Why It's A Bad Idea To Reuse Refrigerator Baking Soda

Baking soda — not to be confused with baking powder — is one of the kitchen's most versatile ingredients, with almost too many uses to name. Beyond just cooking and baking, this unassuming powder is a workhorse when it comes to eliminating odor, scrubbing sinks, removing stubborn stains, and even tenderizing meat

Because it's an ingredient that can seemingly do it all, you might be inclined to use a single box of baking soda for all of your needs, whether you're cleaning, baking, or freshening. This temptation, however, is one to be avoided, especially when it comes to baking soda that's used for deodorizing your fridge or freezer.

In order to understand why baking soda used to freshen up your refrigerator shouldn't be reused, you need to understand how the simple powder works. According to The Spruce, baking soda, also known by its scientific name sodium bicarbonate, is a weak base, meaning it's able to interact and bind with both alkaline and acidic molecules.

What happens when baking soda sits in a smelly fridge?

The Spruce explains that the smell in your fridge is caused by food particles in the air. These particles can then attach themselves to other items in the fridge, making them smell and taste not-so-fresh. When baking soda is introduced to that fridge environment, it gives stinky food particles something else to bind onto, and it's this binding process that causes odors to become neutralized.

This deodorizing process, however, impacts the quality of your baking soda says Martha Stewart. To eliminate odors, baking soda actually absorbs the smells (and tastes) of whatever's sitting in your fridge. As a result, you'll never want to use baking soda from your fridge as an ingredient in your cooking or baking, otherwise, you risk compromising the smell and flavor of your final dish.

Trisha Lake, the owner and CEO of TLC Cleaning, explained to Martha Stewart, "When we utilize baking soda as an odor reducer, the molecules in the air react to the baking soda to grasp those odors. If we were to take that same box and use it in our food, we would run the risk of having our foods' tastes altered."

Instead, keep one box of baking soda in your fridge to eliminate odors and a completely separate box in your pantry for cooking, baking, and other uses.