What is baking soda used for? Baking soda uses are plentiful to say the least. Many of us think of baking soda as just an ingredient for baking or something that helps to keep our refrigerators odor-free, but baking soda is incredibly good for your health and your entire home, too! If you haven’t used baking soda for cleaning, get ready to be pretty amazed. Baking soda beauty uses? Yes, there are many!
I don’t mean to sound seditious here, but I have a rebellious plan to combat the ills that many corporations are perpetrating in the name of fighting grime and germs. My main gripe is about the environmental pollutants from cleaning and personal care products that we wash down our drains and into our water systems, resulting in situations like the chemical triclosan (a pesticide added to many products as an antibacterial agent) being found in dolphins.
So the simple plan is to encourage everyone to use baking soda in any of these 51 applications. Besides showing kindness to aquatic life, we can also protect ourselves from the array of toxins in household cleaning products. Conventional cleansers can expose us to multiple chemicals linked to asthma, cancer and other documented health problems.
Talk about an affordable natural remedy, a box of baking soda typically costs a dollar or even less. Baking soda has been used since ancient times as a deodorizer, soother and cleanser. Baking soda uses range from basic daily hygiene (think toothpaste and shampoo) to baking soda health benefits including digestive issues and even kidney problems.
Let’s take a look at all of baking soda’s super impressive benefits and baking soda uses, but first what is baking soda?
What Is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is a familiar household product that also goes by the names sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate of soda and sodium hydrogen carbonate. The baking soda chemical formula aka the sodium bicarbonate formula is NaHCO3. This baking soda formula represents its composition of of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions. It’s a substance known for its alkalizing effects thanks to a baking soda ph of 9.
What is sodium bicarbonate? In its most natural form sodium bicarbonate is also known as nahcolite, a mineral that is found in various locations around the world. It is commercially mined in areas of California, Colorado, Botswana and Kenya. There are also large deposits in Mexico, Uganda, Turkey and Mexico.
Some people get confused with baking soda vs. baking powder. Baking soda is a chemical leavening agent and so is baking powder, which means that when used in baking both baking soda and baking powder cause batters to rise. Throughout history, baking soda has been used as a rising agent when baking. It’s 100 percent sodium bicarbonate; so when mixed with acid, baking soda makes bubbles and gives off a carbon dioxide gas, causing the dough to rise. Baking powder and baking soda are similar yet different since baking powder is made up of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and one or multiple acid salts.
6 Health Benefits of Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great tool for cleaning and removing stains, but there are many health benefits associated with the use of baking soda, too. Sodium bicarbonate is sometimes used as a supplement because it provides dietary bicarbonate. When taken orally, baking soda can raise serum levels of bicarbonate.
What is bicarbonate? Bicarbonate is typically made by the kidneys, and it acts as an acid buffer in the body. Some of the most common baking soda uses for health include:
1. Helps with Digestive Issues
Baking soda is known to help to neutralize acid and improve pH balance in the body. Baking soda is often used internally to quell digestive dismay such as acid reflux or heartburn. When these complaints are due to overconsumption of acidic foods or a generally acidic state of the body, slowly drinking some baking soda in water can help to neutralize the acid and get your body’s pH back to a better place.
Don’t think more is better when it comes to taking baking soda. It’s important to note that consuming too much baking soda can cause an increase in acid production.
2. Anti-Fungal and Antibacterial
Baking soda has been shown to kill off bacteria including Streptococcus mutans, which is a type of bacteria associated with tooth decay. Baking soda is also effective against various fungal groups including yeasts, dermatophytes and molds that cause skin and nail infections in humans.
3. Boost Kidney Health
Research reveals that baking uses include the promotion of kidney health. A clinical study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology looked at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on 134 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and low blood bicarbonate levels.
What did they find? The subjects who supplemented with bicarbonate tolerated it well and were significantly less likely to experience rapid progression of their kidney disease. Additionally, there were less patients that developed end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the bicarbonate group compared to the control group. Overall, the researchers conclude, “This study demonstrates that bicarbonate supplementation slows the rate of progression of renal failure to ESRD and improves nutritional status among patients with CKD.”
4. Alleviate Urinary Tract Infections
According to the CDC, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common infections and as Mayo Clinic points out, women have a higher risk of developing a UTI than men.
A scientific study published in 2017 looked at the effects of baking soda on female patients with lower urinary tract symptoms who also had acidic urine pH levels lower than six. After four weeks of taking baking soda orally, the researchers found the urine of the subjects was alkalinized and there was a “a significant level of positive effects on symptoms and symptom scores.”
