The Many and Varied Uses of Baking Soda
Baking soda, may be a weak pH base, but it is not weak in its uses!
Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), the scientific term for baking soda, is a weak base. It is most commonly used for baking and helps to regulate pH. Its pH value is 8.31, while most tap water has a neutral pH value of 7.
When baking soda mixes with either an acid (i.e., stomach fluid (hydrochloric acid), most fruit juices, cooked beans, etc.) or an alkaline substance (i.e., spinach, broccoli, onion, etc.), it has a neutralizing effect on it. Baking soda is perfect for neutralizing acidic odors and maintaining a neutral pH which is perfect for doing things like settling an upset stomach or enhancing your laundry detergent’s cleaning power. It also has a gentle abrasive ability to help scrub without causing harm.
Baking soda deodorizes, neutralizes, and cleans all without the cost or toxicity of most commercial products.
The Many Uses for Baking Soda
Freshen Your Breath - Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Swish, spit, and rinse. The baking soda will neutralize mouth odors and leave your mouth feeling fresh.
Polish Your Teeth – Baking soda is used in many commercial brands to whiten and freshen your teeth. Brushing with baking soda can help 1) prevent gum disease, 2) fights bad breath, 3) whitens teeth, and 4) relieves mouth ulcer discomfort all while polishing your teeth. And, baking powder is antibacterial.
Make Your Own Deodorant – In a pinch, you can sprinkle it on as a natural deodorant. It may be a little much for sensitive skin, so be careful, but it can work if there are no other options.
Gently Exfoliate – I say GENTLY exfoliate your skin. Mix a paste (about 3 parts baking soda to I part water) and gently rub in a circular motion, or use a damp cloth to clean the area.
Relieve Skin Irritation - Add a cup of baking soda to bathwater to soften your skin and relieve skin irritations. It will leave your skin feeling soft.
Relieve Heartburn – If you are experiencing heartburn, mix ¼-1/2 teaspoon baking soda to 1 cup water and drink. The baking soda will neutralize the over-abundant hydrochloric acid in your stomach and give you relief.
Relieve Insect Bites – Make a past of baking soda and water and apply to skin. This will relieve most bug bite discomfort.
Stripping Dye from Your Hair – Using baking soda on your scalp can change its pH and cause damage. Using it too often on your hair can cause it to become brittle, but if you need to strip a little dye from your hair, you can create a paste with water, apply and leave on for a short time, and then rinse. Before doing this, however, I would do more research or ask your hairdresser for help.
Keep Your Brushes and Combs Clean – Soak combs and brushes in a solution of water (1 cup) and baking soda (1 teaspoon). Rinse and dry thoroughly. The baking soda will help remove the oil and product buildup.
Relieve Diaper Rash - Put two tablespoons of baking soda in baby’s bathwater to help relieve the discomfort of the rash. Rinse well and dry thoroughly before diapering. I used to use a blow dryer on cool and low to make sure their little behinds were completely dry. It worked.
Pamper Your Feet - Mix three tablespoons of baking soda into a small tub of warm water and soak your feet. It will help them relax and soften the skin.
Cleaning Up With Baking Soda
Easy DIY Soft Scrub – You can either sprinkle baking soda on your tubs, sinks, or tile, or apply a paste, made with water, and gently scrub grime and water spots away with a damp washcloth. Thoroughly rinse and dry.
Simple Tile Floor Cleaner - Mix 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water to help mop and clean floors.
Cut Grease Naturally - Add a scoop of baking soda to your sink of dishes and your normal dish soap and let soak. Baking soda helps to cut the grease and make it easier to clean.
Remove Burned Food – If you burn food and it is black and really stuck to the bottom of the pan, instead of scrubbing, fill the pan with water, add a scoop of baking soda, and let it simmer for a while. The burned food will release and come off easily. I know this from personal experience.
Simple Air Freshener – If there is a foul odor, fill a bucket with water and a scoop of baking soda and it will help to absorb the odor. Also, leave an open container of baking soda in your fridge to help cut down on the “fridge” smell.
Clean Fridge – Use warm water and a scoop of baking soda mixed to wipe down the fridge interior.
