Seventeen practical uses for all-natural baking soda

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:48

    Going green often translates to making subtle lifestyle changes to improve prospects for the planet. Limiting the use of chemical products and other harmful materials in everyday life can vastly reduce harmful impact on the world. There are many items that can replace harmful chemicals for cleaning and other purposes. One of the more versatile is baking soda. Commonly found in the kitchen pantry, baking soda can be put to use in that room and beyond. In a traditional sense, baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a leavening agent used in baking. Baking soda is used in recipes where an acidic ingredient, such as buttermilk or lemon juice, will be used to generate the chemical reaction that releases bubbles of carbon dioxide. This reaction occurs right after the mixing of ingredients, and baking immediately after will be necessary. However, beyond cookies and cakes, baking soda has a number of useful purposes. Because it is all-natural and can be ingested, it can be used safely and without concern for toxic interactions. Furthermore, baking soda helps regulate pH — keeping a substance neither too acidic nor too alkaline. It is this neutralizing function that can help it limit acid smells in the refrigerator. Here is a look at some of the other ways to put baking soda to use. 1. Mouthwash: Mix a glass of water with one teaspoon of baking soda. Swish and spit out the solution, then rinse. Mouth odors will be neutralized. 2. Deodorant: Pat baking soda under the arms for a natural body odor deterrent. 3. Antacid: Use baking soda as an antacid or to combat sour stomach. The box usually will give directions for making a solution to drink to ease stomach discomfort. 4. Itch remedy: Shake baking soda onto the hand and pat it on damp skin after a shower. 5. Deodorize: Sprinkle baking soda on carpets before vacuuming. Keep a box in the refrigerator or a closet to absorb foul odors. 6. Water treatment: Use baking soda to neutralize water pH. Add it to bath water or to the washing machine to improve soap’s efficacy. 7. Hair improvements: Mix a small amount of baking soda with traditional shampoo. The baking soda will help remove the residue that styling products leave behind. 8. Soft scrub: Sprinkle baking soda on a clean, damp sponge. Use it to scour tiles, sinks, tubs, and counters. Rinse and wipe dry. 9. Microwave cleaner: Baking soda on a sponge can also clean the inside of the microwave without leaving a harsh smell behind. 10. Stainless cleaner: Make a paste of baking soda and water to remove rust stains from a stainless steel sink. 11. Coffee pot cleanser: Remove bitter tastes and stains from coffee pots or tea pots with a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda to a quart of warm water. 12. Gentle baby clothes cleaner: Soak baby items in water and 1/2 cup baking soda for a gentle cleaner. 13. Grease fighter: Sprinkle baking soda on light oil and grease spills in the garage or in the driveway. Scrub with a wet brush. 14. Freshen litter box: Sprinkle baking soda in kitty litter to neutralize pet odors. 15. Septic care: Regular use of baking soda in drains is the natural way to realize proper pH in septic tanks. 16. Vegetable wash: A food-safe way to clean dirt and residue off of fresh vegetables and fruit is to sprinkle baking soda on a clean, damp sponge, scrub and rinse. 17. Fire extinguisher: Baking soda can be used on grease or electrical fires to smother flames.