Homesteading and self-reliance

50 Brilliant Uses for Baking Soda in an Emergency

Nadia TamaraBug Out Bags, Do It Yourself, Emergency Preparedness, Hygiene, Wilderness Survival 4 Comments

Homesteading and self-reliance

Baking soda is one of the most versatile households items. While we most commonly use it in baking breads and other recipes, there are countless uses for this kitchen staple. In an emergency situation, baking soda will become very handy, serving multiple purposes that are not at all limited to our kitchens.

Baking soda can be purchased at any convenience store or supermarket and it’s cheap so make sure you stockpile it while it’s readily available. I recommend every person to put a box in their Bug Out Bag, First Aid kit, bathroom, fridge, kitchen, and laundry room. That may sound excessive but you’ll side with me after you realize all the things you can do with it. Let’s explore the many uses that it can have in our daily lives and more importantly how vital it will become in the event of an emergency.

Personal health and hygiene:

1. Wash your hair

When you have nothing to shampoo your hair with consider washing your hair with a little baking soda. It works in short term uses because the PH in baking soda is too alkaline for your scalp (if used long term). In an emergency situation however, it can remove dirt build-up and greasy hair. Make a paste (3 parts baking soda and 1 part water) and scrub your scalp with it. Rinse and condition with apple cider vinegar or a little coconut oil.

2. Rinse your mouth

When our resources are cut short, it’s important to prioritize our health and hygiene. Clean teeth will immediately make us feel more comfortable. Make a simple mouthwash to freshen up your breath. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of water and use as you would any mouth wash.

3. Brush your teeth

Brushing your teeth with baking soda is also a good option but should not be used every day because it’s too abrasive. It’s a great secondary option to toothpaste in emergency scenarios. To sanitize your toothbrush, soak the bristles overnight in a cup of warm water mixed with one tablespoon of baking soda.

4. Soak your mouth guard, retainer and dentures

Mix two teaspoons of baking soda into a cup of water and soak your dental apparatus the entire time you’re not using it. This will sanitize and neutralize the bacteria and odor as well as loosen any food that could have gotten stuck.

5. Hand sanitizer

If you don’t have soap to wash your hands after using the bathroom, use a teaspoon of baking soda and scrub your hands thoroughly. Rinse and you’re good to go!

6. Remove all physical odors

Make a paste with water and wash yourself with it. Remember that the high alkalinity of the baking soda’s PH can cause your skin to become too alkaline, so use it sparingly…don’t abuse it. If you have soap, you can mix a little bit of baking soda to it rather than using just baking soda. Moisturize with coconut oil if possible because it’s also antibacterial and will fight body odor. Baking soda works well as a natural deodorant. It can be applied directly to your armpits but again, it can cause irritation so use it sparingly or mix it with coconut oil if you plan to use it every day.

7. Treat your feet

We are constantly on our feet but in disaster situations we may have to be more active than usual. It’s important to give your feet the extra love they need with a baking soda treatment. Dissolve half a cup of baking soda in a medium bucket of warm water. Soak your feet in this baking soda solution for 15 to 30 minutes to relax your feet. It also works well in preventing and curing toenail fungus and athlete’s foot.

8. Increase physical endurance

Depending on the emergency situation you’re facing, you will likely need to do more physical work than you’re used to. Studies have determined that some athletes experience improvements in endurance after taking a “baking soda drink” prior to a workout. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism determined that the optimal dose for baking soda is 0.3 grams per kilogram of body mass. This study suggests taking baking soda 2 to 2 1/2 hours prior to exercising and preferably alongside a high carb meal. This is something that should be taken orally only short-term because if used long-term you risk disrupting the acidity of your stomach which will cause another set of problems. Some people experience uncomfortable digestive pain after drinking baking soda the first time so be mindful that this might not work for you. Before consuming baking soda consult with your doctor what is the best and safest dosage for you, especially if you’re taking medications or have underlying health conditions

9. Relief from exercise

Taking a small dose of baking soda after an exhausting day of physical activity can soothe muscle soreness by neutralizing the lactic buildup in your muscles. This shouldn't be done on a regular basis, however it can help in the short term. Consult a doctor for the appropriate dosage.

