Baking Soda Body Care: 5 Things You Should Know

by Ivory Soap

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.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Adica July 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

“I don’t know the shelf life for … homemade Oxiclean solutions, which both use washing soda.”

For the oxygen bleach solutions, I’d be more concerned about the hydrogen peroxide being neutralized before the washing soda. Hydrogen peroxide eventually decomposes into plain water and oxygen. This process is sped up by light and heat, which is why the hydrogen peroxide in the store is sold in those dark, opaque bottles. I would say a bucket of oxygen bleach solution sitting out in the open (soaking laundry, for example) would be mostly neutralized in 12-24 hrs, depending on the temperature and concentration. It’s probably about the same for a solution stored in a clear bottle sitting out in the open. To make it last longer, you can keep it in the fridge (where it would be cold and dark) and add an acid, like vinegar (it decomposes faster in an alkali environment), but I don’t know how much longer it would last. Possibly a few days, up to a week? It would still be a strong washing soda solution, though, so it would still have some cleaning power.

Wanda July 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Thanks for the info. I have a question though. My hair is grey…..mostly :)…..and
tends to get a yellowish tinge sometimes as my husband smokes. You mentioned
baking soda as toothpaste making your teeth really white; will it work the same
way on hair, taking the yellow tinge out, and if so can you tell me how to use it?


Daisy July 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm
Wanda July 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Thanks so much honey. I will have to give that a try. I really appreciate this and love reading all the “Little House” posts.

monica July 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I keep dry baking soda in a sealed plastic container in my shower and just pour a teaspoon or so in a cup and add some water right before I wash my hair with it. I swish it around and pour it over my hair. Works well. I do the same with the vinegar. I don’t premix any of it. I also use the dry baking soda as a shaving cream, face wash, deoderant and an ingredient in my toothpaste. I do find it irritates my skin if I have razorburn under my arms. But no other time.

Wanda October 4, 2012 at 9:18 am

Daisy I have used the mix from the link and it works well. The first time, I saw some improvement but wasn’t terrible impressed. I did decide to try again though and that time, when getting ready to measure the soda, I realized that I had only used half the amount of soda. Don’t ask me how I did that the first time. LOL But it worked much, much better the second time. I also left it on a little longer and used white vinegar rather than the cider vinegar. I have asthma and the cider vinegar really aggravated that. The white vinegar didn’t nearly as much. Even my hubby noticed the difference.

Thanks again

sandra October 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

Well i make deodorant with baking soda but burns my skins
What’s can i do

Ivory Soap October 28, 2013 at 6:45 am

Use much less baking soda! Increase your cornstarch.

Jacquie June 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm

I have very itchy skin when it gets wet or when I sweat. I read that adding baking soda to both works. What’s your thought on that

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