Monday, May 3, 2010

The Magic of . . . Baking Soda?

Over the weekend, I was contemplating what it means to be classic. I finally decided that whatever is being designated as a "classic" must be familiar, ever-present, yet relevant. I had this epiphany while tackling some spring cleaning tasks around my home -- more specifically, while my head was in the fridge, I caught a glimpse of my baking soda.

A ha, I thought. Baking soda, like the Hotel Boulderado, is a "classic."

(Stay with me on this one.)

Baking soda, or as it's known to chemists, sodium bicarbonate, has been utilized by humans since the ancient Egyptians figured out its usefulness as a cleaning agent. Our great-grandmothers and grandmothers relied on baking soda to help with laundry, housecleaning, and food preparation. Now, with the green movement, people are once again looking to baking soda because of its effectiveness and lack of toxic properties. Here's an incomplete list of things baking soda can be used for:
  • As an antacid. Take a teaspoon of baking soda, mix with one-half glass water, and drink. Or, to reduce the acidity in tomato-based recipes, add a pinch of baking soda.
  • As an ashtray buddy. By sprinkling it on ashtrays, you can cut down on bad odor and prevent smoldering.
  • As a cleanser. Add 1 cup to your toilet bowl, leave for one hour, and flush away dirt and odors. Sprinkle a handful on dirty clothes to boost your laundry detergent's cleaning power. Clean your garbage cans and refrigerator with a baking soda solution to keep smells away. If you have pans with burnt-on food, soak it in baking soda solution for 10 minutes before washing. Clean your drains by putting four tablespoons of baking soda in them weekly -- just flush it down with hot water.
  • As a decongestant. Add a teaspoon to your vaporizer to clear up stuffy noses.
  • As a deodorizer. Keep an open container of baking soda in the fridge and it will absorb odors. Sprinkle some inside boots, shoes, slippers, and socks to remove stinky foot odor.
  • As diaper rash reducer. Add two tablespoons of baking soda to your baby's bathwater.
  • As a digestive aid. Try soaking dried beans in a baking soda solution to make them easy to digest and cut down on gas.
  • As flower life-extender. You can keep freshly cut flowers longer if you add 1 teaspoon to the vase water.
  • As a gardening tool. Tomatoes will taste sweeter if you sprinkle some baking soda on the soil around the plants.
  • As a repellent. Wiping your car's windshield with baking soda will repel rain. Put some baking soda under your sinks and along basement windows to repel roaches and ants.
  • As relief from itchy bug bites, poison ivy irritation, bee stings, or painful sunburns.
  • As a skin softener. Add 1 cup to your bathwater when this dry air has your skin screaming for mercy.
  • As underarm deodorant. Apply using a powder puff.
Baking soda is one of the Hotel Boulderado's housekeeping departments favorite secret ingredients. We repeatedly receive compliments on how fresh our rooms smell, and how they don't have that "hotel smell." When asked about it, our housekeepers revealed that simple fresh air does the trick most of the time. For those stubborn odors, they recommend sprinkling some baking soda on the carpet, letting it sit for 10-15 minutes, and then vacuuming everything up.

Baking soda. So green! So historic! So very Boulderado!