The Benefits of Baking Soda
Many of us think of baking soda as just an ingredient for baking or something that helps to keep our refrigerators odour-free, but it is incredibly good for your health and your entire home, too. Baking soda uses are plentiful. It is also an affordable natural remedy, Used since ancient times as a deodorizer, soother and cleanser, baking soda uses range from basic daily hygiene (think toothpaste and shampoo) to baking soda health benefits including digestive issues and even kidney problems.
What Is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is a familiar household product that also goes by the names sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate of soda and sodium hydrogen carbonate. The baking soda chemical formula aka the sodium bicarbonate formula is NaHCO3. This baking soda formula represents its composition of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions. It’s a substance known for its alkalizing effects thanks to a baking soda ph of 9.
What is sodium bicarbonate? In its most natural form sodium bicarbonate is also known as nahcolite, a mineral that is found in various locations around the world. It is commercially mined in areas of California, Colorado, Botswana and Kenya. There are also large deposits in Mexico, Uganda, Turkey and Mexico.
Some people get confused with baking soda vs. baking powder. Baking soda is a chemical leavening agent and so is baking powder, which means that when used in baking, both baking soda and baking powder cause batters to rise.
Baking soda is 100 percent sodium bicarbonate; so when mixed with acid, it makes bubbles and gives off a carbon dioxide gas, causing the dough to rise. Baking powder is made up of sodium bicarbonate as well as one or multiple acid salts.
Baking soda is a great tool for cleaning and removing stains, but there are many health benefits associated with the use of baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate is sometimes used as a supplement because it provides dietary bicarbonate. Bicarbonate is typically made by the kidneys, and it acts as an acid buffer in the body.
1. Helps with Digestive Issues
Baking soda is known to help to neutralize acid and improve pH balance in the body. It is often used internally to quell digestive dismay such as acid reflux or heartburn. When these complaints are due to overconsumption of acidic foods or a generally acidic state of the body, slowly drinking some baking soda in water can help to neutralize the acid and get your body’s pH back to a better place.
Don’t think more is better when it comes to taking baking soda. It’s important to note that consuming too much baking soda can cause an increase in acid production.
2. Anti-Fungal and Antibacterial
Baking soda has been shown to kill off bacteria including Streptococcus mutans, which is a type of bacteria associated with tooth decay. It is also effective against various fungal groups including yeasts, dermatophytes and moulds that cause skin and nail infections in humans.
3. Boosts Kidney Health
Research reveals that baking uses include the promotion of kidney health. A clinical study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology looked at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on 134 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and low blood bicarbonate levels.
What did they find? The subjects who supplemented with bicarbonate tolerated it well and were significantly less likely to experience rapid progression of their kidney disease. Additionally, there were less patients that developed end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the bicarbonate group compared to the control group.
4. Alleviates Urinary Tract Infections
A scientific study published in 2017 examined the effects of baking soda on female patients with lower urinary tract symptoms who also had acidic urine pH levels lower than six. After four weeks of taking it orally, the researchers found the urine of the subjects was alkalinized and there was “a significant level of positive effects on symptoms and symptom scores.”
Overall, baking soda appears to be an easy, inexpensive way to improve UTI symptoms accompanied by acidic urine with little to no unwanted side effects.
5. Reduces Muscle Pain and Fatigue
A scientific article titled “Practical considerations for bicarbonate loading and sports performance,” points out that studies to date have demonstrated that taking sodium bicarbonate before exercise (also known as bicarbonate loading) may have “a moderate positive effect” on athletic performance that includes one to seven minutes of sustained strenuous exercise. In addition, sodium bicarbonate may also be helpful for prolonged physical activity involving intermittent or sustained periods of high-intensity training.
So is there a benefit to using baking soda as a training aid? According to the author of the article, Dr. Louise Mary Burke, “It could be useful to try and support the training session to allow the athlete to train harder, but also to reduce some of the negative side effects of having a high acidity in the muscle so you may get less damage to the muscle and a better training outcome in the long-term.”
Another small clinical study of eight healthy male subjects found consuming baking soda before intermittent cycling improved their sprint performance.
6. Helps Alleviate Chemotherapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy side effects as make the list of baking soda uses for health. If you or someone you know has gone through chemotherapy, then you probably already know how bad the side effects of this cancer treatment can be. For example, undesirable changes to the mouth and throat can occur in some patients.
Rinsing with a baking soda mixture daily can help to improve these unwanted side effects. Combine a fourth of a teaspoon of baking soda, an eighth of a teaspoon of sea salt with one cup of warm and rinse your mouth three times per day. Each time, follow the baking soda salt mixture with a rinse of just plain warm water.
Natural Beauty and Skin
1. Natural Deodorant
Create your own homemade deodorant by mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with enough water to create a milky baking soda paste, then rub it under your underarms or even on your feet.
2. Face Exfoliator
Remove dry skin from your face by creating your own baking soda exfoliant. Combine one teaspoon with half a cup of water and rub it on your face in a circular motion, then rinse. Using baking soda for face exfoliation is an inexpensive way to refine skin, just don’t use it too frequently because you don’t want it to upset the pH balance of your skin.
