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For such an inexpensive and common household staple, baking soda has a surprisingly extensive and unusual list of uses. I'd like to share my 10 favorite ones with you here.

What is Baking Soda & Why is It So Good At Stuff?

Baking soda is the common name for sodium bicarbonate, a processed natural salt that was originally made as a leavening agent for baking, but has since been adopted for a wide range of home uses.

Here are some of it's many useful characteristics:

  • non-toxic
  • inexpensive
  • a mildly basic (alkaline) buffer
  • a gentle abrasive (non-scratching)
  • effervescent
  • odor neutralizer
  • reacts with dirt and grease to form a cleanser

And your body is no stranger to sodium bicarbonate; the bicarbonate ion occurs naturally in our blood to help maintain acid/alkaline balance, it transports carbon dioxide from body tissue to the lungs to be expelled, and it's also in our saliva as an acid reducer - a pretty amazing substance don't you agree*?!

*For a thorough break down of the history and science of baking soda, read Peter A. Ciullo's book, 'Baking Soda Bonanza'.

Ok, let's dive in and learn a few of the fun uses for the powdered form of this versatile stuff!

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Check out my other natural home product instructables:

Homemade Glass Cleaner
Homemade Dryer Sheet Replacement
Homemade Fabric Softener
Homemade Air Freshener

Step 1: Unusual Use #1: As an Antacid

Mix 1/2 tsp of baking soda in 4oz of water and drink*.

I'll warn you, it doesn't taste very good, but it seriously works. Both my Grandpa and my Dad have been life long devotees of this cure for an upset tum tum.

*Baking Soda is a salt, so if you suffer from hypertension or are on a salt restricted diet, give this step a miss.

Step 2: Unusual Use #2: Swimmer's Hair Hero

Add 1 tbsp of baking soda to a small spray bottle and fill it with water. Pop this in your gym bag and after you've finished your laps in the pool, shake and spray the mix liberally on your wet hair before washing it. The soda will help neutralize the damaging effects of the chlorine. Boom.

Step 3: Unusual Use #3: New Clothes Detox

Remove the harmful chemical finishes on new clothing, which is important to do especially for babies, by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda in with your laundry detergent.

Step 4: Unusual Use #4: Get Rid of Unwanted Pests

For a pesticide-free / pet-friendly way to kill ants and roaches, mix 1 cup baking soda with 1 cup white sugar and sprinkle in infested areas. The pests ingest the mix and then when they drink water, the reaction in their stomach kills them. Super effective.

Step 5: Unusual Use #5: Camper's Commando

Avoid that musty / moldy smell that camping equipment can get and keep it smelling fresh, by sprinkling generous amounts of baking soda into your clean and dry cooler (or put in an open box), thermos, and even tent before storing them away. Staying outside has never smelled so good!

Step 6: Unusual Use #6: Waterless Dog Bath

Dry clean your dog! Company’s coming and Fido smells funky? Just sprinkle him/her with baking soda*, massage it in, and brush it out. It's completely non-toxic and safe for your furry friend.

*Putting some soda in an old spice container makes sprinkling super easy!

Step 7: Unusual Use #7: Lunch Box Deodorizer

To de-stink any un-fresh smelling food container, add 3 tbsp of baking soda to the washed (yet still smelly) container and fill with hot water. Put the lid on, shake and then lift up a corner of the lid a teeny bit, which will prevent the container from being 'inflated' (or shattered) by the carbon dioxide that is created when baking soda is mixed with water. Let sit for 2-3 hours before washing again*. Presto!

*If the lid has also absorbed some food smell, after the container has sat right side up for the 2-3 hours, re-secure the lid and turn the container upside down, leaving it for another 2 hours before washing.

Step 8: Unusual Use #8: Musty Book Makeover

Remove the musty funk from an old book by dusting the pages with baking soda and letting it sit in an open bag for 3-4 days before shaking it out.

Step 9: Unusual Use #9: Kick Sweet Cravings

If you’re trying to avoid eating sweets, but are faced with a strong craving, rinse your mouth with 1 tsp of baking soda in 4 oz of warm water. Avoid swallowing by spitting it out instead. Your craving should disappear instantly.

Step 10: Unusual Use #10: Blow Up a Balloon

While this is not a practical way to decorate for your child’s birthday, it IS a great party trick.

First pre-inflate a small balloon to stretch it out. Then fill the deflated balloon with 2 tsp of baking soda using a small funnel. Put 4 tbsp of white vinegar in an empty plastic bottle.

Now for the magic: Place the end of the balloon over the opening of the bottle, tip the balloon up so that the baking soda falls into the bottle, holding the end of the balloon in place. Watch the balloon inflate!!

Because, science.

What are some of your cool and unusual uses for baking soda?

