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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

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via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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Culture
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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