The chemical compound sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda, is a salt that has been used in baking for centuries, having first been produced by French chemist Nicolas Leblanc in 1791.
While it’s primarily used as a leavening agent, releasing CO2 in batter to form the classic bubbly texture found in pancakes and soda bread, its other uses are numerous.
This wonderful, versatile chemical can also do wonders for your health and hygiene, help you clean your house, and boost your physical endurance.
Here are just a few of the many reasons you should keep baking soda in your home.
1. Whitening Teeth
As you may have noticed, there are toothpaste brands that proudly advertise the inclusion of baking soda in their formulas. But you don’t need to buy their products to reap the benefits of sodium bicarbonate. In its raw form, it can be an effective whitening agent for teeth.
Try mixing a few teaspoons of soda with enough water or lemon juice to make a paste. Apply it to your teeth and let it sit for a minute, rinsing after. Repeat as needed for even whiter chompers.
2. Soothing Irritated Skin
If your skin is itchy, whether from sun exposure, poison ivy, or bug bites, a baking soda bath can give you some relief. 1-2 cups of soda in a lukewarm bathtub will soothe your itching quickly.
3. Polish Silverware
A mixture of baking soda, white vinegar, and boiling water creates a mixture that will remove the tarnish from old silver. Start by combining half a cup of white vinegar with a tablespoon of soda, then add a cup of boiling water. Slip your silver into the mixture and watch the tarnish disappear.
4. Whiten Your Laundry (And Save Detergent)
The whitening effects of baking soda aren’t limited to teeth. Adding half a cup of sodium bicarbonate to your load of whites can neutralize the acids in stains and leave your laundry gleaming white – and you won’t need to use as much detergent.
5. Beat Body Odor
The acid-fighting abilities of baking soda can neutralize the acidic waste products that cause B.O. It was one of the first popular deodorants and is still popular worldwide for its funk-fighting effects. Just add a little powder to your armpits after a shower and you’ll notice a difference in no time.
6. Curtail Canker Sores
Canker sores are an incredible annoyance, even if they’re invisible to the outside world. But baking soda can help soothe the pain of these acidic little ulcers. Combine half a teaspoon of soda with a cup of warm water, swish, and gargle. Compared to the pain that alcohol-based washes cause to sores, this is a big relief.
7. Freshen Your Fridge
Those odor-fighting properties aren’t just for your armpits. They can also improve the smell of your refrigerator, especially if there’s a lingering unpleasant smell from old rotten food. A cup of baking soda placed in your fridge can neutralize the acidic odors and get rid of that unappetizing smell.
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