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What Are the Uses for Baking Soda in Water?

By Rhonda Rivera
Updated May 17, 2024
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Baking soda in water can be used for cleaning, removing tarnish from silver, and exfoliating. It is also used as a remedy for indigestion, but there are safety concerns about consuming sodium hydrogen carbonate. Baking soda is an extremely inexpensive cleaner, but it's important for people who use it for cleaning to remember that, although it is abrasive enough to remove many stains, it doesn't kill germs.

When combined with water, baking soda becomes a paste-like cleaning product. It is abrasive enough to clean most kitchen appliances, the bath tub, toilet, and counters. Baking soda and water alone is a reliable cleaner, but it does not kill germs. To clean refrigerators, door knobs, and other areas of the home that need sanitizing, a solution of water and vinegar can be used. Some people also use baking soda as a rinse for vegetables and fruit, but this is not recommended because it is not very effective and can leave residue on the food.

Another use for baking soda in water is as a method of fixing tarnished silver items. A reaction between silver and chemicals in the air results in tarnishing, but baking soda can reverse the damage. The advantage in using this method rather than commercially available polishes is that it actually fixes the silver, bringing it back to its original state. Other polishes sometimes physically remove the tarnish, which means that part of the silver item is lost forever.

Some people suggest using baking soda as a cure for indigestion, though the safety of this remedy is in question. While this remedy has the potential to work, there are a couple reasons why this treatment is complicated. Many common pain relievers and over-the-counter medications can irritate the stomach when combined with baking soda. Furthermore, the compound contains a large amount of sodium, which can have negative health effects for some people.

Another way baking soda in water can be used is as an exfoliating body product. The abrasiveness of baking soda can be used to remove dead skin cells from the body, and it is fine and grainy, which is an optimal texture for an exfoliate. The only commonly reported downside to using this product is that it can irritate the skin or leave it too dry, but this is common with most exfoliants.

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Discussion Comments

By anon241506 — On Jan 19, 2012

Baking soda also neutralizes drugs in your system. If you take 1 teaspoon in four ounces of water once every hour on the hour for three hours, which is three times and the last time being an hour before you take a drug test, you should pass it with no problems.

By golf07 — On Sep 23, 2011

There has been more than once that I have a stubborn stain that expensive cleaners don't get out. This is when I resort to using baking soda with water.

Depending on the type of stain, I may also need to use a little bit of vinegar, but many times the baking soda will take care of it.

I mix it with just enough water to make a little paste. Between the components of the baking soda and the abrasion, it usually always does what I am hoping it will.

This is the best silver polish I have ever used. I don't even buy any commercial polish, but resort to my box of baking soda.

By SarahSon — On Sep 22, 2011

A box of baking soda is used for so many things other than baking. A keep a box on top of my dryer in the laundry room.

With every load of clothes I put in the washer, I add a little bit of baking soda to the water. This not only works with my detergent as a cleaner, but also leaves my clothes very soft.

Using baking soda with hard water would also make a big difference in how your clothes feel.

I am always finding new ways to use this product. This is so inexpensive to buy and can be used in so many ways around your home.

By recapitulate — On Sep 22, 2011

@manykitties2- I quit using shampoo years ago, and in the past few months have become even more extreme. I now don't use shampoo or conditioner. I rinse my hair out when I shower several times a week, and once a week I comb through it and add baking soda, especially in the roots, where oil and buildup get stuck. I also use a little bit of alcohol-free gel most days.

I have really thick, curly hair, and have found that my hair is better now than it has been every before. Baking soda is almost magical for hair, I think.

By StarJo — On Sep 22, 2011

I have a lot of silver jewelry, and it tends to develop a tarnish now and then. I had been using silver polish, but someone told me to try baking soda. It's much cheaper, and I think it cleans it more deeply.

With the silver polish, it seemed that a dullness lingered after the cleaning. The tarnish was gone, but things just didn't shine the way that they should.

The baking soda has the power to pull off whatever is making the jewelry dull. It scrubs it away with the tarnish, and my jewelry is left looking like it did when I bought it.

By Perdido — On Sep 21, 2011

Whenever I go to the beach, I always carry some baking soda with me. It is supposed to provide relief from jellyfish stings.

I read about this before going on vacation, because last year, I got stung multiple times and I had no remedy for it. I found out that you should rinse the area with salt water, because fresh water can make it worse.

So, when I got stung this year, I mixed salt water with my baking soda. My leg had purple tentacle marks on it, and chill bumps arose in reaction to the shock.

I made sure all the tentacles were gone, and then I rubbed the paste all over the area. While nothing can get rid of all the pain, the baking soda certainly made it more bearable. It was much better than the year before.

By kylee07drg — On Sep 21, 2011

When a wasp stung my arm, my mother told me to make a paste using baking soda and water. She said it would lessen the itching and swelling.

I tried it, and it did seem to help. I put it on the area three times a day. It drew out some of the venom, so the symptoms weren't as harsh. It dried out some of the fluid accumulated under the sting, so it didn't swell up as much as it normally would.

Now I use this homemade paste for ant bites as well. It dulls the stinging and makes it not itch quite as badly.

By orangey03 — On Sep 20, 2011

If I ever find that I am running low on toothpaste, I make some from baking soda and water. It is abrasive enough to get the food off of my teeth and leave them feeling clean.

When I was looking into having my teeth whitened, I discovered that baking soda can have a lightening effect on teeth. This makes sense, because it is strong enough to scrub away any stains. My teeth did seem shinier after I used it.

It probably shouldn't be used as toothpaste on a regular basis, though. I would imagine it could be rough on the enamel.

By popcorn — On Sep 19, 2011

Baking soda and water for acne actually does an amazing job. All you need is to make a paste in your hand and use it is an exfoliation. You can rinse your skin afterward with an apple cider vinegar and water mix to really help your skin feel refreshed.

I have found that using baking soda and water for acne really gets rid of the red spots on my face. It seems to dry them up so that my blemishes eventually disappear all together. It is a lot better than using harsh products from the pharmacy that sting when you apply them.

By manykitties2 — On Sep 19, 2011

If you are looking for some great uses for baking soda and water paste you should try it on your hair. A lot of people find that their hair gets greasy and dull from using too many products. With a bit of baking soda and warm water, you can really bring the life back into your hair, as it does an amazing job of stripping away buildup, leaving your hair shiny.

For myself, I use water and baking soda on my hair once a week just to give myself a bit of a break from more harsh shampoos. I find that my products work a lot better after my hair is cleaned with something less full of chemicals.

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