The wonders of baking soda

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A look at some of the most surprising uses and properties of this substance: everybody should know the wonders of baking soda!

The world of chemistry can be fascinating, and not only for scientists. We can apply findings from chemistry and chemical elements in our everyday life.

There is a substance which, thanks to its chemical properties, can apparently do miracles. It is useful in everyday life, safe to use and eco-friendly. This miracle substance is sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3, more commonly known as baking soda. It is soluble in water, and when diluted is low in alcohol, non- abrasive, low alkaline and non-combustible.

Uses for baking soda:

  • A natural neutralizer, it acts as a buffer substance. Mixed with any other solution, sodium bicarbonate stabilizes the PH of the solution to 8. This means it can be used both to fight stomach acidity and to save your kitchen pipes from corroding.
  • A softening agent. Dissolved in water, baking soda prevents the formation of lime scale and has a degreasing effect. It is also used in soap based products to help them lather up. One of its more well known uses is in bakery. If mixed with acidic foods, such as milk, vinegar, lemon juice, or heated to a temperature of at least 70 °, baking soda undergoes transformations which generate carbon dioxide, CO2. This carbon dioxide is in turn absorbed by the gluten in flour. If you use this ingredient when preparing pastry products and desserts, it will make the dough rise during cooking giving the inside a fluffier consistency.
  • An anti-odor. The buffering effect mentioned above also generates a chemical agent that combats foul smells coming from strong acidic substances: in some cases, it prevents odor formation, in others it neutralizes odor.
  • Gently abrasive. Bicarbonate crystals dissolve in water before damaging any surfaces.

We have seen that bicarbonate soda can be put to many different uses. Diluted in water,  it is ideal for washing fruits and vegetables as well as utensils used to store or serve food.

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You can also use it to clean silverware. Placed in an open box and kept it the fridge, the sink, the garage, the basement, or the linen closet, it helps keep bad smell under control. You can also keep it in your shoe-box. Spread directly on surfaces, it enhances colors of carpets; deodorizes the garbage and cat- litter, bird or animal cages. It can also be added to dishwasher liquid to increase its efficiency and prevent lime scale.

As you have seen, the possibilities are endless. The final one is related to beauty: you can add baking soda to warm bathwater to help your skin regain its natural softness and leave you feeling full of energy and well-being. Lovely, isn’t it?



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