10. Relieve bug bites and skin irritation

Make a paste by mixing three parts baking soda to one part water and apply it to the affected area. Another way is to dampen the affected skin and sprinkle baking soda over it. (Note: This paste is very effective for stings that are acidic -such as ants, bees and yellow jackets- but can make the pain worse for alkaline stings -such as wasps and hornets-. In the case of alkaline stings, a mild acid like vinegar will help to neutralize the sting).

11. Relieve sun burns, minor burns and itchy skin

Mix one cup of water with one tablespoon of baking soda and spray it directly to the skin allowing it to air dry. You can also submerge yourself in a bath if you have the means (use one cup of baking soda per full bath tub).

12. Treat heartburn, indigestion and ulcers

In an emergency situation where you don’t have access to over the counter medication, use baking soda to neutralize the stomach acid. Drinking too much baking soda water, or little bits over long periods of time, will disrupt the stomach acid PH and electrolyte balance in your body due to its alkaline PH. Consult a health professional to determine the appropriate dose that is right for you.

13. Remove splinters

Splinters are easy to get and difficult to remove especially if you don’t have tweezers. Splinters can cause pain and possible infection to the area if left for too long but baking soda will facilitate the removal process. Mix a cup of warm water with one tablespoon of baking soda and soak the splinter-affected area two times a day. If this is difficult (depending on where the splinter is located) make a water and baking soda paste and cover it with a bandage for up to 24 hours, repeating the process as necessary. Within a few days, the splinter will be expelled naturally and the area should become disinfected.

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Keep your living space clean:

In a survival situation your habitat is likely to change. Perhaps you are forced to evacuate and choose to bug out in the wilderness, or if you’re lucky enough to stay home, you may not have the same resources as usual. If the power is out for several days you will have to find creative ways to keep your space clean and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. I can assure you that baking soda will become your best friend in this time.

14. Deodorize your refrigerator

Considering you have power and a working fridge, always keep an open box of baking soda inside to neutralize any odors. In an emergency where you are relying on a cooler, you can fill a dry mason jar with baking soda and poke holes at the top. This will prevent it from spilling too much if it gets knocked over while maintaining the cooler fresh and free from unpleasant odors.

15. Deodorize toilets

Whether you’re bugging out in the woods or have to bug in at home without power, your toilet can always use a natural cleansing agent to absorb odors. Add a cup of baking soda to the toilet bowl or makeshift toilet. Leave it for at least an hour and flush if possible.

16. Septic tank care

Flush one cup of baking soda weekly to maintain a cleaner septic tank so it can sustain a clear flow and prevent back-ups, especially during emergencies. It is possible to have a sewer backup in a long term emergency so make sure you’re regularly neutralizing your septic system.

17. Deodorize anything

Baking soda doesn’t only absorb toilet odors, but it can help absorb any odor. In some cases you can sprinkle baking soda to an area and let it sit overnight, such as the carpet. You should add a layer of baking soda to the bottom of your trash can and outdoor garbage bin to remove powerful smells as you dispose of trash. This is especially helpful in emergency situations when normal trash services may be disrupted.

18. Keep your clothes fresh

Your ability to wash clothes regularly might no longer be an option during a crisis. To keep your clothes smelling fresh, leave an open box of baking soda in your closet to absorb all the stinky odors.

19. Keep your shoes fresh

In order to keep your shoes and boots from smelling bad, sprinkle baking soda inside of them and let them air out overnight. This is also effective in keeping your feet dry and free from blisters.

20. Wash your clothes thoroughly

Adding half a cup of baking soda to each load of laundry will make the detergent work more effectively. In an emergency situation, washing clothes may become a luxury. If this is the case, your clothes are likely to get very dirty before you have the opportunity to wash them. By adding baking soda you can be assured that your clothes are washed thoroughly each time. Baking soda also helps remove tough stains such as grease and perspiration.

21. Line dry your clothes

If you don’t have the ability to use a dryer machine, you can make sure your clothes don’t get stiff from drying them on the line by adding baking soda to the washer.

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22. Relieve diaper rashes

Add two tablespoons of baking soda to the baby’s bathwater. After giving your baby a bath, apply coconut oil to moisturize the rash area. Baking soda is to be used as a short term treatment because overusing it can cause the skin to become too alkaline and dry.

