Baking Soda Benefits, Uses, and Hacks: Clever Ways to Use it in Your Daily Life

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Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a common baking ingredient that adds fluffiness to bread, cakes, muffins, and cookies. Any acid, like vinegar or lemon juice, combines with this alkaline white powder to cause the dough to rise and release carbon dioxide, giving baked goods their fluffy, light texture. Baking soda has several applications. Its uses span from providing antibacterial qualities to basic daily hygiene, making it an inexpensive natural remedy. This article discusses the many advantages of baking soda as well as some valuable hacks.

General and Household Uses of Baking Soda 

Baking soda is a common household item. Baking soda and baking powder confuse some people. Sodium bicarbonate is the only ingredient in baking soda. On the other hand, baking powder consists of one or more acid salts and sodium bicarbonate. 

Here are some benefits as well as uses of baking soda:

Oral Hygiene

Baking soda raises saliva’s PH levels, which inhibits bacterial development and drastically lowers the amount of oral bacteria. Because baking soda has antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities and helps to prevent breath odour, it can be an inexpensive mouthwash substitute. To make it, mix ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda with half a glass (120 ml) of warm water. 

Air Freshener

Most air fresheners that are available in the market consist of large amounts of chemicals and additional fragrances, which might not be suitable for constant inhalation in day-to-day life. Additionally, they are also less effective as they cannot eliminate bad smell completely and mask the odour molecules with chemically made fragrance molecules. 

Baking soda can be a safe alternative to commercial air fresheners. All you would need is a jar filled with one-third cup baking soda, a few drops of your favourite essential oil, a cloth to cover the jar, and a string to tie it. In only a few minutes, your homemade air freshener will be ready. Spreading baking soda on household trash can also help stop the pungent stench of decomposition from spreading.

Natural Cleanser

Baking soda is an excellent cleaning product because of its remarkable ability to eliminate odours and remove stains. You can easily clean surfaces with a solution of baking soda and water and also use it to wash out odours in drains and pipes. 

Washing Fruits and Vegetables

The increase in the use of pesticides and chemicals over fruits and vegetables is a growing concern. Fancy product washes available in the market are very expensive. However, baking soda can act as an affordable product wash alternative. Mix some baking soda in water and soak fruits and vegetables for 12 to 15 minutes to remove 80 to 96% of certain pesticides.

Treating Nail Infections

Soaking nails in baking soda and water solution for several minutes can reduce mild nail infection due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties. A mixture of soda and water can also provide relief from bug bites by applying several times a day.

Cleaning Clothes

If one is looking for a cheaper, chemical-free alternative for cloth fresheners and washing products, baking soda can be an option. The alkaline nature of baking soda removes stains and whitens the laundry.

Teeth Whitener 

Baking soda is considered an effective homemade teeth-whitening remedy. Many studies suggest that toothpastes containing baking soda are better at plaque removal in comparison to other toothpastes. It happens as baking soda has a slightly abrasive nature and acts on the stains more effectively. However, prolonged usage of baking soda on the teeth may affect the teeth’ enamel.

Reducing Body Odour

Studies suggest that human sweat gains odour due to the bacterial growth in it. Baking soda is considered antibacterial and, hence, can act as an effective deodorant and odour removal remedy. Bathing with water mixed with a bit of baking soda or patting it by mixing it with coconut oil, shea butter, or cornstarch can create a homemade deodorant.

Effective Bathroom Cleaner

Baking soda is an ingredient that does it all, from removing stains to whitening and disinfecting surfaces, which makes it perfectly suitable for cleaning tough surfaces such as bathroom tiles, toilets, showers, bathtubs and bathroom sinks. Although there are multiple cleaners available in the market, baking soda stands out as a handy, easy-to-use and cost-effective option.

Silverware Polisher 

There is an easy and effective method of removing tarnish from silver using baking soda. All you need is an aluminium pan, 1 cup of hot water, one tablespoon of baking soda and ½ cup of white vinegar. Add baking soda to the pan and slowly pour vinegar over it, then pour hot water and put the silver in the pan. The silver undergoes a chemical reaction in contact with baking soda and aluminium, and the tarnish disappears almost immediately. However, heavily tarnished silver might take a few extra minutes before it shines like new again.

Used in Fire Extinguishers

Some dry fire extinguishers, which help extinguish oil, grease and electrical fires, contain baking soda. It reacts with the heat and produces carbon dioxide, which controls the fire. However, baking soda can effectively work on small-scale fires only. Large-scale fires are hard to extinguish and require more effective ways of reducing flames.

Removal of Weed

Unwanted weeds and grass that grow in the lawns and gardens are tough to remove. Baking soda can work as a method of eliminating weeds. Spreading baking soda over weed can limit its growth further as it contains high amounts of sodium, which creates a harsh growing environment for weeds. However, sprinkle baking soda carefully only on the weed you would like to remove, as it might damage the other plants that come in contact as well.

