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Baking Soda, One of Nature's Wonders

Updated on March 2, 2011

Baking soda is a marvel of the natural world. It can do almost anything that helps you around the house. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, was first used by the ancient Egyptians as a cleansing agent similar to soap. French chemist Nicolas Leblanc produced the compound we know today in 1791. It was first manufactured in 1846 in New York City. It has become popular today with environmentalists and “greenies” who are trying to avoid using cleaners and products that are poisonous to the earth. Baking soda is made from all-natural ingredients; calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, ammonia and carbon dioxide.

image by jynmeyer stock.xchange
image by jynmeyer stock.xchange

Like the ancient Egyptians did, I have been washing my face every day with baking soda mixed with a little water. It is an excellent exfoliant and it also helps to counteract my oily skin. My forehead had broken out in little bumps this summer and the baking soda seemed to soothe my skin and the bumps began disappearing after less than a week. I would recommend that you do use moisturizer afterwards as baking soda does tend to dry the skin a little.

Baking soda can be used as toothpaste when mixed with glycerin and salt. Mix 3 parts baking soda and one part table salt, then add a few drops of glycerin. Glycerin can be purchased at most drugstores or beauty supply stores.

image by johnnyberg stock.xchange
image by johnnyberg stock.xchange

I also recently discovered that adding baking soda to the bottom of a cat’s litter box makes for a more pleasant task when it comes to cleaning it out. Baking soda mixed with a little corn starch absorbs the moisture and prevents offensive odors. It is, of course, harmless to the cat.

Baking soda can also be used as a cleaning agent; I use it to scrub my aluminum sink. I sprinkle some soda in the sink and wash with a damp sponge. Also, pouring a few tablespoons of baking soda down your sink will keep the drains clean. You can use it to scour pots and pans; it will not scratch.

Most people already know that it keeps your refrigerator free of smells when you place an open box at the back of the shelf. It can also be used as a water softener in the laundry and to remove odors. Baking soda can also be used as a spot cleaner. Make a paste with baking soda and water and dab on the stain. Let dry and then wash as you normally would.

image by patita-rds stock.xchange
image by patita-rds stock.xchange

Baking soda can be used to put out small fires by smothering the flames. And, if you have heartburn, baking soda works well as an antacid when you mix ½ a teaspoon with a half glass of water.

Of course, baking soda is most known as a cooking agent used in baking. It releases carbon dioxide which helps dough to rise.

Now, even a paint company is using Arm & Hammer baking soda. Dutch Boy adds it to their “Refresh” paint. They claim that it will absorb the everyday odors in your home. The paint film absorbs odor vapors and holds them; it lasts for the lifetime of the paint. I wouldn’t suggest adding it to your own paint though.

image by dimitri_c stock.xchange
image by dimitri_c stock.xchange

Baking soda is useful in getting odors out of old books; sprinkling the pages with baking soda will remove any musty odors.

You can also create an alternative to play dough for your children using baking soda. You combine 1 ¼ cups water, 2 cups baking soda, and 1 cup cornstarch. This gives you a soft, pliable compound that won't make your children sick even if they eat it.

More uses for baking soda

Baking soda is a completely natural product that is safe for humans and animals alike. It is better for the environment than those caustic and poisonous cleaners that are available. I’m sure you can come up with some of your own tips on how to use baking soda. Please share any tips below in the comment box.

Comments

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  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    There is nothing bad about sodium bicarbonate, that is baking soda, what this hub is all about. I meant that if it is baking soda it will have sodium bicarbonate listed, washing soda will not.

  • profile image

    John 

    6 years ago

    To "Uninvited Writer".what is so bad about sodium bicarbonate ??? Sodium is salt after all.

  • paradigmsearch profile image

    Person of Interest 

    6 years ago from SoCal, USA

    The makers of Alka-Seltzer are a bunch of thieves. I don't believe what they charge for that stuff these days and I have quit buying it. Alka-Seltzer has baking soda and aspirin. So if one's concern is just the upset stomach... The upset stomach is caused by too much acid. Baking soda is a base. For you non-chemists out there, acids and bases neutralize each other.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    No,I would not recommend using washing soda on your face. That can't be good for you. Check the ingredients, it will probably say sodium bicarbonate somewhere.

  • LittleFairy profile image

    LittleFairy 

    7 years ago

    okay, thanks! I don't know the difference between baking and washing soda, I guess the one I tried wasn't baking because it wasn't smooth according to what people say.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    I don't find that the baking soda gets warm when you add water.

