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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Top 15 Uses for Baking Soda

Baking soda is truly the frugalista's best friend. Its used for so many different things that all are cost efficient and very green to boot. If you buy it in bulk, as I do, it ends up being even more thrifty!
What are my top 15 uses for baking soda? (My sister thought I should do a series of top 10 posts on the blog, and this was originally going to be one of them... but there's no way I can limit baking soda to only 10 different uses, so it'll have to be 15.)

Top 15 Uses for Baking Soda

Use Baking Soda...


As a rising agent in baked goods. So long as the cake or cookies you're preparing contain something acidic, baking soda can be used to make your baked goods be fluffy and airy. Before I switched to my current style of gluten free, sugar free eating, my favorite cake was an absolutely delicious egg free chocolate cake made with vinegar and baking soda, called crazy cake. For the record, if you want to try that one out, whole wheat flour can be used in that recipe in place of the white flour, and brown sugar in place of the white, if you're looking to make things a bit more healthy.

As a sweetener. Sort of. If you're cooking something that is too acidic and you wanted to add a sweetener to it to counteract the sour flavor, you can also use a little bit of baking soda to cut the acidity. When I'm making tomato sauce, I add a pinch of baking soda instead of sugar or honey or any other sweetener. It makes it less sour and therefore have less of a need for added sweeteners to make it taste nice. In the Tightwad's Gazette, Amy Dacyzyn talks about sprinkling some baking soda on her apples in her apple pie to cut the tartness and therefore need to use less sugar- I haven't tried this myself yet, but have put a pinch of baking soda in homemade applesauce and it's worked great.

To make beans lose their gas. I have stomach issues if I eat beans cooked "normally", or even soaked overnight, etc... The only way I've had success eating beans and having zero stomach issues, zero gassiness issues, is by putting beans in a container, adding a sprinkle of baking soda, then pouring boiling water over the beans and letting them sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours, I pour off the water, wash the beans well, then again add boiling water and baking soda, letting them sit for another 24 hours. Finally, I pour off the water and wash the beans off once more, and then add new water and more baking soda and let them cook until they're fully soft. Gas free beans, making it easier to enjoy this frugal protein without the uncomfortable typical side effects.

In making homemade soft pretzels. Oh my, something I miss from my gluten days is homemade soft pretzels. Boil a pot of water with some baking soda in it. Take your extra pizza dough left from making homemade pizza (or even mix up a batch just for this), roll it into snakes, shape if you want to (I didn't bother- I left mine in little logs), and then boil the dough in the baking soda water for 1 minute. Remove from water and place onto a lined or greased baking tray, sprinkle with kosher salt, and then bake on 475 until golden (approximately 10 minutes). Serve with mustard, and eat with gusto, so I can enjoy those vicariously through you.

As an antacid. Have heartburn or an unsettled stomach? Mix a bit of baking soda into a cup of water and drink. The basic baking soda should neutralize the excess acidity causing the acid reflux.

As a toothpaste. Mix with water and form a paste, possibly adding some peppermint extract. Use this in place of regular toothpaste to get a flouride free, chemical free, frugal homemade toothpaste.

As shampoo. A paste of baking soda and water is all that's needed to clean hair in the "No Poo" method of hair washing. Read more about it here. Yes, its nearly a year later, and I still am "no poo". I think I've used shampoo 2 times only since I started going "no poo" all that time ago, use mainly just warm water to wash my hair, and use baking soda on my hair once or twice a month tops. And my hair looks great.

As a face scrub. Just mix with water and scrub into your face to get a deep cleanse to clean out your pores.

As body soap. You can use a mix of baking soda and water to clean your body. It takes away smells, is abrasive enough to actually scrub off dead skin cells and dirt, and works pretty well. I've heard of people doing this all the time, but frankly, I'm not that gutsy, but will use baking soda to clean myself occasionally. It can be a little too drying for people with sensitive skin though.

In homemade deodorant. Mixed with coconut oil, and corn/tapioca/potato starch, this makes a frugal, chemical free deodorant stick.

As a drain cleaner. Mix with citric acid, pour into a slow drain, and then pour boiling water into the drain. After a few minutes of fizzing, the drain should be much cleaner and should drain much quicker than it was previously.

As a toilet bowl cleaner. Mix with citric acid, pour into the toilet, then scrub a bit with a toilet brush.

To make washing soda. By putting your baking soda into the oven until it changes form, you get washing soda. See here for more information on how exactly to do it. Washing soda is used to make homemade laundry detergent.

As oven cleaner. Made into a paste with a tiny bit of water, this works as a terrific degreaser and oven cleaner as well as being terrific for stove tops. I worked as a cleaning lady for a good 6 months, and this, combined with a bit of steel wool and elbow grease was all I ever needed to clean the dirtiest stove tops and ovens.

As a laundry whitener. Add some to your load of wash to brighten your whites.

Wow... Lots of uses for baking soda, and I didn't even mention all of them, just my favorite ones! No wonder I buy 50 pounds of baking soda at a time! Well, the fact that its only 62 cents a pound in bulk instead of the usual $1.80 per pound also helps... But its the fact that baking soda has so many uses around my house that makes me willing to store that much baking soda at one time!

How do you use baking soda in your house? Do you do any or all of the things I mentioned? Are there any I mentioned that you'd like to try now that I shared the idea? Do you do any ideas that I didn't list that you can share with me and with other readers?
How much does baking soda cost where you live? Any way on earth you'd buy 50 pounds of it in one go?

Linking up to Mangia MondayHomestead Barn HopMonday Mania

1 comment:

  1. Gonna try this definitely - want to use it on our oven! For us professional companies were the only way (we used oven cleaning maidstone or oven cleaning sheffield depending on hubby's work location at the time) but really interested in seeing what we can do on our own! thanks for the great post :)

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