Those little orange boxes of baking soda are handy to have in your refrigerator to get rid of unpleasant odors and on your pantry shelf to use in baking, but there are good reasons you should store this amazing resource for emergencies.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO₃) is a compound that contains the mineral nahcolite and is found dissolved in many mineral springs. Historians know that ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians, used baking soda for many purposes around the home.
Often priced at about $1 for a one-pound box and even less expensive when purchased in bulk quantities, baking soda is an affordable and important part of your off-the grid supplies.
Here are 10 reasons you should stockpile baking soda:
1. Personal hygiene. Baking soda  is an ingredient in many types of toothpaste, and you can make your own by mixing it with some water. Baking soda also freshens breath. Simply mix a teaspoon into a glass of water and gargle.
You also can use a paste of baking soda and water to remove dirt and stains from the hands and body. Or pat some baking soda under your arms for a natural deodorant.
Baking soda works well as a dry shampoo. Sprinkle some baking soda into your roots and then work through your hair. Brush well, and your hair will look and smell fresher.
2. Medical uses. Baking soda is a natural heartburn reliever, since it helps to neutralize the acids in your digestive tract. Mix a half teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of water. Stir until dissolved completely. Drink once every four hours. This remedy is for adults only and should not exceed five teaspoons per day.
A baking soda-water paste is an effective way to soothe the pain of sunburn and insect bites and stings. It also can soothe and protect areas of chafing on the body, such as between the thighs.
3. Indoor cleaning. Baking soda works as a gentle abrasive cleaner on all your kitchen and bathroom surfaces, including counters, sinks and tubs. With water and elbow grease, it will power out many stains without worry of scratching surfaces.
Try using baking soda to remove cooked-in or burnt-on food on your pots and pans. Remove all excess food and then place a layer of baking soda on the stain. Cover with about two inches of water and bring the pot to boil. Remove from heat and let it sit overnight. In the morning, you should be able to wipe the remains away.
4. Outdoor cleaning. You can use a baking soda-water paste to clean your outdoor grill and outdoor furniture.
In addition, its mild alkaline content makes it a safe cleaner for your car. Mix one-fourth cup of baking soda in a quart of warm water. Apply with a sponge or soft cloth to all car surfaces, including chrome, light covers, tires, vinyl seats and mats.
5. Clean batteries. You can neutralize corrosion on batteries with baking soda. First, be sure to disconnect the terminals. Then apply a paste of three parts baking soda and one part water with a damp cloth to clean away corrosion. Wipe dry. Then reconnect the terminals.
6. Clean drains. Did you know you can safely clean sluggish drains with baking soda? Simply pour one-half cup of baking soda down the drain and flush with boiling water for quick results. An added bonus? Your drain will smell better, too.
After your drain is running better, sprinkle some baking soda in your sink – even stainless steel ones – and scrub with a damp sponge or cloth for a shiny surface.
7. Laundry. Baking soda can be used alone or as a boost to your regular laundry detergent. Add one-half cup to your washing machine load to help balance pH levels.
You can use baking soda to freshen and deodorize bedding and sleeping bags in between washings. Sprinkle on the bedding and let the baking soda set for about 15 minutes. Then shake well outdoors to loosen and remove the baking soda.
8. Put out fires. In an emergency, you can use baking soda to smother fires in clothing, fuel, wood, upholstery and carpet. Baking soda can be used for electrical fires as well, and the good part is it will not ruin some items, as water will.
9. Deodorizer. Baking soda does a great job of absorbing odors. In addition to your main refrigerator, you can use it in coolers and portable refrigerators as well.
Sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of your garbage cans to neutralize odors there.
Here’s another deodorizing tip: If a skunk sprays your dog, add a cup of lemon juice, a box of baking soda and a half-cup of shampoo in a warm bath to help kill the odor.
10. Cooking. You can use baking soda to safely clean your fruits and vegetables before eating them or cooking them. Scrub them with a clean brush and a paste of baking soda and water. Then rinse thoroughly.
You can decrease the cooking time for dried beans with baking soda. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to the water you soak the beans in overnight before cooking them. It not only cuts the cooking time in half, but it makes the beans more digestible for most people.
Finally, here is one more reason you need to stockpile baking soda. You can use it to make a rehydrating drink for survival situations. In cases of severe dehydration, when other methods of rehydrating are not available, here is an effective option.
Mix the following ingredients together:
- 1 quart of water
- ½ tsp of baking soda
- ½ tsp of table salt
- ¼ tsp of salt substitute (potassium chloride)
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- Fruit juice as flavoring (optional)
Have dehydrated person take small sips of the solution every five minutes until he or she begins to urinate normally.
Do you know of other uses for baking soda? Share your tips in the section below: