Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Second Love...Baking Soda

Remember how obsessed I am with vinegar?  My second love obsession is baking soda.  With these two items by my side, no task is too difficult!  While there are so many uses for vinegar, baking soda falls right in line, sometimes hand-in-hand.  Take a look at how baking soda can make your life easier (and healthier without all the toxic chemicals).

In the Kitchen
  1. Burnt food stains in your pots?  No problem.  Toss in some baking soda, water, and a drop of dish soap. Put your pot on the stove and boil away those black stains.  You may need to add more water as it boils. This definitely works!  My husband tried cooking for me one evening (how sweet) and burnt the carrots to the bottom of the pot (not sweet but at least he tried).  I tried this method, and voila!  It worked!
  2. I can't stand looking at a dirty cook-top.  You guessed it!  Baking soda works as a light abrasive to scrub away those spills or drips during cooking.  No need to go out and buy that "cook-top cleaner" anymore, you have one already there in your pantry.  It costs less, too!
  3. Clean your stainless steel pots and pans.  I remember growing up and having to clean my mother's stainless steel pots and pans.  I hated the dust from the cleaner making its way into my nostrils.  [cough, cough...ugh!]  I looked like a ninja, chopping at the air, fighting for fresh air.  Goodbye toxic cleaner.  I've got my baking soda to clean my pots and pans!
  4. In keeping with the polishing tips, sparkle up your silverware with it.  Just use 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water, make a paste, and polish away.
  5. Make your microwave shine by using a damp (not soaking wet) sponge with a sprinkling of baking soda.  Scrub off those old splatters and refreshen at the same time.
  6. Sparkle up the kitchen sink by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom.  Add a little bit to a sponge for the sides of the sink, and scrub.  
  7. Now, what to do with that nasty sponge?  Rinse it out well.  Soak it in 2 Tbsp baking soda and 2 cups warm water solution.  Then pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Don't squeeze it out before microwaving.  The baking soda gets rid of the bad smells, and the microwave disinfects.  
  8. Put out grease fires.  I remember years ago when I was living in an apartment, my downstairs neighbor's fire alarm went off.  After a minute or two I became nervous so I checked on her.  She had started a fire in her kitchen.  Her fire extinguisher failed, so she was trying to fan it (do not do this) and throwing water at it (that makes it worse if it is a grease fire).  I searched through her cabinets, found the baking soda, and doused the flames.  No big deal.
  9. Keep odors out of your refrigerator.  Set the open box in the fridge.  Ta Da!  Your work is done.
In the Laundry and Personal Care
  1. Boost your laundry detergent by adding 1 Tbsp to each load.  It softens the clothes and gets rid of smells.  It also balances pH levels.
  2. Worried about bad breath?  The gum and mints only mask it...but not for long.  Put 1 tsp in a half glass of water.  Swish, spit, and rinse.  
  3. Notice how all the toothpastes these days contain baking soda?  There's a reason for that.  Skip putting money in their greedy corporate pockets and save by making your own toothpaste with 1 tsp baking soda, a few drops of water, and an optional addition of a drop of essential oil (such as: mint).
  4. Exfoliate.  Use baking soda to exfoliate and cleanse your face and body.  The fine grain sloughs off dead skin cells and brings a soft feeling to your skin.  For my face, I just make a paste of baking soda and water in my hand and scrub all over, then rinse.  I even like make soaps with the addition of baking soda in it, but using the baking soda in combination to your shower gel will give you the same results.
  5. Wash your hair.  Yes, I did say that.  I wash my hair with baking soda.  Those who know me didn't know that secret till now.  Some prefer to put it in a bottle with water and use it as a rinse while I prefer to rub the soda into my scalp.  It gets rid of oil and build-up.  Rinse.  Then, rinse with vinegar afterwards.  If there is any remaining baking soda in my hair, the vinegar reacts with it and gives a tickling sensation.  I just rinse it all out in the water.  It leaves my hair feeling soft.  No knots.
  6. Soak.  Take a bath in it.  Or use my recipe for bath salts.  It has baking soda in it.  Trust me, your bathwater never felt so soft.   
  7. Treat zits.  Wet the area, put a clump of baking soda on it, and then cover it with a band-aid.  By the next day, your zit should be smaller.
Bathroom, Household, and Other Uses
  1. Unclog a drain by pouring a handful of baking soda down the drain and 1/2 cup of vinegar.  Rinse with boiling water.  
  2. Get rid of soap scum by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge to clean the shower walls and tub.
  3. Clean your sinks the same way as mentioned above.
  4. Deodorize the toilet by sprinkling baking soda in the water.
  5. Clean faucets by wiping down with a wet sponge sprinkled with baking soda.  Just rinse off with a regular wet cloth afterwards.
  6. Deodorize carpets by sprinkling baking soda on top, brushing it in, and vacuuming it up after letting it sit for a few hours.
  7. Pet accidents.  Occasionally pets have accidents.  Soak.  Then, clean up with a wet, soapy cloth.  Heavily sprinkle baking soda on the spot.  Then pour vinegar on top of the baking soda.  It will foam.  Soak up with a towel.  BONUS...the vinegar smell will deter your pet from going back to that area again. 
  8. A Must-Have during a camping trip.  Baking soda can be used as your toothpaste, deodorant, pot and dish scrubber, and fire extinguisher.
  9. Septic system neutralizer.  Just a handful of baking soda a week should keep it in good standing.
Just like with the vinegar, the list can go on and on.  If you have any ideas or tips, feel free to leave a comment and let us all know.

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