One of the constant facts of life we have to deal with living in the south in the summer is bugs. We have mosquitoes that look like small birds, gnats that get in your nose and mouth when you try to do extracurricular activities such as breathing, anthills the size of small buildings, spiders of all shapes and sizes, as well as a host of other tiny critters that seem to be hell bent on making our lives miserable while we battle the humid heat.
Working outside always means coming in with a brand new batch of itchy little bites. The other day I was out working and felt something on my wrist. I batted off some small spider and saw a welt starting to form. As it was swelling, it was starting to itch and sting. I headed inside to do something about it before I started scratching my skin off.
I’ve used baking soda on and off for years for ant bites and mosquito bites. I was hoping that baking soda worked on spider bites as well. This one was swelling up and beginning to send me over the edge. The problem I have with it is that the baking soda paste always turns into powder as it dries that drops everywhere. So, I grabbed a paper towel, soaked it in water and sprinkled some baking soda from the shaker I keep at the kitchen sink for scrubbing my cooking stones. I wrapped it around the bite, added another dry paper towel to keep it from dripping and headed off the bathroom to look for some way to hold this crazy looking bandage on for a little bit. By the time I had uncovered an ace bandage and wrapped it the itching was already gone. I left it wrapped like that for about an hour. When I unwrapped it over the sink there was no swelling and the bite was just a tiny pink bump. My husband was stunned.
That set me on a quest. I decided to find out how many things baking soda can really be used for. I have used baking soda for some things and already considered it pretty versatile. I do a lot of my cooking on baking stones. When I got my first stone and read the instructions telling me that I should never use soap and just scrape the food off using hot water I got a little queasy. Hot water is great for a lot but it doesn’t get hot enough coming out of the tap to kill bacteria. So I read more about stones on websites and decided that baking soda was my savior. I keep a shaker by the sink filled with baking soda and use that on the stones. No chemicals or soap to get into the stones to affect the flavor of the food, but baking soda takes care of those nasty bacteria.
So here are some of the things I found about baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. It releases carbon dioxide as a reaction to mixing it with acids or liquids. It seems to have an unlimited number of uses to be something so green and so cheap.
- Used as a leavening agent for baking.
- Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for every 3 eggs used in making omelets and scrambled eggs. It will give you fluffier eggs.
- For all you people that raise chickens, add baking soda to the water when boiling the chicken to help the feathers come off easier. It will leave the skin nice and white.
- Reduce the acid content of your tomato-based recipes by adding a pinch of baking soda to them.
- Soak fruits and veggies in a sink of cool water and baking soda to help remove anything that might be there from the growers.
- Whitens teeth and kills bacteria that causes bad breath and tartar build up. Add it to your toothpaste when brushing, gargle with a mixture of warm water and baking soda, make a paste of baking soda and water and rub on your gums and teeth with your finger to help kill bacteria and fight gingivitis. You can also add sea salt to this rub.
- Baking soda can be used as a natural deodorant
- Add baking soda to warm water for an invigorating footbath
- Exfoliate your skin with a paste made from baking soda and water
- Deodorize your shoes. Sprinkle some in your shoes or make a sachet by filling a coffee filter with it and tying it with a rubber band before sticking it in your shoes.
- Scrub your hands with baking soda to remove odors like onion or garlic.
- Add baking soda to your shampoo to get rid of soapy buildup that makes hair dull.
- Mix warm water with a bit of baking soda, lemon and salt to clean dreads and rinse to leave them fresh and clean.
- Use baking soda to remove stains and debris from dentures and retainers.
- Anti-inflammatory for skin conditions such as rashes.
- Combine it with sea salt in a bath – reduces the effects of radiation.
- Diaper rash – make a paste of baking soda and water.
- Indigestion – drink a mixture of warm water and baking soda. It neutralizes the stomach acids.
- A baking soda paste works wonders on insect bites that itch or sting.
- For a headache, mix lemon juice, baking soda and warm water together.
- Drinking a mixture of warm water and baking soda several times a day is used to battle a cold.
- Removing splinters – mix baking soda with warm water and soak your finger or wherever the splinter is. Many times the splinter will come out on its own.
- Put baking soda in your bath for a sunburn. Don’t towel off when you get out. Leaving the baking soda on for extra time will give you added relief.
- Add baking soda, apple cider vinegar and sea salt for a detox bath to help relieve aches and pains
- Use baking soda to scrub your bathroom. Works great on soap scum. Put a cup of it in the toilet. Let it sit for an hour, then flush. Scrubs counters and tubs without scratching.
- Drain cleaning – sprinkle baking soda down the drain – add apple cider vinegar – let it bubble for 15 minutes then run hot water.
- Deodorize your carpet by sprinkling baking soda on it, sweep it in good with a broom and vacuum it up.
- To remove baked on food from pots and pans, soak it in hot water and baking soda.
- Use it to scrub your barbeque grill.
- Smother out flames in a small grease fire.
- Refrigerator and freezer – (this one we all know) Put an open box in your refrigerator or freezer to absorb odors. Some brands even have boxes with tear off panels for this purpose so the box is never actually opened and easily spilled.
- Put a sheet of aluminum foil in your kitchen sink, fill it with hot water and add baking soda. Put your silver in it to soak and the tarnish will come off.
- Oven cleaner – have those black blobs of baked on food from dishes that over flowed? Sprinkle them with baking soda, spray them with water and let it sit. Come back an hour later and wipe it all off easily. It may leave a white film, but that can be wiped away with white vinegar. All natural – no chemicals to get into your food the next time you use your oven.
- Foggy headlights on your car from age? Scrub them with baking soda.
- De-ice steps – sprinkle baking soda on the ice, then add sand for traction.
- Spills on carpet or upholstery (like red wine) – liberally sprinkle baking soda onto the spill. Let it soak up the liquid. Then make a baking soda paste to get up the stain.
- Soak hairbrushes and combs in baking soda and water to clean them.
- Add baking soda to water in a vase to keep flowers fresh longer.
- Sprinkle baking soda in ashtrays to help keep down cigarette odor.
- Make modeling clay by mixing cornstarch, baking soda and water.
- Wipe your windshield with baking soda paste to repel rain.
- If your vacuum cleaner picks up odors, sprinkle baking soda on the floor and vacuum it up.
- Put it under sinks and along window sills to repel cockroaches and ants.
- Scatter it around flower beds to keep bunnies from munching on your flowers.
- Sweeten tomatoes by adding baking soda to the soil around the plant.
- Use it to unclog a gas stove.
- Mix a quart of warm water with 4 tablespoons of baking soda for a make it yourself oven cleaner.
- A thick baking soda paste will clean stainless steel and enamelware without scratching it.
- Use baking soda and a small brush to clean canvas bags and totes.
- Clean shower curtains by soaking them in baking soda and water.
- Keep your drains clean by flushing them with baking soda and hot water.
- Scatter it on a greasy garage floor, scrub the floor and rinse.
- Run your coffee maker with a baking soda solution and then run clean water through it.
- Use baking soda and hot water to clean baby bottles.
- Sprinkle it in coolers and thermos to get rid of stale odors.
- Use 3 tablespoons in a quart of warm water to wash marble topped furniture.
- Add baking soda when washing diapers to remove odors.
- Clean garbage cans.
- Rub some into your dog’s coat in between baths and brush it out. Makes Spot smell much better.
- Add some to kitty’s litter box.
Baking soda is pretty inexpensive compared to the cleansers you can take the place of. It is natural and doesn’t leave harmful chemicals or heavy smells and fumes.
Material on this Website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical care. For medical advice consult a medical professional.