23. Remove the stale smell of your baby’s bottle

Add half a cup of baking soda to the baby bottle and fill it up with water. Let it sit for an hour and then rinse thoroughly. You can do the same thing with regular plastic water bottles (for larger bottles add more baking soda).

24. Deodorize the disposable diaper trash bin

Adding a layer of baking soda to the bottom of your disposable diaper trash can will remove the smell.

25. Clean cloth diapers and baby clothes

Baking soda is a gentle cleanser that works very well for sensitive skin. In a bucket of warm water add natural soap with half a cup of baking soda. Let them soak for a little while and wash as usual.


26. Pet deodorant

In a disaster scenario, your priority might not be to give your dogs and cats a bath, but they deserve to be clean just like you do. A simple way to deodorize your pets is to make a baking soda solution by combining one cup of water with two tablespoons of baking soda. Mix well and soak a bandana for a few minutes. Let the bandana dry and then tie it around your cat or dog’s neck.

27. Doggy dry shampoo

If your dog’s hair smells really bad you can sprinkle baking soda throughout the fur and brush it out, just make sure you avoid the face area.

28. Doggy breath freshener

If your dog puts up with a tooth brushing routine, add a pinch of baking soda to their toothbrush to help freshen up their breath.

29. Kitty litter neutralizer

To make the kitty litter smell clean and fresh, sprinkle a layer of baking soda to the base of the litter container and add the litter on top of that.

30. Deodorize pet beds

Sprinkle baking soda on your pet’s bed and wait about an hour. Then wash it or vacuum it and the smell should be gone.

31. Remove dog and cat urine odors

It’s inevitable to have a few indoor “potty accidents” especially during a disaster scenario where you have no choice but to keep your pets inside for a certain length of time. To prevent the pee and poo odor from overwhelming your house, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda to the area and let it sit overnight to absorb the odor completely. The following day you can vacuum or sweep the area.

32. Keep insects away from your pet’s dishes

Sprinkle baking soda around the water and food bowl to deter insects.

33. Clean your fish aquarium

Baking soda works great to remove dirt and fungus growing in your aquarium and using it won’t scratch the glass!

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Food and cooking:

In any disaster or survival scenario, we must remember that the comforts of our home will likely be minimized. It’s important to keep our food and eating areas as clean as possible to prevent food poisoning and the spread of food-borne illnesses.

34. Baking

This is perhaps the most well-known use for baking soda because it’s a chemical leavening agent. When mixed with other ingredients it will cause breads, cupcakes, and other foods to rise in the baking process. It’s a vital ingredient in many recipes.

35. Make beans less gassy

Beans are a great food item to stockpile because they are highly nutritious and can be stored indefinitely in their dry form (if stored properly). The unwanted side effects caused by beans is gas but that can be reduced. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda into the water while the beans are soaking. When you’re ready to cook them, rinse the beans thoroughly to prevent a soapy texture and cook as usual.

36. Clean your veggies and fruits

Baking soda is a food-grade sanitizer that works effectively to remove the dirt, residue and pesticides off of fruits and veggies. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to a bowl of water and immerse your fresh fruits and vegetables while washing them. Another way to do it is to sprinkle baking soda onto your sponge and scrub the food that way.

37. Lower the acidity of your food

You can cut the acidity of tomato sauces and other acidic foods by adding a pinch of baking soda while cooking.

38. Tenderize your meat

In large pieces of meat (such as chicken, beef and pork) you can rub baking soda directly onto the meat and let it sit in the fridge for 3 to 5 hours. Rinse the meat thoroughly prior to cooking it. If you have smaller cut up pieces, dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 cup of water instead. Mix this solution with the meat and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Make sure you properly rinse it before cooking.

39. Remove chicken feathers quickly

If you’re in a survival situation where you can’t purchase chicken from the store and have to kill your own, make the plucking process easier by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the boiling water before scalding the chicken.

40. Wash your dishes

Baking soda also works impressively well to strip away grease from your dishes, silverware, pots and pans. Sprinkle baking soda on your sponge and wash as you would normally with dish soap.

41. Clean your solar oven and off-grid stove

Baking soda is an environmentally friendly, non-toxic and gentle cleanser that works extremely well in removing grease and dirt. If your stove or oven needs a deep cleaning, mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with water and spray it on the surface. Let it soak in for a while (depending on how dirty it is) and wash it off.

