Monday, December 31, 2012

LID: Baking Soda: It's Kind of A Big Deal

Arm & Ham by Mark Finch

December 30

Soda Bicarbonate 
"Baking Soda" 

Baking Soda has a wide variety of uses many of which can save you time and money. Oh, the secrets our mothers and grandmothers knew.  Here are just a few ways you can use baking soda taken from the  allyou website

  1. Skip produce washes—just put some baking soda on a damp sponge, scrub and rinse.
  2. Soak hair brushes and combs in a mixture of 1 teaspoon baking soda and a small amount of warm water. Rinse and dry.
  3. Before you store your patio furniture for the season, scatter baking soda under chair cushions.
  4. Keep your grill clean all summer long by putting some baking soda on a damp brush, scrubbing the grate, then rinsing.
  5. Freshen rugs by sprinkling baking soda on carpet, wait at least 15 minutes (preferably let sit overnight), then vacuum up.
  6. Add 1 cup of baking soda to your next load of laundry (along with your regular liquid detergent) to get clothes cleaner and brighter.
  7. Remove baked-on residue by shaking a generous amount of baking soda on pots and pans. Then add hot water and dish detergent, let sit for 15 minutes and wash as usual.
  8. Deodorize a funky-smelling hamper. Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the hamper (or over dirty clothes) to keep items fresher until laundry day.
  9. To brighten a dull floor finish, dissolve ½ cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water. Mop and rinse for a shiny floor.
  10. Make your own bathroom scrub by mixing ¼ cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add vinegar to give it a thick, creamy texture.
  11. To put out a grease fire, scatter baking soda over it by the handful to extinguish flames.
  12. Clean the dishwasher and coffeemaker by running an empty cycle with baking soda.
  13. Add ½ cup baking soda to your bath for an at-home spa treatment.
  14. To shine tarnished silver, combine three parts baking soda with one part water. Rub onto silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry.
  15. Sprinkle baking soda in the kitty box, then add litter on top to keep smells to a minimum. Or make a DIY litter, mixing a small box of baking soda with 3 inches of sandy clay.
  16. Use baking soda to brush your pets’ teeth.
  17. For instant relief from bug bites, sunburn and poison ivy, mix baking soda with a little water and apply it directly to the sore.
  18. Pour in 1 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup hot vinegar to quickly unclog the kitchen drain.
  19. Fight dandruff by tabling the shampoo for a few weeks and massaging your wet scalp with a handful of baking soda instead.
  20. Gargle with baking soda, or use it as mouthwash.
  21. Soak toothbrushes in a mixture of ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup water; let brushes stand overnight for a thorough cleaning.
  22. Make a fluffier omelet by adding ½ teaspoon baking soda for every three eggs.
  23. Use a pinch in a gallon of freshly-brewed iced tea, to take out the bitterness and prevent cloudiness.
  24. Scatter baking soda on icy sidewalks―it’s not as corrosive as salt.
  25. Discourage weeds by sprinkling baking soda into the cracks on your driveway and walkways.
  26. Surround Fido’s food bowls with baking soda to keep pests away.
  27. Mix a little baking soda into your conditioner and lather on your hair to keep it healthy and resistant to split ends.
  28. Have heartburn? Create an antacid by mixing ½ teaspoon of baking soda with ½ cup of water.
  29. To clean a toilet, add ¼ cup baking soda to the bowl, swirl, then scrub.
  30. Exfoliate your skin with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to one part water. Apply gently with your fingertips in a circular motion, then rinse
  31. To deodorize a drain, pour about ½ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup vinegar. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clean residue.NOTE: Use this method only if your pipes are metal. And never mix with other cleaning solutions. Don't try this if you've recently used a commercial drain product.

You can learned more ways to use baking soda here:

Let's not forget the Baking Soda Volcano Experiment.

Baking Soda is used as an ingredient in many of the items we use today including toothpaste, laundry detergent, cat litter, deodorant and antacids. It is the main ingredient in fire extinguishers. That's why baking soda is best used for getting rid of grease. 

The Baking Soda we are use today was not invented until the 19th century. There are many different ways to create baking soda. Humans have been experimenting with this since antiquity.

In Ancient Egypt, Egyptians would gather a substance known as Natron from dry lake beds or by burning seaweed and other marine plants. Natron is a naturally occurring mixture of sodium carbonate decahydrate (Soda Ash)  and 17% of  sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda) mixed with small quantities of sodium chloride and sodium sulfate. The purity of which is tested by the color. It is white to colorless when pure and varies with grey or yellow when there are imperfections. The Ancient Egyptians used for thousands of years as a cleaning agent for their home and body. Here are some ways they used it

You can learn more about the Ancient Egyptians use of natron here:

Romans also used Natron to until 640 AD. They would combine it with lime and sand by ceramic and glass makers. They also used it for making breads and for medicinal purposes.

