1. Straight baking soda irritates sensitive skin.
I have sensitive skin. Most commercial products irritate my skin. Baking soda is a really gentle, effective product for sensitive skin, if diluted by something else. If you are using baking soda as a homemade deodorant or shampoo or body wash, be careful. I use a dilute solution on my hair and body and cut it 1:4 with cornstarch as deodorant. Some people can use it straight as a paste on their scalp and as a powder in their pits. God bless them. I CAN’T. It’s too strong. Itchy, itchy!
2. Soda in water loses power over time.
I have found that I need to replace my hair solution at least every ten days. I don’t know the shelf life for homemade liquid detergent or homemade Oxiclean solutions, which both use washing soda. But, they will also work great for a “while” and then lose power. So all those bottles of liquid homemade cleaners with washing soda or baking soda…don’t be surprised if they don’t work so well three weeks from now. A good DIY cleaning rule of thumb: “Any ingredient that can’t be bought as a liquid in the store generally doesn’t store well as a liquid at home.” An airtight container will *help*, but eventually just opening and closing the container a bunch will kill it.
3. Baking soda powder is abrasive.
My dentist says that using baking soda is FINE, but you have to be careful about the abrasiveness on your gums. My teeth are SO WHITE from using baking soda as toothPASTE. But once you’ve got out the stains, it’s best to use it in SOLUTION. You know how if you put too much water on baking soda it stops being scouring powder? Do that on purpose. Same for hands and body. Unless you need to scour your skin, use enough water that it’s not still a scouring paste. It will still clean.
4. Your skin likes a lower pH.
After you clean yourself with baking soda solution, you will need to return your skin pH to normal, especially if you have sensitive skin. Leaving the pH wrong will really aggravate sensitive skin. So, follow your wash with a MILD vinegar rinse. 1/2 T of vinegar per cup of water in a squeeze bottle is sufficient.
5. If you have hard water, add vinegar.
Your vinegar rinse at the end will take care of hard water deposits, but if you want to prevent them from getting on you at all, add some vinegar to your baking soda washes. When you mix baking soda and vinegar, you get a salt that’s useless for cleaning. (Frito Lay uses it to flavor salt and vinegar chips!) However, it is useful for keeping hard water particles suspended. Just under 1/2 T baking soda turns 1 quart of vinegar to fancy salt water. If you are worried about hard water depositing during your ablutions, neutralize yourself a quart of vinegar and then use that salt water to make your baking soda body solutions.