3. Hand Softener
To scrub away dirt and odours, mix baking soda with warm water and rub it on your hands. This natural hand cleanser will leave your hands clean and soft.
4. Foot Soother
Create your own foot bath with a tablespoon of baking soda and warm water. This baking soda bath will remove bacteria and odours and can help to prevent toenail fungus.
5. Itchy Skin Relief
Baking soda can help to reduce discomfort from sunburn, allergic rashes, and skin affected by poison ivy or poison oak. Mix a teaspoon with some water to create a baking soda paste and apply it to the areas of concern. Leave it on for several minutes and then rinse. You can do this a few times per day as needed.
6. Splinter Removal
Splinters will come out naturally after a few days of soaking in baking soda (use a mix that includes a tablespoon of baking soda and warm water). Soak the affected area twice a day in the baking soda water.
7. Bug Bite Soother
Rub baking soda on your bug bite to relieve the itching. Create a paste with a teaspoon of baking soda and water. Keep applying the soda paste – about three times a day – until the bite dissipates.
8. Sunburn Relief
Your fragile sunburned skin will benefit from soaking in a mixture of baking soda and water. Soak in a warm (not hot) bath that includes half a cup of baking soda. You can also mix it into your favourite body lotion to calm a sunburn.
Hair and Teeth
9. Hair Cleanser
Baking soda for hair? Yes! Simply add a teaspoon to your shampoo, rub it into your hair and rinse as usual. Baking soda shampoo is ultra clarifying so it’s a great way to remove dirt and oil as well as residue that is left over from hair products.
10. Brush and Comb Cleaner
Create a paste by combining two teaspoons of baking soda with one cup of water. Coat your brushes and combs with this paste and then rinse thoroughly.
11. Homemade Toothpaste
Baking soda toothpaste is a great way to improve dental health. It is known to increase plaque removal — that is why it’s commonly used in both conventional and natural toothpaste. Straight baking soda has abrasive qualities, and over time it may wear away enamel.
Instead, to keep fresh breath, you can add it to your toothpaste, make your own homemade toothpaste, or just dip your toothbrush in baking soda a few times a week.
12. Teeth Whitener
Baking soda uses for dental health continue! To keep your teeth looking pearly white, create your own paste with a teaspoon of baking soda and water. Once a week, rub the paste onto your teeth, let it sit for five minutes, and then rinse your mouth. This is such a great natural way to whiten your teeth and kill bacteria without any harsh and questionable chemicals.
13. Heartburn and Indigestion Relief
Baking soda for heartburn is really a thing, so much so that conventional manufacturers of conventional heartburn medications include sodium bicarbonate in their formulates. It is a cost-effective way to reduce heartburn and indigestion, as opposed to other more expensive options like Tums and Rolaids, which also contain bicarbonate. Simply add half a teaspoon to two cups of water. An hour after eating, drink this mixture to gain some relief.
14. Cancer Fighter
When you have a pH imbalance, unhealthy organisms are able to flourish, which damages tissues and organs, and compromises the immune system. Baking soda is known to increase the pH of acidic tumours without affecting the pH balance of healthy tissues and the blood.
Scientific research has demonstrated that oral doses of sodium bicarbonate can raise tumor pH and inhibit spontaneous metastases in animal models of metastatic breast cancer.
15. Exercise Enhancer
Baking soda benefits can carry over to your exercise routine, too. Soaking in a warm bath with a half cup of baking soda added is said to help neutralize lactic acid build up in the muscles after a workout.
Some studies also point towards its internal use to reduce fatigue post-workout. It also may enhance athletic performance when consumed prior to physical activity.
16. Improve Kidney Function
As an alkaline substance, baking soda buffers acids in the body and helps to keep pH levels balanced. Low-functioning kidneys have a hard time removing acid from the body, so consuming baking soda can help with just that and some research has shown it may slow the progress of chronic kidney disease.
17. Reduce Ulcer Pain
18. Natural Kitchen Scrub
Sprinkle baking soda on the surfaces in your kitchen and use a sponge or rag to scrub. You can even add a few drops of lemon, lavender or peppermint essential oil to add a natural fragrance to this DIY cleaning product.
19. Pots and Pans Cleaner
Baking soda can be used to hand wash pots and pans, and it won’t hurt these valuables either. Just let them soak in baking soda for 15 to 20 minutes … the grease, grim or food will come right off.
20. Carpet Cleaner
Many carpet cleaners include chemicals that can be harmful to your pets or children, so use baking soda to give your carpet a good cleaning and neutralize odors. Sprinkle your carpet with it; let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, and then vacuum.
21. Gentle Baby Clothes Cleanser
Baking soda can be used as a natural cleanser, detergent booster and even a fabric softener. It’s the perfect way to clean baby clothes — just add one cup to your load of laundry.
22. Fruit and Veggie Scrub
Make your own natural scrub by adding a teaspoon to water. The pasty mixture is a perfect way to remove bacteria from your fruits and veggies.
