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A simple remedy to keep close at hand, because you never know, after all, mum and grandma used it. However, let’s face it, Sodium Bicarbonate often seems to us a slightly antiquated remedy. We are wrong. The most recent scientific research and studies carried out by industries show that this white and crystalline multipurpose substance has various potential uses: bicarbonate is natural, it is ecological, it is economical, it is beneficial for health and very useful for dozens of functions.
In fact, this substance was never lacking in the homes of our grandparents, who rightly made extensive use of it. Today we tend to fill the supermarket trolley with many different products, each with its specific function: cleaning, degreasing, deodorising, cooking, washing. But we forget, or perhaps we don’t know, that Sodium Bicarbonate alone could replace all of these products.
If it were used more often instead of other more expensive and more harmful substances, everyone would derive a great benefit from it, both in terms of savings and the fight against pollution. In short, bicarbonate deserves new and even greater consideration, in order to better understand its many virtues and the numerous possibilities of use.
Its applications are many and all very practical. Let’s see them.
The reasons why bicarbonate has been so useful to man in everyday life, and still will be in the future, essentially derive from its molecular structure and therefore from its physico-chemical characteristics. It is a simple and at the same time very versatile substance, without forgetting that it is an easily available and inexpensive resource. Thanks to its particular structure it is suitable to perform many useful functions: cleaning, degreasing, deodorising, purifying and defending health. Here are the structural features that make it useful for all these purposes.
It is an alkaline substance.
Sodium bicarbonate is a slightly alkaline substance, ie basic. The pH is neutral when it is equal to 7, below it is acidic and above it is basic. Bicarbonate has a pH of around 8 (at most 9). Due to this characteristic it is used as a buffer substance to keep the blood in the right acid-base balance. Therefore, it counteracts acidosis in the body, that is the excess of acidity that risks causing damage. When the pH level of the blood changes, which becomes more acidic than it should be, the “buffer” substances, including bicarbonate, intervene to bring it back to normal.
It is softly abrasive.
The structure of the bicarbonate is crystalline. They are “soft” crystals, easily soluble in water. When rubbed on the surfaces to be treated, the bicarbonate helps to remove the gray patina, stains, grease, without leaving scratches. That’s why it is useful for cleaning, both personal and objects. With Sodium Bicarbonate, you can brush your teeth (paying attention to the care of the enamel) or clean your pots (without having to rub a lot). For this purpose, it must be considered that the types of bicarbonate on sale are different from each other due to their consistency and graininess. Some are very fine-grained, while others are made of larger crystals. The coarser-grained bicarbonate is useful for household cleaning, while the fine-grained bicarbonate is good for personal hygiene and other uses of bicarbonate.
Acts on the digestive system Also due to its alkalinity, bicarbonate counteracts stomach acid. It is also contained in saliva, hindering the formation of bacterial plaque that can damage the teeth. It is also used to combat mycosis, insect bites and the proliferation of bacteria. This makes it very useful for cleaning and “sanitizing” fruit and vegetables. Moreover, due to its weak alkalinity it is very effective in cleaning and degreasing, because it increases the repulsion between the dirt and the surfaces on which it is deposited.
Helen Charlotte is a health centre assistant three days per week and a Biologist Student who enjoys running listening to music and walking. She is brave and entertaining, and loves competitions.