Neutralization of acids and bases
Many laboratories keep a bottle of sodium bicarbonate powder within easy reach, because sodium bicarbonate is amphoteric
, reacting with acids and bases
. Furthermore, as it is relatively innocuous in most situations, there is no harm in using excess sodium bicarbonate. Lastly, sodium bicarbonate powder may be used to smother a small fire.
A wide variety of applications follows from its neutralization properties, including reducing the spread of white phosphorus
from incendiary bullets inside an afflicted soldier's wounds.
Sodium bicarbonate can be added as a simple solution for raising the pH balance of water (increasing total alkalinity) where high levels of chlorine (2–5 ppm) are present as in swimming pools and aquariums.
Sodium bicarbonate is used in an aqueous solution
as an antacid
taken orally to treat acid indigestion
It may also be used in an oral form to treat chronic forms of metabolic acidosis such as chronic renal failure
and renal tubular acidosis
. Sodium bicarbonate may also be useful in urinary alkalinization for the treatment of aspirin overdose
and uric acid
renal stones. It is used as the medicinal ingredient in gripe water
Bicarb has been known to be used in first aid, in treating scalding, to prevent blistering and scarring with instructions to cover scaled area with a liberal layer of bicarb and seek medical assistance.
An aqueous solution is sometimes administered intravenously
for cases of acidosis
, or when there are insufficient sodium or bicarbonate ions in the blood.
In cases of respiratory acidosis, the infused bicarbonate ion drives the carbonic acid/bicarbonate buffer of plasma to the left and, thus, raises the pH. It is for this reason that sodium bicarbonate is used in medically supervised cardiopulmonary resuscitation
. Infusion of bicarbonate is indicated only when the blood pH is marked (<7.1-7.0) low.
It is used as well for treatment of hyperkalemia
. Since sodium bicarbonate can cause alkalosis
, it is sometimes used to treat aspirin overdoses. Aspirin requires an acidic environment for proper absorption, and the basic environment diminishes aspirin absorption in the case of an overdose. Sodium bicarbonate has also been used in the treatment of tricyclic antidepressant overdose
It can also be applied topically as a paste, with three parts baking soda to one part water, to relieve insect bites.
Adverse reactions to the administration of sodium bicarbonate can include metabolic alkalosis
due to sodium overload, congestive heart failure
, hyperosmolar syndrome
, hypervolemic hypernatremia
, and hypertension
due to increased sodium. In patients who consume a high calcium or dairy-rich diet, calcium supplements
, or calcium-containing antacids such as calcium carbonate
(e.g., Tums), the use of sodium bicarbonate can cause milk-alkali syndrome
, which can result in metastatic calcification
, kidney stones
, and kidney failure
Sodium bicarbonate can be used to cover an allergic reaction of poison ivy, oak, or sumac to relieve some of the itching that is associated with it (an alternative to buying hydrocortisone cream).
Sodium bicarbonate can be used as an exfoliant. Its particles are rounded and fine in texture, making it both effective and gentle on the skin. Using baking soda as an exfoliating scrub will remove dead skin cells, which can be discolored from hyperpigmentation and scarring.
Sodium bicarbonate is also used as an ingredient in some mouthwashes. It works as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums, neutralizes the production of acid in the mouth and also as an antiseptic
to help prevent infections occurring.
A paste made from sodium bicarbonate and a 3% hydrogen peroxide
solution can be used as an alternative to commercial non-fluoride toothpastes
, and sodium bicarbonate in combination with other ingredients can be used to make a dry or wet deodorant
It may also be used as a shampoo.
As a cleaning agent
A paste from baking soda can be very effective when used in cleaning and scrubbing.
For cleaning aluminium objects, the use of sodium bicarbonate is discouraged as it attacks the thin unreactive protective oxide layer of this otherwise very reactive metal. A solution in warm water will remove the tarnish
when the silver is in contact with a piece of aluminium foil
Baking soda is commonly added to the rinse cycles of washing machines (together with the detergent) as a replacement for softener and also to remove odors. Sodium bicarbonate is also effective in removing heavy tea and coffee stains from cups when diluted with warm water.
Since it acts as a neutralizing agent it can be used to absorb odors which are caused due to strong acids.[citation needed
] It is a tried-and-true method of used booksellers. The baking soda will absorb the musty smell, leaving the books less odorous.