Baking soda was a valuable commodity in colonial times due to its many uses. It became more and more popular throughout time, and its many applications were preferred by the general public. It helped them complete various chores with a fraction of the cost of commercial products. Nowadays, baking soda remains a useful, versatile product for preppers.
Ancient Egyptians used baking soda as a general, cleaning product, but also after death to preserve the body through mummification. You may not know this, but baking soda was also an important ingredient in making glass. Glass made in different parts of the world was based on either soda or potash.
The first soap is said to have been made using baking soda. Early manufacturers obtained the lye from putting soda into a bottomless barrel over a stone slab, resting on rocks. Straw or sticks were put in the bottom as a sort of sieve and underneath that was placed a collecting container. By slowly pouring water over the ashes you could produce the lye, a brown liquid dripping down into a container below. This could then be used with the rendered down fat to produce soap.
Most people back in the day were using baking soda in various natural remedies to treat old problems. I’ve gathered some of these from my grandmother’s notebooks just to depict the old ways of living. These are just suggestions and if you have any doubts, consult a doctor before trying them.
Baking soda is considered relatively safe to use, however ingesting large amounts should be avoided.
Personal Uses For Baking Soda
To make a nice detox bath, use one part baking soda to one part sea salt in a hot bath. Lie back and relax for 30 minutes. Make sure to rinse off or shower to remove the salt.
Bath time Treatment
Make a solution for your bathtub by mixing together four tablespoons of baking soda, two of sugar, one teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a pinch of ground ginger and a pinch of ground cloves. When you want to enjoy a relaxing bath, take two tablespoons of the dry mix and add to running water. The mix can keep for some time.
Treating Bee stings
Before using baking soda to treat a bee sting, make sure you remove the sting from the skin. Now mix the soda with water and apply on the swelling. Let it sit there for 10 minutes.
Cleaning skin abrasions
Cleaning smelly hands
My grandmother used to gut fish quite often, and she hated the smell. To get rid of that awful smell, she would often sprinkle some baking soda on her hands and rub them together for a minute or two. Afterwards, she would wash them with soapy water.
Apply baking soda as a paste with water on the sore and leave it be. Don’t rub, if you want to promote healing as well as soothing the affected area.
Mix a teaspoon of vinegar, with a teaspoon of lemon juice, an egg yolk and a tablespoon of olive oil. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and apply to the skin with circular movements. Rinse off with warm water after a few minutes.
To make this work you need to sprinkle one teaspoon of oatmeal and one of baking soda on your head. Massage the scalp for a few minutes, then comb or brush out. Let the warm air help you get rid of residue. This was an efficient method to get rid of greasy hair back in the day.
Dry skin treatment
Use olive oil and baking soda to make a paste which can be applied to dry skin. Leave for three minutes before rinsing with warm water.
Cleaning smelly feet
Let your tired, smelly feet soak in a bowl of how water with four tablespoons of baking soda. This remedy will also help you soften hard skin, making it easier to be scrubbed with a pumice stone.
Gargling and mouthwash
Use a teaspoon of baking soda in a small glass of water for daily gargling. This will freshen and soothe your mouth and throat.
For mild acne, you can use a paste of baking soda with a drop of water. Apply to spots and leave untouched for ten minutes. Rinse off carefully with warm water, without rubbing or scrubbing your skin.
Adding a tablespoon of baking soda to the bathwater may help soothe diaper rash and your baby will be less heated.
Back in the day, razor burn where a common occurrence when shaving armpits. To get rid of the pain of such burns, a mild solution of baking soda was used on the affected regions. This also worked as a mild deodorant.
Relieving Acid Indigestion
This one is an age-old remedy that helped people get rid of heartburn for generations. If you drink a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 8 ounces of water, it can neutralize stomach acid and temporarily alleviate acid indigestion. Do this after each meal, but never more than two weeks at a time. If you take medication, check that the bicarbonate of soda does not interfere with other treatment and, if you suffer from heart problems or high blood pressure, you need to limit your intake of sodium.
Relieving insect bites
Apply a paste of baking soda and water to the affected area to relieve the irritation and discomfort.
Reliving mild skin infections
This remedy dates back centuries, and it’s hard to place it in a specific time and place. Make a poultice by slicing finely two onions and cooking them until tender in a pint of water. Thicken with wheat bran and add half a tablespoon of baking soda. Put this poultice on the affected area and change as often as is necessary to reduce inflammation.
Relieving skin irritation
Chickenpox was often used by adding three tablespoons of baking soda to warm water and adding the solution to the affected area. However, this works much better when you’re suffering from mild skin irritation.
Make a past of baking soda and water and spread it over the burnt area. You can also put a cup of baking soda into a tepid bath for relief and soothing.
Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with a little water to form a paste. Apply it to a splinter and cover the area with a plaster for a couple of hours. The soda will draw out the splinter, and you can easily remove it.
Tooth Whitener and Cleaner
After washing my teeth with toothpaste, I always apply a little baking soda to my toothbrush. I re-wash my teeth to whiten them. This remedy really works, and I’ve been doing it ever since I can remember.
When you travel, you can clean your toothbrush with a little sprinkle of baking soda and rinse with water. This trick is especially helpful if you like to go camping
To remove warts, add a few drops of vinegar to the wart and dust with baking soda. Remove after 15-20 minutes. You can repeat this treatment several times a day, until the wart disappears.
A lot of the older preppers are hoarding baking soda, and they know how valuable it will become in a world where common resources are scarce. Besides personal uses, baking soda has many other applications which can help make life easier. From cooking to making general household cleaners, baking soda remains a versatile ingredient. It can help you improve your personal hygiene, but also to treat various ailments. This often overlooked ingredient is a must-have for serious preppers.