While Baking Soda is pure and simple, it’s also an astoundingly versatile, multi-purpose product. Baking Soda, a sodium bicarbonate, is a naturally occurring substance that is present in all living things–it helps living things maintain the pH balance necessary for life. It has many uses in our lives.
Baking Soda acts a cleaning agent because it is a mild alkali and can cause dirt and grease to dissolve easily in water for effective removal. When it is not fully dissolved, like when it is sprinkled on a damp sponge, Baking Soda is mildly abrasive and can lift dirt for easy removal as a gentle scouring powder. Since it’s gentle, Baking Soda is safe and effective as a cleaner for glass, chrome, steel, enamel and plastic. Because Baking Soda is a pure, natural product that is also a food, it is non-toxic, unlike many other household cleaners. It is safe to use around children and pets and is ideal for cleaning food preparation surfaces.
Baking Soda’s deodorization power is a result of its ability to neutralize odors, rather than just covering up odors with perfumes. Use Baking Soda as a household deodorant on carpets, upholstery and in the fridge and freezer. Baking Soda can also deodorize when it’s dissolved in water. Baking Soda can be used as a mouthwash.
The most universal use of Baking Soda is for baking in which it is used to promote leavening. Leavening increases the surface area of dough or batter by causing it to rise and become light and porous.
Baking Soda can be used as an antacid in the human digestive system, neutralizing acids from acid, indigestion and heartburn and relieving the associated discomfort. When used as a paste on skin or in the bath, Baking Soda soothes the irritation of poison ivy, insect bites, sunburn, and prickly heat.
Finally, Baking Soda is effective as a fire extinguisher for grease and electrical fires. When Baking Soda is heated it releases carbon dioxide and produces water. Unlike any other household chemical, Baking Soda both cools and smothers a fire. Many homes have Baking Soda readily available as a first step in fighting kitchen, garage and car fires.
For more information, contact Kim Reid, Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at (910) 592-7161.