Overall, baking soda appears to be an easy, inexpensive way to improve UTI symptoms accompanied by acidic urine with little to no unwanted side effects.
5. Reduce Muscle Pain and Fatigue
“Practical considerations for bicarbonate loading and sports performance,” points out that studies to date have demonstrated that taking sodium bicarbonate before exercise (also known as bicarbonate loading) may have “a moderate positive effect” on athletic performance that includes one to seven minutes of sustained strenuous exercise. In addition, sodium bicarbonate may also be helpful for prolonged physical activity involving intermittent or sustained periods of high-intensity training.
Another small clinical study of eight healthy male subjects found consuming baking soda before intermittent cycling improved their sprint performance.
6. Help Alleviate Chemotherapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy side effects as make the list of baking soda uses for health. If you or someone you know has gone through chemotherapy, then you probably already know how bad the side effects of this cancer treatment can be. For example, undesirable changes to the mouth and throat can occur in some patients.
Rinsing with a baking soda mixture daily can help to improve these unwanted side effects. Combine a fourth of a teaspoon of baking soda, an eighth of a teaspoon of sea salt with one cup of warm and rinse your mouth three times per day. Each time, follow the baking soda salt mixture with a rinse of just plain warm water.
These are just some of the many possible health benefits of baking soda! In the following section, you’ll learn about even more health uses and benefits of this amazing natural remedy.
Baking Soda Uses – Natural Beauty and Skin
1. Natural Deodorant – Create your own deodorant by mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with enough water to create a milky baking soda paste, then rub it under your underarms or even on your feet.
2. Face Exfoliator – Remove dry skin from your face by creating your own baking soda exfoliant. Combine one teaspoon of baking soda with half a cup of water and rub it on your face in a circular motion, then rinse. Using baking soda for face exfoliation is an inexpensive way to refine skin, just don’t use baking soda too frequently because you don’t want it to upset the pH balance of your skin.
3. Hand Softener – To scrub away dirt and odors, mix baking soda with warm water and rub it on your hands. This natural hand cleanser will leave your hands clean and soft.
4. Foot Soother – Create your own foot bath with a tablespoon of baking soda and warm water. This baking soda bath will remove bacteria and odors and can help to prevent toenail fungus.
5. Itchy Skin Relief – Baking soda can help to reduce discomfort from sunburn, allergic rashes, and skin affected by poison ivy or poison oak. Mix a teaspoon with some water to create a baking soda paste and apply it to the areas of concern. Leave it on for several minutes and then rinse. You can do this a few times per day as needed.
6. Splinter Removal – Splinters will come out naturally after a few days of soaking it in baking soda (use a mix that includes a tablespoon of baking soda and warm water). Soak the affected area twice a day in the baking soda water.
7. Bug Bite Soother – Rub baking soda on your bug bite to relieve the itching. Create a paste with a teaspoon of baking soda and water. Keep applying the soda paste – about three times a day – until the bite dissipates.
8. Sunburn Relief – Your fragile sunburned skin will benefit from soaking in a mixture of baking soda and water. Soak in a warm (not hot) bath that includes half a cup of baking soda. You can also mix baking soda into your favorite body lotion to calm a sunburn.
Baking Soda Uses – Hair and Teeth
9. Hair Cleanser – Baking soda for hair? Yes! Simply add a teaspoon of baking soda to your shampoo, rub it into your hair and rinse as usual. Baking soda shampoo is ultra clarifying so it’s a great way to remove dirt and oil as well as residue that is left over from hair products.
10. Brush and Comb Cleaner – You don’t want to use harmful chemicals to clean your hair tools so try baking soda instead! Take advantage of this baking soda benefit by creating a paste by combining two teaspoons of baking soda with one cup of water. Coat your brushes and combs with this paste and then rinse thoroughly.
11. Homemade Toothpaste – Baking soda toothpaste is a great way to improve dental health. Baking soda is known to increase plaque removal — that is why it’s commonly used in both conventional and natural toothpaste. Straight baking soda has abrasive qualities, and over time it may wear away enamel. Instead, to keep fresh breath, you can add baking soda to your toothpaste, make your own homemade toothpaste, or just dip your toothbrush in baking soda a few times a week.
12. Teeth Whitener – Baking soda uses for dental health continue! To keep your teeth looking pearly white, create your own paste with a teaspoon of baking soda and water. Once a week, rub the paste onto your teeth, let it sit for five minutes, and then rinse your mouth. This is such a great natural way to whiten your teeth and kill bacteria without any harsh and questionable chemicals.
