Baking soda, also known as Sodium Bicarbonate or alkaline white powder- Is one of the most versatile recipes used in the kitchen today. It is a simple compound that is originally in a crystalline form but is usually ground to a fine powder for various uses, one of which is cooking. It is also widely used for baking. When used, it acts as a chemical leavener that produces carbon dioxide in reaction to an acid (like vinegar), which produces bubbles that help the cake or cookie rise to tender, moist, and fluffy perfection.
It is safe to say that the source of sodium bicarbonate can be traced back to about 4 million years ago when salt lakes around the world evaporated to form trona deposits- Trona is the rock that is now processed into sodium carbonate and baking soda on the other hand. The world’s largest deposit of trona is in Wyoming. The area produced 17 million tons of the mineral in 2015 for export worldwide.
The invention of baking soda can be credited largely to a big brand in the United States owned by two brothers-in-law; Dr. Austin Church and John Dwight. These two scientists teamed up to develop nurses and the idea of baking soda. Their collaboration for the manufacturing and distribution of baking soda is successful. Baking soda was cooked in John Dwight’s kitchen and was called Arm & Hammer Church & Co’s bicarbonate of soda. These innovators were so confident in the versatility of the baking soda that they started distributions nationwide around the year 1860.
By the 1920s, Arm & Hammer was advertised in women’s; today, we have the popular Arm and Hammer baking soda. The uses of baking soda were later published in magazines to spread its popularity. According to the company, it was in 1972 that people everywhere started stashing a box of baking soda in their refrigerators to keep things fresh.
How Baking Soda Works
You already know that baking soda is an alkaline compound; when used with acid, it produces carbon dioxide gas. This carbon dioxide gas produces bubbles, and as you mix your batter, the carbon dioxide bubbles are trapped underneath it, causing it to inflate and rise exponentially. However, just like most chemical components, it does not react until its reaction is activated by another chemical. Common acids used to cause this reaction include vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, yogurt, and cream of tartar.
Baking soda will also produce gas upon decomposition caused by heat. No acid is necessary for this reaction, only exposure to temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Uses of Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of its popular uses are cake batters and cleaning. You will discover more of its uses in this section, and in subsequent sections, we’ll examine the health benefits and/or otherwise of using cake batters.
This is probably not strange to anyone, as baking soda is a common prescription by YouTubers for teeth whitening. Mouthwash is a great addition to your oral hygiene, and if you are just learning that baking soda is a great asset for teeth whitening, I’m sure you are glad to have made this discovery. When used as a mouth wash, it reaches the corners and crevices of your mouth, leaving your teeth, gums, and tongues untouched.
Baking soda is a good fit for mouth washing because it is an effective breath freshener. More importantly, it exerts antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. This position is the assertion of some studies. On the contrary, other studies have shown that baking soda mouthwash didn’t significantly lower oral bacteria levels; it increased the pH levels of saliva, which is important for inhibiting bacterial growth. However, baking soda will certainly help clean your mouth.
To make your own baking soda mouthwash, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to half a glass of warm water, then swish as usual.
2. It can be used as a Deodorant
It will surprise you to know that human sweat is odorless. I’ll admit, I was a little surprised too when I encountered this discovery because it had me wondering- ‘if indeed the human sweat is odorless, how come sweat smells when it comes from the pores on our bodies. The reason is that bacteria in our body work on sweat to break it down as soon as they are secreted. And when this happens, the sweat becomes acidic, causing an offensive smell.
Baking soda and other natural ingredients are a potent and natural way to solve this odor issue. You can apply it by patting it onto your armpits or mixing it with a bit of coconut oil, shea butter, or cornstarch to create homemade deodorant.
3. Fridge Odour Neutralizer
Generally, baking soda is a potent agent for odor eradication. Not only does it kill human odor or the bacteria causing it, but it also kills germs causing odor in your refrigerator. It happens to everyone when they open their refrigerator to discover a strange and foul smell. This smell is usually attributable to spoilt products or food spills in the refrigerator. Chances also are that some foods in the fridge have just been there for too long, and it is worse still when this smell sticks around even long after you must have disposed of the culprit.
Baking soda is a strong cleaning agent for all the situations mentioned above. It will help freshen the smelly fridge by neutralizing bad odors. Interestingly, it eliminates odor particles rather than just masking their smell. In subsequent sections, a detailed procedure for cleaning your refrigerator with baking soda will be addressed. Because it is used for fridge cleaning, people wonder, can you use fridge and freezer baking soda for teeth the answer is yes, it can be used to clean your teeth.
4. It Can Be Used as an Air Freshener
It is, unfortunately, not all commercial air freshener completely eliminates odors. They usually only try to suppress an unpleasant smell rather than nipping it in the bud. Hence, air fresheners, when they release fragrance molecules that mask other smells, do not last- they can not be sustained long enough. To make matters worse, fewer than 10% of air fresheners provide an ingredient list. This is problematic if you’re sensitive to chemicals found in air fresheners.
On the flip side, air fresheners made using baking soda are a safe and even more efficient alternative to commercial air fresheners as they are free of industrial chemicals and neutralize odor particles. You can make an air freshener using baking soda by doing the following;
- A small jar
- 1/3 cup (74 grams) of baking soda
- 10–15 drops of your favorite essential oils
- A piece of cloth or paper
- A string or ribbon
Add the baking soda and essential oils to the jar. Cover it with the cloth or paper, then secure it in place with the string and put it in your living room, bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen. When the scent starts to fade, give the jar a shake.
5. Whitening agent for laundry
Baking soda can completely whiten and remove dirt from your clothes. It is so effective that you can call it natural bleach. Besides, it is a very inexpensive way to whiten and clean your laundry.
