What you should know about good old Bicarb
Sodium Bicarbonate (Bicarb) is sourced the exact same way as Washing Soda. It’s an ancient mineral that has been in use for over 5000 years from baking, medicine to cleaning!
In the 1830s bakers began adding bicarb and sour milk to their dough. The reaction of bicarb with an acid creates carbon dioxide gas, which when trapped in the dough gave it its lightness. This is good for baking without yeast, however it’s not really an effective cleaner because you are neutralising the effects of both the bicarb & vinegar.
They do make a good team if used separately, with bicarb doing the cleaning and vinegar doing the rinsing.
It’s a white solid that is crystalline but will often come in a fine powder form.
WHAT IS THE CHEMICAL FORMULA?
Na = Sodium H = hydrogen C = Carbon O = Oxygen
WHAT IS THE pH LEVEL?
Bicarb Soda has a pH level around 9 which is slightly alkaline.
WHAT ELSE IS IT KNOWN BY?
Sodium Bicarbonate, Baking Soda, Bicarb, Bicarb Soda & sodium hydrogen carbonate.
Naturally Harvested: In certain parts of the world, natural underground deposits are formed from dried up reciprocated lakes. Using a simple filtering & refining process, water is pumped underground to bring up the brine containing the Trona (a mix of sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, and water). Its then filtered, separated and different grades are awarded based on density.
Synthetically made: Synthetic bicarb soda is made using either the Solvay or Hou process and contains several different chemicals. Both methods leave behind by-products and require either seaside discharge or waste beds to catch leftover impurities. These impurities have led to water pollution and overall deterioration of the surrounding environment.
Here are a range of uses for the amazing ingredient, confirming how versatile it is.
CLEAN POTS & PANS: Combine with table salt & washing soda to form an abrasive paste. Apply & scrub!
OVEN CLEANER: Make a paste with Washing Soda, Borax, Coconut Soap Flakes & Essential Oils. Spread mix inside oven & on trays. Let sit until dry & then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
SANITISER: Soak mops, dishcloths & even bins in a solution to remove any nasty smells & disinfect
LAUNDRY POWDER: Combine with Borax, Washing Soda & Coconut Soap Flakes for a powerful laundry powder
NATURAL BLEACH: Soak whites with a mixture of Bicarb, Borax & hot water. The hotter the water & longer the soak, the better!
STAIN REMOVER: Make a paste with Borax & Washing Soda. Apply to stain, soak overnight then wash as normal.
TOILET CLEANER: Add some Bicarb to your cistern for whitening & disinfecting.
TILE & GROUT: Use with hot water to clean ceramic or vinyl tiles. Make a paste to clean the grout.
DIY BEAUTY: Make your own toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant & face scrub.
ANTACID: Please seek medical help if you’re in pain, but bicarb is known to reduce stomach acid by diluting a small amount in water and drinking it.
PEST CONTROL: Sodium bicarbonate can be used to kill cockroaches. Once consumed, it causes internal organs of cockroaches to burst due to gas collection.
A short video from the Wyoming Cultural Geology teaching us about how natural bicarb soda is formed & mined. Mining a natural resource like this is not without a carbon footprint, however compared to the synthetic alternatives it may prove less hazardous for the future.