Everybody keeps a small container of baking soda around for a few householdy chores, but those of us who prepare should be stocking it up by the pound! Easily one of the more versatile substances available, baking soda can be used for literally dozens of uses around a retreat or when bugging out. I’ve selected the top 10 to examine in order to demonstrate just how useful baking soda can be.
What are Some Uses of Baking Soda?
Baking soda has a number of uses like being a hygiene tool, stomach care, corrosion remover, septic tank and latrine cleaner, fire prevention tool, medical accessory, cleaning produce, pest deterrant, scrubbing agent and possible radiation cure.
Baking soda can be used as an all-natural toothpaste ingredient, and when dissolved in water you can also use it as a cleansing mouthwash. Not only does baking soda help eliminate mouth odors (which helps if you’re in cramped conditions) it also helps combat periodontal disease. In a world without dentists, keeping your teeth and gums in good shape is vital, and baking soda can be of great help.
It can also help eliminate odors around your armpits and crotch in moist conditions without leaving strong chemical scents like most deodorants do. This will keep anyone who comes near you from realizing that you’re better off than they are, since they won’t smell consumable deodorant or other materials on you.
Finally, it can be used when washing. Whether you’re just cleaning your hands after a hard day’s work or soaking in a tub, adding a few spoonfuls of baking soda can help keep your hands clean. If you’re working with particularly smelly chemicals or substances, a little soda can also help remove the odors from your skin.
2. Antacid and Stomach Care
Baking soda is a perfect antacid in a survival situation where a packet of Tums might be hard to come by. A small spoonful thoroughly dissolved in water can help combat a wide variety of stomach problems, since baking soda is a natural PH balancing agent. For this reason, it is effective against heartburn, acid reflux, and a general upset stomach. Given that you may not have the choice to eat properly to avoid heartburn, adding some soda to your mealtime schedule will allow you to eat what you need to keep your strength up without leaving you in distracting pain.
3. Removing Corrosion From Batteries
Corrosion on a battery terminal is a constant fight, and not one you want to worry about during a survival situation. Use baking soda to clear it up.
I know that many preppers have battery banks, and nearly everyone has a car that could be of use in a disaster. Corrosion on the terminals is a pain to remove, but a mixture of 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water can make it much easier to pry off. Naturally you’ll want to disconnect the terminals beforehand to reduce the chance of electric shock! In general, any material taking damage from acid corrosion can also be cleaned by baking soda which has a mild alkaline PH, including important pipes.
4. Maintaining Your Septic Tank and Latrines
Pour a spoonful or two of baking soda down the drain every week to help maintain the proper PH balance of your septic system. Standard latrines can also benefit from a little sprinkling with baking soda, as the ammonia and other materials in human waste will be somewhat neutralized by the soda. This also works with any clothing, bedding, or diapers stained by waste, so young children, the sick, and other bedridden folk without bedpans can have their sheets cleaned without the smell staying with the fabric.
5. Fire Prevention
There are limits, but baking soda can be quite effective at dealing with many kinds of fires.
It is typically thought that if a disaster were to strike in winter, the greatest immediate threat would probably be death by household fires. As people inexperienced in dealing with open flames try to heat their homes with wood, there will be many flareups. If this were to happen to you, throwing baking soda on the source of the flame would be a simple way to handle it without wasting precious fuel in your fire extinguisher. Better still, baking soda can be used on all kinds of fires, since it smothers the flame whether it is a grease, chemical, or electrical fire.
6. Medical Purposes
There are a fair number of uses for the baking soda in a the survival first aid kit. Firstly it can be used to help clean wounds as a mild antiseptic. If you add enough water to turn the soda into a paste, it can be applied to the wound to help keep it clean. It is actually most useful for treating burns before blisters form, as it is fairly benign and isn’t likely to react in a negative way. Furthermore, it can be used to treat a wide variety of itchy scabs and wounds, including bug bites, to keep them soothed and dry.
7. Cleaning Produce
Although you might be tempted to just give home-grown crops a once over in a bucket of water, adding a little baking soda can help in removing residue from the garden including insect feces, eggs, and dirt-borne microorganisms. The soda itself shouldn’t effect the nutritional quality of the food at all, since once it reacts with water it’s essentially just sodium, hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen.
8. Scaring Off Pests
Although sadly baking soda won’t keep looters away (unless they’re deathly afraid of a clean scrubbing!) it can keep rats and insects away from your food. Although I would probably prefer other methods that don’t use up this valuable resource, if you’re in a bind a light scattering of baking soda can ward against the vermin that get into your stores. For some reason they dislike the presence of these particles, though it is probably the strange scent and lack of sugary sweetness that keeps them away.
9. General Scrubbing Agent
If you have a pot, pan, plate, countertop, homemade stove or other utensil that needs to be cleaned, baking soda and water are your friends. The slight grittiness helps, but it is usually the way that the soda reacts with the acids and bases left over on many surfaces that allow it to work efficiently to remove nasty sticky stuff. Not only that, but it both eliminates odors and lightly sanitizes surfaces which helps keep everyone clean and healthy.
10. Fallout Cleanser
A common kitchen ingredient can be used to help deal with nuclear fallout. Who would have guessed?
Somehow all the other uses seem somewhat mundane after reading that, don’t they? Yes, baking soda is actually highly recommended to help your kidneys (one of the organs most often harmed by fallout) process and dissipate the dangerous substances. A teaspoon a day dissolved thoroughly in water is recommended, and if someone is known to be suffering from radiation damage of any kind they should take 3 teaspoons a day for two weeks before reverting to one teaspoon per day. Do not go further than two weeks on heavy baking soda dosage, as the alkaline soda can cause damage if ingested too heavily in a short period of time. This should allow the baking soda to bond with the uranium in the kidneys and turn it into uranium bicarbonate that can be flushed out of the kidneys in urine.
Please note that it does not actually deactivate radioactive materials of any kind, it just affects a few organs and helps eliminate part of the damage fallout can cause. It’s a powerful substance, but it is not a radiation cure-all.
And these are just 10 of the uses baking soda can be put to. What other uses can you think of?