Baking Soda… Have we met?

This post for my domestic divas out there who want environmentally safe multi-tasking products at their fingertips! Baking Soda, also known as Sodium Bicarbonate, (NaHCO3) has been around since the 1800’s.  It’s most recognized as a leavening agent to help with the ‘rise’ in baked goods. It’s also a mild, yet effective cleanser, but  it’s not just for household use; here’s a list of uses that just might make you say “Whaaaat???”

  •  Antacid – Did you know that medicines like alka-seltzer gets the effervescent (fizzing) action from baking soda? It’s ‘fizz’ that is said to settle the stomach from minor bouts of nausea and heartburn. As always, used discretion and consult a healthcare professional for any prolonged discomfort. DO NOT USE if you suffer from any serious conditions like ulcers and such.
  • Kitchen cleanser – If you have expensive, non-stick cookware, or delicate materials like granite or stone, baking soda is the ideal cleanser. Tough enough for stains without harsh chemicals or damaging abrasives.
  • Toilet Bowl cleaner – This can double as a neat science trick for the kiddies! Combine a 1/2 cup of white vinegar with a 1/2 cup of baking soda directly into the toilet bowl…. watch the fizzing action! (and no, it won’t explode) Let it sit for 15 min. while you get some coffee, then come back to casually swish and flush… it practically cleaned itself!
  • Jewelry cleaner – I discovered this by accident. I’m a serial lotion-slatherer – the thick stuff – which leaves my rings dull, dull, dull. (I’m never smart enough to take them off) One day, I scrubbed my pots good with baking soda, and upon rinsing and drying, I was nearly blinded by my normally-dull rings. They were sooooo shiny! It’s been my go-to ring cleaner ever since.
  • Toothpaste/breath freshener – This is pretty well-known, as a toothpaste is manufactured by Arm & Hammer. I’m a fan!
  • Carpet & vacuum freshener – Do you have pets? This is essential for all those pet-parents out there! Sprinkle baking soda liberally on your carpet, wait 15-20 min, then vacuum up! It instantly refreshes the carpet and the vacuum, especially when dealing with potentially stinky debris like pet hair.
  • Drain cleaner- Baking soda eliminates accumulated germs and odors in kitchen and bathroom drains. This is more preventative, but still effective with clogs too. Tip 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by boiling water or 1 cup heated vinegar for tough odors and/or clogs.
  • Exfoliant for face and body – This is my FAVORITE use! Tough enough to clean out those pores, and get rid of dry, dead skin, leaving the skin baby soft… gentle enough to use every day! At least I do. Use it in your bath, scrub up in the shower… so invigorating! Store it in a snazzy little container, like this bamboo spice box with a magnetized lid (something similar –bedbathandbeyond.com):

  • Laundry booster – Baking soda boosts your laundry detergent’s cleansing abilities by regulating the water’s ph; keeping it from becoming too acidic, or too alkaline. In a ph-regulated environment, the laundry detergent’s much more effective on stains and odors. Learn more about ph here.
  • Fruit and Veggie Cleanser – Whether you buy organic or inorganic produce, a good wash in a sink of cold water and a 1/2 cup of baking soda will leave your goods squeaky clean! Try it sometime!

So, instead of spending tons of $$ on multiple cleansers and fresheners, make the investment of about $5.00 on a rather large box of baking soda.

You’ll get waaaay more bang for your buck!

Aloe Vera – How good it is!

I grew up with this prickly little plant in my back yard. My mother, who wasn’t particularly known for her green thumb, was insistent on keeping up with this weird, gangly shrub. I never paid much attention to it, until I’d procure a cut or burn from fooling around in the kitchen, which was often.

*footnote – Reading while trying to cook is not a favorable combination… but I digress.* 

Mom would promptly send me out to the yard to break off a leaf of the aloe vera, and spread the gel over the cut or burn, to aid in the healing.  Most often than not, my wound would heal very well, with little to no scarring.  I can’t say I always followed directions, so when I did end up with an offensive mark, Mom would say, “See? Didn’t use that Aloe Vera like I told you!”

As an adult with a family of my own, I found myself coming full circle to my parent’s old remedies… but not without a little research first. This plant is amazing!

Also known as “Lily of the Desert”, Aloe Vera is known for its extraordinary healing properties.

  • The gel found within the leaves acts as a topical ointment for minor burns and abrasions.
  • It is popular as a soothing, naturally cooling treatment for sunburns.
  • The gel can also be orally ingested, as it is also said to aid in digestive issues and minor cases of stomach ulcers. *It is highly recommended to buy Organic Aloe Gel that advises oral ingestion on the label. Any other source can be dangerous and eating it straight from the plant is just plain gross.*

Did you know that Aloe Vera is awesome for your hair too? It’s juice acts as a natural conditioner and moisturizer. It has the ability to penetrate the hair follicle and strand, to aid in restoring the hair to it’s natural sheen. It’s a wonderful scalp treatment for afflictions such as psoriasis and dandruff, and if that’s not good enough… wait for it…. it’s recognized for it’s ability to promote hair growth! Oh yes it is!

I’ve used Aloe Vera for most of my adult life for different purposes, and I can honestly say that I’m a fan. Aloe Vera Rocks!

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For more compelling information on this amazing plant, check out this article from  Global Healing Center: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/nutrition/benefits-of-aloe-vera

It’s good stuff!

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