Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda): Uses and Benefits (Science Based)

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Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda): Uses and Benefits

Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, is a versatile natural product that has numerous benefits for your health. The antimicrobial and cleansing properties of baking soda help clean teeth, freshen breath, reduce odors, and may even help treat acne. You can also use baking soda and water for heartburn, improving exercise performance, and reducing inflammation.


It is very easy to use baking soda to address various health conditions. You can create a baking soda paste with some water and essential oils to exfoliate dead skin cells, soothe itchy skin, or treat canker sores. Drinking baking soda can also be good for some health conditions. To create baking soda water, you just need to add ¼ to ½ a teaspoon of baking soda and mix with a glass of water.

In this article, you will learn about the many uses of baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda. You will also find out how to use baking soda on your skin, internally, and to keep your home clean.

What Is Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural white alkaline powder that is also called sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda. Because baking soda contains sodium, it has a salty taste. The chemical name of baking soda is NaHCO3. (1)

Researchers say that sodium bicarbonate has many uses in the home and in healthcare. Sodium bicarbonate has a pH level of 8 which makes is slightly alkaline. For example, sodium bicarbonate can help replace electrolytes, reduce the effects of an acidic stomach, treat itchy skin, and lower the acidity of urine. (1)

Around the home, baking soda is used as a raising agent in baking. The fact that baking soda has a coarse texture, a deodorizing effect, and has antimicrobial properties, means that it is an effective cleaner in the kitchen and bathroom.

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

It is important not to confuse baking soda with baking powder, even though both ingredients can be used in cooking.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is just one ingredient with the chemical name NaHCO3.

However, baking powder is a combination of ingredients that help improve the leavening process in baking. Most baking powder products contain baking soda and an acidic compound such as cream of tartar. This slows down the reaction of sodium bicarbonate during the baking process resulting in a better quality of baked goods. (2)

While you can use both baking soda and baking powder in cooking, only baking soda has the many health benefits that are discussed in this article.

Benefits and Uses of Baking Soda

Let’s look in more detail at how you can use baking soda to address and treat a number of health issues.

Baking Soda to Clean and Whiten Teeth

The gentle abrasive properties of baking soda along with its antimicrobial effect makes it a great natural product to use for brushing your teeth.

Studies have shown that dental products containing bicarbonate of soda are good for cleaning teeth and also have a whitening effect. (3, 4) Other studies have shown that baking soda effectively removes plaque which is a major cause of gum disease. (5)

Cleaning your teeth with baking soda can make them whiter because its gentle cleansing effect also helps to remove stains.

How to use natural baking soda toothpaste

Making your own baking soda toothpaste to use for cleaning your teeth will not only remove bacteria from your mouth but leave your mouth feeling refreshed.

You can make a natural baking soda toothpaste by combining 2 tablespoons unrefined virgin coconut oil with 2 tablespoons baking soda. Put a small amount on your toothbrush and brush your teeth for 2 minutes as you would with regular toothpaste. Rinse and spit at the end.

To make a natural tooth-whitening paste, make a thick paste using a tablespoon of baking soda and a small amount of food grade 3% hydrogen peroxide. Put a generous amount on your toothbrush and brush for 3-5 minutes to help remove stains from your teeth. Rinse and spit at the end.

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Although using these sodium bicarbonate kinds of toothpaste is a completely natural way to clean your teeth, you should avoid swallowing any of the natural paste.

Find about other ways that coconut oil can help improve your dental health and how to get sparkling white teeth at home.

Baking Soda as a Natural Mouthwash

Another way to use baking soda to improve your dental health is to rinse your mouth with baking soda water.

Researchers have found that the antibacterial activity of baking soda is good for eliminating strains of oral bacteria that can lead to plaque and cavities. (6)

How to use baking soda and water to as a dental rinse

A baking soda mouthwash is great to use for your teeth and gums because its alkalinity reduces acid in your mouth. This helps to lower your risk of gum disease and tooth decay and also helps to treat bad breath.

Make your own baking soda mouthwash by mixing 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in half a cup of water. Swish the natural mouthwash around your mouth for 30-60 seconds. This will help to kill off bacteria, help prevent plaque forming, and lower your risk of gum disease.

Find out other ways to use this sodium bicarb mouthwash to treat gum infections and reduce inflammation in your gums.

Baking Soda Helps Treat Canker Sores

Pure baking soda is also good for helping sores on your lips, gums, or roof of your mouth to heal quicker.

