Baking soda—a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate—is cheap, readily available, and incredibly versatile. While you might already use the chemical compound to clean your kitchen or make cookies rise, there’s a lot more you can do with it. In honor of National Bicarbonate of Soda Day today (yes, it has a day!), take a look at these 10 things you didn’t know baking soda could do.
1. TENDERIZE MEAT.
Bakers often use baking soda as a leavening agent in breads and cookies, but some chefs also use it to tenderize meat. Many Chinese recipes call for marinating raw meat in a solution of baking soda and water, which alters the meat’s pH level and keeps the meat tender as it is cooked. Make sure you apply the baking soda directly to whatever meat you’re working with—rather than the meat’s skin or fat—and wash it off before cooking.
2. POLISH SILVER
Silver jewelry and utensils can be difficult to clean, and you probably don’t want to spend time scrubbing your silver with toxic cleaning solutions. For a cheap, non-toxic cleaner, sprinkle a quarter cup of baking soda into an aluminum foil-lined basin filled with your dirty silver items. Pour boiling water onto the silver, and let it soak until your silverware is clean.
3. REMOVE SPLINTERS.
If you’re having trouble extracting a splinter that’s embedded deep in your skin, don’t fret. Apply a mixture of water and baking soda to the skin around the splinter, and cover it with an adhesive bandage. In a day or two, the baking soda will soften the skin around the splinter, making it easier for you to coax the splinter out with tweezers.
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