Baking soda is so effective for bleaching because it is an alkali or soluble salt that removes dirt from stains. According to research, alkali-like baking soda works by interacting with acids in stains when dissolved in water. To apply it correctly, add 1/2 cup (110 grams) of baking soda to your regular amount of laundry detergent. It also helps soften the water, so you may need less detergent.
Baking soda does not also whiten your laundry; it also leaves your stainless steel appliances shiny. You just need to learn how to clean stainless steel appliances with baking soda to leave them shiny.
6. Baking soda can be used to clean your Kitchen
The versatility of baking soda makes it a great kitchen cleaner. When mixed with an acid like lemon juice or vinegar, it may also help control the growth of harmful microorganisms, including mold or bacteria- If you are looking for what to use to clean the microwave, use a baking soda solution.
To use baking soda in your kitchen, make a paste by mixing baking soda with an equal amount of lemon juice and a bit of water. Apply the paste to the desired surface with a sponge or cloth and scrub thoroughly. You can replicate this process to clean your kitchen appliances; you can clean your KitchenAid dishwasher or what have you, using baking soda, and the same goes for cleaning your Maytag dishwasher.
7. Baking soda as a carpet stain remover
Baking soda, used with vinegar, can remove stubborn carpet stains very well. The solution of baking soda and vinegar is called carbonic acid, a common ingredient for effective cleaning. When mixed together, baking soda and vinegar create a lot of fizzing that effectively breaks down tough stains.
By now, I’m sure you are curious as to how you can eliminate carpet stains with just baking soda and vinegar. Follow the instructions below to achieve the highest level of stain removal with just baking soda and vinegar. You can also remove rust from your washing machine using this solution, and if you are bothered with how to remove mold from the rubber gasket of your washing machine, try baking soda for thorough cleansing.
- Cover the carpet stain with a thin layer of baking soda.
- Fill an empty spray bottle with a 1-to-1 mixture of vinegar and water and spray it over the stained area.
- Wait up to 1 hour or until the surface dries.
- Scrub the baking soda loose with a brush and vacuum the residue.
- The stain should now be completely removed. If there’s some baking soda residue left on the carpet, wipe it up with a damp towel.
8. Multipurpose bathroom cleaner
Bathrooms and toilets can be immensely difficult to clean most times. If this cleaning is not done regularly enough, your toilet and bathroom may become a safe harbor of germs and harmful bacteria. Although branded disinfectants can go a certain length in cleaning your toilet and bathroom, baking soda offers more natural and effective ways. While numerous commercial bathroom cleaners exist, many prefer more natural, cost-effective cleaning options. Baking soda is handy because it whitens and disinfects many bathroom surfaces, though it’s less effective than commercial cleaners.
To achieve the level of cleaning that effectively eradicates germs, make a paste using baking soda and some water. Then apply this mixture to your bathroom or toilet surface with a towel or a sponge; rub thoroughly on the target and notice the stains wear off. When this is done, wait 15 minutes or thereabouts, and thereafter, wipe down the cleaned surface with a damp cloth.
9. Baking Soda, Used as a Pesticide remover
Baking soda can be used as a pesticide for fruits and veggies if you are worried about possible pesticide residue on foods. Originally, pesticides were applied to fruits, veggies, and other crops, to protect them from insects, germs, rodents, and weeds. Still, unfortunately, they can do more harm than good if not properly washed off those crops- pesticides can very harmful to human health, and they can very well result in food poisoning.
Unarguably, the best way to get rid of pesticides in fruit, for example, is to take the peel off- oftentimes, pesticides cannot penetrate the fruit. However, taking the peel off also means taking off the nutrients found on the peels. Nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals are found on the skin of many fruits, and if taken off, there are just fewer nutrients to get from your fruits.
Interestingly, recent research indicates that a baking soda wash is the most effective way to remove pesticides from fruits and veggies without peeling them. One study found that soaking apples in a solution of baking soda and water for 12–15 minutes removed nearly all of the pesticide residue.
Remember I mentioned the possibility of pesticides penetrating your fruits. If your fruits have been penetrated, baking soda is never effective enough to eliminate these harmful chemicals.
The Health Benefits of Baking Soda consumption
Baking soda has a lot of uses, as you can see in the preceding paragraph. However, out of all its uses, people wonder if it is safe to consume. Because baking soda is often used for fridge and freezer cleaning, people wonder, ‘can you eat fridge and freezer baking soda.’ Indeed, baking soda is a consumable substance, and just like many other edible items, it has health benefits and adverse effects. Traditionally, baking soda is a popular antacid for heartburn and indigestion because it can neutralize stomach acid. To ease heartburn, add half a teaspoon of baking soda to half a cup of water. While you use this, make sure to exercise caution because baking soda is quite rich in Sodium and the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming no more than 2,300 mg of sodium daily; ½ tsp of baking soda will supply about one-quarter of that limit. Hence just half a teaspoon is more than enough.
The consumption of baking soda helps boost one’s workout, and this is particularly interesting for me because I like my workout routine. If you are like me, it may interest you to know that a study has confirmed that those who drank a baking soda solution before a high-intensity intermittent training session improved performance, lowered fatigue, and felt as if they weren’t working out as hard compared with those who didn’t consume baking soda- this was exhibited in 13 young men.
Can Baking Soda Help You Lose Weight?
There is no research to suggest that baking soda helps lose weight. However, it is confirmed that consuming baking soda right before a workout can help you get a lot out of your workout. But always remember that baking soda is quite rich in sodium. Hence excessive consumption of it may leave you bloated.
Can baking soda be consumed?
Absolutely. It’s a popular ingredient in recipes, particularly baked goods. It can also be consumed as an antacid or even taken before working out to increase endurance levels and reduce fatigue significantly.
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