When it comes to packing an emergency preparedness kit, it is essential to pack a few of those wonder products that work to meet a variety of needs. These multiuse products are ideal for emergency preparedness kits because you can solve a lot of problems with one product rather than having to use a separate product for each need.
Moreover, an ideal multiuse product is one that you tend to have on hand already, such as baking soda. According to The Science of Baking Soda, “Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), also called baking soda, is a crystalline salt, found in a natural mineral form in nahcolite deposits. […] Today, this chemical powerhouse is produced globally, with an estimated volume of 2 million tons per year.”
Baking soda has been used for cooking since 1843, with the famous Arm & Hammer brand created in 1846. Then, in the 1970s, baking soda was embraced as a natural deodorizer for refrigerators. Nowadays, with 2 million tons produced each year, baking soda is a household staple for both of these purposes.
But, there are so many more uses for baking soda that will come in handy should you ever face a disaster scenario or decide to live off the grid.
NOTE – When using this list of uses for baking soda, it is important to distinguish between baking soda and baking powder. Baking soda is an alkaline compound, whereas baking powder is sodium bicarbonate that has already combined with an acid. As a result of these differences, you cannot use baking powder as a substitute for baking soda.
Why baking soda is an emergency preparedness staple
Since it is versatile, inexpensive, easy to find, and long-lasting, many people purchase several boxes or pouches of baking soda to put in various places in their homes, such as the refrigerator, the bathroom, and the garage. They also place unopened boxes or pouches in their emergency preparedness kits.
In addition to baking soda’s known uses for cooking and deodorizing, baking soda is used for cleaning and medicinal purposes, as well as having a number of miscellaneous uses. This inexpensive household staple may wind up being just what you need when you are facing an emergency far from the comforts of home.
Plus, it has a long shelf life. Arm & Hammer baking soda puts an expiration date on the bottom of their baking soda products. It has a standard shelf life of 3 years. This makes it a great addition to your emergency preparedness kit.
Baking soda for cleaning
- Scrub the kitchen – Make a paste using baking soda and water; then, apply the paste to a sponge. You can use this DIY baking soda cleaner to clean multiple kitchen surfaces, such as microwaves, ovens, and dishes.
- Clean the bathroom – Use a baking soda and water paste to clean sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets.
- Dissolve grease on pans – Combining water, baking soda, and dish soap is an easy way to deep-clean greasy pans.
- Deodorize furnishings and eliminate odors – Sprinkling baking soda on furnishings, such as carpets, and vacuuming a few minutes later can eliminate odors. Additionally, studies have shown sprinkling baking soda in a garbage can reduces odors by 70%.
- Restore blackened pots – Put baking soda in the bottom of the burnt pot and add just enough water to cover the burnt spots. Then, bring to a boil to remove blackened bits.
- Clean toothbrushes – Soak toothbrushes overnight in a baking soda water mixture to clean the bristles.
- Launder clothing – Make a DIY baking soda laundry detergent by baking 2-3 cups of baking soda on a pan at 400° F for an hour. You will see a noticeable change when it is ready to be used as a washing agent.
Baking soda for medicinal purposes
- Provide sunburn relief – Simply adding baking soda to a warm bath can provide relief for sunburns. You can also make a paste just using baking soda and water that can be applied topically.
- Heal canker sores – By using a DIY baking soda mouthwash (see below), you can heal canker sores.
- Ease acidic stomach – Mix baking soda with water to ease acid reflux and heartburn. You can also add a pinch of baking soda to food or drinks known to cause acid reflux.
- Help mosquito bites – Make a baking soda paste by adding water and then apply directly to the bite.
- Treat athlete’s foot – Studies have shown baking soda has antifungal abilities when used on the body, so a baking soda foot bath works to treat athlete’s foot.
- Relieve heat rash – You can sprinkle baking soda to areas prone to rashes, and you can make a paste and apply it to a heat rash.
- Manage jellyfish stings – According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, “Rinse area with a mixture of sea water and baking soda for 15 minutes. This stops the stingers from stinging if still attached to the skin.”
- Remove splinters – Use a baking soda and water paste to make it easier for a splinter to expel itself from the skin naturally.
Baking soda for personal uses
- Clean hair – If showering isn’t an option, you can massage baking soda into the roots of your hair, which works like a dry shampoo by absorbing built-up oils.
- Clean hands – Washing your hands with water and baking soda will clean them and leave them smelling fresh.
- Eliminate foot odor – Sprinkling baking soda in your shoes will eliminate shoe odors. For stinky feet, soak the feet in a baking soda wash for 15-20 minutes.
- Use as deodorant – If you don’t have deodorant, you can use straight baking soda under your armpits.
Baking soda for food
- Soften beans – When it comes time to use the beans you’ve stocked for food preparation, add baking soda to the water you are soaking the dry beans in.
- Create sweeter tomatoes – Sprinkling baking soda in the soil where you plant your tomatoes will make the tomatoes sweeter.
- Wash produce – Remove pesticides by soaking produce in a baking soda wash (baking soda and water) for 10 - 15 minutes.
- Prepare and cook chicken and wild game – Adding a teaspoon of baking soda to boiling water makes it easier to remove feathers from chickens. Additionally, this same trick will help to remove the unique taste of wild game.
Other miscellaneous uses for baking soda
- Keep bugs away – Create a baking soda barrier to keep the bugs away. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Roaches eat the baking soda, dehydrate, and die.”
- Make toothpaste and mouthwash – Make mouthwash by mixing half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a glass of warm water; then, swish in your mouth. Use a baking soda paste to brush your teeth.
- Extinguish small fires – There is a reason why fire extinguishers contain baking soda. When heated, it produces carbon dioxide, which extinguishes small fires.
- Improve endurance – Healthline claims, “Baking soda has a high pH, which may help delay fatigue, allowing you to exercise at your peak for longer.”
- Clear drains – If you have a clogged drain, pour ½ cup of baking soda in the drain, and follow with ½ cup of vinegar. Cover with a wet cloth. After five minutes, run hot water down the drain.
- Provide traction for ice – Like salt, baking soda works to provide traction and melt ice.
- Clean batteries – Apply a baking soda and water paste to a cloth and use it to scrub corrosion from batteries.
How to store baking soda
While baking soda has a long shelf life, it may lose its effectiveness over time, especially if it has not been properly stored. You can test the effectiveness of your baking soda by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of vinegar. If the baking soda is still good to use, it will bubble immediately.
Since baking soda works to absorb moisture and odors, it will lose its effectiveness if opened or not stored properly. Typically, baking soda is sold in cardboard boxes or plastic pouches. If you plan to stock baking soda for emergencies, then you should purchase the plastic pouches. The plastic pouches provide better protection against moisture.
However, these are only expected to last for 1-3 years. If you hope to store your baking soda for longer, then you should place the plastic pouches of baking soda within a sealed plastic bucket or a #10 metal can.
Add extra baking soda to your grocery cart, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply