What is Baking Soda? Uses and Benefits

There are so many household uses for baking soda that almost every DIY lover has discovered. This is one ingredient I ensure to never run out of because baking soda is an essential ingredient in my homemade beauty products, detox baths, cleaners, and of course baking.

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While baking soda is popular, there are many people who still are not sure what it is. For this reason, I’ll be explaining what this multipurpose ingredient is, what it can be used for, and much more valuable information that you will find useful.

What is baking soda?

Baking soda, also called sodium bicarbonate is a popular baking ingredient. Sodium bicarbonate is a highly alkaline salt that has found its way to the kitchen as a cooking thing.

Baking soda is slightly bitter and salty in taste and is mostly used in baking because of its ability to interact with an acid to make carbon dioxide gas. This reaction is what creates the fluffiness in your baked end product.

What’s the difference between baking powder and baking soda?

A person who has ever made an attempt to do substitution in a cookie recipe is aware that sodium bicarbonate is not the same thing as a baking powder (also often used in baking). The baking powder is different because it contains cream of tartar, which is the acid or leavening agent that forms the chemical reaction when it is mixed with water.

Just so you don’t get into a baking confusion, make sure to always remember that baking powder can be used for baking on its own, while baking soda can only be used in a recipe that has an acid or leavening (rising ) agent that it can react with.

Is baking soda the same as washing soda?

This is a complete NO!

While sometimes it is possible to use baking soda interchangeably with your baking powder in baking recipes and just get only a flat cake as an end result, washing soda (sodium carbonate) is chemically a lot different and should only be used in cleaning, washing, and other simple household uses but never as an ingredient in food or even baking.

To oversimplify the explanation a little bit, the major difference between your baking and the washing sodas carbon dioxide and water, but then again, what make the difference between hydrogen peroxide and water is only an oxygen group and it as you can guess, it definitely is not recommended that you drink one of these bad guys.

Chemically, the sodium bicarbonate composition is NaHCO3 (explained as 1 sodium, 1 hydrogen, one carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules). And that’s a lot different from washing soda’s chemical composition, which is Na2CO3 (2 sodium, 1 carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules).

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The similarity between both is that they are alkalis, which means that they react with acids when in contact, and both are sodas are commonly used to absorb bad odors.

If you are wondering why it is not a great idea to use washing soda in baking and cooking, it is simply because baking soda is stronger, and that is why it often reacts too strongly with whatever acid is in the cooking or baking recipe, thus changing the texture or taste of the food dramatically.

This difference in chemical composition simply means that washing soda is a lot stronger, making it the best choice for things like treating tough stains, DIY all-purpose cleaner, and homemade laundry detergent.

Uses for Baking Soda

Baking soda

There are way over a hundred known uses for this famous naturally occurring alkaline salt, and below are some of my personal favorites ones:

1. Natural Oven Cleaning

If you are in search of a highly effective and also cheap oven cleaner, then you just might have one in your kitchen. Simply collect some baking soda and sprinkle it on the bottom of your oven.

Get some water to spray or sprinkle on the baking soda until it becomes a paste and allow to rest for several hours. You’ll be amazed at how easily burnt foods and stuck on grease wipes right off.

2. Homemade Deodorant

Did you know that baking soda combined with a few other natural ingredients such as Shea butter and coconut oil makes an effective an easy to create natural deodorant? The interesting part is how this DIY deo works a lot better than most of the ones you find in stores.

3. Detox bath

Baking soda is so beneficial to the body, that when it is combined with some other simple ingredients, it can become an awesome addition to a detox bath and even help to draw out toxins from your body. This can also go a long way to assist with relieving sunburn.

To use some baking soda in your detox bath, just include 1/2 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with warm water, or combine the soda with other nice ingredients for a relaxing detox bath.

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4. Scouring Powder

A combination of baking soda, some borax, and some salt will make an amazing, easy to do, and very effective natural scouring powder. You can use this scoring powder to get rid of all the tough stains on your metals, tubs and even floors.

5. Homemade Toothpaste

I love to keep my teeth looking clean and white, but I never buy the idea of having them bleached. There are many DIY kinds of toothpaste that you can so at home, and baking soda is one of the primary ingredients in most simple homemade toothpaste that functions to keep the teeth smooth and clean without being too abrasive.

6. Facial Scrub

A nice paste of baking soda mixed with water creates a natural and mild exfoliator for your face.

All you need to do is create a paste by adding a small quantity of water to one tablespoon of baking soda and gently massage it into your skin for about 10-20 seconds (do this in a circular motion) before you rinse off with some warm and clean water.

Note that you don’t need to do this every because this mixture is very alkaline, it is better as an occasional exfoliator.

These are only six amazing uses of baking soda. I hope that you love them and also try them out wherever you feel like getting creative. Please leave a comment below, we love to hear from you.

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