We saved baking soda's most important use for last. Baking soda can be the go-to ingredient in your personal care kit. Used straight, it's a basic, mildly abrasive, antibacterial dentifrice -- a tooth scrubber. Apply a bit to a toothbrush and brush as usual. Follow up with a baking soda and water solution as a rinse and gargle.
Like other salts, baking soda helps to reduce swelling and cleanse the skin by drawing out water and any substances dissolved in it. A few tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in a basin of warm water makes a soothing soak for tired feet. Apply a paste of baking soda and water as a facial exfoliant. And when the bug bites or the bee strings, apply the paste to the affected area. In addition to its drawing power, baking soda's alkaline quality neutralizes the acids in insect saliva.
For lots more information about keeping yourself and your home clean, check out the links below.
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- Bane-Clene. "Stonetech Professional for Granite, Limestone, Marble, Mexican Tile, Quartz, Saltillo, Sandstone, Serpentine,Slate, Soapstone, Terra Cotta, Terrazzo, Travertine." (Jan. 8, 2012) http://www.baneclene.com/stonetech.html
- Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association. "Care and Cleaning of Your Enclosure." (Jan. 4, 2012) http://www.bathenclosures.org/basics/cleaning.htm
- Berry, Sian. "How to Remove Limescale." The Guardian, Aug. 22, 2009 (2012) http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/aug/23/how-to-remove-limescale
- Blackburn, Gordon. "Getting Real about How Much to Exercise." (Dec. 31, 2011) http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/exercise/exercise_gettingreal.aspx
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- Daya, Mohamed, and Chandler, David B. "Dangerous Chemicals in Your Closet?" (Jan. 3, 2012) http://www.parish-supply.com/chemicals_in_closet.htm
- Ferguson, Eileen. Personal correspondence. Dec. 10, 2011 through Jan. 5, 2012.
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- Heloise. "Heloise Web Vinegar and Baking Soda Hints." (Dec. 30, 2011) http://www.heloise.com/hints_vinegar.html
- Natrium Products, Inc. "Sodium Bicarbonate from Natrium Products." (Jan 4, 2012) http://www.natrium.com/productsgrades.htm
- Niagara County Landfill & Recycling. "Alternatives to Chemical Goods." (Dec. 26, 2011) http://www.niagaracounty.com/Landfill/chemicalgoods.asp
- Niz, Ellen Sturm. "Easy-to-Clean Products." K+BB, Sept. 20, 2010. (Jan. 2, 2012) http://pdnonline.com/kbb/news-and-features/Easy-to-Clean-Produc-962.shtml
- Ophardt, Charles E. "Detergents and Surfactants." Virtual ChemBook. (Jan. 2, 2012) http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/558detergent.html
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- Reader's Digest. "11 Tips for Cleaning Vinyl Floors." (Dec. 26, 2011) http://www.rd.com/home/11-tips-for-cleaning-vinyl-floors/
- Reader's Digest. "How to Wash Shower Curtains." (Dec. 26, 2011) http://www.rd.com/home/how-to-wash-shower-curtains/
- Reckitt-Benckiser. "LIME-A-WAY FAQ." (Jan. 6, 2012) http://limeaway.com/faq.php
- Snoonian, Deborah. "10 Uses for Baking Soda." (Dec. 26, 2011) This Old House. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,20168224,00.html
- The Naked Scientists. "Why does hard water make soap 'scum'?" Nov. 15, 2008. (Jan. 2, 2012) http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=6251
- The Natural Handyman. "Toilet Cleaning Methods and Chemicals Q & A." (Jan. 1, 2012) http://www.naturalhandyman.com/qa/qatoiletcleaning.html
HowStuffWorks finds out whether you must wash new clothes after you buy them before the first wear.