Baking soda in water can be used for cleaning, removing tarnish from silver, and exfoliating. It is also used as a remedy for indigestion, but there are safety concerns about consuming sodium hydrogen carbonate. Baking soda is an extremely inexpensive cleaner, but it's important for people who use it for cleaning to remember that, although it is abrasive enough to remove many stains, it doesn't kill germs.
When combined with water, baking soda becomes a paste-like cleaning product. It is abrasive enough to clean most kitchen appliances, the bath tub, toilet, and counters. Baking soda and water alone is a reliable cleaner, but it does not kill germs. To clean refrigerators, door knobs, and other areas of the home that need sanitizing, a solution of water and vinegar can be used. Some people also use baking soda as a rinse for vegetables and fruit, but this is not recommended because it is not very effective and can leave residue on the food.
Another use for baking soda in water is as a method of fixing tarnished silver items. A reaction between silver and chemicals in the air results in tarnishing, but baking soda can reverse the damage. The advantage in using this method rather than commercially available polishes is that it actually fixes the silver, bringing it back to its original state. Other polishes sometimes physically remove the tarnish, which means that part of the silver item is lost forever.
Some people suggest using baking soda as a cure for indigestion, though the safety of this remedy is in question. While this remedy has the potential to work, there are a couple reasons why this treatment is complicated. Many common pain relievers and over-the-counter medications can irritate the stomach when combined with baking soda. Furthermore, the compound contains a large amount of sodium, which can have negative health effects for some people.
Another way baking soda in water can be used is as an exfoliating body product. The abrasiveness of baking soda can be used to remove dead skin cells from the body, and it is fine and grainy, which is an optimal texture for an exfoliate. The only commonly reported downside to using this product is that it can irritate the skin or leave it too dry, but this is common with most exfoliants.