Saturday, January 30, 2010

Good Housekeeping: The Benefits of Baking Soda

The Benefits of Baking Soda


     One of baking soda brands available in the Philippines


     "Baking soda? It's used for baking." This is probably the answer by many Filipino housewives when asked about this important element because we don't usually use baking soda. We know that it is used as a  leaven in baking to make cookies, cakes and pastries rise but we don't know that it is also used as a meat tenderizer because it breaks down protein and neutralizes acids. Also called sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is a white powder with crystalline grains--magical-- which today have been found to have many other uses --from cleaning, to deodorizing, and even, for health care purposes.

     For cleaning purposes in kitchens and toilets, baking soda is sprinkled in a damp sponge or cloth and scrubbed on tiles and tubs, let stand for 30 minutes, and rinsed. To remove tough grout and tile stains, make baking soda into a paste by mixing 1 part bleach to 3 parts baking soda.( Always remember to use rubber gloves.) For more drain clogs and grease, pour 1/2 cup baking soda on drain and grease, then pour 1 cup vinegar, let sit for 10 to 20 minutes then flush with hot water. Do not use baking soda and vinegar on aluminum and  stainless steel surfaces. 

     In the kitchen, you can also use baking soda to put out fire in the stove by sprinkling it over the fire to put it out. Sprinkle baking soda in water and soak your vegetables and fruits, then rinse well to remove bacteria.

    As a deodorizer, baking soda kills bacteria in the fridge while keeping food fresh. Place baking soda in an open container and put inside your fridge to absorb odor. You can stir and turn over the soda from time to time and replace every 2 months. You can also add your favorite scented bath salts to the baking soda and place in your toilet or bedrooms. You need to replace this every 3 months. For smelly tennis shoes, socks, boots and bedroom slippers, sprinkle baking soda and let stand to eliminate odor.

     For laundry, baking soda can also be used as a fabric softener by adding 1/2 cup to the rinse cycle. You can also add 1/2 cup with your detergent to freshen laundry because it enhances the detergent's effectiveness. In the U.S., baking soda is used to take out stains especially blood and red wine stains on clothes by soaking the clothes in warm water mixed with baking soda and salt.

     Baking soda has been used as a traditional old-fashioned toothpaste because of its whitening effect. You can still use it in sync with your toothpaste by sprinkling baking soda on a wet toothbrush. Soak your grandpa's dentures or your son's mouth guards in a solution of 2 tsps. baking soda dissolved in warm water. You can also add 1/2 cup baking soda to your bath to soften skin. You can also bathe your babies with water mixed with baking soda and use it as shampoo for your pets to deodorize them. If you go swimming in a pool, remove chlorine from your hair by rinsing it with 1/2 tsp. baking soda and 1 pint of water to remove dullness and discoloration caused by the chlorinated pools. Make a solution of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water or liquid soap to remove fish, onion or garlic odors from your hands. 

     Hey, baking soda can also be used as underarm deodorant. Ouch, I think! So, have a box handy for your home. 

References: thefarm.org --Sixty Uses of Baking Soda
                  home.howstuffworks.com --Uses fro Baking Soda
                  assocciatedcontent.com --The Perfect Household
                  handyhints.gophercentral.com--So Many Uses For Baking Soda 

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