Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2016. Given the events going on around us in the past few months, I believe the information will be helpful to the people who did not get a chance to read the article in 2016, as well as to the ones who already read it.
If you’re like me, you probably already have a box of baking soda in your pantry for baking, one in your refrigerator to absorb odors and another under your kitchen sink to use for cleaning.
What Exactly Is Baking Soda?
It’s 100 percent sodium bicarbonate, which can be used as a leavening agent in baked goods.
When mixed with an acid, baking soda reacts, making bubbles and giving off carbon dioxide gas, which causes dough to rise. Anecdotal reports throughout history suggest that many civilizations used forms of baking soda when making bread and other foods that required rising.
In its natural form, baking soda is known as nahcolite, which is part of the natural mineral natron. Natron, which contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate, has been used since ancient times. And no, you don’t need to get aluminum-free baking soda (you are confusing that with baking powder), as baking soda is already aluminum free.…
For instance, the Egyptians used natron as a soap for cleansing purposes. However, it wasn’t until 1846 that Dr. Austin Church and John Dwight began to manufacture and sell the compound we know as baking soda today. By the 1860s, baking soda was featured in published cookbooks but was still primarily known as a cooking additive. By the 1920s, however, its versatility was expanded on and by the 1930s it was widely advertised as a “proven medical agent.”
You can purchase a box of baking soda for under $1, making it one of the least expensive home remedies to keep on hand. In addition to using it for minor accidents and injuries, baking soda can become a part of your regular hygiene routine.
Health & Beauty
- Antiperspirant – to make your own, apply baking soda with a powder puff under arms.
- Bee Stings – to sooth the pain and draw out the stinger, apply a paste of baking
soda and water to the affected area.
- Breath – to freshen, gargle with 2 ounces of water mixed with ½ teaspoon baking soda.
- Bug Bites – to relieve itching, make a thick paste using water and baking soda. Apply paste to the bite.
- Canker Sore – to relieve pain, mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt in 1 cup of water. Gargle.
- Chicken Pox – to relieve itching, add ½ cup baking soda to a lukewarm bath.
- Colds – to relieve stuffy head and nose, use vapor disks in your shower made with 2 cups baking soda, 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Slowly add water to make a thick putty. Divide into muffin tins and allow them to air dry for 24 hours.
- Dandruff – to control, massage your wet scalp with a ¼ – ½ cup of baking soda. Repeat for two weeks.
- Dentures and Retainers – to clean, soak them in 1 cup warm water and 3 tablespoons baking soda.
- Detox – to relieve aches and pains, mix 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a warm tub of water.
- Face Scrub – for a soft, smooth face, make a paste using 1 part baking soda, 2 parts ground oatmeal and water. Gently rub you face with the paste, leave on for a few minutes and then rinse.
- Feet – to relieve aching feet, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to a tub of warm water.
- Hair – to keep hair healthy, add 1 teaspoon of baking to every 6 ounces of conditioner.
- Hair – to remove chemical build up and soften, mix 1 teaspoon baking soda to 6 ounces shampoo
- Heartburn – to relieve, drink 4 ounces of water mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda.
- Jellyfish Sting – to sooth pain, apply a thick paste of baking soda and water to the affected area.
- Mouthwash – to make your own, mix 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon salt, a drop of two of peppermint in 1 quart of water. Gargle.
- Poison Ivy – to relieve itching, make a thin paste using water and baking soda. Gently apply to affected area.
- Skin – to exfoliate, make a paste using 3 parts baking soda and on part water. Gently apply with your fingers using a circular motion, rinse
- Skin – to soften, add 1 cup of baking soda to your bathwater.
- Splinter – to remove, soak affected area in a small glass of water containing 1 tablespoon baking soda. Repeat twice a day until the splinter works its way out.
- Split Ends – to resist, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 6 ounces of conditioner.
- Stuffy Nose – to clear, add 1 teaspoon to vaporizer.
- Sunburn – to relieve pain, make a thin paste using water and baking soda. Gently apply to the burned area.
- Sunburn – to relieve pain, soak in a bath tub full of lukewarm water and a ½ cup baking soda. Air dry.
- Teeth – to clean, make a paste using baking soda and peroxide.
- Teeth – to whiten, mix ½ teaspoon baking soda with 1 crushed, ripe strawberry. Apply the mixture to your teeth and allow it to remain for 5 minutes. Brush teeth and rinse.
- Ulcer – to relieve pain, dissolve 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda in 1 cup water and drink.
- Wind burns – to relieve, apply a thin paste of baking soda and water to the area.
Related: 36 Survival Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide
- Baking Powder – to make your own, sift together 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 parts cream of tartar.
