Day 3: Not the Kind with Bubbles!

(If this is your first visit here, click here to read Days 1 and 2)

path of treasure

No, we’re not talking about champagne here.¬† Guess again.

We’re talking about soda, but not the kind with bubbles and the kind you drink. We’re talking about something most American households have either in their refrigerator or in a cupboard somewhere.

It’s “Baking Soda”.

{Just what is baking soda, and where did it come from? Baking soda, as most people know, is called sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate of soda or less known, as “saleratus”. Baking soda maintains pH balance, keeping a substance neither too acidic or alkaline.}

Here's my big 10 pound box of baking soda. I keep it in the laundry room.

Most people keep a box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors. But, baking soda’s usefulness surpasses it’s usual quiet life on the shelf of the refrigerator. Baking soda can be used in a multitude of helpful ways. So why should its usefulness be considered over other products?

Baking soda is inexpensive, free of toxic and synthetic chemicals– and it works.

Baking soda can be considered as an alternative to harsh chemical cleaners and personal care products with synthetic or perfumed ingredients. Plus, it costs way less and does less damage to the environment, and to your body than manufactured products.

How can you utilize baking soda? Here are some common, everyday uses for baking soda that may or may not be new for you:

  • Baking soda is useful in baking as a leavening agent and is also a meat tenderizer.
  • Baking soda is an effective deodorizing agent (some people use it as underarm deodorant). Helpful if you want to switch to a more natural deodorant product.
  • It is also useful to throw into the laundry, helping to maintain a neutral pH, boosting the power of the laundry detergent.
  • It can be used as a toothpaste.
  • It is a mild cleaner and safe to use on many surfaces.
  • More recently, I’ve used baking soda as a salve to help ease the itch of mosquito bites. Just mix baking soda and water until it is a paste, and then apply to the mosquito bite.
  • Baking soda can also be ingested as an antacid (be sure to follow a doctor’s instructions if taking any medications or on a restricted sodium diet).
  • Cleaning the microwave.
  • Clean coffee and tea pots.
  • Polish silver.
  • Clean fruits and vegetables safely.
  • As a shampoo.¬† Dissolve a tablespoon of baking soda in a large glass of warm water. Some folks use it to remove buildup, but others have switched to baking soda altogether, eliminating the need for shampoo, like Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom (read about it here). Talk about saving lots of dollars on shampoo!
  • Use as a facial scrub and skin exfoliant.
  • Deodorize trash cans. Sprinkle on the bottom of the trash can.
  • Use up old baking soda from the fridge to deodorize drains. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain and run warm water.
  • Relieve canker sore pain by using as a mouthwash.
  • Sprinkle on odoriferous shoes or sneakers.

What’s amazing is that baking soda is so cheap and free of chemicals and this versatile. Consider how you might use baking soda to replace a more expensive or chemical product in your home!

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And finally, baking soda + vinegar = a very amusing science experiment for the kids. If you’ve never made a volcano with baking soda and vinegar, it’s a fun thing to do with baking soda.

*What you need: a water or soda bottle, detergent, red food coloring, baking soda, vinegar and clay.

What do to: Shape the clay in a volcano shape around the bottle (you can make your own dough mixture instead¬† of clay). Paint if you like. Take your “volcano” outdoors, or place in the bathtub. Fill the bottle most of the way with warm water and a little bit of red food color. Add 4-6 drops of detergent to the bottle. Now, add 2 tablespooons of baking soda to the liquid. Enjoy the lava show!

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Have you used baking soda in any of the above ways? Do you have any other baking soda uses not mentioned here?