Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), also known as sodium hydrogen carbonate, is a chemical compound composed of sodium and bicarbonate ions. But this crystalline is more easily identified as a staple kitchen item: baking soda.
This magical compound does more than just help your baked goods to rise; it’s a bona fide DIY multi-tool. You can do a lot with a little bit of research, a dash of ingenuity, and a whole lotta baking soda – so take that sodium bicarbonate from your cupboard and prepare to be amazed.
Wash That Mouth Out
The wonderful thing about sodium bicarbonate is the fact that it’s amphoteric. This means that it reacts as an acid as well as a base. When baking soda reacts with an acidic compound, such as buttermilk or cocoa, it releases carbon dioxide. This reaction is what causes your batter to expand.
The carbon dioxide released during this reaction also serves another purpose: it neutralises acids. This makes it the perfect solution for neutralising the acids in your mouth that cause halitosis.
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, happens when food residue sticks to your teeth and tongue. Normally these residues are caused by acid-forming foods. Popping the occasional tic-tac may mask the smell for a short while, but it won’t annihilate it completely.
By dissolving ½ a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and rinsing your mouth out with it, the sodium hydrogen carbonate will actually neutralise and re-balance the acid levels in your mouth, leaving you with soda-fresh breath! Discover more about how baking soda can improve your oral hygiene.
There’s nothing worse than opening your fridge and being greeted with a waft of gone-off food. That incomparably foul odour is actually volatile acidic and basic aroma compounds that have been released by that spoiled chicken chow mein you forgot to take out last week.
Rather than break your back by taking everything out and scrubbing every shelf, open a box of baking soda and leave it in your fridge. The sodium bicarbonate inside will absorb the nasty food compounds by reacting with the volatile acids. You’ll never have to suffer with a stinky fridge again!
The Perfect Cleaning Agent
Baking soda can actually replace all of the products in your cleaning cabinet. No more having to splash out on an expensive solution for every household chore you have; baking soda covers a multitude of things.
One of the most powerful cleaning products for your home won’t be found in the shopping aisle. Combine baking soda with lemon to battle everything from the toughest grease to bathroom mildew. The acidity of lemon helps to dissolve grease, as well as disinfect a variety of surfaces. Team this up with baking soda, an effective scrubbing agent, and there isn’t anything this power duo can’t handle.
Baking soda is also a great way to enhance laundry detergent. Take a baking tray and cover it in a layer of baking soda. Put this in the oven for 30 minutes at approximately 204°C. When you take it out, the baking soda will have broken down into sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), also known as washing soda.
This happens because when sodium bicarbonate is heated passed 50°C, it undergoes thermal decomposition and becomes an alkaline compound. You can see the equation for this below:
2NaHCO3 → Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O
While sodium bicarbonate is a mild base, sodium carbonate is much more basic. This means that if you add washing soda to your laundry detergent, it will help balance the pH in the wash. It also helps detergents lather more effectively as the carbonate from Na2CO3 helps to free soap molecules. So, next time you’re about to do a load of washing, try this technique to really bump up your results.
Sodium carbonate and baking soda have many uses beyond this. From cleaning that pesky oven to transforming your bathroom tiles into glistening white mirrors, there are plenty of reasons why baking soda is soon going to be your new favourite cleaning agent.
It goes without saying that you should always keep a fire extinguisher nearby. It is the first step to ensuring your home, or work place is safe – if you want to know more about why, click here.
But if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t get to a fire extinguisher, baking soda can be used in the initial stage of a minor grease or electrical kitchen fire. As we discussed earlier, when sodium bicarbonate is heated it decomposes. It then releases carbon dioxide, which will help to smother the flames of a fire by displacing the oxygen.
If there is a small cooking fire, ensure that you turn off the gas or electricity if it is safe to do so. You can then throw handfuls of baking soda onto the base of the fire, and call the Fire Department just in case.
Baking Soda: A Wilderness Survival Kit
Next time you go camping, hiking, or find yourself stranded, be sure to pack oodles of baking soda. Why? Because a box of baking soda could just about solve all of your wilderness problems by being the powder equivalent of a Swiss army knife.
As we have just seen, baking soda is great for helping to extinguish small fires, which may come in handy when you’re embracing your inner Bear Grylls. It’s also an all-purpose cleaning agent. From washing your dishes, to washing your clothes, you’ll never have to worry about running out of soap in the wild again!
Because of these unique cleaning properties, baking soda can also be a brilliant shampoo alternative if you’re out in the wild. By absorbing the oily substances in your hair, baking soda is a great way to freshen up quickly and effectively. It can also be used instead of deodorant. This is because its amphoteric properties allows it neutralise body odour (which is always a bonus whether you’re camping or not!).
One box of baking soda can save you infinite space when packing as it replaces shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, dish soap, and many more items. This will leave you with more space for things like water, food, and blankets.
Who knew that something so simple could be so useful? At ReAgent, we sell sodium hydrogen carbonate in 1kg containers for your business. Please note that this product is NOT meant for human consumption. If you would like more information about this product, you can contact us here.
The blog on chemicals.co.uk and everything published on it is provided as an information resource only. The blog, its authors and affiliates accept no responsibility for any accident, injury or damage caused in part or directly from following the information provided on this website. We do not recommend using any chemical without first consulting the Material Safety Data Sheet which can be obtained from the manufacturer and following the safety advice and precautions on the product label. If you are in any doubt about health and safety issues please consult the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).