Baking Soda Uses – Health
13. Heartburn and Indigestion Relief – Baking soda for heartburn is really a thing, so much so that conventional manufacturers of conventional heartburn medications include sodium bicarbonate in their formulates. Baking soda is a cost-effective way to reduce heartburn and indigestion, as opposed to other options like Tums and Rolaids, which also contain bicarbonate. Simply add half a teaspoon of baking soda to two cups of water. An hour after eating, drink this mixture to gain some relief.
14. Cancer Prevention – When you have a pH imbalance, unhealthy organisms are able to flourish, which damages tissues and organs, and compromises the immune system. Baking soda is known to increase the pH of acidic tumors without affecting the pH balance of healthy tissues and the blood. Scientific research has demonstrated that oral doses of sodium bicarbonate can raise tumor pH and inhibit spontaneous metastases in animal models of metastatic breast cancer.
15. Exercise Enhancer – Baking soda benefits can carry over to your exercise routine too. Soaking in a warm warm with a half cup of baking soda added is said to help neutralize lactic acid build up in the muscles after a workout. Some studies, as I mentioned earlier, also point towards its internal use to reduce fatigue post-workout. It also may enhance athletic performance when consumed prior to physical activity.
16. Improve Kidney Function – As an alkaline substance, baking soda buffers acids in the body and helps to keep pH levels balanced. Low-functioning kidneys have a hard time removing acid from the body, so consuming baking soda can help with just that and some research has shown it may slow the progress of chronic kidney disease.
17. Reduce Ulcer Pain – Because baking soda neutralizes stomach acid, it can helpful for ulcers. Speak with your doctor first, but taking baking soda in water internally may help relieve ulcer symptoms.
Baking Soda Uses – Home
18. Natural Kitchen Scrub – Sprinkle baking soda on the surfaces in your kitchen and use a sponge or rag to scrub. You can even add a few drops of lemon, lavender or peppermint essential oil to add a natural fragrance to this DIY cleaning product.
19. Pots and Pans Cleaner – Baking soda can be used to hand wash pots and pans, and it won’t hurt these valuables either. Just let them soak in baking soda for 15 to 20 minutes … the grease, grim or food will come right off!
20. Carpet Cleaner – Many carpet cleaners include chemicals that can be harmful to your pets or children, so use baking soda to give your carpet a good cleaning and neutralize odors. Sprinkle your carpet with baking soda; let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, and then vacuum.
21. Gentle Baby Clothes Cleanser – Baking soda can be used as a natural cleanser, detergent booster and even a fabric softener. It’s the perfect way to clean baby clothes — just add one cup to your load of laundry.
22. Fruit and Veggie Scrub – Make your own natural scrub by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to water. The pasty mixture is a perfect way to remove bacteria from your fruits and veggies.
23. Silverware Cleaner – Create a paste that is three parts baking soda and one part water. Rub the paste onto your silverware and let it sit in a large tray or bowl. After 15 to 20 minutes, rinse the silverware.
24. Oven Cleaner – Don’t use harmful chemicals to clean your oven; instead, just add a teaspoon of baking soda to a damp sponge or rag. This combination will wipe away food and grease easily.
25. Drain Cleaner – Mix baking soda and vinegar to create your own drain cleaner. A vinegar and baking soda mixture is a much safer option than the harmful chemicals that are typically used to clear drains. Let the combination bubble for 15 minutes, then rinse with hot water. Just wait until you see how effective baking soda and vinegar cleaning can be!
26. Dish-Washer Helper – Want to test out if baking soda cleaning your dishes is really a thing? Add baking soda to your regular dish washing cycle; this will help to eliminate unwanted grease and grime that builds up on your dishes.
27. Fire Extinguisher – If you experience a minor grease fire in your kitchen, you can use baking soda to extinguish it. Pouring baking soda on a small pan fire shouldl stifle the flames quickly.
28. Shoe Deodorizer – Can’t get that unpleasant smell out of your shoes? Shoe deodorize is yet another one of the many common baking soda uses. Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes to deodorize them. You’ll see how that foul odor clears up within minutes.
29. Coffee and Tea Pot Cleaner – To remove coffee stains and funky tastes from your coffee or tea pot, make this quick mixture: one-fourth cup of baking soda with one quart of warm water. Rub the mixture on and in your pots; if you are battling tough stains, let it sit for a few hours first and then rinse.
30. Shower-Curtain Cleaner – Get rid of those stains that show up on shower curtains by rubbing baking soda onto them. Add a little water and the grime will be gone shortly.
