Although it is often thought of as an ingredient in baking, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is a simple yet effective powerhouse for multiple purposes. We also love that it is completely natural, a store cupboard staple and inexpensive.
And because we love healthy home hacks using natural ingredients, here are five effective ways you can use it around the house.
1. Fridge odour neutraliser
Baking soda can help freshen a smelly fridge by neutralizing bad odors. Interestingly, it eliminates the odor particles rather than just masking their smell. To try this, fill a cup with baking soda and place it in the back of your fridge, you can also add in some drops of lemon essential oil or a few sprays of The Botanist Room Mist to give your fridge a zesty, fresh smell.
This can also work for your household garbage - just sprinkle the ‘bicarb’ into the bottom of your garbage and it will do the rest for you.
2. Fruit and vegetable wash
Like many of you, we have long been concerned about pesticide residue on foods as pesticides can have harmful effects on human health. Recent research indicates that a simple 15 minute baking soda wash is the most effective way to remove pesticides from fruits and veggies without peeling them - thereby keeping so much of their nutrient value and goodness. It's really simple: just add a few tablespoons of baking soda to water and leave your fruits/ veggies to soak for 15 minutes then rinse under cold water and they are good to go.
3. Whiten laundry
Baking soda is an inexpensive way to whiten and clean your laundry. That’s because it’s an alkali — a soluble salt — that can help remove dirt and stains. To try it out, 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 than usual.
4. Teeth whitening and mouthwash
Baking soda can be an effective and safe option for teeth whitening and as a mouthwash, it’s low-abrasive, effectively combats bacteria and reduces the acidity of plaque. Besides, these days you’ll find lots of dentists advising against the use of commercial mouthwashes as they are highly acidic and contain a lot of potentially harmful chemicals.
The better way? Make your own in just a minute! To make a baking soda and water mouthwash just use the following: mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a little bit of salt into a glass of warm water and swish the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then spit it out. This can help freshen your breath and neutralize any acids in your mouth, which can help prevent tooth decay.
For a natural whitening paste, try this baking soda and coconut oil whitening paste: Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to make a paste. Apply the paste to your teeth and let it sit for 1-2 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help soothe your gums.
5. Drain unblocker
This can be more effective than store bought drain unblockers without any of the nasty chemicals. Be sure to pour a good amount of baking soda down the sink in the kitchen/ bathroom etc. then pour white vinegar into the drain and watch as it immediately starts to foam. Leave it for 15 minutes then rinse down with hot water.