- Beans – to make them more digestible, soak dried beans in a solution of 4 cups water and ½ cup baking soda.
- Chicken – to easily remove feathers and clean, boil the chicken in a pot of water mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda.
- Eggs – to make fluffier, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to three eggs.
- Fish – to reduce the fishy smell, soak raw fish in 2 cups water and ¼ cup baking soda for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator.
- Fruits & Vegetables – to clean, wash them in a sink of water mixed with 1 cup of baking soda.
- Meat – to tenderize, rub meat with baking soda and allow it to sit for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Rinse before cooking.
- Sports Drinks – to make your own, dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking, 1 teaspoon of salt, 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1 package of Kool-Aid in 2 quarts of warm water. Cool and drink to replace electrolytes which help you to absorb more water.
- Tea – to eliminate bitterness and cloudiness, add a pinch of baking soda to a gallon of freshly brewed tea.
- Tomatoes – to reduce acid, sprinkle them with a pinch of baking soda.
- Wild Game – to reduce the gamey flavor, soak it in a solution of 4 cups water and ½ cup baking soda.
Related: Baking Soda Substitutes and How to Use Them
- Baby Bottles – to clean and deodorize, wash bottles in a sink full of hot water and ½ cup baking soda.
- Cast Iron – to clean, sprinkle with baking soda and scrub with a rag. Rinse and season.
- Coffee Maker – to clean, add ¼ cup baking soda to a pot of water. Run the water through a complete brewing cycle.
- Coffee Stains – to remove from mugs, sprinkle baking soda and fill with hot water. Let it soak until the water is cool. Empty and sprinkle with a little more baking soda and scrub clean.
- Dish clothes – to remove the smell, soak dish clothes in 2 cups water and 1 cup baking soda.
- Dishwasher – to clean and deodorize, sprinkle the bottom with 1 cup baking soda and run it through a full cycle using hot water. Then leave the door open for a few hours to dry out.
- Dishwasher – for cleaner dishes, add a tablespoon of baking soda to your dishwasher.
- Food Storage Containers – to remove odors, sprinkle with baking soda and allow them to sit covered for 24-48
hours. Wash in a sink of water mixed with ½ cup baking soda.
- Hands – to remove odors, wash hands with baking soda.
- Oven – to clean, mix 1 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon baking soda scrub the inside of the oven and rinse clean.
- Pots & Pans – to remove burnt on food, fill pan with water and ¼ cup baking soda. Boil for 10-15 minutes and wash clean.
- Pots & Pans – to remove grease, scrub pans with baking soda.
- Refrigerator – to clean and deodorize, make a cleaning solution using 4 cups water and ¼ cup baking soda.
- Refrigerator – to remove odors, place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator.
- Stove – to clean a glass top stove, make a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the mixture to the stove top scrubbing away the mess. Rinse with clean water.
Related: Survival Uses for Calcium Chloride
- Combs & Brushes – to clean, soak them in a solution made of 4 cups hot water and ½ cup baking soda. Soak for 1-2 hours then rinse clean.
- Drains – to keep them flowing freely and smelling fresh, clean them every other month.
- Drains – to unclog, remove as much of the standing water as possible. Pour 1 cup baking soda into the drain then pour 1 cup hot vinegar. Allow it to do its magic for 10-15 minutes and then run the hot water for a few minutes.
- Shower Curtains – to clean and remove mildew, soak them in 1 gallon warm water and 1 cup baking soda. Allow them to soak overnight, rinse and hang to dry.
- Sinks, tubs and showers – to scrub, mix ¼ cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap. Use as you would any scouring powder.
- Toilet – to clean and absorb odors, add a cup of baking soda to the bowl and let it sit for an hour. Clean with a toilet brush and flush.
- Toothbrushes – to clean, soak overnight in a mixture of ¼ cup water and ¼ cup baking soda. Rinse.
- Detergent – learn to make your own.
- Diapers – to clean and deodorize, add ½ cup of baking soda to the washer.
- Diaper Pail – to deodorize, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom.
- Laundry – to boost your detergent’s cleaning power and brighten clothes, add 1/4 cup to your wash.
- Line Drying – to keep clothes from being stiff, add baking soda to your washer.
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- Air Freshener – to make your own, mix a cup of baking soda with a few drops of essential oil. Place mixture in a small bowl.
- Carpets – to clean, sprinkle with baking soda and gently brush it in. Allow it to sit overnight then vacuum.
- Chrome – to polish, make a paste using baking soda and water. Buff with paste and rinse clean.
- Fireplace – to freshen, remove ashes then place a container of baking soda in the fireplace.
