6 Ways Not to Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great and versatile tool around the home, and there are dozens of ways it can be put to use. It can cut grease, absorb odors and scrub your shower, among its many other applications. If you hire a professional cleaner, be sure to tell them about baking soda's green cleaning power.
However, as handy as it is, this wonder substance does have its limitations. Here are a few ways not to use baking soda.
Antacid: Suffering from heartburn? Baking soda is a highly effective antacid. However, sodium bicarbonate is, well, sodium. So if your doctor has told you to cut down on the salt, don’t reach for this household cure for indigestion. Ask your doctor to recommend a safer alternative.
Cleaning Aluminum: While a quick scrub with a bit of baking soda is a great way to clean your pots and pans, you should never use it on aluminum cookware. The alkaline sodium bicarbonate reacts with the aluminum and can cause your pots and pans to discolor.
Fridge Freshener: Because it reacts with odor-causing acids, baking soda will make your fridge smell a little fresher. But only a little. The problem is that that tiny box has an even tinier opening, which offers up only a few square inches of surface area for smell-causing compounds to react with. For baking soda to be a truly effective odor-fighting substance, you’d have to place large trays of it in the bottom of your fridge. If you’re in the market for a cheap fridge-freshening substance, try activated charcoal, an incredibly porous substance that offers maximum surface area to grab hold of those smelly molecules.
Grease Fires: Enough baking soda on a grease fire will smother the flames. But even if you happen to keep mountains of the stuff next to your stove, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a safe distance from the fire while shoveling this powdery substance onto the flames. You’re more likely to end up with a grease fire and a blinding cloud of airborne baking soda. So skip this makeshift solution and invest in a good fire extinguisher before an accident happens.
Acne: Baking soda is a powerful cleanser, and proponents use it for everything from deodorant to hair care. But because it is an alkaline substance, some people suggest that you shouldn’t use it as a cure for acne. Baking soda neutralizes the body’s natural acids, which help keep acne bacteria in check. Apply a little of it to your face, and you’re giving pimples free rein to break out across your brow.
Baking Powder: They might look the same, but baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable. Both can produce carbon dioxide in the right conditions, giving pancakes and biscuits a light, airy texture. However, baking soda reacts with acids already found in foods, like buttermilk or yogurt. Baking powder, on the other hand, has a powdered acid in it, so it is self-leavening. [Baking soda also happens to be about 4 times as strong - ed.] Use the wrong one and your baked goods aren’t going to have the right amount of rise and will have an off taste.
Updated December 26, 2018.
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