Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Baking soda might seem like it is just a humble baking ingredient, but this inexpensive item has plenty of survival uses, as well.
Unopened baking soda has an official shelf life of about 2 years, but it could last much longer if stored well. Generally, baking soda does not ‘go bad’ but it can lose its effectiveness over time. However, even when it it isn’t as effective for baking, it can still be used for many other purposes.
The long shelf life of baking soda, its low price point, and variety of uses makes it a great item to stock up on for survival purposes. But what exactly can you use it for? Keep reading for 50 survival uses for baking soda.
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- Soothe Bee Stings and Bug Bites. For the pain and itch of bites and stings, make a paste out of baking soda and water and apply liberally to the area. Allow it to dry naturally. It will help remove some of the toxins as well as soothe the itch and pain.
- Poison Ivy Rash Remedy. Baking soda works equally well for rashes from poison ivy and poison oak. Apply a paste of water and baking soda to the rash and allow it to dry to soothe the itch.
- Heart Burn and Digestion. Mix a little baking soda with water to neutralize the pH of acid ingestion and make you feel better.
- Sunburn. You can soothe the sting of sunburn by adding a little baking soda to a cool bath and then soak.
- Kidney Support. Taking a little baking soda with water each day may support kidney function and prevent or lessen kidney disease.
- Alleviate Diaper Rash. Add some baking soda to your baby’s bath water to soothe the sting of diaper rash.
- Canker Sore Pain. Take the ouch out of a canker sore by gargling with a mouthwash made from baking soda and water.
Around the House
- Deter Bugs. Keep bugs away from your windowsills and doors by sprinkling them with a light dusting of baking soda.
- Fire Extinguisher. You can put out a small grease fire by covering it with a generous pile of baking soda.
- Scent Control for Hunting. Mask your odor when you go out hunting by dousing yourself with some baking soda.
- Extend the Life of Cut Flowers. Your cut flowers will last longer if you mix this into their water.
- Neutralize Pet Odors. Mix some into your cat’s litter box or sprinkle anywhere your pet has had accidents. Allow the baking soda to absorb the odor and then vacuum it up.
- Wall Filler. Fill in old nail holes in your walls with a paste of baking soda and water.
- Declog Drains. If your drains are running slow, you can open them up. Pour a cup of baking soda into the slow drain, then carefully add a cup of vinegar. The foaming action will open your drain.
Skin and Body Care
- Exfoliant. The grittiness of baking soda makes it a natural exfoliant for your skin. Try a little in the shower and rinse well.
- Toothpaste. Baking soda has long been used as a natural substitute for tooth paste. Use it plain with water, or add a little coconut oil, essential oil, or even salt for extra clean.
- Acne Care. A paste made of water and baking soda can help to treat pimples overnight. Apply to the affected area and allow it to dry.
- Foot Soak. If you have smelly, tired feet after working all day, you can soothe them and remove odors with a foot soak made of warm water and baking soda. For an added bonus, stir in some Epsom salts, as well.
- Deodorant. Baking soda is a natural odor remover, and this works on people, too. Pat some on your underarms to absorb sweat and odors.
- Dry Shampoo. If you can’t wash your hair, you can get the grease out by sprinkling baking soda on your roots and then brushing it out. The baking soda will absorb the grease.
- Shoe Odors. Sprinkle baking soda into your shoes to absorb that stinky smell.
- Denture Cleaner. Clean your dentures and retainers – and even combs and brushes – by soaking them in a solution of water and baking soda.
- Cleaning Paste. Mix water and baking soda to make an all natural, cleaning paste. The grit well help remove tough grime and odors.
- Shine Sinks and Fixtures. Sprinkle baking soda on half a lemon or lime and use it to scrub sinks and sink fixtures for a beautiful shine.
- Absorb Household Odors. Place a bowl of baking soda in areas of your home that are prone to odors, such as the fridge, cat litter box, or bathroom.
- Absorb Grease Stains. Pour baking soda on grease stains to absorb the oil. This works on fabric, carpet, and clothes.
- Clean Pots and Pans. Remove burned on food residue by sprinkling baking soda over burned on food and covering with water. Bring the pan to a soft boil and allow to cool just enough to safely scrub away the residue.
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Remove dirt and odor in your toilet bowl by sprinkling onto the sides of the bowl and scrubbing.