Other clever uses:

42. A natural fire extinguisher

Baking soda can help extinguish the flames of a grease or electrical fire if it’s handled early on. It works more effectively by aiming the baking soda directly at the base of the fire. The reaction of the heat and baking soda will produce carbon dioxide which helps to suffocate the flames. You can also suffocate the flames by covering the pan with a lid. This also goes for fires that occur while grilling.

Water should NEVER be used in grease or electrical fires. Water has an explosive reaction on a grease fire and in an electrical fire you can be electrocuted if the power hasn’t been turned off. It’s a great idea to keep baking soda, or a fire extinguisher, nearby while cooking. If you can’t control the fire within 10 seconds, call 911 immediately.

43. Destroy any bug infestation

I have lived in hot and humid climates where insects like to invade entire living spaces. It’s not only annoying, as is the case with ants, but also very unhygienic, in the case of cockroaches. You can easily deter insects by laying down a layer of baking soda mixed with equal parts of powdered sugar under window and door openings. (Use a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and powdered sugar. Powdered sugar works best because it’s thinner than other types of sugar and can easily be mixed with baking soda. Ants can sort through granulated sugar while leaving the baking soda behind). In ants, the baking soda will react with the acid in their digestive system and kill them. Cockroaches who eat baking soda will die from dehydration. It sounds awful but that’s a simple solution if you’re at a desperate point in trying to get rid of them.

44. Enhance your survival garden

Sprinkle a little baking soda on top of the soil that surrounds acidic plants, like tomatoes. The alkalinity of the baking soda will cause the soil to become less acidic and therefore your plants will taste sweeter. Don’t sprinkle on plant leaves or roots, just on the surrounding soil. (Tip: For plants that prefer acidic soil, like blueberries, use coffee grounds instead.) Baking soda will also deter some pests from eating your produce.

45. Make your silver coins shine again

During a prolonged disaster scenario, you may have to consider the possibility of bartering your goods. If you purchased silver coins in place of paper money, you may need to polish them up before trading them in. To make your silver look like new make a baking soda paste using one part water and three parts baking soda. Scrub the silver with this paste by using a soft sponge, then rinse and dry. You can also use this for your silver jewelry.

46. Keep your scent undetected while hunting

Many animals have a great sense of smell. When you are in the woods hunting, you want to become as camouflaged as possible…this includes your scent. Sprinkle your hunting clothes with baking soda to remove any strong smells. Prior to going hunting, take a shower with a baking soda paste (in the place of soap) to neutralize your body odor. Finally, when you’re in the woods, carry a baking soda “sachet”. To make this sachet, fill a sock with baking soda and tie it at the top. Carry it on you and every so often dust yourself and your clothing with it. This will keep any odors at bay.

47. Keep your fishing gear clean

Mix three parts water to one part baking soda and soak fishing hooks, lines and rods. This will clean off the leftover algae and remove any fishy smells. Best of all, it won’t pollute the lake or river when you use it again on your next fishing trip.

48. Itchy cast relief

If you have a plaster cast and are experiencing a terrible itch or sweating, sprinkle baking soda inside the cast to dry out the sweat and relieve itchiness and odor.

49. Have some fun with your kids

An emergency situation will require major adjustments in your home, but that doesn’t mean that fun can’t be incorporated into your daily routine. Entertain your kids by making a non-toxic clay they can play with. This involves more than baking soda but if you have all the ingredients, you can turn a bad situation into something more bearable. In a bowl, mix 1 1/4 cups water with 1 cup cornstarch and 2 cups baking soda. Knead well. If it’s too dry, add an extra 1/4 cup of water. Use this clay to play and mold into creative objects. It can be painted after it has dried completely.

50. Prevent slipping on ice

If you need an effective ice melt that won’t damage your deck or indoor floors, try sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda on top of those icy walkways. This will speed up the melting process.

Well, there you have it! Although baking soda has many more uses, I only chose to focus on the most important and practical uses for a disaster scenario. Make sure you take advantage of the benefits of this amazing product and don’t hesitate to buy it in bulk. One way or another I’m sure you will find clever uses for it.

Did I miss anything? How have you used baking soda in an emergency?

Tell me in the comments below!

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Comments 4

  1. On occasion for upset stomach I have taken 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and a glass of water, but never thought about the ratio. 1/4 per 8 ounces I guess. is that okay?

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