Baking Soda has an unlimited shelf life, which makes it a perfect item for use in the outdoors. It also has hundreds of uses beyond cooking. It can be used for personal hygiene, sanitation, cleaning, medical and scent control.

Cleaning

  • Hand wash dishes:
    • Adding two tablespoons to the dishwater will help remove caked-on food. There are some easy dishwashing soaps that can fit in a bug-out bag with no leaking.
  • Cleaning off grid stoves:
    • When using stoves that are not electrical, it is very common to see baked-on blackness from firewood and smoke. Sprinkle some baking soda on and spray some water on the soda to make a paste. Let sit overnight and scrub in the morning, rinse and it is good as new.
  • Baby clothes and diapers:
    • Use 1/2 cup baking soda in warm water with natural soap, let soak overnight. Wash as normal. It is gentle on a baby’s skin and will keep them comfortable.
  • Oil and grease stains:
    • Oil and grease stains are inevitable if you have been servicing smaller engines and hunting. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and scrub with a wet brush.

    Medical

  • Ulcer pain:
    • 1-2 teaspoons in a full glass of water.
  • Antacid:
    • This actually works incredibly well. Place 1/2 a teaspoon dissolved in a 4-ounce glass of water. Sip slowly to reduce the possibility of gas or diarrhea.
  • Splinter removal:
    • Yet another hazard of bugging out. Splinters will be common. Place 1 tablespoon in a small glass of water, soak affected area twice a day and it will come out easily.
  • Minor burns/sunburns:
    • A mixture of baking soda and water applied to a cool compress can be applied directly to the burn. Or use 1/2 cup in a lukewarm bath and air-dry.
  • Insect bites/poison ivy:
    • Make a paste with water and baking soda. Apply to affected area and let sit.

    Personal Hygiene

  • Toothpaste:
    • Wet your toothbrush, dip into the soda and brush. It’s a simple way to clean your teeth, neutralize odors and freshen your mouth.
  • Facial scrub:
    • After a long day of hiking, washing one’s face can help relieve some tension. Using three parts baking soda to one part water will help scrub away the dirt and sweat that will accumulate. Rinse clean.
  • Hair wash:
    • Adding some baking soda to your shampoo or soap will help clean residue left behind.
  • Deodorant:
    • Applying some baking soda to your underarms will help deodorize your arm pits.

    Even these simple uses far outweigh any other item in your bug-out bag. Stock up today for about $0.37 a box and experiment with a few of these uses.

    Emily Thornton is currently working on her masters in communication at Idaho State University. She enjoys writing, racing after her son and playing games with her husband.