NaHCO3 is my favorite chemical compound

So, I love baking soda.  For real.  I use it to clean my hair, keep my armpits un-stinky, scrub my sinks, clean my counters, remove stains in clothes or other fabrics, and I even tried to make my own toothpaste with it!  (Also, I should  be able to unclog drains with it, but our last clog was so bad we eventually had to fall back on the nasty chemical stuff…)  So, do you want to hear more about baking soda?  No?  Too bad!  This post is all things baking soda.


If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that this past summer, I started cleaning my hair and scalp with baking soda, and conditioning with apple cider vinegar. I wrote about it in this post.  I’m still cleaning my hair in this way!  And it’s still working 🙂  One interesting thing about this whole routine is that because it’s unnecessary to clean my hair daily, I’ve also stopped….wait for it….showering daily.  Gross?  Maybe.  Water conserving?  Yes! Overall better for my skin?  Yes!  Less dryness 🙂

Keep in mind this new mode of showering less probably won’t last through next summer.  When it’s hot and I’m sweaty, I do shower daily.  Sometimes I even rinse off more than once a day.  But, I can assure you, that I am not too stinky or unclean to be accepted in polite company.

So, although the baking soda method is working out for me, I did run across a bit of a problem when I wanted my hair trimmed.  I wanted to avoid 1) getting my hair shampooed at a hair salon and 2) having to pay for a haircut.  First, I tried to get CF to trim my hair for me.  But he panicked part way through, so I had to drag myself and my partially trimmed hair to the cheapest “salon” I could find.  Once there, I had to explain that I didn’t want my hair shampooed, which of course brought up a lot of questions.  Luckily, the person who cut my hair was pretty understanding, though the look on her face was priceless when I said I clean my hair with baking soda.  And when it was all over, I got charged for a shampoo and cut, and not just a cut.  I think it’s built into their computer system or something….or the cashier was lying.  Either way, I was out $20.


So, even though I’ve been showering less, I don’t smell bad!  Seriously.  This is partially due to the fact the weather is cooling off so I’m not sweating all day, BUT it’s also due to… go ahead and guess…. baking soda!  Are you surprised?  If you were paying attention at the top of this blog post, you aren’t 🙂

I’d been meaning to try making my own deodorant for quite some time, so I finally got around to it at the end of the summer.  I used this recipe, and it really worked!  Instead of bergamot oil, I used lavender because CF and I both like it.  I mixed it up one day in the kitchen and immediately put it on (because I was sweaty).  To be honest, I wasn’t smelling too great, but when I rubbed this deodorant on, I stopped being stinky!

We’ve (that’s right, CF likes it too!) been using it ever since.  It’s not an antiperspirant, so if you use it, you’ll still sweat.  BUT it definitely keeps you from being stinky!  I love it.  And I love that it’s all natural.  I know what’s in it because I put it in there!  And the added bonus is that the coconut oil in it is a moisturizer…so any leftover gunk on my fingers after applying it under the arms can just be rubbed into my hands!  Voila!

Sinks and Countertops

This one involves the combination of baking soda and vinegar.  And water. I usually clean countertops with a spray bottle that I keep filled with a half water/half vinegar.  Well, and a little peppermint oil for fragrance.  But it there is something really stuck in the counter or in the sink, I boost the cleaning power by sprinkling baking soda on it first.  Then, when I spray my vinegar/water solution, it bubbles up and helps get the gunk un-stuck :).  It’s awesome.

Stains in Fabric

A couple weeks ago, CF was serving his mom some tempura we’d made.  As he was passing the plate, he bumped the bowl of dipping sauce (which was essentially glorified soy sauce), which spilled onto the white table runner.  Dark sauce.  White cloth.  Yikes, right?

Wrong!  CF was smart enough to grab the table runner and rush it to me.  I decided that baking soda and vinegar would come to the rescue again!  I piled the table runner into the sink and rinsed out what I could with water.  Then I rubbed a bunch of baking soda into the stain, and then poured vinegar over it.  I let it bubble and soak a bit in the sink, rinsed, then did it again.  The stain was gone!

I also did this with a pair of jeans that I got walnut-hull juice on–and amazingly it came out.  Walnut juice stains are famously difficult to get out.  I think I got lucky because it was a pair of dark jeans 🙂


So this is my one failed application of baking soda.  But, really, that’s unfair.  It wasn’t entirely a failure–we just didn’t like it.  I read lots and lots of recipes for homemade tooth powders (baking soda and salt) and pastes (add water or coconut oil or glycerin) and decided to combine a few different ideas.  I combined baking soda, salt, xylitol, peppermint extract, and coconut oil.

And while it worked, meaning my mouth felt really clean and my lips were nice and moisturizes from the coconut oil, it tasted…not so great.  CF hated it.  I put up with it, but gave up the minute we had a new supply of all natural toothpaste from Trader Joe’s.  I would like to try again, but even this recipe works in a pinch :).


And last, but CERTAINLY not least, baking soda is awesome because it helps with baked goods.  This may actually be my favorite use for baking soda. Lately, I’ve been baking up a lot of cakes!  Apple upside down cake, cupcakes with apple pie filling in the middle and maple-cinnamon-cream cheeze frosting, etc etc.  All delicious.  All made with the power of baking soda!

So, now that you know a bit more about how baking soda can help you out around the house (or trailer) and bathroom, I hope you’ve been inspired to try one of these!

In the meantime, I probably won’t be posting again until December, as CF and I are off for a trip to California over the Thanksgiving Break.

Until next time, may all your kitchens have big supplies of baking soda and may all your homes be happy!


About Cathy G Gilbert

I am veggie-loving, community college professor who lives, teaches, and writes in Central IL.
This entry was posted in Reflections, Saving Money. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to NaHCO3 is my favorite chemical compound

  1. ihavetriedit says:

    I LOVE baking soda! It is such a versatile product. It’s also inexpensive. I’m also starting to discover the many uses of vinegar. I found your blog via “tag-surfer”

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