<p>the best as deodorant! I started to use it about more than a half a year ago and I'm not going back to those sh*ts they sell to us as deodorants :D You only have to wash your armpits, dry it with a towel and put there a little bit of the baking soda. :)</p>
<p>DEAD BUGS: If you have a bunch of dead bugs impaled on the hood or windshield of your car, simply wet them and add baking soda to a wet sponge and wipe. They will quickly soften and easily be rinsed away. It will, however, remove any wax you had on the car so reapply it.</p><p>To make it even easier, before you go on a ride in the country, put a coating of wax on your car but don't polish it off. This trick will then have the bugs sticking to wax instead of paint, so just wipe off and then polish what is left of the wax.</p>
<p>Another use of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda as opposed to baking powder) is as a blasting medium in metal cleaning/repairing. The soda is blasted on painted metal at fairly high pressure where it explodes on the paint (it's no a spectacular show I'm afraid) and causes said paint to lose its hold on the metal. It can be used on all metals but is especially good for softer ones like aluminium. Old fashioned sand blasting (with sand) can leave aluminium pitted but baking soda does not.</p>
<p>I have seen a &quot;sandblaster&quot; sold at Harbor Freight Tools specifically designed to use baking soda as an abrasive.</p>
<p>It's so soft it's used even for cleaning plaque from teeth - after ultrasound has cleaned the big chunks, baking soda blasting is used to remove the tiniest deposits at the base of the teeth, where the gum begins.</p>
<p>Arm and Hammer anybody ;) Did you know that people once used soot from the living room fireplace to clean their teeth? Horrible thought but I suppose they had to use something prior to the invention of toothpaste. I think I'd have stuck to breaking off a twig from a tree and splaying the ends out to use that, another tooth cleaning method from pre-Victorian times.</p>
<p>Even weirder/more gross stuff than soot was used for teeth cleaning. Ancient Romans appreciated pee from Portugal for cleaning teeth.</p>
<p>Ah well the Romans were quite yucky to be fair :D I mean, a race of people that enjoyed absolute gluttony to the point where they really were physically sick. Pop into the vomitorium, chuck the lot and then return to the banquet table to start again..... A drop or two of Portugese pee is nothing :D It almost makes our fluoride ridden toothpaste acceptable :) Yes, that last bit is a joke....</p>
A vomitorium is an entrance/exit to an amphitheater, not a place to go puke up your meal.<br>http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/vomitorium<br>The word comes from Latin vomere (to spew forth) but that refers to people, not food, as they were designed to facilitate egress for large groups of people.
<p>youre right</p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vomitorium" rel="nofollow">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vomitorium</a></p>
Have to say, that's a hilarious misconception. Just picturing a large scale auditorium with groups of people puking their guts out. :D
<p>Really? In that case then the 'Horrible Histories' series of kids (history made interesting) books are telling lies. Unusual for them as they normally research their stuff very well...</p>
<p>Romans indulgence of their dietary needs pales in comparison to todays buffet of fast hot food served up in less than 60 seconds to people who often cannot it through the front door without turning sideways. Even our recliners have motors to rock us without effort into the reclined position.</p>
<p>So true, sadly :( I despair at the sight of some people. They don't realise the health problems they are in for sooner or later. I personally developed type 2 diabetes after ballooning to around 20 stone on a mere 5' 9&quot; frame :( However, in my case I can genuinely and medically prove that it was my glands. I found I have an underactive thyroid gland which caused me to gain weight even though I am pretty much a lifelong hater of fast food. I actually love salads, fruit and vegetables. I may have pizza once a month, burgers? Maybe one every 4 months from a Burger King (solely because my daughter works at a local one and sometimes brings one home). Those who frequent fast food restaurants each and every day really should think long and hard about what they are putting inside themselves :(</p>
<p>put a bit on your tooth brush with tooth paste . It removes all the hard to get plaque between the teeth . I also use a bit of salt . Result is no cavities after two years . </p>
<p>We have a few firms selling dedicated 'soda blasting' pots here in the UK too. Generally they look like a red propane gas canister on legs. It is also possible, at least here in the UK, to buy a small kit that will convert an ordinary blasting pot into a soda blaster. To be fair it is very easy to put the kit together yourself and save a fair amount of money :)</p>
<p>We used the technique to remove paint from a rare two seat Indy car that was being rebuilt. It was a disaster. The problem was that the residual baking soda left on the metal, even with careful cleaning resulted in a multitude of little bubbles forming in the paint after the paint had dried. The piece being painted required extensive cleaning to rework. Although the process sounds like a great idea, there are serious complications to using this in practice for a paint job intended for an automotive finish. In my dealings with others locally this problem is a known issue and auto finishers avoid the process because it is virtually impossible compared to sand to remove the media completely from a big part prior to painting and unlike sand, the baking soda reacts chemically with the paint if even a slight trace is left behind.</p><p>Don't use this techinque on an automotive finish.</p>