Canker sores are small white ulcers that can appear in and around your mouth. It is not known exactly what causes canker sores; however, you can use baking soda to treat them naturally. (7)

Some hospitals also use bicarbonate of soda mouthwashes to treat various dental ulcers. (8)

How to use baking soda paste for canker sores

Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a little water to make a thick paste. Use a cotton bud to apply the paste to the canker sore to help it heal quicker. Leave for a few minutes (it may sting, but this is normal) and then rinse off. Apply a few times throughout the day to help get rid of your canker sore quickly.

Learn about other home remedies you can use to get rid of mouth ulcers including fever blisters, mucous cysts, and burn blisters.

Baking Soda to Relieve Heartburn and Acid Reflux

One of the most common uses of baking soda is to relieve the burning sensation in your chest that is the result of heartburn.

Heartburn (acid reflux) occurs when acidic juices from the stomach escape back up the esophagus causing irritation.

How effective is using baking soda for heartburn? When discussing effective treatments for acid reflux, the medical publication StatPearls says that many patients use baking soda for effective heartburn relief. (9) The alkaline effect of baking soda helps to neutralize the acid in the esophagus.

How to use baking soda for heartburn relief

To help relieve the symptoms of heartburn, all you have to do is mix some baking soda and water.

Put ½ teaspoon baking soda in an 8-oz. glass of water. Mix until completely dissolved and consume slowly. Use this baking soda remedy to help get relief from heartburn (acid reflux).

Because baking soda is high in sodium, you shouldn’t use baking soda to relieve chronic heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The maximum safe dose of baking soda is 7 dosages in a 24-hour period.

For more information on how to prevent heartburn, please read this article.

Baking Soda to Help Treat Gastric Ulcers

You can also use baking soda and water remedie to help treat other digestive complaints such as peptic or gastric ulcers.

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Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that baking soda is an antacid that helps to relieve abdominal discomfort caused by stomach or duodenal ulcers. Alkaline baking soda helps to reduce irritation in the stomach caused by too much stomach acid. (10)

How to use sodium bicarbonate for stomach ulcers

Mix about ½ teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in an 8-oz. glass of water. Drink the baking soda water after each meal to help calm your stomach and prevent a burning stomach sensation.

There are more natural remedies for gastric ulcers such as aloe vera, probiotics, and apple cider vinegar.

Baking Soda Can Reduce the Risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Baking soda is also good for helping to alleviate some of the symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

UITs often cause urine to become more acidic and that can lead to a stinging sensation when you pee and a frequent need to urinate.

One study involving women with UTI found that consuming sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) water helped to alleviate many UTI symptoms. Baking soda helped to alkalize urine and that helped reduce the frequency of urination and the urge to pee during the night. (11)

How to use baking soda for UTIs

To use baking soda and water to help alleviate the discomfort of a UTI, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a large glass of water. Drink the baking soda water 2 or 3 times a day up to 3 days.

Learn more about proven natural methods of treating a UTI and when you should see a doctor for your symptoms.

Baking Soda Can Help Reduce Inflammation

The alkaline effect of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) can help to lower inflammation in the body.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School say that chronic inflammation in the body is linked to a number of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. (12)

The Journal of Immunology reported in 2018 that consuming sodium bicarbonate can help to stimulate anti-inflammatory pathways in the body. Researchers say that inflammatory diseases such as chronic kidney disease can cause the blood to become too acidic. Consuming baking soda water for longer than 2 weeks helped to reduce inflammation. (13, 14)

How to use baking soda for its anti-inflammatory properties

To help reduce the effects of inflammation, consume a glass of water and ¼ teaspoon baking soda after a meal twice a week. Continue to use the anti-inflammatory baking soda remedy for no longer than 4 weeks to help with inflammation.

Learn more about how drinking baking soda water can help remedy a number of health issues, not just inflammation.

Baking Soda Is a Natural Deodorant

Because sodium bicarbonate naturally kills off bacteria, you can use baking soda to make your own homemade deodorants.

The Journal of Food Sciences reported that bicarbonate of soda is effective in killing off a number of bacterial and fungal strains. Also, the fact that sodium bicarbonate raises pH levels also creates an environment where bacteria can’t thrive. (15)

How to make a homemade deodorant with baking soda

You can use baking soda together with coconut oil to create a bacteria-killing deodorant that has a natural pleasant aroma.

Coconut oil is good to use in this home remedy as a natural armpit deodorizer because it gently moisturizes your skin and is also antibacterial in nature. (16)

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To use baking soda as a natural deodorant, mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with a ¼ cup of coconut oil and add 3 drops of lavender essential oil. Store in a clean glass jar and apply a little of the baking soda deodorant to your armpits daily after showering.