31. Closet Freshener – To freshen your closet, place a box or cup of baking soda inside. Periodically change the baking soda to keep your closet smelling fresh and clean.
32. Wash Your Car – Ever hear of a baking soda car wash? Because baking soda easily removes grease and dirt, it’s the perfect ingredient for the ultimate car cleaning. Create a paste with one-fourth cup of baking soda with one cup of warm water. With a sponge or rag, rub the paste onto your car (tires, lights, seats, windows) and then rinse. Or dilute in a gallon of water to remove dirt and grime off your paint as well — just make sure to thoroughly dissolve as baking soda is abrasive in its powdered state.
33. Kitty-Litter Deodorizer – There are baking soda uses for pets too! To naturally deodorize your cat box, cover the bottom of the box with baking soda first, and then fill it in with kitty litter as usual. After cleaning out the liter, give the box some extra deodorization by sprinkling baking soda on top.
Recommended Dosages for Baking Soda
Cold and Flu Relief
Baking soda uses historically include natural treatment of the common cold and flu as well. Recommended dosages from the Arm and Hammer Company for colds and influenza date back to 1925. The company broke the doses up into a three-day period:
Day 1: The first day consists of six doses of a half-teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cool water, at about two-hour intervals.
Day 2: On the second day, the company advises that the individual take four doses of a half-teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cool water, at the same intervals.
Day 3: The third day includes two doses of a half-teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cool water, morning and evening, and thereafter a half-teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cool water each morning until the cold or flu symptoms are cured.
To calm an episode of indigestion, a common dosage recommendation is adding a fourth of a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. This can help to reduce stomach acid, but it’s important to remember that not all indigestion is caused by an overproduction of acid so if you still have symptoms two weeks later, speak to your doctor.
It’s always best to slowly sip a baking soda and water mixture. When taking baking soda internally AVOID:
- Taking a baking soda and water mixture in which the baking soda is not fully dissolved
- Taking more than 3.5 teaspoons of baking soda in a given day
- Taking more than 1.5 teaspoon a day if you’re over 60 years old
- Taking the maximum dosage for longer than two weeks
- Drinking baking soda solution too quickly
- Taking baking soda when you’re overly full (to avoid gastric rupture)
Baking Soda Precautions & Potential Side Effects
Baking soda uses for skin or body are generally considered safe and nontoxic. Consuming baking soda orally is also safe, but don’t exceed the recommended dose. Too much baking soda can upset the body’s acid-base balance leading to nausea, vomiting and/or abdominal pain. Rare cases of baking soda overdose lead to seizures, coma and death.
Baking soda is high in sodium — 1,259 milligrams in one teaspoon — so high doses are not safe. High doses can raise blood pressure and cause swelling. In severe cases, it can overload circulation and lead to heart failure. People who consume too much baking soda have reportedly developed blood chemistry imbalances and heart malfunction (ineffective pumping).
Another reason not to overdo your consumption of baking soda is that it can increase potassium excretion which could lead to a potassium deficiency.
If you have edema, liver disease, kidney disease or high blood pressure, you should avoid taking baking soda internally. You should also refrain from consuming baking soda if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are on prescription drugs, consult your doctor before consuming baking soda, and make sure you speak to your doctor about drinking baking soda if you are on a sodium-restricted diet.
You should not take baking soda within two hours of taking other medications. It’s also not recommended to give baking soda to children under six years of age unless directed by your pediatrician.
If you are using baking soda to treat a medical condition, and it has been more than two weeks, it’s a good idea to see your doctor to be sure that you can continue self-medicating.
Some products that may interact with baking soda include aspirin and other salicylates, barbiturates, calcium supplements, corticosteroids, medications with a special coating to protect the stomach, lithium, quinidine, and diuretics.
Speak with your doctor before using sodium bicarbonate if you are currently taking any medications or have any ongoing health concerns.
For such a low cost, this is one really affordable natural remedy with a seemingly endless lists of baking soda uses. From cleaning your bathroom or cleaning your face to calming indigestion and even providing a workout boost, all of the many baking soda uses are pretty amazing.
Of course, as with all good things, you don’t want to overdo it topically or internally because while many people struggle with being too acidic, not all of us have that problem and overdoing baking soda can increase acidity.
Sodium carbonate is highly alkalizing substance that when used correctly has been shown to help kidney, urinary and digestive health concerns. Even if you’re not interested in internal or topical baking soda uses, I highly recommend it as one of the best things to have around your home for some really effective yet non toxic cleaning.