23. Silverware Cleaner
Create a paste that is three parts baking soda and one part water. Rub the paste onto your silverware and let it sit in a large tray or bowl. After 15 to 20 minutes, rinse the silverware.
24. Oven Cleaner
Don’t use harmful chemicals to clean your oven; instead, just add a teaspoon of baking soda to a damp sponge or rag. This combination will wipe away food and grease easily.
25. Drain Cleaner
Mix baking soda and vinegar to create your own drain cleaner. A vinegar and baking soda mixture is a much safer option than the harmful chemicals that are typically used to clear drains. Let the combination bubble for 15 minutes, then rinse with hot water. Just wait until you see how effective baking soda and vinegar cleaning can be!
26. Dishwasher Helper
Want to test out if baking soda cleaning your dishes is really a thing? Add it to your regular dish washing cycle; this will help to eliminate unwanted grease and grime that builds up on your dishes.
27. Fire Extinguisher
If you experience a minor grease fire in your kitchen, you can use baking soda to extinguish it. Pouring it on a small pan fire should stifle the flames quickly.
28. Shoe Deodorizer
Can’t get that unpleasant smell out of your shoes? Shoe deodorizer is yet another one of the many common baking soda uses. Sprinkle it inside your shoes to deodorize them. You’ll see how that foul odor clears up within minutes.
29. Coffee and Tea Pot Cleaner
To remove coffee stains and funky tastes from your coffee or tea pot, make this quick mixture: one-fourth cup of baking soda with one quart of warm water. Rub the mixture on and in your pots; if you are battling tough stains, let it sit for a few hours first and then rinse.
30. Shower-Curtain Cleaner
Get rid of those stains that show up on shower curtains by rubbing baking soda onto them. Add a little water and the grime will be gone shortly.
31. Closet Freshener
To freshen your closet, place a box or cup of baking soda inside. Periodically change it to keep your closet smelling fresh and clean.
32. Wash Your Car
Ever hear of a baking soda car wash? Because it easily removes grease and dirt, it’s the perfect ingredient for the ultimate car cleaning. Create a paste with one-fourth cup of baking soda with one cup of warm water.
With a sponge or rag, rub the paste onto your car (tires, lights, seats, windows) and then rinse. Or dilute in a gallon of water to remove dirt and grime off your paint as well — just make sure to thoroughly dissolve as baking soda is abrasive in its powdered state.
33. Kitty-Litter Deodorizer
There are baking soda uses for pets too! To naturally deodorize your cat box, cover the bottom of the box with baking soda first, and then fill it in with kitty litter as usual. After cleaning out the liter, give the box some extra deodorization by sprinkling baking soda on top.
Risks and Side Effects
Baking soda uses for skin or body are generally considered safe and nontoxic. Consuming it orally is also safe, but don’t exceed the recommended dose. Too much baking soda can upset the body’s acid-base balance leading to nausea, vomiting and/or abdominal pain. Rare cases of baking soda overdose lead to seizures, coma and death.
It is high in sodium — 1,259 milligrams in one teaspoon — so high doses are not safe. High doses can raise blood pressure and cause swelling. In severe cases, it can overload circulation and lead to heart failure. People who consume too much baking soda have reportedly developed blood chemistry imbalances and heart malfunction (ineffective pumping).
Another reason not to overdo your consumption is that it can increase potassium excretion which could lead to a potassium deficiency.
If you do take it internally, sip the baking soda and water mixture slowly. When taking it internally, it’s important to avoid the following:
- Taking a baking soda and water mixture in which the baking soda is not fully dissolved.
- Taking more than 3.5 teaspoons in a given day.
- Taking more than 1.5 teaspoon a day if you’re over 60 years old.
- Taking the maximum dosage for longer than two weeks.
- Drinking baking soda solution too quickly.
- Taking it when you’re overly full (to avoid gastric rupture).
If you have edema, liver disease, kidney disease or high blood pressure, you should avoid taking it internally. You should also refrain from consuming it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are on prescription drugs, consult your doctor before consuming it, and make sure you speak to your doctor about drinking baking soda if you are on a sodium-restricted diet.
You should not take it within two hours of taking other medications. It’s also not recommended to give it to children under six years of age unless directed by your pediatrician.
Some products that may interact with baking soda include aspirin and other salicylates, barbiturates, calcium supplements, corticosteroids, medications with a special coating to protect the stomach, lithium, quinidine, and diuretics.
- For such a low cost, this is one really affordable natural remedy with a seemingly endless lists of baking soda uses. From cleaning your bathroom or cleaning your face to calming indigestion and even providing a workout boost, all of the many baking soda uses are pretty amazing.
- Of course, as with all good things, you don’t want to overdo it topically or internally because while many people struggle with being too acidic, not all of us have that problem and overdoing it can increase acidity.
- Sodium carbonate is highly alkalizing substance that when used correctly has been shown to help kidney, urinary and digestive health concerns. Even if you’re not interested in internal or topical baking soda uses, it’s one of the best things to have around your home for some really effective yet non toxic cleaning.