Baking Soda May Boost Exercise Performance

Drinking baking soda and water also benefits your energy levels as it can help to increase performance during intense physical activity.

One study on men found that consuming baking soda before exercising helped to boost performance during training. The baking soda mixture had an alkalizing effect and it increased performance levels, especially during high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT). (17)

How to use baking soda to increase exercise tolerance

Mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a large glass (8 oz. or 250 ml) of water and consume about an hour before starting to exercise.

Isotonic drink using bicarbonate of soda

Make this mixture which contains baking soda and water for rehydration, for example after diarrhea or endurance sports.

To make your own homemade isotonic drink using baking soda, mix the following: 1 liter water, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon table salt, 2 tablespoons honey (you can tweak the amount of honey you want to include and add your own flavors) and drink to replace lost fluids and essential minerals after training or working out at the gym.

Baking Soda Can Relieve Post-Exercise Muscle Pain

Using baking soda to increase exercise performance also has the added benefit that the baking soda drink can prevent painful muscles after exercising.

Researchers say that increased alkalinity in the body due to sodium bicarbonate prevents acids building up in muscle tissue. This is one of the reasons for muscle fatigue and pain after exercising. Sodium bicarbonate supplementation before strenuous exercise helps to prevent muscle cramping post-exercise. (18)

How to use baking soda to prevent sore muscles after training

Consume a glass of baking soda water an hour to 1½ hours before starting an intense physical workout.

Using baking soda to boost exercise performance also has the effect of helping to rehydrate you and prevent electrolyte loss due to excessive sweating.

Learn about other natural remedies to alleviate muscle soreness in general or after physical activity.

Baking Soda Is Good for Soothing Itchy Skin

Adding baking soda to bath water can be an effective way to alleviate irritation and itchiness from your skin.

Some scientific studies indicate that alkaline bath water helps reduce itching. Researchers recommend bathing in baking soda water to help treat itching caused by dermatitis. (19) A baking soda and water paste can also treat itchy skin conditions. (20)

How to use baking soda for treating itchy skin

Mix a little water with a tablespoon of baking soda and apply to the patch of itchy skin or insect bite that itches. Leave for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with cool water.

Alternatively, you can use baking soda in your bath water to get rid of itchiness from your skin. Add a cup of baking soda to warm water in your bathtub and soak for 20 minutes to help soothe skin irritations.

Learn about other natural ingredients that are good for adding to your bath to relax and rejuvenate your skin.

If you suffer from chronic itching skin, find out what else you can do to relieve skin irritation naturally.

Baking Soda Can Help Treat Sunburn

You can also use baking soda on your skin to help reduce the severity of sunburn and help soothe irritation, redness, and itching.

The antibacterial and anti-itch properties of baking soda make this fine white powder good for treating skin burns. Studies indicate that baking soda remedies are used in treating sunburn or irritated skin. (21)

How to use a baking soda remedy for sunburn

You can use baking soda as a good way to soothe the symptoms of sunburn as directed in the “itchy skin” section.

For a small patch of burned skin, apply a baking soda paste to the affected areas.

If a larger area of your body has been affected by sunburn, then taking a baking soda bath will help to relieve the soreness from damaged skin cells.

Learn about other natural ingredients you can use to get rid of sunburn and sunburn blisters faster.

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Baking Soda to Treat Acne and Pimples

Baking soda is also good for your skin if you suffer from acne outbreaks or other oily skin conditions.

Red, inflamed, pus-filled acne pimples are the result of bacteria forming in clogged pores on the skin. The fact that sodium bicarbonate is antibacterial and can help to cleanse the skin means that you can use it to help in getting rid of pimples. (22)

How to use baking soda as an effective acne treatment

Use baking soda as an anti-acne facial mask by mixing 2 tablespoons baking soda, 2 tablespoons water and 4 drops of tea tree oil. Apply to your face after cleansing and leave for 10 minutes to help reduce the number of acne-causing bacteria. Rinse off with warm water.

You can also apply a baking soda and water paste as a spot treatment on larger pimples to help reduce inflammation and shrink the size of the pustule.

Find out about the many other ways to use baking soda to treat acne and pimples.

Treating Cold and Flu with Bicarbonate of Soda

In 1924, Dr. Volney S. Cheney published a book called Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Medical Uses, in which he recorded his experience with treating flu. He observed that people who were treated with baking soda either remained healthy or they developed a milder version of the disease.

