One of the most important parts of running a successful Airbnb is keeping your cleanliness ratings high! It’s easy to think you need an arsenal of cleaning products at your disposal, but I’ve found baking soda to be my number one go-to for messes and smells that come from your guests. And best of all, it’s extremely cost effective. Almost all twelve of these tips use baking soda alone, or paired with simple accessories like a sponge, water, or some vinegar!
1. Deodorize your fridge and freezer.
We’ll start with the easiest and most common! The fridge and freezer are notorious for picking up smells of everything your guest buys or cooks during the week, and we know how the smells seem to multiply in there! Without the option of keeping the doors open to ventilate, an open box of baking soda placed in the fridge and freezer can go a long way towards keeping your Airbnb smelling fresh for your next guest. I would replace these every 6-12 weeks, depending on how busy your Airbnb is.
2. Freshen your rugs.
No matter how often you vacuum, it’s easy to begin to pick up smells in the carpet after time. While we encourage you to put bi-annual carpet shampooing on your fall and spring cleaning lists, sprinkling baking soda on the rugs before vacuuming each time is an excellent way to extend the freshness of your rugs between shampoos! This can quickly soak up the worst of smells- I would recommend sprinkling baking soda on the rug for at least 15 minutes before vacuuming.
3. Brighten, clean, and extend the life of your linens!
Even the toughest of stains can be helped with a little TLC; and of course, baking soda. Adding a cup of baking soda to your linens load will not only brighten your dingy whites, but when used with a liquid detergent, can actually balance pH levels to get your laundry cleaner!
4. Remove baked on residue from pots + pans.
Get your greasy, hard to clean pots and pans soaking in hot water, two large tablespoons of baking soda, and a small amount of liquid dish detergent. Let it sit there to loosen up some of the debris for about 20 minutes (or until water grows cool), then put a little baking soda on your sponge and scrub away! The mild abrasive of the baking soda scrub will remove the rest of the stubborn caked on food bits.
5. Deodorize your trash can.
If there’s one thing we notice as hosts, it can be the amount of trash a guest can go through during their stay. Inevitably pieces of food or other garbage will slip down in between the liner and the can. This can lead to an unpleasant smell that can be off putting to future guests. To help avoid smelly problems, clean out the trash bin of debris, then sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the bottom of the can before the trash bag liner goes in.
6. Shine tarnished silver.
Is your silverware taking a beating? An easy way to clean up any tarnish accruing on your silverware (or any other kitchen item made of silver,) is to combine three parts baking soda to one part water. Lightly scrub at the tarnish with your baking soda, rinse off, then dry off with a microfiber cloth or something similar to keep water spots from forming.
7. Easy oven cleaner.
The oven: possibly one of the hardest items to clean up after guests! Without fail, at one point in your Airbnb-ing you will come in after a guest and see baked, crusted on items coating your wire racks and the bottom of your oven. Fear not! Spray water onto all of your offending surfaces, then sprinkle baking soda liberally on top of any food debris. Let it sit for as long as you can; if you have another guest arriving the same day, start the baking soda right when you start cleaning your unit, and leave the scrubbing for last. When you have a day where no one is coming in for at least 24 hours, coat the baking soda paste all over the oven, and let it sit overnight.
8. Unclog your sink or shower drain.
As the daughter of a plumber, I have been warned against the perils of Drano and the like. It may work for small clogs, but the toxicity of the product you’re putting down the drain is both bad for your plumber and the environment. (Pro tip: if you have used Drano before calling a plumber, let them know! As they unclog the pipes they risk being burned by the Drano.) Or, you could skip all that, and try this environment and budget-friendly option with baking soda:
• Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Cover offending drain opening with something, as the mixture will bubble up when combined. Let it sit for five minutes, then follow with a gallon of hot water. If it’s a stubborn clog, it may require repeating these actions several times.
9. Deodorize your garbage disposal.
Garbage disposals end up disposing a lot more than originally intended! I myself have a story about a guest and some scrambled eggs- I’ll let you imagine how that one ended up. (I’ll give you a hint: Expensive.) To keep your disposal smelling fresh in between guests, put this cleaning trick on your weekly to-do list (or after a particular smelly encounter with your disposal):
• Slowly pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the disposal while running warm to hot water. Run the disposal, and then repeat once more. Baking soda can neutralize acids and food odors that cause smells to rise from your kitchen sink.
10. Create a soft scrub to brighten your bathroom.
Cleaning bathrooms can be a headache, especially if you have grout in between tiles. Nothing cleans as thoroughly or as gently as a baking soda scrub! Wet down your dirty shower, sink, or toilet and sprinkle baking soda all over. Next, take your damp sponge and sprinkle more baking soda on it. It will take some elbow grease, but your bathroom will be restored to its bright, clean self with just a little bit of elbow grease and none of the smell of heavy duty bathroom cleaners. Pro tip: if the area you’re cleaning is extra dirty, give your scrub some oomph by mixing it with coarse salt and dishwashing soap.
11. Extend the life of your sponges.
You don’t want to waste products, but your dish sponge can be coated in food and foul smelling gunk before it’s been worn out. To get the most life out of your sponges, freshen them by soaking them in a baking soda solution. Just add four tablespoons of baking soda to one quart of warm water and let soak for at least 20 minutes (or until the gunk begins to fall off.) To up your disinfecting game, then toss the sponge in the microwave or dishwasher to sanitize further!
12. Deodorize your dishwasher.
A great item to add to your weekly or monthly to-do list is deodorizing your dishwasher. Run an empty cycle on your dishwasher, substituting baking soda for your regular dishwashing detergent or pod. If your dishwasher has a food trap at the bottom, remember to regularly check this filter and dump into a trash can to keep your dishwasher working at its best.
I hope these twelve great ways to use baking soda helped you keep your Airbnb clean and smelling great! Have you ever cleaned with baking soda? What’s your favorite way to use it?