Natron was used by many different cultures throughout the world.

Potash is crude potassium carbonate that was used in antiquity to bleach textiles and make glass. In 500 AD, it was also starting to be used to create soap. Another name for Potash is Lye. Here is how it was traditionally made.

Ash Hopper for Collecting Lye
By: Denise Krebs
From Soap Making - Traditional Methods: Lye Rain Water Wood Ash by Paul Norman
In making soap the first ingredient required was a liquid solution of potash commonly called lye.The lye solution was obtained by placing wood ashes in a bottomless barrel set on a stone slab with a groove and a lip carved in it. The stone in turn rested on a pile of rocks. To prevent the ashes from getting in the solution a layer of straw and small sticks was placed in the barrel then the ashes were put on top. The lye was produced by slowly pouring water over the ashes until a brownish liquid oozed out the bottom of the barrel. This solution of potash lye was collected by allowing it to flow into the groove around the stone slab and drip down into a clay vessel at the lip of the groove.

Some colonists used an ash hopper for the making of lye instead of the barrel method. The ash hopper, was kept in a shed to protect the ashes from being leached unintentionally by a rain fall. Ashes were added periodically and water was poured over at intervals to insure a continuous supply of lye. The lye dripped into a collecting vessel located beneath the hopper.

The hardest part was in determining if the lye was of the correct strength, as we have said. In order to learn this, the soap maker floated either a potato or an egg in the lye. If the object floated with a specified amount of its surface above the lye solution, the lye was declared fit for soap making. Most of the colonists felt that lye of the correct strength would float a potato or an egg with an area the size of a ninepence (about the size of a modern quarter) above the surface. To make a weak lye stronger, the solution could either be boiled down more or the lye solution could be poured through a new batch of ashes. To make a solution weaker, water was added.

By the the 18th century Potash production had become a huge industry. It's usefulness for baking products was discovered during the 1760's. Before this discovery bakers were kneading dough for very long periods of time to ensure it had the proper amount of air in it. Pearlash, the concentrated form of Potash was used to offset the sour taste of sourdough bread. Eventually, Europe began to run out of trees to create Potash. 

Soda Ash
In 1783, King Louis XVI and the French Academy of Science conducted a contest to solve the Potash dilemma. They called upon scientist to develop a process of converting salt (sodium chloride, NaCI) to soda ash (sodium carbonate, Na2CO3). The prize was 2400 livres. The prize was won 1791 by the French chemist and surgeon, Nicolas Leblanc (6 December 1742 – 16 January 1806). Leblanc was Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans, Duke of Orleans, physician. He patented his solution and built his first plant for the duke at Saint Denis. Leblanc created his first supply at the plant then had it tried at some bakeries. The bakers found it to be equivalent to Potash. Three years later, his plant was seized by French Revolutionaries during the Rein of Terror along with all  rest of Louis Philip's estate. The revolutionaries destroyed the plant and publicized his trade secrets. The secret for creating soda ash was read and adopted throughout Europe and England. Soda factories began to appear everywhere. In 1801, Napoleon returned the plant to Leblanc. Leblanc had been denied his 2400 livres prize money had earned ten years earlier. Financially strapped and unable to compete with other soda factories, Leblanc could never repair his factory nor operate it. French soda factories were making 10,000 - 15,000 tons of soda ash annually in the early 19th century.  Leblanc committed suicide with a gunshot to his head on January 16, 1806. You can learn more about his story at

Arm and Hammer
Baking Soda wasn't invented until 1846 John Dwight of Massachusetts and his brother in law, Dr. Austin Church of Connecticut, started to manufacture bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in the kitchen of Doctor Church's home.  The two men sold their creation in paper sacks. The men split the responsibilities with Church being in charge of production and Dwight in charge of sales. The development of baking soda was nothing new to Church. Sixteen years earlier, Church had been experimenting with synthetic production of bicarbonate of soda in Rochester, NY. In 1847, they established the John Dwight and Company brand and established a plant at 25th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues in New York City. They called their product Saleratus.  Saleratus was sold in one pound under  packages.

The popularity of Saleratus grew rapidly in the United States. In 1865, Church felt the popularity of Salertus demanded the development of large facilities. He withdrew from his partnership with his brother and law to create a new company with his two sons, James A. and E. Dwight Church known as Church and Company. He developed a plant at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York and named their product Arm and Hammer with the now famous logo.
In 1896, the two companies settled their difference and consolidated to form the Church & Dwight Company. In 1925, the company incorporated to form the Church & Dwight Co., Inc. Although the company retained both mascots it is the Arm and Hammer that has become their trademark.

No comments:

Post a Comment