itch Cream / Eczema Relief / Facial Cleanser Recipe

Recipe Cost: $0.07 | Recipe Carbon Footprint: 0.082 kg CO2e

Ingredients:

How to Make Baking Soda Paste For Shoes

Baking soda paste also works great as a shoe-cleaner. Shoes can be really tricky to clean. I’m terrible about going outside and forgetting I’m wearing my nice shoes, so I get them all dirty. You can’t exactly put them in the washing machine or the dryer. Or at least, you shouldn’t because it’s a big waste of energy. 

Baking soda paste solves this. By making a simple baking soda paste and rubbing it into your shoes, you can let it sit there and react until it dries, then just brush it off! You can even do this with leather, suede, canvas, vinyl, and other materials shoes are made out of. 

Compared to washing your shoes off with soap and lots of water, and then running the dryer for what seems like forever, this is a way better solution for the environment and your wallet. 

The recipe for this shoe-cleaning is the same as the other baking soda and water pastes. Just 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. If you were to dedicate an entire load of laundry to just your shoes, which I’ve unfortunately done in the past, that would have a carbon footprint of 2.4 kg CO2e. By comparison, the baking soda paste solution has a carbon footprint of only 0.082 kg CO2e.

The water and electricity bill savings are pretty nice too. For electricity, running your dryer for an hour costs about $0.30 and running your washing machine costs about $0.03 depending on the model. In electricity costs alone, that’s already more than 4 times more expensive than cleaning your shoes with baking soda paste.

dirty shoes - these could use some baking soda paste

Baking Soda Shoe-Cleaner Recipe

Recipe Cost: $0.07 | Recipe Carbon Footprint: 0.082 kg CO2e

Ingredients:

Green Savings Impact Compared to Hand-Washing and Dryer Method (Assuming you clean your shoes twice a year):

Decade Savings: $7.49 | Decade Carbon Footprint Reduction: 46.4 kg CO2e (equivalent to driving about 113 miles)

How to Make Baking Soda Paste For Hair

You can also make shampoo from baking soda paste. Baking soda shampoo is especially good for people with particularly oily hair. However, it can dry out your skin over time, so it’s best not to use it every single day, and to balance the pH of your hair it can help to rinse it out with an acid like apple cider vinegar. Baking soda shampoo is not the best solution for everyone, but it’s certainly a cheaper alternative to shampoo. Plus, commercial shampoo also has a notoriously high carbon footprint. 

The recipe below does not make a lot of shampoo. I recommend you make small batches like this and test them out for a little while before committing to a bigger batch. That way you’re not stuck with a lot of product you don’t like and you throw it away or something. 

Baking Soda and Coconut Oil Shampoo Recipe

baking soda paste shampoo
The final product!

Recipe Cost: $0.23 ($0.03 per fluid ounce) | Recipe Carbon Footprint: 0.093 kg CO2e

Ingredients:
baking soda paste shampoo materials and ingredients
Ingredients and Materials: I recycled an old dish soap bottle to hold the shampoo.
Green Savings Impact Compared to Commercial Shampoo (Assuming you wash your hair every other day):

Decade Savings (based on a $0.23 per ounce bottle of shampoo): $132.31

Decade Carbon Footprint Reduction: 12.5 kg CO2e (equivalent to driving about 28 miles)

A couple of notes about this shampoo:

Since the coconut oil does not mix with the water, you’ll need to shake it a bit before using it. Also, since this recipe is mostly water, it’ll come out of the bottle really fast since it’s not as thick as other shampoos. Just be aware of that and try not to spill it all when you’re washing your hair. That being said, I love the smell of this shampoo. There’s something about the combination of coconut and lavender that really smells amazing! 

baking soda paste shampoo before shaking
Shampoo Before Shaking: The coconut oil separates, so shake before using!

70 Baking Soda Uses

Below is a list of 70 uses for baking soda. This stuff is so versatile you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth!