- Floors – to brighten and clean, in a bucket of warm water dissolve ½ cup baking soda. Rinse.
- Garbage Cans – to clean, make a thin paste using baking soda and water. Scrub the garbage can and rinse.
- Garbage Cans – to deodorize, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom.
- Hamper – to freshen, sprinkle the bottom with baking soda.
- Marble – to clean, make a cleaning solution using 4 cups warm water and 3 tablespoons baking soda. Pour solution in a spray bottle.
- Rugs – to freshen, sprinkle with baking soda, let sit overnight. Shake.
- Shoes – to clean, make a thin paste using baking soda and water. Rub the paste on the shoe with a clean cloth. Rinse.
- Silver – to clean smooth surface silver, place the silver in an aluminum foil pan, add enough boiling water to cover the silver and 4-5 tablespoons baking soda. Let it sit for 1-2 hours. Rinse and polish with a clean dry cloth.
- Silver – to shine, mix 3 parts baking soda with one part water. Buff silver with the paste and rinse.
- Stainless Steel – to polish and clean, make a paste using baking soda and water. Buff with paste and rinse clean.
- Upholstery – to clean, sprinkle with baking soda and gently brush it in. Allow it to sit overnight, then vacuum.
- Vacuum Cleaner – to freshen, vacuum up a ½ cup of baking soda.
- Water Rings – to remove from wood furniture, make a paste using baking soda and toothpaste (not the gel kind). Using a soft cloth dipped in the mixture rub the spot.
Related: 18 Reasons to Stock Diatomaceous Earth for Survival
- Balloons – to blow up, fill about ½ of a balloon with baking using a funnel. Fill about 1/3 of a water bottle (16.9oz) with vinegar. Carefully cover the top of the bottle with the balloon making sure not to spill the baking soda into the bottle. Lift the balloon to pour the baking soda into the vinegar.
- Clay – to make your own, mix 1 cup cornstarch, 2 cups baking soda and 1 ¼ cups water. Knead until well mixed.
- Cradle Cap – to loosen and remove, wash infants hair/scalp with a watery mixture of baking soda and water.
- Diaper Rash – to relieve rash, put a couple tablespoons of baking soda in their bathwater.
- Dogs – to deodorize fur, brush their coat with baking soda.
- Dogs & Cats – to clean their teeth, dip a damp toothbrush into baking soda and brush away the tarter.
- Dogs & Cats – to deter bugs from getting into their food bowls, sprinkle baking soda around their bowls.
- Litter Box – to absorb odor, sprinkle the litter with baking soda.
- Skunk – to remove odors, bathe in a tub of warm water and 2 cups baking soda.
- Skunk – to remove odors from clothing, soak clothing in a bucket of warm water and 1 cup of baking soda.
- Concrete – to clean off grease, sprinkle on the spot and scrub using a hard bristle brush. Rinse clean. Repeat as needed.
- Grills – to clean, sprinkle a damp brush with baking soda, scrub, allow to sit for 24 hours and rinse.
- Patio Cushions – to store for winter, place cushions in a large plastic bag and sprinkle with baking soda. Seal bag and store.
- Sidewalks – to remove ice, sprinkle with baking soda.
- Sidewalks and Driveways – to remove weeds from the cracks, sprinkle them baking soda.
Related: 15 Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants
- Flowers – to keep cut flowers fresh, add 1 teaspoon to the water.
- Gardens – to keep rabbits out, sprinkle garden beds with baking soda.
- Tomatoes – to sweeten, sprinkle baking soda on the soil around the plants.
Related: How To Protect Your Garden From Pests And Diseases
- Ants – to rid your home, sprinkle baking soda along their paths.
- Cock Roaches – to rid your home, sprinkle around windows and under sinks.
- Battery – to keep it from corroding, every couple of months wipe the terminals with a paste made of baking soda and water. Remove with a clean, dry rag.
- Interior – to freshen, fill ashtrays with baking soda.
- Windshield – to repel rain, wipe your windshield with a solution of 2 cups water and 1 cup baking soda.
- Ashtrays – to prevent smoldering, sprinkle baking soda in your ashtrays
- Ashtrays – to reduce odors, sprinkle baking soda in your ashtrays
- Fires – to put out a small grease fire, pour baking soda on it.
- Paint Brushes – to restore stiff brushes, mix ½ gallon of water, ¼ cup vinegar and 1 cup baking soda in a sauce pan. Place paint brushes in the pan and bring them to a boil.
- Shoes – to remove odors, sprinkle baking soda in your shoes
- Walls – to fill nail holes, mix baking soda with white toothpaste. Fill the holes and allow to dry.
