By Ann Timm, Contributing Writer
“Mom, where’s the baking soda?”
I got a heartfelt laugh the other night when one of my daughters bounded into my bedroom asking for baking soda. I was a bit confused as she had been getting ready for bed a short while before. “What, are you baking this time of night?” I teased. My little teenager scoffed, “No mom, I’m washing my face! I found this recipe on Pinterest!”
Whoa! After a few minutes of recovery from the shock of my daughter on Pinterest AND her use of baking soda as a natural face wash, I recovered with a renewed interest in her statement.
You see, I use baking soda as a natural cleaner around my home and as a personal hygiene product. My girls, however, have been tough critics, preferring to use the same products that their friends use or that they see on television. This moment came as a welcome surprise.
My curiosity was piqued so I asked her, “Why are you wanting to use baking soda as a face wash?” She replied with that ‘duh, mom’ way that girls do. Of course, she didn’t want a bunch of gunky chemicals on her face. And how could I not know that??? Big sigh here, right mamas? Teenagers!
Well, I guess I must be doing something right here after all. She has been watching me use baking soda for years so naturally I would suppose that when she saw the recipe on Pinterest, she knew that I would have the baking soda. AND that I use it. I should take some credit here, what do you think?
I hope that I am a good example to my daughters. I certainly strive to be in many ways. I look forward to teaching them how to make good choices and it is certainly rewarding when they do!
Baking soda is a great place to start teaching my daughters how to choose natural cleaners in place of toxic cleaning chemicals and hygiene products. Not only is it super cheap and has seemingly limitless uses, but it also has surprising health benefits as well!
10 favorite household uses for baking soda
- My number one use for baking soda is now face wash! The day after this conversation with my daughter I heard her on the phone sharing the information with her sister. Their bathroom now has a dish on the counter with baking soda easily accessible.
- I regularly use baking soda to brush my teeth. I keep it on my bathroom counter as well. It’s a bit salty, but I don’t mind so often I simply wet my toothbrush and dip it into the baking soda and brush away. I have read that using it too often on your teeth can scrub away the enamel so I shy away from using it everyday but it works great on both my teeth and gums.
- It’s also kept in my bathroom for use in the shower. It is super easy to sprinkle onto the tile in my shower. I use a scrub brush with just a bit of water and that pink mold disappears easily.
- Don’t forget the toilet. You don’t need bleach or harsh chemicals to clean the toilet bowl. Just sprinkle baking soda around the toilet or directly onto the brush.
- In the kitchen I keep a box of this stuff under the sink. For tough spots on the stovetop, in the oven or on pots and pans I use it to scrub away cooked on food. Anywhere there is baked on, cooked on food add a little baking soda and scrub.
- Sink drains don’t stand a chance. I love a clean sink, so when I finish the dishes my finishing touch, if I really want my kitchen looking spiffy, is to clean that sink drain. A little baking soda and a little scrub and it shines. And it deodorizes the drain at the same time.
- Not only does baking soda get the dishes clean, but I use it on my fruits and vegetables to remove sticker residue and who knows what kind of chemicals.
- Stinky shoes? In the hot summer months especially, our shoes tend to get sweaty and stinky, so when we take them off inside I sprinkle some baking soda onto the footbed. This soaks up all the nastiness and deodorizes the tennis shoes leaving them free from stink. Just dump the residue into the trashcan the next time you go to put your shoes on.
- Have pets? So many times a cat or dog in our home has peed somewhere they shouldn’t have. The couch, bed linens or carpet? The first thing I do is grab the baking soda and dump it on. It soaks up the pee allowing me to vacuum it away and deodorizes the spot so it no longer smells like a good place to pee.
- Speaking of carpet … refresh and deodorize your carpet by sprinkling on baking soda and then vacuuming. (Here’s a great way to incorporate essential oils along with baking soda for a super fresh smell.)
What are the health benefits?
Baking soda is simply 100% sodium bicarbonate. Most known for its use in breads as a leavening agent. when mixed with an acid, it reacts creating carbon dioxide thus causing bread to rise.
This same bicarbonate neutralizes stomach acid relieving heart burn and indigestion. (As with anything, too much is a bad thing and too much baking soda can cause an electrolyte and acid/base imbalance.)
Drinking baking soda dissolved in water has long been thought to aid not only symptoms of stomach and digestive problems but also arthritis and other infections.
Lots of people use baking soda to whiten teeth, but it actually has antibacterial properties that can help prevent tooth decay. Try this once a week and see if it helps strengthen your gums and freshen your breathe.
Baking soda’s antiseptic properties also help to kill certain kinds of mold, fungi and parasites. Use it as a mouth wash to disinfect your teeth and gums and to treat a cough or sore throat.
When I was a child, my own mother used to make a paste of baking soda and water whenever I would get a bee sting or insect bite. The sodium bicarbonate neutralizes the toxins left in the skin, helping to relieve the itching. Try this to relieve the itching from poison oak and poison ivy as well.
The health benefits don’t stop there! Simple household baking soda has been shown to help UTIs, gout, kidney stones and possibly even cancer. Do some research and help yourself and others become educated on the many benefits of baking soda.
Baking soda in your home
If you’re ready to take the plunge into the world of natural or homemade household cleaners and home products check out some of the links below or explore Keeper of the Home to discover more on natural living and homemaking:
- Natural Homemade Carpet Freshener
- Rethinking Oral Health Care: A Homemade Toothpaste Recipe for Tooth Remineralization
- Recipe for a Toxin-Free Kitchen: 10 Homemade Kitchen Cleaners
- Video Blog: Making My Own Shampoo and Conditioner (Using the No ‘Poo Method)
- Three Household Products That Have Changed Our Lives (and 50 ways we use them)