What is Sodium Bicarbonate?
Sodium Bicarbonate, more popularly known as Baking Soda or Bicarbonate of Soda, is most well known as a pure leavening agent. It’s a chemical compound that is technically classified as a type of salt that is crystalline, but usually appears as a fine white powder. Sodium bicarbonate has a slightly salty, alkaline taste to it that somewhat resembles washing powder.
Although its name may imply this product is used solely as a baking ingredient - that could not be further from the truth! Sodium Bicarbonate can be used for a whole host of things, from an ingredient to a medicine, to a cleaning product and even a bath bomb - it has so many benefits!
Sodium Bicarbonate Uses
Here at Wholefood Earth, we have compiled a handy list of just some of its many uses, so you can discover why you need this multi-purpose product in your life 😊
Sodium bicarbonate is probably most commonly known for being a rising agent in baking, hence the alternate name - baking soda.
Sodium bicarbonate becomes activated when it’s combined with both an acidic ingredient (such as lemon juice or buttermilk) and a liquid. Once it is activated, it produces carbon dioxide which allows the batter to rise and gives baked goods such as bread, cakes, cookies, and muffins a light, fluffy texture. Yummy!
After baking, cleaning is probably considered the next most popular use for sodium bicarbonate. From descaling kettles and cleaning silverware to unblocking drains and neutralizing any unsavoury odours around the home – sodium bicarbonate does it all!
If you want to use it for cleaning, just mix a paste of sodium bicarbonate with an equal amount of lemon juice and a bit of water. Then use a sponge or cloth to apply the paste to your desired appliance or surface and it should soon be as good as new.
There is a wide range of reasons for using sodium bicarbonate in your garden. It can be used for treating mildew or fungus, clearing pathways, discouraging pests, getting rid of weeds and cleaning garden furniture.
Certain plants and flowers prefer alkaline soil, so sprinkle some sodium bicarbonate in your soil to amend the pH balance which can stimulate blooming and give your plants a real boost!
If you didn’t already know, sodium bicarbonate, along with citric acid, are the main components when it comes to making bath bombs. Just mix 2 parts sodium bicarbonate to 1 part citric acid and you're ready to go!
For a handy ready-made kit, we’ve got you covered with our very own Bath Bomb Kit.
Sodium bicarbonate can be used as a fast-acting but temporary, remedy for treating heartburn, acid reflux, upset stomach, and indigestion. Due to its high alkaline pH, it works by neutralizing excess acid in the stomach which causes these symptoms. Using it for this purpose classes it as an antacid.
Sodium bicarbonate has a few uses when it comes to your mouth. It has become a popular at home treatment for teeth whitening. This is due to the fact it has mild abrasive properties that can break the bonds of molecules that stain your teeth.
Along with whitening your teeth, sodium bicarbonate can also be used as a replacement for mouthwash. Some studies show that it may help freshen your breath and can even expend antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as increasing the saliva’s pH level.
Did you know sodium bicarbonate is also a prevalent supplement among athletes?
Some studies show that sodium bicarbonate helps you perform longer at your peak, especially during anaerobic exercises or high intensity training and sprinting. Sodium bicarbonate may also help in delaying fatigue due to its high pH, helping you perform longer at maximum intensity.
Natural deodorants have become more popular of late due to some worries regarding the ingredients present in conventional deodorants. One of these natural alternatives is sodium bicarbonate. Studies suggests that it may contain antimicrobial benefits, which could potentially mean it has the ability to fight off odour-causing bacteria under your arms.
However, make sure to do a patch test first as sodium bicarbonate can be quite drying, especially if you have sensitive skin. Alternatively, you can try mixing it with shea butter or coconut oil to offset some of the dryness.
Whether it be tough carpet stains or keeping your laundry whites, white - sodium bicarbonate can assist in both! Sodium bicarbonate is an alkali, which is a soluble salt, meaning it can help eliminate dirt and stains. It works by interacting with the acids present in stains when dissolved in water.
Combining sodium bicarbonate with vinegar forges a compound known as carbonic acid, which is a common ingredient found in cleaning products – perfect for cleaning stained carpets! The reaction between the two creates a lot of fizzing, which can aid in breaking down tough stains.
Some people have concerns regarding pesticide residue on food and the sometimes harmful effects they can have on our health.
You can eliminate the pesticides by removing the skin on fruit and vegetables, but this means you will not be getting the full nutritional benefit found in the skin. However, soaking the fruit or veg in sodium bicarbonate before consuming it has been shown to remove nearly all the residue from the pesticides.
Sodium bicarbonate is also good for your skin. It has a variety of cosmetic uses such as exfoliating dry lips, soothing inflammation, treating fungal infections, improving acne and removing dead skin cells.
It may also alleviate any itchiness, redness or stinging caused by bites from insects such as mosquitos, bees and wasps. Additionally, sodium bicarbonate may help soothe skin that’s been sunburnt.
As mentioned previously, we do recommend doing a patch test first before applying it to your skin.