This first appeared on Fluster Buster.
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Other than using in my kitchen and bath sinks to prevent smell, I find other methods because it causes such a mess.
Oh, a small bowl in the fridge always.
baking soda and vinegar makes a volcanic cleaner – it’ll soak out the worst coffee clogged thermos you can find – good for rust also ….
Good list. Back on our dairy farm in Wisconsin, we used to give the cats a cup or two of milk from the bulk tank and mix in about a teaspoon-ish of BS and it would worm the hell out of those cats. It changes the PH in the body and the worms can not live in them.
I seen an older youtube video of an old woman doing an interview who was a kid during the last pandemic and she said her mother made the whole family drink a cup of water each with a spoon full of BS and she said they were the only family that never got sick and were taking care of everyone else in the area who was.
I will say too, it doesn’t work for bee stings. Get a tube of Orajel with 20% benzocaine and that will kill the pain of the sting for you. Keep up the great work.
Bill, I was told about 5 years ago that drinking a glass of water with Baking Soda would improve my failing memory, I tried it, and had great results, and I still drink this everyday.
Thanks for that info. I did not know that, but I told my mother, who’s 91, and VERY healthy, but her memory is slipping a little. She started taking that every morning. I hope it works for her as well. Thanks again.
Back in the beginning of the pandemic, at one point the only baking soda left was a 4 pound box and I grabbed it, Knowing it would have an infinite number of uses.
Bee stings?? Toothpaste–It worked for me instantly.
Use as a filler. Fill a crack or defect with baking soda and then drip some regular thin super glue over the top. Instantly hardens into a sandable, paintable fill material. I have used it to fill screw holes in aluminum with great results and you can sand and paint in just a minute or two.
Great tip, Ron. Thanks for posting it. Better than waiting for JBWeld to get hard. Another do-it-yourself patch for my tool box.
is little miss here–it is not an antiperspirant . that would mean it stops perspiration. it doesn’t. it is a deodorant, reducing the smell produced by bacteria who live on that sweat. if applied to your underarms, you will still sweat just as much, but the dry soda will soak up a bit of the sweat and will reduce the smell noticeably.
People frequently confuse antiperspirant and deodorant.
On another note, In 1948 I had rheumatic fever. The antibiotic that was available then was sulfanilamide. I had to take it for several month after the symptoms had subsided. Because it was reputed to cause stomach upset, I also had to take a sodium bicarbonate pill with each sulfa pill. Why not just take a teaspoonful of baking soda with each pill? The doctor wanted a precise dose of sodium bicarbonate which a “teaspoonful” or whatever kitchen measure would not provide. The sodium bicarbonate pill provided a uniform dose.
Up until calcium carbonate and other substances came on the OTC market, sodium bicarbonate was the standard cure for stomach upset. As I recall, it came in a little tin much like aspirin used to come in back in the dark ages. The little tins were convenient to carry. They were flat and slipped easily into a pocket or a change purse in a woman’s purse.
I thought about a comment about these days being the dark ages, but if I stop and think about it, there were riots and social disorders all through the 20th century. So I guess it is nothing new. West Virginia actually had a war between the miners and the mine owners with more than laser beams and tear gas being directed both ways.
WW1 vets calling themselves The Bonus Army occupied parts of D.C. early in the Depression seeking early payment of benefits promised for 1945, when most of them would be dead. The Vets were peaceful but Hoover had Gen. MacArthur and the U.S. Army drive them out of D.C. with clubs and tear gas. 2020 America would go insane if that happened.
Baking soda makes your biscuits rise, if you don’t keep a clean fridge baking soda helps with the smell. For something with 500+ listed uses it’s not very useful, but you absolutely want to keep a box near the stove, it is the best way to extinguish a small grease fire in the kitchen. A couple of cups of salt works on a larger grease fire, but you should have a dry fire extinguisher for big boo boos. I used to make a lot of Tempura so I have started a lot of small grease fires, moderate your alcohol consumption when frying sweet potatoes.
Ivy Mike: Dugout Doug MacArthur not only used troops, he also had cavalry and tanks with him to drive former soldiers and in many cases their families from Washington D.C.
Another “army” marched on Washington in 1933. After that march congress passed a bill to pay the bonus early which Roosevelt vetoed but was overridden by congress. The vets eventually got the bonus promised to them for their service in the War to End All Wars. Whoa — missed the mark on that one didn’t we?
Where can I find the rest of the WWII series? I can’t seem to find it. Thanks for your help and your site. I love it.
Great stuff.. So what is baking powder good for? Remember the spare can opener. Thanks