Researchers have documented the usage of bicarbonate of soda all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, who not only used it as a cleaning agent, but also as a component in the mummification process. Today, most know it by its more common name, baking soda. Some still use it as a leavening agent while baking. Many just use it to keep their refrigerators smelling fresh. But did you know it can also freshen your dog and kill roaches? Soda can be used to promote good health, remove stains, make shoes smell fresh, and do some other very unexpected things, like instantly eliminating cravings for fattening snacks and removing bugs from your car's grill.
- Personal health and hygiene
Have you ever thought about cleaning your toothbrush? Just rinsing it after brushing might not clean and freshen the brush very well. Soaking it overnight in a solution of baking soda and warm water, then rinsing it thoroughly, will leave the bristles cleaner and fresher than simply rinsing it after use.
You can also use baking soda to brush your teeth. It's slightly abrasive, thus it removes stains and whitens your teeth as you brush. More importantly, however, it kills bacteria, thus helping to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Just mix some soda with a small amount of water to make a thick paste, use it to brush your teeth gently, then rinse. And, if between brushings you find that your breath isn't so fresh, mix a tablespoon of soda with some warm water and use it to rinse your mouth for 30 seconds or so.
Rinsing off your fruits and vegetables before you eat them is a good thing, but, in addition to dirt, some store-bought produce can be covered with pesticide residue. Some produce is coated with wax to make it look more attractive. Simply rinsing isn't enough to remove those things. Dissolve about three tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of water, wash your produce in that solution, and rinse it. That'll remove pesticides, wax, and dirt.
Baking soda can also provide relief from skin irritations. For bug bites, add a little water to some soda, mix it into a pasty consistency, and apply to the bite area. This works for minor burns, too. If you have large areas of itchy skin or are sunburned, mix a cup or two of soda into your bath water and relax in there for a while.
2.Stains and odors
If you have some clothing with sweat stains, you can usually remove them by rubbing a water and baking soda paste into the stained area, waiting an hour, then washing the clothes as you ordinarily would. If you have some clothing or towels that have come into contact with a petroleum product like oil or gas, you may be able to remove the odor by sealing them in a plastic bag with some baking soda for several days. Check them now and then to find out whether they need to stay in the bag a while longer.
If you've never had smelly footwear, you're probably in the minority. For everyone else, you can put a fairly large amount of baking soda in your stinky shoes, close them up in a paper grocery bag, and leave them there for a day or so. Once they smell fresh again, empty them and enjoy your odor-free footwear. Now that your footwear scent is neutralized, perhaps you need to address some hand odor issues as well. Maybe you're a fisherman, or have a job that involves handling things that smell bad. Rather than using soap to try and get rid of the odor, try washing your hands with baking soda and warm water.
If you wear rubber gloves, you may also find that they develop an odor inside with continued use. Just shake a little soda inside. They'll smell better and be easier to put on and take off, too.
4. Fixtures and plumbing
Company is on the way. You have the need, but you don't have the time, to run to the store for toilet bowl cleaner. Dump about ¼ cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, then add ½ cup of vinegar. Let it foam until it settles a bit, then brush it clean and flush. Next, take a moist cloth with a little soda on it and wipe down the other parts of the toilet. While you're at it, you can make a soda and water paste to scrub faucets and handles. Just rinse them when you're done.It's almost time for your guests to arrive and, now that your toilet and faucets are clean, you discover the drain of your kitchen sink is clogged. Heat up a cup of vinegar, then pour it, along with a cup of dry baking soda, into the drain. Let it react for several minutes before pouring in some hot water. Boiling water works best. This will eliminate many common clogs.
Some even more surprising uses for baking soda
5. Dogs love to roll around in stinky things in order to develop that perfect dog smell. Sometimes they also end up with itchy skin irritations, their coats lose their shine, and they get fleas. Baking soda can help with all of that. Take your pup outside and give it a good dusting of dry soda. Try not to get any in the dog's face. Rub it in to make sure it reaches the skin, allow your dog to contemplate this consequence of his or her activities for a few minutes, then brush the pup thoroughly. You'll notice a shinier coat and a more pleasant smell. If the dog had fleas, those should be gone or leaving. If the dog had itchy skin or a dull coat, those issues should be resolved, too.
6. Does your toaster oven smell like burnt food when you use it? Between deep cleanings, sprinkle a little soda on the tray that catches the drips and crumbs to get rid of the odor.
7. Have you noticed silverfish, ants, and/or roaches in your home? Would you rather avoid using potentially toxic pesticides to be rid of them? Applying dry baking soda in areas where pipes enter the house from beneath (i.e., under sinks) and in other locations where insects may be entering will help, and may resolve the problem altogether. Roaches will actually consume baking soda and die from dehydration.
8. Don't you hate it when you return from a road trip and have to try and remove all those dead bugs that seem to now be permanently affixed to your vehicle's grill and paint? Make some baking soda paste and, as you would do if applying paste wax, use a damp cloth to gently rub it onto the area. Wait a few minutes, then rinse while wiping off any residual paste. This should not only remove bugs, but tar as well. Before applying, especially to chrome areas, you may want to test this method in an inconspicuous location just to make sure the mild abrasives will not scratch the surface and give it a dull appearance.
9. If you occasionally need to apply salt, or perhaps sand, to ice that has formed on walkways in order to reduce the slip and fall danger, try baking soda, instead. Salt grit and sand can actually do damage to surfaces and footwear, whereas soda will not.
10. Got a craving for something sweet? Baking soda can even help with that. You can instantly be rid of that craving by mixing a teaspoon of soda in some warm water and rinsing your mouth with it. Spit it out and your craving should be gone. You'll have fresh breath, too.
Baking soda is a simple compound with a complex variety of uses, some of which have fallen by the wayside as time has passed. There isn't currently a big demand for mummification. Still, keeping a few boxes of soda in the house can provide you with a variety of inexpensive solutions for common issues and problems. Even if all baking soda could do is make your dog smell better, it would still be worth having around.