  • LittleFairy profile image

    LittleFairy 

    7 years ago

    Great hub. I have a question about baking soda: Does it feel quite warm when mixed with water? or is that rather washing soda?

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Yes, you can sprinkle it in your oven then wash it with a damp sponge.

  • profile image

    Kelli 

    8 years ago

    Does anyone know if you can use soda in a self-cleaning oven?

  • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

    DeBorrah K Ogans 

    9 years ago

    Uninvited writer,

    Thank you for sharing all the great tips for using baking soda!

    Blessings

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for commenting everyone, baking soda really is a miracle.

  • Patti Ann profile image

    Patti Ann 

    9 years ago from Florida

    Great info - I have used baking soda for cleaning and brushing my teeth. I will try washing my face with it as you suggested. Thanks!

  • Tiffany Latte profile image

    TiffanyLatte 

    9 years ago from USA

    Stopped in to check on your activities, enjoyed the article. Good tips.

  • Solorya profile image

    Solorya 

    9 years ago from Oklahoma

    Good tips! I just started using baking soda to wash my hair of all things! I was pretty doubtful at first, but as soon as I began rinsing I knew my hair was cleaner than it had been in a long time!

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 

    9 years ago from East Coast, United States

    Writer, thanks for sharing some new uses and tips for baking soda. How about helping the kids 'make' a 'volcano' by pouring vinegar into some baking soda and watching it foam up. It's fun and a big mess.

  • SweetiePie profile image

    SweetiePie 

    9 years ago from Southern California, USA

    I never would have thought of using baking soda to get the odor out of old books. I also love it for cleaning out the bathroom sink as I never liked the strong smelling cleaners like comet.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Yes, I should start buying bigger packages. It goes awfully quickly when you use it in the cat box.

  • LondonGirl profile image

    LondonGirl 

    9 years ago from London

    Bicarbonate of soda is wonderful stuff. I buy cheap bags of the stuff, 5kg a go, and use it for cleaning. It saves spraying nasty chemicals around, and really gets the kitchen sparkly.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for all the great comments. Yes, it really is a miracle compound :) There are so many other uses that I didn't mention...

  • alekhouse profile image

    Nancy Hinchliff 

    9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

    Really good hub, UW, lots of good information. I own and run a bed and breakfast, so you can imagine just how many uses I have for soda. I buy boxes and boxes of it at a time. Always have it around. Thanks.

  • profile image

    Alison 

    9 years ago

    @BristolBoy Don't try using soda crystals on your skin! It's a different product from baking soda and _much_ stronger.

  • franciaonline profile image

    franciaonline 

    9 years ago from Philippines

    Hi Uninvited Writer,

    Wow, I didn't know that baking soda can have so many uses! For heartburn, to absorb bad odor, for a clean face and many more.....Thank you for this hub!

  • Pete Maida profile image

    Pete Maida 

    9 years ago

    We have used baking soda to deordorize; it is definitely good stuff.

  • BristolBoy profile image

    BristolBoy 

    9 years ago from Bristol

    In the UK we have a similar thing for cleaning which I believe chemically is very similar called soda crystals. They really do clean well, and are surprisingly cheap.

  • stephhicks68 profile image

    Stephanie Hicks 

    9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

    As a "greenie," I just have to say that I LOVE baking soda! So many uses, so gentle and clean. Big thumbs up!

  • Gypsy Willow profile image

    Gypsy Willow 

    9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

    Wow that is a scary report on shampoo. This could be very useful as I sometimes get an itchy scalp, now I know why!

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    You are welcome Gypsy Willow.

    Someone just told me it's also good as a substitute for shampoo.

    http://blog.jynmeyer.com/2009/04/my-no-poo-diet/

     

  • Gypsy Willow profile image

    Gypsy Willow 

    9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

    Thanks for all these household hints and more

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks Rochelle. I am amazed by this powder. My skin is looking so great.

  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 

    9 years ago from California Gold Country

    ThIs is great.  I always use it to clean my stainless steel sink-- and am old enough to remember using it as 'tooth powder', as an antiacid, also for mouth sores. 

    Good for helping clean up pet accidents as well -- but I learned even more here.

    Of course now-- the the demand and the price will grow for this wonderful, economical substance.

    Good job on this. Thanks!

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