National Bicarbonate of Soda Day
annually on December 30th
Bicarbonate of soda, commonly known as baking soda, is celebrated today. It is a salt that contains sodium and bicarbonate ions; its formula is NaHCO3. In its natural mineral form it is called nahcolite, which can be found in mineral springs. The chemically made version is mainly made through the Solvay process, which is the reaction of sodium chloride, ammonia, and carbon dioxide in water. In 1791, a French chemist named Nicolas Leblanc produced sodium carbonate, which is also known as soda ash. New York bakers John Dwight and Austin Church began using sodium carbonate and carbon dioxide to create baking soda at a factory in 1846; this was the first factory in the United States to make baking soda. Baking soda is a white crystalline solid, with a somewhat salty and alkaline taste.
Baking soda is used in baking; it is a leavening agent that reacts with acidic compounds to release carbon dioxide, causing the batters of baked or fried foods to expand. It is also used in cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing; for health purposes such as a treatment for acid indigestion and heartburn, to treat skin irritation, and to treat aspirin overdoses. It can be used in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and deodorants, for bug control, and to neutralize acid spills.
How to Observe National Bicarbonate of Soda Day
There are countless ways that bicarbonate of soda can be used in order to honor and celebrate it today:
- Use it as a leavening agent in baked or fried foods such as pancakes, quick breads, and soda bread.
- Use toothpaste, mouthwash, or deodorant that has it as an ingredient.
- Use it if you have heartburn or indigestion.
- Use it to relieve itching from poisonous plants or insect bites, or to relieve pain from sunburn—it can be put into bath water or made into a paste and applied to the skin.
- If you happen to get a splinter today, baking soda can help remove it.
- Use it as a general odor remover and disinfectant.
- Put it in your refrigerator or freezer to remove odors, or mix it with warm water and wipe down your refrigerator.
- Clean coffee and tea stains in your cups with it.
- Mix it in a bowl and use it to wash fruits and vegetables.
- Clean perspiration stains from clothes—make a paste with water, rub it on clothes, and let it sit for an hour before doing laundry.
- Get gasoline and oil smells out of clothing—put baking soda and clothes in a bag for a few days before washing.
- Add directly to washing your machine to soften water and remove odors.
- Clean your toothbrush by soaking it in warm water and baking soda overnight.
- Sprinkle it in rubber gloves to keep them dry and fresh.
- Use it to kill cockroaches, and to keep away silverfish and carpenter ants.
- If you have a pool or hot tub, use it to raise the alkalinity and to help maintain a proper pH level.
- Booksellers use it to get rid of musty smells, and you can use it on your books too.
- Make a vinegar and baking soda volcano.
- Unclog drains with baking soda and vinegar—put a cup of baking soda down a drain, followed by a cup of hot vinegar; let it sit for an hour and pour boiling water down the drain.
- If you plan on protesting today, bring some baking soda along to fight the effects of teargas.
- "Black snake" fireworks contain sodium bicarbonate, so it's a good day to use them.
- If a fire starts during this or anything else you are doing today, put some baking soda on it; baking soda is good for putting out small grease or electrical fires, but it is not good for deep fryer fires.