What's so fabulous about baking soda? Let's start with the price, it's the best game in town. Even a name brand version is less than a dollar when you catch it on sale. If you buy it at the 99 cent store or if you buy generic or in bulk you can probably get it for even less. In addition, baking soda is one hundred per cent environmentally safe. It is green, organic, and all natural. It is as non abrasive a scrub you'll ever find. Feel free to use it on the most delicate ceramic. And there are many other wonderful uses for baking soda:

Around the house: in lieu of buying cancer causing air fresheners loaded with chemical odors, sprinkle baking soda on your carpet over night. It will absorb all kinds of odors including the stale smell of cigarettes and pet odors. In morning, or after 24 hours, simply vacuum it all up. As deodorizer you can sprinkle it at the bottom of trash receptacles before you put in the liner. You can also add it a smelly load of laundry. If you have old books that have gotten water damaged or are just musty, put the book in a airtight plastic bag with a tablespoon of baking soda. Zip up the bag and gently shake the baking soda around. Leave it shut in a cool dark place for a while to absorb to offending smells. You can do the same thing with clothing that may have either perfume smells from a previous owner or musty smells: put the clothing in a bag with the baking soda for a period of time. You'll have to wash out the baking soda afterwards.

Cleaning: Baking soda can also be used as a gentle and effective cleanser. It will not scratch enamel nor harm the environment. Use it to scrub your counter tops, sinks and range in the kitchen. You can also use it to scrub out the microwave oven. It won't harm anything. Even if some residue is left behind you don't have to worry about it irritating your pets or getting into your food as it is all natural and edible. You can use it to clean the inside of the oven as well.

Health: Baking soda can be used as a stomach settler. Instead of buying the bright pink and much more expensive medications like Pepto Bismal, stir some baking soda in water and drink it to settle an upset stomach. The soda will neutralize stomach acid. You can also use it to brush your teeth with. It not only polishes your teeth, it's inexpensive and it absorbs odors in your mouth. It is also soothing to put on cold sores.

Cooking: Use baking soda in cooking as a leavening agent. Add a fourth of a teaspoon to bread recipes in high altitudes for extra expansion. Use it in biscuits for a nice light taste. It can also be added to simple sugar cookie recipes where lightness is desired without the overblown poof of yeast. If you are using it in pancakes do not over stir. Baking soda is not a living creature like yeast. If you beat the air bubbles out of your batter you will get a heavy leaden tasting pancake. Make fluffier omelets by adding half a teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs used. Add a half a teaspoon of baking soda to the water you use to soak dried beans. Drain off the water and use fresh water to boil them. This will take out some of the gassiness associated with eating beans. They will be easier to digest.

When not in use, keep an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator to absorb food odors. If you smoke you might want to keep open boxes in your car and around your house as well. I found sprinkling the car upholstery with baking soda and leaving it overnight, then vacuuming it up successfully reduced the smell of cigarettes. Change the box in your refrigerator every three months for the best results. I usually start the fresh box in the kitchen and relegate the older box to laundry duty. You can even relegate baking soda to really smelly tasks, like sprinkling it on top of the kitty litter in the cat box. Some companies advertise their brand has odor absorbers in it, chances are you are paying more for something you could simply add yourself.

Baking soda is also refreshing for hot feet and smelly shoes. Sprinkle a little into your shoes to absorb the foot odor. Sprinkle it directly onto your feet and rub it around to soak up your sweat. Rotate shoes so that each pair gets at least 24 hours to air out before you wear them again. Unlike most products on the market, baking soda doesn't mask offensive odors by overpowering them. It essentially absorbs sweat and odor giving everything an authentically clean smell.

Baking soda is safe on even sensitive skin. You can use it as an underarm deodorant if you apply it with a power puff. Of course it may chafe if you use too much. You can add it to a warm bath to sooth dry or itchy skin. You can also use a larger amount in the shower as a facial exfoliate. It is much finer than ground nuts or seeds used in many more expensive scrubs so it is safe even on skin with blemishes. It is also safe for your animals. You can sprinkle a little on the paper at the bottom of your bird cage to absorb odors. You can sprinkle a little on your dog's comb or brush as an in between baths, dry shampoo.

Make a thick paste of baking soda with a little water and you can even use it to scrub the gummy stuff off greasy kitchen wares such as kettles. It will dissolve soap scum that builds up on tubs and bathroom stuff as well.