Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why is Baking Soda a Natural Ingredient?

Recently a friend suggested for me to try using baking soda mixed with coconut oil as a face wash because I was having breakouts and I was looking for something new. I tried it and to my surprise it totally worked and exfoilated even better than the stuff I was spending $8-10 a bottle on every few months. I started to tell others how awesome it was, but then started to wonder what it actually was? Am I the only person to sit around and wonder such things? lol. What is baking soda and where does it come from? Why is it considered a natural ingredient?

The research:

So I started to do some research on it and apparently commercial quantities of baking soda are mined in Wyoming and Colorado in the form of the ore trona, Since trona is not pure sodium bicarbonate it has to be processed to derive soda ash first then baking soda is produced from the soda ash by adding C02 Sodium bicarbonate precipitates as a solid from this method naturally.

There are over 62 identified natural sodium carbonate (trona) deposits in the world with supposedly enough raw product to satisfy the world’s needs for thousands of years.

Here is its technical definition:

Sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3 (1 sodium, 1 hydrogen, one carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules). Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate). The natural mineral form is nahcolite. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs. Baking soda tends to maintain a pH of 8.1 (7 is neutral) even when acids, which lower pH, or bases, which raise pH, are added to the solution.

Heres a brief history on Baking Soda:

Photo Credit
3500 BC: Ancient Egyptians use natron (primarily comprised of sodium carbonate) as a soap-like cleaning agent. They also use it to make mummies.
1843: Alfred Bird, a British chemist, makes the first version of baking powder to help out his wife, who was allergic to yeast.
1846: The Arm & Hammer brand is created. The iconic logo that exists today – which represents Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking – isn’t introduced until 1867.
1924: Recommended to treat & prevent the cold & flu virus.
1927: National magazines like Good Housekeeping and McCall’s begin promoting the usefulness of baking soda in the home.
1970: Arm & Hammer is the sole sponsor of the very first Earth Day. Baking soda gains attention as an eco-friendly alternative to chemical cleaners.
1972: A new use for baking soda receives widespread adoption – Americans begin storing a box of baking soda in their refrigerators to keep food fresh.
1986: To celebrate the Statue of Liberty’s 100th birthday, its inner copper walls are cleaned and restored with baking soda, which removes 99 years of grime and leaves the copper undamaged and completely clean.
2000: Kids use it for school science expirements
2012: Baking soda is one the the most popular pinterest pins, for its versatility.

Photo Credit

Uses for Baking Soda:

Medical uses
  • Sodium bicarbonate mixed with water can be used as an antacid to treat acid indigestion and heartburn. It is used as the medicinal ingredient in gripe water for infants. (dont give your infant a solution of baking soda before asking their doctor if its ok first)
  • Sodium bicarbonate has been known to be used in first aid, in treating scalding, to prevent blistering and scarring with instructions to cover the scalded area with a liberal layer of sodium bicarbonate and water paste and seek medical assistance. This is due to the endothermic reaction that occurs between sodium bicarbonate and water and sodium bicarbonate's mild antiseptic properties.
  • Sodium bicarbonate can be used to treat an allergic reaction to plants such as poison -ivy -oak or -sumac to relieve some of the associated itching.
  • Bicarbonate of soda can also be useful in removing splinters from the skin.
  • Treating or preventing the flu: Simply dissolve the recommended amount of baking soda in a glass of cold water and drink it. Recommended dosages from the Arm & Hammer Company for colds and influenza back in 1925 were:
    • Day 1 -- Take six doses of ½ teaspoon of baking soda in glass of cool water, at about two-hour intervals
    • Day 2 -- Take four doses of ½ teaspoon of baking soda in glass of cool water, at the same intervals
    • Day 3 -- Take two doses of ½ teaspoon of baking soda in glass of cool water morning and evening, and thereafter ½ teaspoon in glass of cool water each morning until cold symptoms are gone

