Recently, I went on a trip to Wally World with the kiddos. Of course their whining, complaining and constant touching of everything in the store distracted me and I grabbed a giant box of baking soda instead of washing soda.
I certainly was not about to go back to return it so now I am the proud owner of a 4 pound value-sized box of baking soda.
This box may last me a lifetime even with all the uses I’ve found. Now on to the chemistry lesson, history and uses of baking soda!
What is Baking Soda
Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate. According to Wikipedia it is “the chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate). The natural mineral form is nahcolite. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs.”
Got all that? All you really need to know is that it is cheap and non-toxic.
History of Baking Soda
The ancient Egyptians mined natron (see the chemical lesson above) which they used as soap. Those ancient Egyptians were so smart — pyramids and soap made out of what we know as baking soda. Wait…they didn’t make the pyramids out of baking soda, just the soap. See what happens when you have a poorly written sentence?
In 1846, two bakers named Dwight and Church refined the process of making baking soda from sodium carbonate and carbon dioxide and Arm & Hammer Baking Soda was born. Arm & Hammer has been around for 165 years and has many uses in addition to baking.
25 Uses for Baking Soda
In The Kitchen
1. Freshen Your Refrigerator. I think we all know that if you add an open box to your refrigerator it will keep it fresh smelling.
2. Remove Burnt on Foods. Pour a little baking soda in a pan or pot that has burnt, stuck on food. Add water and bring to a slight boil. The burnt on yucky stuff will slide right out. My mom taught me this trick on her last visit. Worked like a charm!
3. Clean Fruits and Vegetables. Baking soda is a safe way to clean fresh fruit and vegetables. Just shake, rub and rinse.
4. Garbage Disposal Freshener. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda in your garbage disposal followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. It will bubble and fizz for a while. Leave for 10 minutes and then pour boiling water down the drain while running your disposal. It will leave the disposal clean and fresh.
5. Chicken Cleaning. I don’t know of anyone who kills and cleans their own chickens. If this is something that you do, adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the boiling water before dipping the chicken will help the feathers come off easier. I think I’ll just continue to buy my chicken at the store feather-free.
6. Keep Fresh Fish Fresher. Back in the day, fisherman would pack their fish in baking soda to keep it from spoiling. Soaking your raw fish in baking soda solution for about an hour before cooking will remove that fishy smell.
7. Kitchen Fires. Never throw water on an electrical fire. I remember learning this in grade school. We were given a can filled with baking soda that my mom kept under the kitchen sink in case of grease or electrical fire. Throw handfuls to help put out the flames. Apparently, heated baking soda gives off carbon dioxide which will help smother the flames.
8. Deodorize Food Containers. Soak in water and baking soda overnight to remove food smells from your plastic containers.
9. Coffee and Tea Stains. Make a paste of baking soda and water and rub on coffee of tea mugs to remove those stubborn stains.
For the Home
10. Carpet Deodorizer. Sprinkle on your carpet and let sit for a few minutes before vacuuming.
11. Pest Control. Throwing a little baking soda around your vegetable garden will keep the rabbits from eating your bounty. It will also keep the ants away.
12. Stain Removal. Soak stubborn stains in baking soda solution and detergent overnight. You can also use a sponge to rub a little baking soda on the stain.
13. Clean Crayon Marks and Scuffs off Walls. Make a paste to rub away scuffs and crayon marks from your little Picasso.
14. Cleans Grout – 1 tablespoon water and 3 tablespoons baking soda with a small brush will bring the sparkle back to your grout.
15. Keep Litter Box Fresh. Sprinkle in bottom of litter pan and then on top of litter to keep smells away.
16. Keep Smells Away. Put a box of baking soda in closets, suitcases, gym bags, garbage cans, diaper pails, or anywhere you want to keep smells away.
17. Freshen Stuffed Animals. My kids love their stuffed animals. Sprinkle baking soda on and let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes. Brush off.
18. Keep Your Pet Smelling Fresh. I hate that wet doggy smell. Give your pet a bath using baking soda. It’s good for their skin and helps get rid of the wet dog smell.
19. Clean Hands. Baking soda can be used as a hand cleaner. It scrubs away dirt and takes care of odors on your hands.
20. Remove Product Buildup in Hair. Add a little baking soda to your shampoo once a week to remove product buildup from your hair.
21. Clean Combs and Hairbrushes. Clean your combs and brushes once a month by soaking in 2 teaspoons of baking soda and warm water. Rinse.
22. Microdermabrasion. Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water and gently rub your face and body then rinse for great exfoliation. I actually do this one and it leaves my skin feeling really soft. Be gentle when rubbing on your face.
23. Anti-itch for Bug Bites. Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water and apply to bite to relieve the itchiness. My mom also told me that meat tenderizer will work as well.
24. Clean Teeth. Baking soda is in a lot of commercial toothpaste. Sprinkle on a wet toothbrush and brush your teeth. The taste is not as good but if you are out of toothpaste, baking soda will work.
25. Use As Deodorant. Pat baking soda under the arms to help rid body odor.
Do you have any other uses for baking soda?
Let me know in the comments and I’ll update the list!