Easy Microwave Cleanup – To clean your microwave, put a bowl of water and baking soda in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes. Then use the water/baking soda to wash the inside. Running the water in the microwave first will soften anything stuck to the walls and washing it down will help clean and deodorize.
Polish Silver Flatware - Three parts baking soda to one part water can be rubbed onto silver flatware with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse and dry. You can also use baking soda and vinegar. You decide which you prefer.
Baking Soda Oven Cleaner - Sprinkle baking soda over the bottom surface of your oven. Spray with a water bottle to dampen the baking soda. Let this mixture sit overnight and then scrub in the morning. Rinse thoroughly. You can also use a baking soda/vinegar paste to polish the oven glass.
Clean Crayon Marks from Walls – As a mild abrasive, baking soda with a damp cloth can remove crayon art from walls.
Boost Your Laundry Detergent – by adding ½ cup baking soda to your laundry it will help to soften the water and make clothes cleaner, fresher, and softer!
Soak Cloth Diapers - Dissolve 1/2 cup of baking soda into 2 quarts of warm water and pre-soak diapers thoroughly before going through the wash for a better clean. It will help neutralize the urine smell and make the diapers softer.
Remove Oil and Grease – If you have oil or grease stains in your garage, sprinkle baking soda on top of it. Scrub with a wet brush. The baking soda effectively cuts through the oil and grease which makes it easier to remove any stubborn stains. This may need to be repeated, but it does work.
Unclog Drains – Remove drain stopper and pour dry baking soda into pipe. Pour white vinegar and let the fizz do the work. If you need additional scrubbing action, add a tablespoon or so of salt. After it stops fizzing, rinse and repeat until the drain is cleared. Your pipes will also smell nicer.
Deodorize Garbage Cans – Again, baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Sprinkle in the bottom of your trash can and it will help resolve excessive odor.
Carpet Deodorizer - Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and let sit overnight. The next day, vacuum, and the carpet will be fresher. This is especially effective for pet owners. If your pet has an accident, after cleaning up, pour baking soda over the area that you cleaned, let the area completely dry, and then vacuum. You may need to loosen it up a bit, but this works really well to help with the odor.
Freshen Coat Closets - Place an open box on the shelf in your closet to remove musty odors and freshen the air and fabrics.
Absorb Toilet Odors - Add a cup of baking soda is a good toilet cleaner. Add some to the toilet and leave it for an hour before flushing. It will help clean the toilet and absorb the odor.
Deodorize Cutting Boards – Baking soda does have antibacterial properties. Scrub your cutting board with a little baking soda, scrub, rinse. It will deodorize and help remove bacteria.
Deodorize Garbage Disposals - To help eliminate odors, pour baking soda down your drain and pour distilled white vinegar to scrub it clean. Rinse with hot water. It cleans and freshens.
Deodorize Litter Boxes - Cover the bottom of the pan with baking soda, then fill as usual with litter. To freshen between changes, sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter after a thorough cleaning.
Miscellaneous Household Uses
Remove Odors from Your Hands - Rub your hands with baking soda and water to get rid of strong odors like garlic or onion.
Keep Flowers Fresher Longer - Keep cut flowers fresh longer by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the water in the vase.
Neutralize Gassy Beans - Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda in the water when you soak beans to prevent gassy issues and improve digestion. This will not completely alleviate the problem, but it does help.
Produce Wash - Mix a quarter of a cup of baking soda in a sink full of water. Wash your fruits and vegetables in the solution, then rinse with clean water.
Keep Ants Out - Mix up equal parts of baking soda and salt together. Then, sprinkle the mixture wherever you see the ants coming in. Cinnamon also works well, and it has a pleasant smell too.
Clean Gym Clothes - Sprinkling some baking soda into your shoes, or into your entire gym bag, to absorb unwanted odors is helpful. Just knock the excess baking soda out when you use them. Also remember to add baking soda to the wash (mentioned above) to remove strong gym odors.
Clean Windshields – Sometimes you get stuck on grime or water marks on your windshield. Making a paste, wash your windshield with the baking soda and make them shiny again.
Clean Car Battery Terminals – If your battery terminals are showing signs of corrosion, mix a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in a little water and pour on to the terminal. Continue rinsing the terminal until it stops fizzing. Rinse with fresh water and dry the terminal off.