As you are probably well aware, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate: NaHCO3) is a magical compound-when mixed with vinegar, it fizzes up and kids of all ages love to watch it go boom!
However, what you might not know is that baking soda has many more uses than basic volcano demonstrations.
1. Toothpaste- replacement for regular toothpaste. I like using regular paste and oil pulling, but in a bind, 2tsp of baking soda and a drop or two of clean peppermint essential oil mixed with enough water to make a paste works great! It’s a little salty to taste, but sure gets your teeth fresh and clean:)
2. Shampoo- I actually use baking soda and baking powder instead of regular shampoo. I like the way it makes my hair feel after I use it. Typically 2 TB of baking powder with 1 TB of baking soda does the trick. I put it in a cup and add warm water to make a paste/rinse. Then put it on my scalp and massage until there is a bit of a lather. Slightly diluted Apple Cider vinegar works as a fantastic conditioning rinse afterwards. Rinse your hair in moderate-cold water until the smell is gone and you can no longer feel the grainy texture of the soda. You can use straight soda or powder. The powder tends to thicken up hair and accentuate curls, while soda cuts the grease. As baking soda is abrasive, it is important to use this method 3-5 days apart or your hair will become extremely dry and tender.
It is important to be extremely careful with your hair and to make sure that if you do decide to use baking soda instead of shampoo, you condition, condition, condition, and massage your scalp. If you don’t, your hair will get dry and the blood flow to the hair follicles will stop, causing negative hair growth.
Conditioning treatments with olive oil, honey, avocado, or coconut oil work wonders for dry hair and scalps. Also a couple drops of rosemary, or peppermint, or lemon, or lavender essential oils make wonderful additions to any conditioner or shampoo. Just remember to rinse out any oils before about 30min.
3. Toilet bowl and surface cleaner- baking soda makes a toilet bowl sparkle! I was out of regular cleaner and pour a little sodium bicarbonate in the bowl and scrubbed with the brush. After a couple rounds of cleaning like that, the bowl was the whitest I had ever seen it. As it worked in the toilet, so it works in the sink basin, on counters, and applied dry to the carpet (let it sit then vacuum it up!)
4. Tarnish remover in silver and aluminum- be careful with this as excessive cleaning and polishing will do more than just remove the tarnish, but it works to really add a bright shine to the metals if done properly.
5. Bread Leavening Agent- if you ever wonder why there is baking soda in a baking recipe or why it’s called baking soda, this is why.
6. Baking Powder- baking powder we buy at the store is baking soda, cornstarch, and a powdered acid compound. But if a recipe calls for baking powder and you don’t have any, mix a 1:1: ratio of cornstarch, baking soda, and
7. Antacid- completely dissolve 0.5 tsp of baking soda in water
– do not give to children younger than 6, someone who is pregnant, someone who is on prescribed medications, or someone who is on a low-sodium diet,
– be sure to talk to a doctor before using this just to be safe:)
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8. Itch relief from poison ivy, Oak, and sumac- mix with water into a paste and apply- be careful it may dry out skin
9. Deodorant- put a container of open top baking soda in the fridge, in a room, almost anywhere and it will deodorize the foul stenches lingering in the air
10. Drain cleaner- for those of you who LOVED the vinegar and baking soda experiment at the science fair, do the same thing down your sink drain and if there was a clog from natural buildup, it will (in most cases) clean itself out!
Baking soda is truly an under-appreciated household item. I hope this helps inspire you to not fret the next time you are out of your go to product. Or possibly even save a little money if you need to pinch some pennies.