<p>Yes and sand/glass/grit blasting can leave particles embedded so not good for engine internals or carburettor internal surface - soda does not.</p>
<p>I'm not sure I would even use soda blasting for a carburettor's internals. I usually just douse the lot in either carb or brake cleaner and let them soak for a few minutes then wipe them clean. Same goes for throttle bodies. I'm quite sure soda blasting would hurt them but if there was a tiny O ring or washer left stuck then it may well get dislodged in the blasting. While soaking in carb or brake cleaner (which is only acetone in a spray can) will keep the bits together :)</p>
<p>Well yes but I did mean with the carb completely dismantled so just the casting. I've just rebuilt a pair of Amal Concentric Mk2 carbs which were 37 years old and soda blasted them to look like new. The carbs had been standing for over 10 years obviously with old fuel which had left gum deposits and carb cleaner was not effective.</p>
<p>I would have tried soaking them for a few days in benzine, maybe shaking them a few times a day in the liquid. IME there's no gum that doesn't loosen up with this treatment.</p>
<p>Fair enough as there is more than one way to do things but I have the facility to soda blast so that is what I would do again. There are no disadvantages with soda blasting as there are with grit/bead blasting. Apart from the internal gum the soda blast restored the exterior of the casting to new condition - a much better and easier job than using Autosol and toothbrush. </p>
<p>Oh boy, been there, done that (Solvol and a toothbrush).... tedium magnified. :)</p>
<p>Baking Soda is Bicarbonate of Soda. It's a shame people have access to the internet and can't or don't use it.</p>
<p>Indeed. I hope I made it clear that they are one and the same just different names. It's baking 'powder' that is different but I think/have a feeling that the base ingredient is still bicarbonate of soda. I just don't know what the other ingredient(s) is/are. As an aside I also recall using 'golden raising powder' many years ago for baking purposes. It was yellow in colour but again I don't know exactly what it was :)</p>
<p>baking soda in water is a good cutting fluid when drilling acrylic</p>
<p>You can also make leaves skeletons with it too: http://www.leafveins.com/index.php?pr=Steps_to_Make_Skeleton_Leaves</p>
<p>A tip of the internet. I have some small warts on my hand. Put a thick layer of baking soda on them and then sprinkle a bit of vinegar on it. Do this every evening and morning till the warts have disappeared.</p>
<p>i'll pass that on to my sister.</p>
That will work if you just put vinegar on them maybe even faster.<br>The treatment for worts is salicylic acid at 20% ( ask you doctor) so acetic acid ( vinger) would probably work as well.
How long,does it take til the warts are gone?
<p>If you put duct tape over a wart it will kill it. Warts need 2 things to live.</p><p>Roots (into your skin), and air, (hence the outside bump)...duct tape will</p><p>suffocate warts.</p>
<p>Warts don't have roots. They are viruses. There have been no studies that have proved duct tape's effectiveness. The fact that some warts disappear on their own is not due to duct tape.</p>
<p>I beg to differ, My Husband had a planters wart on his foot his doctor, who is ex-military, told him they could either surgically remove it or he could put duck tape on it for a week or two, it disappeared in just over a week with the duck tape.</p>
A couple of weeks to my knowledge. But bas.grif above also says that baking soda and vinegar would also work... I can remember as a child that my parents bought a &quot;wart killer&quot; chemical, and it smelled very much like strong vinegar. So I would try a bandaid with baking soda and vinegar... that just might do the trick as well!
<p>sprinkle baking soda on a flat pan under your household plants and pour some vinegar on it. The mixture produces carbon dioxide that will stimulate the growth of your plants. </p>
<p>Horrors! Don't you know that CO2 causes global warming!!</p>
<p>Global warming is great - I've been out for a nice ride on my motorbike today!</p>
<p>is it? CO2 affects lots of people badly, my sister and my mum have asthma, and it's getting slowly worse from the pollution. and my grandfather had an accident on a motorbike, left 6 ft1 and a half inches on his good leg and 6 ft on his bad leg. half his pelvis got crushed. he got hit by a car. please tell me you don't take any risks on the road</p>
<p>I think every ride is a risk but thank you for your concern and sorry to hear about your grandfather. </p>
<p>it's okay. I was simply worried you might hurt yourself.</p>
<p>that's a good point. </p>
Wow! Wouldn't have thought of that! Can you imagine doing that in a greenhouse? <br>
When we moved to our new house they had copper for knobs and handles in the kitchen. They looked terrible so I soaked them in vinegar and baking soda and they came out beautiful! A little bit of wax to help prevent it happening again. All the gross ick just peeled right off. They sparkle and shine and saved us some money.
<p>brilliant! Going to try this on our tarnished brass window handles </p>
<p>Make a paste with crushed ice and rub it on bee stings. Neutralizes the venom and cools the ouchy.</p>
<p>don't do that if the sting in the ear.</p>
<p>should it not be bi-carbonate of soda?</p>
<p>To be precise, sodium bicarbonate, baking soda, and bicarbonate of soda are interchangable terms, all referring to NaHCO3.</p>
<p>that's showing off... what grade did you get in chemistry?my sis says I'm a mine of useless information. for example, agake kutsojoku ni mamire is the first line of keiyaku, Sebastian's first song in the Kuroshitsuji musical 2. listen to the song about 5 times and you'd learn most of the lyrics- and a new language.</p>

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Bio: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design ... More »
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