Check out the products in your supermarket cleaning aisle and chances are that baking soda is present in the majority of them. Look at the cleaners, the deodorizers, the body products and chances are they will contain this wonderful, natural ingredient. Is there anything at all that the humble baking soda cannot do? There probably isn’t! This inexpensive ingredient can be used for cleaning, deodorizing and body care. Let us take a look at its many health benefits and also study reasons why it is an excellent cleaner and deodorizer.
Baking soda is known by many different names including soda ash, sodium bicarbonate, Bicarb of Sodium, and so on. Its chemical formula is NaHCO3; it is completely non toxic. This makes it a wonderful household cleaner and deodorizer, as you do not have to worry about your child or pet ingesting it. From cooking to cleaning to your medicine cabinet, this multi-tasker has thousands of uses.
Baking soda was first used by the early Egyptian civilization nearly 5,000 years ago, for cleaning purposes. As humans progressed, they started finding more and more uses for it. Europeans used it as a leavening agent, in textiles, for paper making and for several other industrial uses. This led to the invention of the chemical process for its manufacture; French physician Nicholas LeBlanc came up with a technique that we use today to manufacture soda ash or baking soda in bulk. Today, the humble baking soda has come a long, long way. Did you know that even our bodies "manufacture" baking soda in small quantities to balance the pH or acidity levels of saliva? It neutralizes stomach acid and helps carry carbon dioxide out of the body tissues and into the blood stream.
Baking soda has 5 attractive properties that make it so useful in and around every aspect of our lives:
• Neutralizing property- Baking soda balances pH. It also neutralizes odors.
• Crystalline and water soluble- Soda’s crystalline structure and water solubility makes it ‘soft’ and useful in hundreds of applications.
• Flexible and mildly abrasive- Both these properties make it an excellent cleaner.
• Inexpensive- Baking soda is readily available everywhere, is inexpensive and hence useful in every room of the house!
• Non toxic- Many commercial cleaners and deodorants contain harmful chemicals that have been linked to diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. The reason why you should not use aluminum based deodorants or antiperspirants is because they sit on the skin for several hours and get absorbed by the body. (We discuss a simple baking soda based homemade deo later in this article, which is a great alternative to toxic products.)
Baking soda is truly the ‘jack of all trades’. Here is a brief list of uses for this humble kitchen ingredient:
Almost all cake and baking recipes use baking soda-make sure you know the difference between baking soda and baking powder! Add a pinch to your omelet and it will become fluffier. Add it to your deep fried nuggets, crisps and cutlets and they will become crunchier. A bit of soda rubbed onto meat keeps it tender. Add a tiny bit to milk while boiling and it won’t curdle. Get rid of the gas in beans by adding a pinch of soda when boiling them. Veggies love baking soda-add a pinch to cabbage and it will cook nice and tender without burning.
A box of baking soda kept partially opened in the refrigerator will keep it clean and odor free for weeks. Here are some other fantastic uses of baking soda for cleaning:
• Sprinkle soda all over the inside of the fridge and wipe off with a damp cloth-your fridge will be as good as new!
• Make old appliances look good as new by wiping them with a solution of baking soda and water.
• Keep old rubber gloves fresh by sprinkling soda inside them.
• Get rid of stains on countertops in kitchens, bathrooms and dining areas with baking soda. Make a solution of soda, white vinegar or water and wipe these surfaces down.
• Remove rust stains from bikes, taps, etc. by rubbing them down with a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda.
• Clean your tea kettle and coffee maker with baking soda to get rid of ugly brown stains.
• Use it for cleaning sponges, your cleaning rags, microwaves, dishwashers, stove tops, ovens, pots, pans, dustbins, etc.
• Got roaches and ants but don’t want to use chemical sprays? Lay down a trail of soda in the corners; the pests will eat it, dehydrate and die.
• Sprinkle soda on thresholds, saddle and window sills to keep bugs and ants away.
And we all know how effective the humble soda is in soothing bug bites. Got bitten by mosquitoes/ants/bed bugs? Make a paste of soda in water and apply it to the skin for instant pain relief.
• Sprinkle soda inside smelly, wet shoes and place a few old newspapers to absorb the moisture. Your shoes will smell fresh and clean again.
• Leaving on a holiday? Sprinkle soda liberally down sinks and drains in bathrooms to keep them smelling great and prevent gnats, fruit flies and mold. Come home to clean, sparkling odor free bathroom drains and kitchen sinks upon your return.
• Freshen up washing machines and dishwashers by doing a rinse cycle just with baking soda. Also add baking soda inside appliances, trash cans and sinks when you leave on your holiday. Your home will smell fresh and clean upon your return.
• And yes, you can also add baking soda to your bath water to remove sweaty odors. Alternatively, rub some soda in your armpits, mixed with witch hazel or coconut oil, to smell fresh and clean instantly!
Our products that contain baking soda:
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