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What Are the Functions of Sodium Bicarbonate?

by
author image Chris Kinsey
Chris Kinsey works as an editor for a medical publisher and has experience dealing with many topics, ranging from athlete's foot to cancer and brain injury. Kinsey has a great deal of freelance experience writing for sports and parenting magazines as well. Kinsey holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California University of Pennsylvania.
What Are the Functions of Sodium Bicarbonate?
Someone using baking soda to clean a sink. Photo Credit ThamKC/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda, has more uses than you can probably imagine. One brand of baking soda features the graphic of a muscular arm holding a hammer. That's appropriate, given this compound’s effectiveness for jobs around the house and its role in treating many health conditions.

Cooking

Sodium bicarbonate is perhaps best known as a helper in the kitchen. It’s often used as a leavening agent when preparing such foods as cakes, breads and even certain juices and drinks.

Antacid

According to the National Institutes of Health, sodium bicarbonate is used to reduce stomach acid and, in some cases, to make the blood or urine less acidic. Drug manufacturers use it as an ingredient in many medications that treat heartburn, indigestion and other stomach disorders, according to MedicineNet.com.

General Household Uses

Sodium bicarbonate has a variety of uses around the house. You can use it to keep your refrigerator smelling fresh and as a deodorizer throughout your home, including on rugs and carpets. You can add it to washing machines and dishwashers to soften the water. Baking soda is soft enough to use with water to polish and clean stainless steel and iron. When mixed with sugar, it acts as a pesticide against cockroaches.

Teeth Whitener

You’ve probably seen toothpaste in the grocery store touting that it is made “with baking soda.” That’s because baking soda has properties that can help keep teeth white. If you opt for a home version, you can make a paste of sodium bicarbonate and water and use the paste to brush your teeth.

Skin Treatment

Sodium bicarbonate baths can help soothe and heal skin conditions, such as yeast infections and eczema. It’s also effective against acne and as an exfoliating agent.

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