11 Surprising Uses for Baking Soda

By on February 11, 2013

Have you ever wondered how people washed their hair before modern shampoo was invented in the 1930s? If you have, here's the answer…

11 Surprising Uses for Baking Soda Baking soda. People have been cleansing their hair with baking soda for centuries. The practice originated in the 1500s, and it continues to this very day. Shampoo is chock full of chemicals that seep into your scalp and may eventually affect your health. Because of that, a lot of people avoid shampoo and wash their hair with baking soda, the natural alternative. It gets the job done just as effectively, and it leaves your hair smoother and healthier than it has ever been!

That's right. Baking soda isn't just for baking cookies. In fact, there are many fantastic uses for baking soda. If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring one thing, baking soda should be the answer. It makes life easier in so many different ways.

Don't believe us? Read on for 11 different roles this versatile ingredient can play… and prepare to be surprised!


Like shampoo, commercial toothpastes contain a lot of harmful (some even carcinogenic) chemicals, sodium lauryl sulfate usually being the primary ingredient. Some of those detrimental ingredients are made up of molecules small enough to penetrate through your gums and other tissue in your mouth, enter your blood stream, and affect your vital organs. If you actually read the warning label on your commercial toothpaste, you would probably feel compelled to join the masses of people who make their own toothpaste with baking soda (and sometimes 3% hydrogen peroxide solution).

Right now you're probably gagging at the thought of scrubbing baking soda all over your teeth and tongue. Yes, baking soda tastes awful, but don't shy away at the thought of brushing your teeth with it because you definitely don't have to endure the taste. There are many great natural toothpaste recipes that will mask the bitter taste of baking soda. For instance, take a look at this recipe for an all-natural minty toothpaste!


Forget that $6 tube of deodorant and grab a 99-cent box of baking soda! Rub some baking soda on your underarms with a damp washcloth. If you prefer to use a scented deodorant, try this fun recipe: mix four tablespoons of baking soda with ten drops of your favorite essential oil, and then apply some to your underarms. Store the remainder of the mixture in a small container for future use.

Acne killer

Next time you run out of Clearasil when you're already late for work, take a deep breath and pay a visit to your pantry, because baking soda will come to the rescue! Make a little paste from baking soda and water, and then apply it to the affected areas. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and then rinse it off. Follow up with a moisturizer, if needed.

Hand cleanser

If you've ever visited a public restroom, you probably know that hand soap is very harsh on the skin. Baking soda is a great alternative, because it gently cleans your skin just as well as hand soap would. It also scrubs away tiny particles of dirt and neutralizes the odor on your hands. Make a paste out of three parts baking soda and one part water, scrub it all over your hands for at least 12 seconds, and then rinse clean.

Stomach remedy

Baking soda works just as well internally as it does externally! Next time you have a stomachache, heartburn, or another stomach issue, take a glass of warm water and mix in a teaspoon of baking soda. Yes, you might have to choke it down, but it works very well. It's because the alkaline in baking soda will neutralize the acid causing the problem.

Itchy skin treatment

Got an insect bite, a mild burn, a rash, or just plain ol' itchy skin? Don't fret, because baking soda will get rid of the irritation for you! Long before the age of Aveeno, people used baking soda as a remedy for skin irritation, and it's still very effective to this day. Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it to the affected area, and then allow the baking soda to do its magic (in other words, neutralize the acid found in insect venom and soothe the skin.) Rinse clean when the area no longer feels irritated.

Cleaning agent

Who needs a cleaning lady when you have a trusty ol' box of baking soda? Baking soda cleans everything. It cleans toilet bowls, removes stubborn stains, loosens up grime, polishes silver, cleans up grease spills, gets rid of mildew, and so much more. Check out this link for a list of 40 different ways to clean with baking soda.

Carpet deodorizer

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that absorbs and neutralizes odors. It can come in especially useful if you have pets, poor hygiene, or housemates who habitually wear shoes in the house. Just sprinkle baking soda all over the carpet, furniture, or bedding, leave it for at least 5 hours or overnight, and then vacuum it all up. If the affected area still smells, repeat the process until the smell disappears.

Drain cleaner

Who says you need Drano to unclog a drain? Next time you have a drain that needs to be cleared, look no further than your kitchen! A box of baking soda, white vinegar, a small rag, and a kettle full of boiling water - all natural ingredients that won't harm the environment - will come to the rescue!

Pour about half of the box of baking soda down the drain. Follow with a half cup of white vinegar. Once the vinegar interacts with the baking soda, the mixture will erupt out of the drain. Immediately block the drain with the rag to keep it all inside. Let the baking soda and the vinegar do their magic in the drain for 30 minutes. Once that time's up, remove the rag and slowly pour the boiling water down the drain. At this point, your drain should be completely cleared. If not, repeat the process.

Fire extinguisher

A fire needs a combination of oxygen, fuel, and heat to keep burning. To put out a fire, you need to remove one of these three factors. The best way to cut off oxygen from the fire is to smother it with carbon dioxide. Guess what produces a lot of carbon dioxide when heated to a high temperature? Baking soda! If a small fire ever breaks out in your home, dump some baking soda on it before it gets out of control.

Garden pest repellent

Harsh sprays are good for staving off pests, weeds, and diseases, but they're not so good for the plants and vegetables you're trying to grow. Not only is baking soda a very effective non-toxic pesticide, it also doesn't harm the environment one bit! You can search online for many different baking soda recipes for different types of pests.

Is there anything baking soda can't do? Who would've thought that little orange box in the back of your pantry could save the day? Grab it, blow off the dust, and start putting it to good use!

Chiara Fucarino
Chiara Fucarino
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
A proud resident of the pristine High Rockies, Chiara Fucarino happily spends her days writing in front of a breathtaking view of the mountains. When she's not crafting words, Chiara cooks innovative meals, embarks on scenic hikes, travels to exciting new places, hangs out with domesticated animals, and takes her motorcycle out for a spin.

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