- Refresh Stinky Towels. If bath towels lose that fresh scent and start smelling a bit off, add a half cup of baking soda to the laundry. It will refresh your towels and get rid of that musty odor.
- Whiten Whites. If your whites start looking dingy, you can pour some baking soda into the washer with your laundry to brighten them up.
- Clean Battery Terminals. When your battery terminals get gunked up with battery acid, your battery might not work. Safely give them a scrub with some dry baking soda.
- Carpets and Mattresses. You can give your carpets and mattresses a dry cleaning by generously sprinkling them with baking soda and allow it to sit for a half an hour. Vacuum up the baking soda and the dirt and odors will go with it.
- Remove Crayon Marks and Scuffs from Walls and Floors. Sprinkle a damp sponge with baking soda and use it to gently remove crayon marks and scuffs from your walls and floors.
- Shine Silver. Restore your old silver by pouring a mixture of hot water and baking soda into a foil-lined bowl. The chemical reaction will remove tarnish.
- Remove Underarm Stains. Use as paste of baking soda and water on clothes to remove deodorant and underarm stains before tossing it in with your regular wash load.
- Clean Your Microwave. Mix with water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, then wipe the inside of your microwave clean
- Clean Your Oven. Sprinkle baking soda in your oven and spray with water, then let it sit overnight. The next day, scrub the oven and scoop out the baking soda.
- Clean Grout. You can clean the grout in your bathroom by mixing some baking soda with hydrogen peroxide and scrubbing.
In the Garden
- Sweeten Up Your Tomatoes. Sprinkle baking soda on the soil around your tomato plants to adjust the pH of the soil. More alkaline soil means sweeter tomatoes.
- Pest Control. Mix a little baking soda, olive oil, and dish soap into water and spray on your garden to control bugs.
- Treat Fungus. Mix 4 teaspoons of baking soda into a gallon of water. Spray onto your garden plants that are affected by fungus.
- Kill Off Cabbage Worms. Make a dust of equal parts flour and baking soda. Sprinkle on affected plants.
- Weed Killer. Pour baking soda directly on weeds to kill them, especially in sidewalk cracks.
- Hand Wash. Get the dirt out of your cuticles and the cracks in your hands by washing your hands with baking soda and water.
Cooking and Baking
- Substitute for Baking Soda. If you are out of baking soda, you can make your own with a mixture of baking powder and cream of tartar or vinegar.
- Vegetable Wash. Water and baking soda create a chemical free way to wash your veggies from the garden.
- Chicken Plucking. Your chicken plucking will be much easier if you mix some baking soda into the boiling water before you start to pluck it.
- Reduce Acidity. You can reduce the acidity of tomato-based dishes by adding a little baking soda when you are cooking it.
- Fluffier Eggs. Adding a quarter teaspoon to every three eggs will give you fluffier scrambled eggs and omelets.
- Make a Sports Drink. Mix some into your Kool-Aid to create a DIY sports drink for hydration and better, longer-lasting performance.
Baking soda is a great substitute for many typical first aid and cleaning supplies. Stock up for survival uses or switch it up and incorporate this inexpensive item into your daily routine for a healthier home.
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The taste would not be an issue for me, I have added a pinch of sodium bicarbonate to 3-4 ounces of water daily for years to treat that ulcer and still do a few times a year when I have heartburn.
In moderate amounts (1 gram per day ?) it is safe for most people to use regularly.
To « speed up » solar purification, you would probably use a gram or two per gallon of clear but potentially unsafe water to nudge the PH outside the comfort zone of the bacteria you hope to disable.
I am aware of most of the uses for baking soda, having treated an ulcer as a teen.
Can someone answer this ? :
Can raising the PH (lowering the acidity) of fresh water speed up the process of solar purification by making the water less hospitable to bacteria which is naturally present in it ?
I am in Montreal, Canada and can walk to the shore of the St-Lawrence river in less than an hour, that water is nearly drinkable as-is and can be made safe to drink using a coffee filter and solar purifying, so I have an endless supply of fresh water (several cubic kilometers flowing by every hour) within reach…
Alan Urban says
It’s an interesting idea but I don’t know if it would work. Your water won’t taste good and I don’t know what the effect of consuming too much baking soda would be.