  • Personal Hygiene:
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  • Toothpaste containing sodium bicarbonate has in several studies shown to have a better whitening, plaque removal effect than toothpastes without it. Sodium bicarbonate is also used as an ingredient in some mouthwashes. It works as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums, neutralizes the production of acid in the mouth and also acts as an antiseptic to help prevent infections.
  • Sodium bicarbonate in combination with other ingredients can be used to make a dry or wet deodorant.
  • Sodium bicarbonate may be used as a buffering agent, combined with table salt, when creating a solution for nasal irrigation.
  •  A paste made from three parts of baking soda combined with 1 part water can be used as an exfoliator for your face and body. It’s natural, inexpensive and gentle enough to use every day.
  • Baking soda and apple cider vinegar make a wonderful spa-like bath for soaking away aches and pains and detoxing. It also cleans the tub and the drain, as a bonus!

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  • It can be administered to pools, spas, and garden ponds to raise pH levels.
  • Baking soda is commonly added to washing machines as a replacement for softener and to remove odors from clothes.
  • Sodium bicarbonate is also effective in removing heavy tea and coffee stains from cups when diluted with warm water.
  • I have also put it in a empty parmasean cheese container with some essential oil for fragrance and sprinkled it on the carpet prior to vacuuming.
  • Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes for a natural deodorizer.
  • Leave an open box of it in your fridge to neutralize odors, like last nights leftovers.
  • In the event of a minor grease fire in your kitchen, use baking soda to help smother out the flames.
  • Baking soda mixed with apple cider vinegar is a bubbly combination that has many uses. As a drain cleaner, sprinkle baking soda down the drain, then add apple cider vinegar and let it bubble for 15 minutes, then rinse with hot water. This is a safer alternative to dangerous drain cleaners
  • Make a paste with lemon juice and baking soda to get rid of hard water scale on your kitchen sink or bathroom sink.

Entertaining the Kids:
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  • Play Clay: 2 cups ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda, 1 cup corn starch, 1-1/4 cups cold water (can add food coloring to color clay) Instructions can be (found here)
  • Magic Beans: Fill vase/jar with water, Add 3-4 drops of food coloring. Add vinegar, then the ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda, Drop in rice, buttons, pasta – and watch them rise and fall. - (See detailed instructions)
  • Sneaker Peekers: Fill a sock with 1 cup ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda, secure with a rubber band, Tie ribbon around rubber band, cut off extra sock (cuff area). Decorate the sock then leave in your shoes overnight for fresh smelling shoes - (See more here)
  • Erupting Volcano: Baking soda, food coloring, water and vinager, You know the rest.. (here's the instructions)

Cloth Diapers & Baking Soda:

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  • You can use it as a pail freshener by combining baking soda, salt and tea tree oil
  • Make your own washing soda (RLR substitute) by heating a shallow baking dish of baking soda at 400 degrees, stirring until its clumpy like washing soda. Then just add 1/2 cup to a load of diapers on hot cycle then do a hot rinse cycle. To remove ammonia & detergent buildup and odors.
  • You can also use 1/2cup of plain baking soda to the rinse cycle to remove odors from diapers.
  • Use 1/2 cup to wash to help neutralize Ph level on your diapers after a bout with yeast or teething rash.

In Conclusion:

Technically Sodium Bicarbonate, aka baking soda is not a RAW ingredient but it is not chemically processed anymore therefore is a natural by-product. It is considerably less harmful and less dangerous than most cleaning, deodorizing, whitening & medicinal product's on the market. It has proven to be a very economical as well as extremely versitle product with a long history of successful use to back it.



  1. For Pete sake, this is the 3rd time I've had to retype my comment as it keeps disappearing. Maybe that's why you don't have any other comments.

    Baking soda can still be created using the Solvay method, which involves pollutants, so you need to inquire of each company just what they do to obtain their baking soda. Since so many people use baking soda to be "green", they're rather defeating the purpose if the manufacturing of the baking soda they're using is harming the environment. Bob's Red Mill is a good one to use. I'm still in the middle of researching and hope to find other brands that are safe for us AND the environment. Same goes for white vinegar. . . it can be plant-based or petroleum-based. Heinz is okay!

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