Summary

To make a deodorant, combine a teaspoon of baking soda with enough water to form a milky paste, then apply the mixture to the underarms. One of the best ways to maintain oral health is with baking soda toothpaste. There is proof that it promotes plaque removal. For this reason, baking soda is frequently present in toothpaste, both conventional and natural. Baking soda and water paste is an excellent approach for removing bacteria from fruits and vegetables. Additionally, use vinegar and baking soda to make a drain cleaner that effectively removes stains and strong odours. Baking soda is an effective way to put out a minor grease fire in the kitchen. 

Health Benefits of Baking Soda

Along with the general and household uses, baking soda also provides multiple health benefits. Here are a few of the scientifically proven benefits of baking soda:

Relieves Itchy Skin 

The fungal infections and bacterial growth often cause itchy skin and rashes. In situations like this, taking a baking soda bath or applying a mixture of water and baking soda on the affected area may give relief and soothe the skin. If combined with cornstarch and oatmeal, it is also said to be effective on sunburns and the itchiness caused by it.

Helps Relieve Heartburn

Heartburn is the painful burning sensation that someone feels in the upper region of the stomach, which might spread to the throat. It is also known as acid reflux. It mainly occurs when greasy, spicy, or carbonated meals increase the level of acid in the stomach, which then overflows into the oesophagus, i.e. a tube that connects the stomach to the mouth. 

The alkaline nature of baking soda neutralises stomach acid and provides immediate relief. However, since the causes of heartburn may vary, it might or might not be the correct cure sometimes. Also, there are several precautions related to excessive dosage of baking soda to consider. 

Provides Relief in Painful Mouth Ulcers

Ulcers that form inside the mouth, also known as Canker sores, can be cured by using baking soda mouthwash once a day until it gets completely healed. The alkaline and antibacterial properties of baking soda help neutralise the acids, prevent bacterial growth, avoid further spreading and reduce the pain caused by these ulcers.

Enhances Exercise Performance

Athletes involved in high-intensity training and sports face the issue of a burning feeling in the muscles caused by the release of lactic acid. Lactic acid reduces the pH inside of the cells, causing the muscles to tire. Some research shows that baking soda may delay fatigue due to its high pH, allowing the athletes to perform at maximum intensity for a more extended period. A study recommends a safe intake dose of 135 mg of baking soda per pound of body weight (297 mg per kg) 1-2 hours before exercising. 

Slows the Progression of CKD

Some research and studies suggest that taking sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) supplements may slow the progression of chronic kidney diseases and improve kidney function. However, consult a doctor and seek professional advice before consuming baking soda in case one has a kidney-related concern.

Summary

Baking soda is a versatile ingredient with a wide range of uses and benefits. These uses vary from household and daily life benefits to multiple health benefits. In addition to these, baking soda also provides several health benefits, which include treating heartburns, soothing canker sores, relieving itchy skin, slowing the progression of chronic kidney diseases and improving exercise performance for athletes. Baking soda can provide immense benefits if consumed in the right amount as it has the fantastic properties of being alkaline, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial, reducing the risk of contamination and acidity.

Potential Side Effects of Baking Soda

Baking soda has a wide range of impressive benefits and applications. However, it may also cause several adverse and unwanted effects. Although these side effects do not occur if consumed under a prescribed and limited dosage, excessive dosage and consumption during certain health conditions may cause the following:

The compounding powder, intravenous solution and oral tablet of sodium bicarbonate may cause side effects if taken above prescribed amounts. It includes metabolic side effects such as metabolic alkalosis, hypernatremia, hypochloremia and hypokalemia. These effects often arise after prolonged usage and examination.

Increased CO2 concentration by baking soda may cause respiratory issues, including respiratory drive, which might require adequate ventilation or else could lead to acidosis. 

Continuous intake may also cause severe nervous system side effects such as irritability, mental stupor, coma and intraventricular haemorrhage.

As an antacid, sodium bicarbonate, especially if consumed after excess food or liquid intake, can cause excess gas release, causing the risk of gastric rupture.

Apart from these, the frequent urge to urinate, headache, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, unpleasant taste, unusual tiredness and weakness are also a few side effects associated with baking soda overdose.

Summary

The intake of baking soda or sodium bicarbonate above the prescribed level of intake causes a variety of mild as well as severe side effects. The alkaline nature of baking soda benefits in neutralising acidity in the body. However, excessive alkalinity might cause metabolic side effects such as metabolic alkalosis. Increased CO2 concentration might cause respiratory issues, while continuous intake may lead to nervous system breakdown. Along with these, there are specific gastric side effects and mild issues such as headache, loss of appetite, or vomiting. All of which suggests the importance of conscious and responsible intake of any food.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

What is the safe limit to consume baking soda for acid reflux? Half a teaspoon of baking soda can be mixed into water for those who can use this option to help stop indigestion or acid reflux, but this should not be used as a digestive aid solution for more than two weeks. It’s easy to drink too much baking soda by accident, and if you’re not careful, you could end up with some potentially disastrous results. Children and pregnant women should never use dissolved baking soda in water because of the harmful effects.

