Baking Soda – Friend of Travelers and Green People


I always bring at least one GoToob of baking soda when I travel, and I keep some in a pretty jar in my bathroom. Why? This simple substance can replace so many other items and save lots of space in your luggage as well as in your medicine cabinet at home. And it’s not liquid — it doesn’t take up precious space in your baggie when flying. What can you do with it? Read on…

Toothpaste. I’ve been brushing my teeth with baking soda since the TSA implemented their 3-1-1 liquid rule. It’s cheap and easy, and it works great. I pour a little into the palm of my hand, dip my brush in it, and brush away. I have some other recipes for baking soda toothpaste in a previous post, but I find that it works well all by itself and is the easiest method for travel.

Mouthwash. No need to carry an extra bottle. Dissolve a little baking soda in water and swish around to clean and freshen your mouth. You could add a drop of essential peppermint or clove oil if you want to get fancy.

Dry shampoo. Getting a little oily between shampoos? Use your fingertips to massage a little baking soda into the roots of your hair, then brush. Try not to rub it into your scalp — keep it in your hair. It will disappear into your hair and absorb the oil without leaving you looking like you just powdered your wig. Use a little bit at a time. You can always add more if needed, but brushing out a big handful will be more work. Don’t even get me started on those spray cans of dry shampoo. If you are using them, please read the ingredients. Butane? Propane? That’s lighter fluid, my dear. Please love yourself enough to not put lighter fluid on your head.

Wet shampoo. This is the product of choice for many of the no-pooers out there (people who shun chemical shampoos). You can gently rub a handful into your scalp and rinse. It really works!  Or you can dissolve it in a cup of water, pour it on your head, and massage in the liquid. This can be too drying if used every day, so most people space out their baking soda shampoos to a couple of times a week. Many people like to use a vinegar rinse after a baking soda shampoo to balance the pH of their scalp and to help condition and detangle hair. While that’s OK for home, carrying a bottle of vinegar on your travels won’t work. But if you feel the need for a rinse, you can carry a little citric acid powder to make a rinse that will do the same thing without the vinegar smell. If you’re in your hotel, get a cup from the hotel and dissolve a 1/4 teas. per 8oz of water and pour it on your head after the baking soda shampoo. Rinse and you’ll have clean, shiny hair.

Exfoliator. Baking soda is a fabulous exfoliator, so you can skip the expensive scrubs. It’s gentle enough to use on your face, and it works well on elbows, hands, feet — any place that could use a little polish. I’ve been using this as an exfoliator for many years. I find that it’s the most gentle, yet also the most effective thing out there. Pour a bit into your palm, add enough water to make a paste, and gently scrub and rinse.

Antacid. If you have heartburn or indigestion, Arm & Hammer suggests dissolving 1/2 teas. in 4 oz. of water. Follow the directions on the package and get permission from your doctor if you are on a sodium-restricted diet.

Deodorant. Ran out mid-trip or don’t like chemical deodorants? Pat some baking soda under your arms, or make a paste with water. It may not keep you dry if you sweat a lot, but it will help neutralize odors.

Treat bug bites, rashes, sunburn. Make a paste with a little bit of water and pat onto affected areas. Or pour a big handful into a bath and soak.

Foot soak or bath. Baking soda is said to detoxify and alkalize the body. Pour a big handful into a tub and soak, or add to an epsom salt bath to ease sore muscles.

Soap. Ran out of soap or your hotel didn’t have any? Use baking soda!

Netti Pot. Add a pinch to the salt in your nasal rinse to balance the pH.

Laundry detergent. I like to bring Forever New, to hand-wash my clothes, but if I run out or forget it, I’ll wash my clothes in baking soda or add it to the hotel soap to boost the cleaning power. It’s great for moldy swimsuits!

Deoderize shoes. Pour a bit of baking soda into your stinky hiking boots and let it sit overnight. Shake it out in the morning.

Clean dishes. Baking soda will clean any number of things. I’m not even touching on all the household uses of baking soda, but there are many. You can google it.

As you can see, baking soda is a great travel companion and can simplify your life at home. If you have any favorite uses for baking soda, please share in the comment section below.

Please remember that I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. See my disclaimer.

3 thoughts on “Baking Soda – Friend of Travelers and Green People

  1. Susan

    I have been using baking soda since you posted this and I love it! At first I did it with some peppermint, now I dont most ofthe time and it feels clean and fresh. My dentist is totally on board with this too.

  2. Sandy Pradas Post author

    My dentist is all for it too. There are so many things you can do with it, and it’s cheap!!

  3. Sandy Pradas Post author

    This is another idea from a friend: “I thought of something else that I use baking soda for. You can remove splinters with it as well. I have had splinters when in exotic places, and they can be very annoying. You just make a baking soda paste and put it on a Band-Aid and hold it over the area for a while… They say 24 hours but I have found you can do it for far less. The baking soda paste will cause the skin to swell and push the splinter out. It’s best used after other methods, since it will make the other methods (tape, tweezer, needle) more difficult because your skin will be slightly swollen.”

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