Wednesday, December 26, 2007

IDK, my BFF, baking soda?

Everyone knows that baking soda is aces at keeping fridges smelling fresh, but who knew just how many other things it could do around the house?

A pinch of baking soda in a gallon of freshly-brewed iced tea takes out bad-tasting tannins and prevents cloudiness.

When you're soaking dried beans or cooking cabbage, add a dash to the water to make them more digestible.

To keep tomato soup from curdling, sprinkle some soda on the boiling tomatoes and skim off the white foam before adding milk or cream.

Two tablespoons added to boiling corn and cauliflower keeps the veggies crisp.

Fido's fur a little funky? Sprinkle baking soda onto his coat and brush or comb-through for dry (and drama-free!) odor protection between baths.

Who knows where that chew toy has been? Give plastic and rubber toys a dunkin a solution of 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart warm water, and sprinkle fabric toys with baking soda, brushed off after 15 minutes. Your pet may not care that they're chemical free, but you'll feel purrfectly pleased.

Don't give oral health the brush-off. Soak retainers, mouthguards and dentures in a baking soda and warm water solution (2 tsp to a drinking glass full) and keep your choppers feeling clean.

Go for a natural glow! Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to one part water for an effective and inexpensive skin exfoliant. Just apply it to your skin with fingertips or a washcloth in a gentle, circular motion and rinse. It also works well

Mix a little soda into your shampoo to strip out product build-up, or rub it into your conditioner for extra-healthy, non-split-prone tips.

Apply a paste of baking soda and water to take the ouch out of bug bites, bee stings, sunburns, rashes, poison ivy, or pour in bathwater for relief from the itch of chicken pox and measles.

Drink 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 a glass of water to relieve acid indigestion and heartburn, or use it as a mouthwash to soothe canker sore pain.

Run a baking soda and water solution through your coffee maker, followed by two fresh-water brew cycles to keep your java tasting tip-top.

Zap nasty cutting board tastes and smells but scrubbing them with a mixture of baking soda and salt. It'll cut grease, won't dry out the wood, and will also take garlic and onion smells off your skin.

Use a damp paper towel and a sprinkling of soda to remove tea and punch stains from china and plastic.

Neutralize spilled battery acid in a flash with a handful of baking soda.

Baking soda on a wet wash cloth makes an excellent bumper buffer when little scuffs appear. It also shines up bike chrome.

Use a soft brush and a baking soda and water paste to clean efficiency-killing grease and grime from your car's battery.

Baking soda's a natural fire-stopper. Keep a box close at hand when you're working with live fire of any kind. A handful can put out grease, electrical, wood, and fuel fires.

It's also great on the grate. Sprinkle it on the grill, or make a paste with water, and scrub grit off the grill without the danger of adding nasty cleaning chemicals to your food.

Ewwwww! No one likes reeking of smoke, sweat or spit-up. Rub baking soda directly on baby spit-up to nix the smell quickly. Soak sweat-drenched headbands, hats and gloves or smoky clothes in a baking soda solution before they hit the washing machine. Or, if you're pressed for time, sprinkle it on clothing for a quick odor mask, and wash when you get a chance.

Shoes can smell a bit iffy after you've been wearing them all day. Once you've kicked them off, stick a small cloth pouch of baking soda in the toe overnight to tame any icky odors.

Ew! Mildew! Keep fungus, black spot and powdery mildew off your precious plants by mixing baking soda, horticultural oil and soap and applying it to affected leaves. It's also effective on rose leaves. Just add 1 tsp of soda and a few drops of dishwashing soap to a gallon of water, and spray once a week, and after it rains.

No kidding -- baking soda's great for playtime. Mix 1 1/4 cups of water, 2 cups of baking soda and 1 cup of cornstarch for a non-toxic modeling clay. Add a dash of food coloring for extra fun.

And if your pint-sized Picassos happen to express themselves with crayon on the walls, make a thin paste of water and baking soda and apply it to an old toothbrush. The "art" should scrub right off.

Fill a clear, glass container with 3 parts water and one part vinegar. Sprinkle in one tsp of baking soda veeerrrry slowly, and wait for the bubbles to settle, after they have, add a second teaspoon. Once those have settled, add a few drops of food coloring, and watch how they move. Then, drop in small kitchen items like raisins, grains of rice, halved grapes, pieces of veggies and spaghetti to demonstrate how different kinds of matter have different levels of buoyancy. Science CAN be fun!

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