You can read the full details in the article: How To Fight Cold and Flu With Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda).

Baking Soda as a Natural Skin Exfoliator

Another use for baking soda on your skin is as a gentle cleanser to remove dead skin cells and unblock pores on your skin.

Baking soda has a natural grainy texture that makes it perfect for exfoliating skin and normalizing pH levels due to its alkalinity.

How to make your own exfoliator using baking soda and other ingredients

Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of fine brown sugar, and ¼ cup of lemon juice in a bowl and mix well. Apply to cleansed, damp skin using gentle circular motions to remove dead skin cells. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

You can also make a baking soda exfoliation mask by combining equal amounts of coconut oil and baking soda. Use as directed above.

Find out many other recipes that incorporate baking soda and can help to keep your skin looking gorgeous.

Baking Soda Is a Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

One of the most common uses of baking soda around the home is to clean grime and dirt from kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

Baking soda is useful around the home because it is non-toxic, environmentally-friendly, and very cheap to use. Many experts also agree that simple baking soda is good for keeping your home clean.

Here are some ways that you can use baking soda around the home.

Use baking soda as an oven cleaner

Baking soda is a good natural scouring agent that effectively removes sticky grime and grease from your oven without chemicals.

Make a thick paste with baking soda and water and spread the mixture around your oven. Leave for an hour and use a warm damp cloth to wipe off the grime from your oven surfaces. Spray white vinegar on areas where baking soda residue remains and wipe with a damp cloth to get your oven looking like new.

Use pure baking soda as an antibacterial surface cleaner

Research has also shown that baking soda is somewhat effective at removing germs from surfaces due to its antimicrobial activity. (24)

Mix some baking soda powder with water to form a cleansing paste and use to clean kitchen surfaces, sinks, chopping boards, or remove grime from your bath.

You can also use baking soda to remove tea and coffee stains from the inside of cups. (25)

Use baking soda water to clean toxins from fruits and vegetables

Scientific studies also show that you can use baking soda to wash the skins of fruits and vegetables to remove pesticide residues. Washing fresh produce in a solution containing 10 grams of baking soda (about 2 teaspoons) in a liter of water removed some pesticide residues after 12 to 15 minutes. (28)

Use sodium bicarbonate to clean and deodorize your carpets

Some people recommend to sprinkle generous amounts of baking soda powder on your carpet and allow it to sit overnight to get rid of bad odors. However other people suggest that vacuuming the baking soda from your carpet could damage the vacuum cleaner and you shouldn’t do it.

Use baking soda and vinegar to clean and freshen drains

Using baking soda together with vinegar is an eco-friendly way to help unclog drains and remove drain smells.

To use baking soda as a drain cleaner, first of all, pour a pot of boiling water in the drain. Pour ½ cup of baking soda and leave it to sit for 5 minutes. Then pour a cup of white vinegar in the drain followed by a cup of hot water. Cover the drain and leave for 10 minutes. To remove the last of the grime, flush with a pot of boiling water.

Baking Soda to Get Rid of Foul Odors

Many people use baking soda in their refrigerator to remove strong smells.

There is actually scientific evidence that baking soda can be used as a natural deodorizer. Scientists have found that sprinkling 50 g of baking soda on the bottom of a garbage bin can reduce odors by up to 70%. (26)

How to use baking soda to remove unpleasant smells

It couldn’t be easier to use baking soda to keep your refrigerator and freezer smelling great. Put an opened box of baking soda in your refrigerator to control strong odors for up to 3 months.

Other Uses of Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)

There are many other ways to use baking soda to improve your health. For example, you can use this mixture of baking soda water to make alkaline water. Use these recipes containing bicarbonate of soda to fight acne and pimples. You can also find out detailed instructions on how to use baking soda for gorgeous face and skin.

Precautions

Although baking soda is a completely natural product with many uses in healthcare and around the home, you should still take some precautions when using it.

Scientists warn that drinking baking soda for a long period of time could result in electrolyte imbalance in your body. (27)

If you use baking soda for heartburn, you should limit the dose to 5-7 glasses a day of baking soda water and not use the remedy for more than 7 days. However, people over the age of 60 are advised only to use baking soda remedies for up to 3 days due to the high sodium content.

You should also avoid getting baking soda powder in your eyes as it may cause irritation.

Some people with sensitive skin find that they cannot tolerate baking soda on their skin. In this case you should consider trying a small ‘patch’ test before using baking soda on large areas of skin.

If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, you should avoid using baking soda remedies.

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