Sunday, March 29, 2009

On Baking Soda

(This is an excerpt from an article in the recent issue of Countryside & Small Stock Journal, March/April issue. This isn’t the whole article, just some highlights. Good ideas, though, for getting by and spending less for nasty chemical crap. HM)

Baking Soda: Dirt Cheap, simple, amazing
By Shannon Summers

Save your skin, save money, save space on the counter, save on the aggravation of all that stuff that doesn’t work and you can’t take back.

It all really started with a little brochure about baby care products. At the time I didn’t have any babies, but it got me riled up about all the dangerous chemicals in all our toiletries. It got me going, and I haven’t been able to get off of it, even to the extent that my husband’s side of the family calls me the “chemical Nazi.” Check the labels--all the stuff boggles the mind. Take just one for instance, propylene glycol. Go look it up. Then you decide. I listened to Dr. Nancy Snyderman on the Today show. Yeah, it’s bad. (Same stuff as anti-freeze in your car.)


I remembered hearing about baking soda as an alternative shampoo so I began to look into it. Basically I stopped using shampoos, cream rinse, toothpaste, deodorant, hand lotion, body lotion, body oils, soaps . . . Just about everything. I gave up hair dyes, make up . . . I used to have bottles of hand lotions of every size and price. I never wanted to be without some. The more I read about all the chemicals the more convinced I became to stop it all.

My husband’s armpits were always raw and he had dry, flakey, itchy skin on his arms and legs. He quit using the underarm sprays and it has cleared up. He uses a little baking soda or corn starch, but at least he has stopped with the butane on his arm pits. Think I’m kidding? Read the labels.


Part of the problem was I was getting a little vain about my wrinkles, and I wanted to try something, but so much of it is beyond my purchasing power. Besides, I knew from past experience it either wouldn’t work for me, burned or both. We are not poor but we are not independently wealthy either.

There is an extremely cheap alternative to all the chemicals out there and it is baking soda. I don’t need convincing, but oh how I wish I had “before” and “after” pictures. I know from what other people tell me that it did make a difference in the wrinkles. The other plus is the expense--almost nothing.

I use baking soda for everything: I shower exclusively with it, wash my face with it, brush my teeth only with it . . . I even use it for shaving my legs.

After at least a year I still find it amazing that my skin is great. If it do get a little itch or feel a little dryness I just reach for a tiny drop or two of olive oil and rub it in. A 50 cent box of soda in the shower is good for a week or longer and it keeps the soap scum reduced in the tub.

So here is a list of the things I do to get my youthful skin.

Face. Once a day in the shower, take a tablespoon or less of baking soda, and make a slurry with a little water being extra gentle--no rubbing, just pat, rinse, and pat dry. If you must have moisturizer use a very tiny drop of olive oil.

Feet, elbows, knees. You can be a little more aggressive here but not much at first. I rub my feet like a little massage, no luffas or scrubbers needed.

Teeth. Forget the chemical poisons in the tube. For about two years I was having trouble with abcesses--a $125 dentist visit, the pain and then a round of antibiotics. Now sea salt is for me. Dissolve ¼ cup sea salt in 8 oz. of pretty hot water. While it is hot, rinse vigorously (or gently if it’s very painful) and gargle too. Do’ this several times a day. If you don’t like the taste go to a health food store and get something else good. Read the labels on the moth wash and nix on that too.

Shaving. For shaving legs, just use a little dab of baking soda watered down. Try this at first--put one cup in the tub and then just use the water to shave.

Shampoo. Wet hair first, and again use a small amount (tablespoon or so), rub it mainly next to the scalp and leave it in for a few minutes. At first your hair will really cry foul. Again, be gentle. It’s okay, take a deep breath and keep going. (Coloring your hair makes it worse, but you can do it. Don’t use on your hair everday unless you really have oily hair and even then it’s not recommended for everyday use. For an added treatment at night before bed, take a small amount of olive oil, rub it into your scalp and hair, and cover with shower cap or something to protect your bedding. Do this for one week. It does wonders for your hair.


One of the best things about baking soda is it’s so cheap. Here are some other products that are great.

My husband spent $20 or so a month on sprays and powders for athlete’s foot. I hated when he sprayed it because it stunk up the place and the powder made a mess. Someone told me about vinegar, so I got him to try it. At first it’s instant relief from the itch. Sometimes there’s a little burning if you just scratched the heck out of your skin. Pour it straight out of the bottle or get a little spray bottle to keep handy in the bathroom or bedroom.

For sinus drainage, take ¼ to ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 1/3 cup of warm water. Add a very small pinch of sea salt, shake or stir, and squirt or spray up each nostril once a day for a day or two. It does basically the same thing as the stuff you buy from the store for $6.99.

In the dishwasher I quit using Jet Dry and just fill the little rinse cup with white vinegar. My dishes come out clean and spot free no matter how cheap the soap powder is.

We have a grandson with psoriasis and we were using olive oil on it. It helped a lot, but then we heard about emu oil. It’s kind of pricey but great--you can see the difference overnight.

Baking soda is worth the 50 cents for an eight ounce box, versus all the other chemical stuff.


End of article. There, how’s that for a tip for the day? Save some money and try baking soda instead of all the hugely expensive, terrible chemical crap you are now applying to your skin and on your delicate mucus membranes. These chemicals are absorbed into your skin and who knows what they are doing to you? We all need to pay more attention to the chemical pollution we live in. We can avoid using chemical pollution as our toiletries, at any rate!


sunni said...

Interesting; I'll be trying some of those suggestions.

In place of skin moisturizers, I've started using coconut oil—just plain coconut oil, straight from the jar. It only takes a little, it's absorbed fairly quickly, and it feels much better than all of the chemical concoctions I've tried.

Patricia said...

Hey Sunni--I use coconut oil too as moisturizers. Great minds, eh?

Anonymous said...

love the article and like you I have used baking soda for years for cleaning, teeth, but not hair. Recently discovered "Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda without aluminum"...I never knew regular Arm & Hammer had aluminum so I purchased it for baking and teeth...any thoughts?

Be well,

Mary said...

hey, how do you know if your baking soda has aluminum in it? I am well versed in home made beauty/healht products, but I use and buy arm and hammer baking soda... but now need to know if it has aluminum in it. please let me know. BTW, LOVE your site!
will be linking to you and your hubby's sites. You all keep up the good work.
side note.. i grew up most of my life in IN... now live far far away in Tunkasila's its interesting to see how things are going over that way now that the world is getting seedier.