Friday, May 7, 2010

More Uses for Baking Soda

A while ago I gushed about all the wonderful uses for baking soda.  A non-abrasive cleaner, baking soda with a little water can be used to scrub even the nicest of cookware.  Baked-on food comes right off!  It's non-toxic yet powerful in the bathtub, toilet and sinks.  Stainless steel kitchen sinks are safe, too.  Pour a cup into sink and tub drains, followed by a huge pan of boiling water, to prevent pipes from clogging up with organic matter.  We all know it deodorizes our refrigerator and freezer, and helps to remove odors from laundry.  Lately I've been using baking soda in many other ways.  As I am the self-proclaimed Texas Green Queen (lol), I'd like pass along my discoveries.

  • To remove small food particles and "bleach" stained straws.  We drink fruit smoothies and veggie/fruit juices everyday in our house.  The straws on Sage's smoothie cups easily fill up with seeds or become stained.  Either I couldn't find a brush narrow enough to push through the straw, or I didn't want to spend the money.  Regardless, I discovered this: place the straws flat, side-by-side, in the bottom of a glass bowl and cover with water.  Sprinkle 2-3 T. of baking soda into the water or on the straws.  Put bowl in microwave for 5 minutes.  Boiling water "activates" the baking soda, and together they boil out the food particles and staining residues.  Let cool 5-10 minutes, then place bowl in the sink.  Pour white vinegar over the top.  It will fizz, further cleaning and removing food.  
  • To whiten and brighten teeth.  You probably already know about this use.  Brushing teeth with a teaspoon of baking soda twice a day removes stains caused by coffee and other foods.
  • To sub as deodorant.  Pat under arms like a powder to absorb odors.  Works well but you might have to reapply a couple of times a day.
  • As a facial scrub to deter blackheads.  I thought this might be too caustic for my skin, but when baking soda is added with warm water (not boiling), it becomes surprisingly pasty and gentle.  I use it every morning and evening, now.  My skin looks cleaner, clearer and much younger.
  • To treat mosquito and other insect bites.  Safe enough to use on babies.  When we first moved to the Texas Coast, Sage was only 6 mos.  I didn't want to use  insect repellents or any synthetic chemicals AT ALL on her delicate skin.  (Still don't like to have contact with the stuff, actually.)  I used natural products and just generally kept her inside during peak mosquito infestations (e.g., after a heavy rain, at sunrise or sunset.)  A couple of times, however, a very determined little bug made his way inside and bit her while she slept.  I made a paste of baking soda and water and dabbed it on bites on her face and neck.  But for bites from the neck down, I added a teaspoon to her bathwater.  They healed so fast!
I use baking soda in nearly all my cleaning "concoctions" and most of my homemade personal care products.  I buy a 4-lb box (avg. $2.50) every 2-3 weeks.  I save a fortune and have the peace of mind knowing I'm doing my part to clean up the planet while keeping my family clean and healthy.

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