Conclusion

Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is a very versatile yet tricky chemical compound. It provides multiple benefits, providing both households as well as health-related applications. The mixture of water and baking soda can work as a mouthwash, cleaning agent, odour neutraliser, teeth whitener, deodorant, air freshener, kitchen and bathroom surface cleaner, stain remover, pesticide remover, silverware polisher, weed killer, and fire extinguisher. It is cost-effective and easy to use. However, in addition to the ease and efficiency it provides, be mindful about the level of intake.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is baking soda?

A: Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a white, crystalline powder commonly used in baking. It plays a crucial role in recipes, helping baked goods rise by releasing carbon dioxide when it reacts with acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice. Beyond baking, it serves various purposes due to its alkaline nature. People often use this versatile compound for cleaning, personal hygiene, and even some health-related applications.

Q: Can baking soda be consumed for health purposes?

A: Yes, one can use baking soda for specific health purposes. Its alkaline properties make it effective in neutralising stomach acidity and indigestion. However, it’s important to note that excessive consumption is not advisable. Moreover, it’s best to use it under guidance when considering it for health-related issues.

Q: How does baking soda impact stomach acidity and indigestion?

A: Baking soda’s alkaline nature allows it to act as an antacid by neutralising excess stomach acid. It can provide relief from conditions like heartburn and indigestion, where there’s an uncomfortable buildup of stomach acid. It’s essential to use it in moderation and consult a healthcare professional for persistent digestive issues.

Q: Are there potential benefits of using baking soda for oral hygiene?

A: Baking soda has been recognised for its potential benefits in oral hygiene. Its antibacterial properties can help reduce the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, making it an affordable alternative to commercial mouthwash. Mixing a small amount of baking soda with water to create a mouthwash can contribute to maintaining oral freshness and hygiene.

Q: Can baking soda be used as a remedy for heartburn and acid reflux?

A: Yes, one can use baking soda as a remedy for heartburn and acid reflux. The alkaline nature of baking soda helps neutralise stomach acid, providing temporary relief from these discomforting conditions. However, it’s crucial to use it cautiously and not as a long-term solution, as excessive intake may lead to side effects.

Q: What is the role of baking soda in skincare and beauty routines?

A: Baking soda’s mild abrasive and antibacterial properties make it suitable for specific skincare and beauty applications. One can use it in homemade facial scrubs to exfoliate dead skin cells, and its antibacterial nature may help with acne. However, use it sparingly and with caution on the skin, as it may cause irritation in some individuals.

Q: Does baking soda have potential anti-inflammatory properties?

A: Baking soda may possess some anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for soothing skin irritations and sunburns. When applied topically, it can help reduce redness and discomfort. However, it’s not a replacement for other proven anti-inflammatory treatments, and its use should be limited to minor skin issues.

Q: Can baking soda be used as an antiseptic or first aid treatment?

A: Baking soda has natural antiseptic properties due to its antibacterial qualities. One can apply it topically to clean minor wounds, insect stings, or skin irritations. However, it’s not a substitute for professional medical care. Healthcare experts only should treat severe injuries or infections.

Q: How is baking soda used for cleaning and household purposes?

A: Baking soda is a versatile and effective cleaning agent for various household purposes. One can use it to clean surfaces, eliminate odours in drains, and even as a stain remover for clothing. Its abrasive and odour-neutralising properties make it a valuable addition to your cleaning routine.

Q: What are the potential benefits of baking soda for kidney health?

A: Some studies suggest that taking sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) supplements may slow the progression of chronic kidney diseases and improve kidney function. However, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before using baking soda for kidney-related concerns, as dosage and usage must be carefully monitored.

Q: Are there any potential risks or side effects associated with baking soda use?

A: Yes, excessive consumption of baking soda can lead to various side effects. These may include headaches, nervous system issues, gastric problems, and respiratory complications. It’s essential to use baking soda in moderation and adhere to recommended guidelines to avoid these potential risks.

Q: Can baking soda help with insect stings and skin irritations?

A: Yes, baking soda can provide relief from insect stings and skin irritations due to its antibacterial and alkaline properties. Creating a paste with baking soda and water and applying it to the affected area can help reduce itching and discomfort.

Q: How can baking soda be incorporated into cooking and recipes for health benefits?

A: Baking soda is commonly used in cooking and baking to help leaven and lighten recipes, resulting in fluffier baked goods. While it primarily enhances the texture of foods, its health benefits are more evident in its applications outside of cooking.

Q: Is there scientific research supporting the health benefits of baking soda?

A: Several studies suggest that baking soda’s alkaline properties can help neutralise acids and its antibacterial and antifungal qualities. However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand and confirm its specific health benefits in various contexts.

Q: What are some common misconceptions or myths about the use of baking soda for health?

A: One common misconception is that one can use baking soda as an antacid. While it can provide temporary relief, excessive intake can lead to adverse effects. It’s important to use baking soda in moderation and consult healthcare professionals for chronic health concerns.

Research Sources

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on baking soda 

Does Baking Soda Function as a Magic Bullet for Patients With Cancer? A Mini Review by NIH 

The science of baking soda. A review by acs.org 

Baking soda as an abrasive in toothpaste, a review by Science direct 

A report on Stain removal and whitening by baking soda dentifrice by Science direct

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