GOOD

Seven Surprising Uses for Baking Soda

Who knew all the awesome things you could do with this regular old household product?

Let us be clear: Baking soda is not going to permanently cure your acne or turn back the cruel hand of time. But if you’re looking to detoxify your body and your household, this multitasking ingredient will make your life easier (and more beautiful) without denting your coffers. Mom may have taught you that baking soda will make your bread rise and your fridge smell better, but did you know of its many cosmetic applications?


Even the ancient Egyptians—and what beauty post would be complete without them?—used a compound similar to baking soda as soap. The stuff is antiseptic, antifungal, and lightly exfoliating. It will take the stains off your coffee mug and your not-so-pearly whites, and can be consumed internally to ease your tummy ache. And fridge odors aren’t the only smells it absorbs so don’t turn your nose up, and bring on the baking soda!

Brush Your Teeth With It Most conventional toothpastes use sodium lauryl sulfate as their primary ingredient. You may remember this verboten surfactant from previous posts explaining its harsh effects and possible contamination with a carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane. If you don’t want peroxide in your mouth, whitening strips are out too. Go natural instead with some bad-breath-killing-tooth-whitening baking soda on your brush (tastes like the ocean, salty but bearable), or add it to your SLS-free Tom’s for extra-whitening powers.

Wash Your Face With It As a rule, we think that harsh scrubs and exfoliants do not belong on your face—not least of all because you need that top layer of skin to keep bad stuff out and moisture in. Most exfoliating scrubs also contain other sketchy ingredients—like plastic balls. If you’re hellbent on scrubbring, though, at least switch to baking soda. It works great on elbows and feet too, and combined with some raw honey, this DIY face wash is refreshing and soothing—and anti-acne, too.

Create a DIY Deodorant This recipe from our book makes for a pretty effective homemade deodorant. Here’s what we suggest: Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with about ten drops of your favorite essential oil and apply to underarms. Guys, this sounds girly, but there are plenty masculine smells too—like Texas cedar wood. Ladies looking to reapply throughout the day can carry it in their purses: Just fill an empty mineral makeup container with it and use one of those stubby Kabuki brushes for no-mess application.

Spot-Treat Acne Our favorite natural acne remedy is clay, like this green tea one we swear by. But in a bind, making a little paste from baking soda and water and applying it to an unwelcomed visitor will help dry it out. We don't recommend this for deep cysts, but for more surface afflictions, it works like a charm.

Cleanse Your Hair If you’re looking to join the ranks of non-shampooers (we know a few), to reduce how often shampoo, or simply to get rid of some product build-up on your roots, look no further than baking soda. Just fill a glass with warm water and dissolve about a tablespoon of baking soda into it. Take that to the shower, and after wetting your hair pour the mixture through. Comb it well before rinsing—your hair will feel a little coated and slippery until it’s fully rinsed out.

Soothe Your Stomach Acid stomach, heartburn, gas, and other tummy issues are quickly relieved by baking soda because its slight alkalinity can neutralize the acid causing the problem. Just mix a teaspoon into a glass of warm water and drink it down. We swear by this trick.

Soak Your Skin That's right, dissolve some into your bath for a soothing and skin-softening experience. The added bonus? You won't need soap—and sometimes that's a good thing.

Know of any other cool uses for this magic powder?

This is a series inspired by No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics, a book by GOOD's features editor Siobhan O'Connor and her co-author Alexandra Spunt.

Read more on their blog

Illustrations by Brianna Harden

Articles
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics