5 reasons to have baking soda in your pantry
posted: May 23, 2014
There’s probably a box of baking soda sitting in the back of your fridge right now, expired (yep, it has an expiration date), and forgotten until the next time you mix a batch of your favourite banana bread. But we recently discovered some uses for sodium bicarbonate—better known as good ole fashion baking soda—that will inspire you to pick it up more often. (Note: We recommend having a box of baking soda for your fridge plus one for other uses. Two of our favourite aluminum-free baking sodas are Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Soda and Frontier Natural Baking Soda.)
1. Clean Your Hair
Dry shampoo is a huge time-saver for busy people with sweaty lifestyles, but brand name versions can get pricey and contain ingredients such as isobutene, butane and propane that you may not want to always be putting next to your brain. Easy fix: make your own. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of your yummiest essential oil; let sit until fully absorbed; then comb through your hair to achieve clean-looking locks.
2. Brighten Your Smile
Step aside, Crest Whitestrips. Add some baking soda to a bit of water to create a light paste then dip in your toothbrush and give your teeth a scrub for one to two minutes, then rinse thoroughly. The taste may be a bit strong, but the soda’s chemical structure acts as a mild abrasive that is perfect for stubborn surface coffee stains that hinder a pearly white smile. Like everything, however, moderation is key here. Start by using it every other day, and after a couple weeks take it back to once a week so as not to damage the enamel on your teeth.
3. Scrub Your Skin
Since your skin is your biggest organ; you probably are interested in the ingredients you’re applying to it. A DIY body scrub will leave your epidermis feeling fresh and clean, and you can feel at ease knowing what’s seeping into your pores. Fill a container with 2/3 coconut oil, 1/3 baking soda, and tea tree oil and scrub over your body in your bathtub or shower. The coconut oil is a natural moisturizer; the tea tree is a refreshing cleaner; and the coarseness of the baking soda will leave your skin smooth and silky.
4. Recharge Towels
White towels often need a boost to bring them back to their fluffy glory days. Baking soda to the rescue again—this time with its partner in crime, vinegar. Run your load through with hot water, a cup of vinegar, and two tablespoons of baking soda. Not only will this get rid of residue, but it will increase the absorbency in the towel as well as restore its original colour.
5. Soothe Bug Bites
Summer is literally around the corner, meaning evening skinny dips, campfires, marshmallows, and waking up the next morning to find yourself covered in mosquito bites. No problem, just mix baking soda and water into a paste and apply topically to the bite to remove the itch. This also works for taking the ouch and itch out of bee/wasp/hornet stings, black-fly bites, etc.
Our friends at Greatist have a few more baking soda tips for you, too. Check ’em here.
Sam Turchan is a Vancouver-born writer who is contagiously positive and passionate about healthy living. She’s an indoor cycling enthusiast and acclaimed health food junkie. When she is not flipping pages of the local newspaper, you can find her blending up new batches of almond milk in her kitchen and finding new uses for kale. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.