Bicarbonate soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate and baking soda, is a common household item with hundreds of uses. It is relatively inexpensive and non-toxic, making it a popular choice for baking, cleaning, deodorizing and personal hygiene. Baking soda is non-abrasive and scrubs without scratching surfaces.
Bicarbonate soda combined with vinegar, dishwashing liquid, water and red food coloring creates a non-toxic and impressive volcanic eruption for a student's science project. Begin by placing a cardboard cone on a baking sheet. Cover the cone with plaster of Paris to shape the volcano. Let it dry and paint it. Place a plastic cup, half filled with bicarbonate soda inside the cone. Mix one fourth cup vinegar, a few drops of red food coloring, a little dishwashing liquid and a little water in another cup. Pour this mixture into the cone. The vinegar will react with the bicarbonate soda to create the illusion of a volcanic eruption.
Simple living experts at The Farm eco village in Summertown, Tennessee, recommend baking soda to deodorize everything from the refrigerator to the litter box. Leave an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator for continuous deodorizing. Freshen up a litter box by covering the bottom with dry baking soda before adding kitty litter. To clean and deodorize a non-aluminum coffee maker, mix three tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of water; run a cycle using this mixture. The dishwasher can be deodorized by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom and running it through a cycle.
Bicarbonate soda is used in baking cookies and cakes. It leavens or makes batter rise as it bakes. Baking powder contains baking soda mixed with cream of tartar and sodium aluminum sulfate. Double-acting baking powder allows cooks to delay baking up to 20 minutes. Batter containing baking soda must be baked immediately. Baking soda is usually used in recipes with strong acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar. Recipes will specify either baking powder or baking soda; never substitute one for the other.
Cleaning Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables can be cleaned safely using water and bicarbonate soda. Sprinkle dry baking soda on a damp vegetable brush and scrub to clean apples, pears, potatoes and other sturdy fruits and vegetables. Sprinkle dry baking soda on a damp sponge to clean softer fruits such as plums.
Baking soda can be used as a deodorant by dusting it inside the armpit. Mix one teaspoon baking soda in a glass of water to make an effective mouthwash. Dip a damp toothbrush in baking soda and brush to clean and whiten teeth. Exfoliate by making a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water; rub lightly in circular patterns across the skin. Clean and deodorize combs and brushes by soaking in a mixture of water and baking soda.