Baking soda is a product that no home lacks. But its uses are often relegated to relieving stomach acid or helping our cakes and cookies acquire a fluffier consistency.
The truth is, there are practical uses beyond those mentioned. Its versatility would make it the Swiss Army knife of the cleaning world. A key feature is that it helps to regulate and neutralize pH, meaning that a substance is never too acidic or too alkaline. And also, it's a very economical product. “The fun thing about baking soda is that it does so many things and it's so cheap,” cleaning expert and writer Becky Rapinchuk, also known as “Clean Mama”, told The Huffington Post. With a simple internet search, you can find a mile-long list of practical uses that baking soda offers on its own or mixed with other cleaning products.
Eliminating unpleasant fridge odours
“You can put an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator or anywhere that's a little musty or smelly,” Rapinchuk tells The Huffington Post. “It will absorb the odors,” he says. Within a few days, the baking soda will do its job and you'll start to smell fresher. To maintain this absence of bothersome odors, it's advisable to replace the baking soda at least every three months.
Get rid of bad shoe smell
Rapinchuk, speaking to the Huffington Post, says she likes to use baking soda to freshen up smelly shoes. And there are several ways to do it. You can sprinkle baking soda directly on the shoes, let them sit for a day and shake them off. Or, you can make little bags of the stuff and leave them in your shoes when you're not wearing them.
To whiten teeth
Baking soda is a very popular home remedy for teeth whitening. In fact, some studies reveal that toothpastes containing this substance among their ingredients are more effective when it comes to removing stains and whitening our smile. This substance has slightly abrasive properties that can break the bonds of molecules that stain teeth. What's more, it acts as an antibacterial and antimicrobial agent, helping to kill off even the most harmful bacteria. To make the most of it, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of water in a glass or bowl until you get a thick paste. All that's left to do is apply it directly to your teeth with your fingers or a brush.
Use it (dry) as a shampoo
From the popularity of the ‘No poo' movement, which advocates avoiding the use of shampoo, has come the trend to use products that replace it. One of these is sodium bicarbonate. “People say that baking soda, dissolved in water, can remove excess oil and buildup, soften hair and restore shine,” they note in a Healthline fact sheet. However, this is by no means an infallible method. What's more, there's no clear evidence that baking soda can soften hair or restore shine, but there is evidence of its potential risk to hair and scalp. Its consequences for people with sensitive hair can be disastrous. In general, baking soda is abrasive, can dry out your hair and scalp and disrupt pH levels in the area. While it may be effective in the short term for those with oily hair, in the long term it can strip hair of its natural oils and irritate the scalp.
This quality for killing bacteria and absorbing bothersome odors positions it as an option to get away from conventional deodorants, which contain substances harmful to health or the environment, such as aluminum or parabens. But “while there have been studies on the benefits of baking soda in general, there is very little scientific research to specifically support its use as an underarm deodorant,” they note on a Healthline information page. For some people, it has worked wonders, while for others, due to using insufficient quantities or their skin sensitivity, it has caused rashes and redness on the skin. To avoid possible setbacks, we recommend testing a small amount by applying it to an underarm area. If your skin hasn't developed any kind of reaction or irritation for 48 hours, you can probably safely use it as a replacement for your usual deodorant. The thing to bear in mind at all times is that baking soda is not a product designed to be applied to the skin. “It's much more alkaline than your skin, which could disrupt its natural pH balance,” they explain from Healthline.
Treat insect bites and burns
Baking soda can relieve insect bites. And it can also minimize itching caused by sunburn. This is particularly useful during the hottest summers. To apply it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends preparing a mixture of baking soda and water:
- Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with enough water to create a paste.
- Apply the paste to the mosquito bite.
- Wait 10 minutes.
- Remove paste with water.
If you have a piece of jewelry that is very dirty or has blackened over the years, one way to restore it to its former glory is to use a solution of soap, water and baking soda. In a bowl of hot water, add a dab of dishwashing soap and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Completely immerse the piece and leave it to stand for around twenty minutes. Then remove it and use a brush to remove any loose dirt. Rinse and enjoy the shine.
My name is Maggie and I'm a writer for thesilverink.com, a website dedicated to news, culture and lifestyle. I have always been passionate about writing and I decided to make it my profession by becoming a web editor. I work on counterpoint.info and I mainly take care of the lifestyle section. I like to share my discoveries and my favorites with the readers, whether it's about fashion, beauty, decoration or gastronomy.