1. Treat heartburn36. Brush and comb cleaner
2. Mouthwash37. Homemade toothpaste
3. Soothe canker sores38. Reduce ulcer pain
4. Whiten your teeth39. Natural kitchen scrub
5. Deodorant40. Pots and pans cleaner
6. May improve certain cancer treatments41. Gentle baby clothes cleanser
7. May improve exercise performance42. Oven cleaner
8. Relieve itchy skin43. Drain cleaner
9. Relieve sunburns44. Dish-washer helper
10. May treat calluses45. Shower-curtain cleaner
11. Neutralize fridge odors46. Closet freshener
12. Air freshener47. Car wash
13. May slow the progression of chronic kidney disease48. Kitty-litter deodorizer
14. Whiten your laundry49. Cold and flu relief
15. Kitchen cleaner50. Clean the floors
16. Eliminate garbage odor51. Removes acne scars
17. Carpet cleaner52. Soothes skin rashes
18. Multipurpose bathroom cleaner53. Treats yeast infection
19. Clean fruits and vegetables54. Remove skin tan
20. Polish silverware55. Remove blackheads
21. Save a scorched pot56. Clean the microwave
22. Extinguish oil and grease fires57. Freshen your sponges
23. Homemade weed killer58. Clean an iron
24. Shoe deodorizer59. Clean furniture
25. Helps with digestive issues60. Deodorize laundry
26. Anti-fungal and antibacterial61. Baking soda boost to laundry detergent
27. Boosts kidney health62. Clean cloth diapers
28. Alleviates urinary tract infections63. Deodorize garbage disposals
29. Reduces muscle pain and fatigue64. Remove grease and oil stains
30. Helps alleviate chemotherapy side effects65. Clean batteries
31. Face exfoliator66. Deodorize your cutting boards
32. Hand softener67. Clean the inside of your dishwasher
33. Foot soother68. Clean a mattress
34. Splinter removal69. Clean dentures
35. Hair cleanser70. Pest control

Risks of Baking Soda

Not to be a buzzkill or anything, but despite how amazing baking soda is, it’s not without some drawbacks. In general, I use baking soda for cleaning and cosmetics, but you can eat it too. It is, however, very high in sodium, so it’s not good to eat much of it if you have high blood pressure. It can also lead to a potassium deficiency. Also, if you have edema, liver disease, kidney disease, or you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s probably best to stay away from ingesting baking soda.

Conclusion

Baking soda is awesome. You should stop buying stuff and just start buying a few things in bulk that you can use to make just about everything else. A good base of ingredients that have lots of uses are these four: baking soda, coconut oil, essential oils, and castille soap. There are some others, but these four ingredients cover just about every household product when combined in different ways. I hope this article helps you save some money and live more sustainably!

Footnotes

* Compared to a $25 teeth whitening kit. Considering these kits are mostly plastic, and the shipping weight of one that I found on Amazon is 4 oz. I’m just going to get a rough estimate by using the carbon footprint of 4 oz of plastic, which is 0.680 kg CO2e.

** For the sake of the price and carbon footprint comparison, I used Comet. Assuming you would buy a 14oz bottle 4 times a year. It turns out Comet is mostly calcium carbonate, which is limestone. The production of calcium carbonate is not bad for the environment at only 0.08267 kg CO2e per kg calcium carbonate. With that in mind, using baking soda for cleaning might actually be slightly worse for the environment than calcium carbonate. But, if you buy baking soda in bulk to use it for many other purposes, you might actually be better off using it for cleaning too since you’re buying less products overall. I also just used the carbon footprint of peppermint essential oil as an estimate for the pine essential oil.

*** Estimate based on peppermint essential oil

2 thoughts on “How to Make Baking Soda Paste”

  1. Good point about being careful ingesting baking soda. As a nurse, I cared for a patient who ingested baking soda to counteract indigestion. It put him in metabolic alkalosis, which is very hard to reverse…so it’s not recommended for as a general practice. But baking soda is great for all the other uses and bee stings as well. Good article

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