Cleaner, Simpler, Cheaper: Changing the World with Baking Soda

by Beth

We homesteader types are usually thrifty and don’t like extra chemicals in anything. The cleaner, simpler, and cheaper, the better.

Seriously, we’re on to something. The glut of chemicals humans use these days – on our skin, in our homes, and down our drains – affects not only ourselves and loved ones but our neighbors who share the air and water supply.

cup in stream stock photo

Meanwhile, baking soda is inexpensive, easy to attain, and works as hard as many expensive and far more damaging products.

Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate – and not sodium tetraborate, which is Borax and also has a variety of surprising uses – baking soda is a darling of the internet, which claims it can do everything from put a shine on kitchen fixtures to cure cancer.

Rather than write another post about all the fantastic uses for baking soda, here are 6 you should absolutely try.

While many baking soda posts start with teeth whitening (we’re so vain), this one won’t. Too much baking soda makes my teeth sensitive. I use the cancer-causing whitening goo from my dentist instead. Anywho, here goes:

1. Deodorant!
Apply to thine pits baking soda mixed with a few drops of water.

YES. Before last year, I was on a never-ending journey to find an alternative to commercial deodorants. One day, instead of applying the fancy charcoal-based paste I’d been using with fair results, I tried baking soda and haven’t looked back. I never have to reapply, even on long days, and now I only have one chemical compound in my armpits instead of a few dozen. How are we all spending money on deodorants so full of additives??

2. Polish Your Pans and Coffee Pottea pot stock photo
Sprinkle the carafe with water and baking soda and buff with a paper towel or rag that you don’t mind staining. The paper towel will turn brown with coffee residue as the glass sparkles. This goes for tea-steeping devices, too.

Soak sticky, burnt pots and pans overnight with baking soda water, and the crud should come off more easily in the a.m.

I like dishsoap but acknowledge that its unnatural grease-cutting abilities come with a host of toxins: formaldehyde, ammonium sulfate, sulfuric acid, etc. Plus, wash a coffee carafe with soap, and you’ll be sipping soap fragrance with your coffee for days.

3. Deodorize Perennially Stinky Things
Rub on stinky things.

Last year, my hiking pack developed a case of “stink strap” partway into every hike. The washing machine was no match. In the month before deciding which pack to upgrade to, I carried a baggy of baking soda to rub on the sweaty side of each strap when they’d start to reek. Odor disappeared instantly and completely; baking soda is a secret weapon against stinks.

4. Dry Shampoo
Sprinkle liberally on your scalp and tease hair to bump up volume.

I personally can’t tell the difference between baking soda and store-bought dry shampoo, except that the baking soda seems to work better. It makes your scalp feel cool for a few moments, too.

stock photo of a bathtub5. Sooth Itches
Apply a paste of baking soda and water to itchy areas.

Since I refuse to acknowledge that I’m (suddenly and inconveniently) sensitive to poison ivy, I make the types of mistakes that culminate in wide-ranging, torturous patches of poison ivy rash 3 days later. Scratching is the perfect way to make this stuff not go away. The baking soda helps you forget the itches.

6. Face Wash
Wet your face, sprinkle baking soda on your fingers and rub your face in gentle circles for a few moments. Rinse.

The salty grit of the baking soda, which you have now come to love, will be gone in a few splashes. Weird but refreshing.

– – –

If even one of these works for you, you’ll be taking chemicals out of our water supply, off your skin, or out of your food. What’s your favorite baking soda hack?

Photos in this post are from Pexels, a great resource for stock photos if you’re short on photography time.

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