Can You Mix Salt and Baking Soda?

Can You Mix Salt and Baking Soda?

Baking soda and salt – two kitchen staples we often use separately. But have you wondered what mixing them together does? This odd-seeming combo is actually a clever hack. Blending baking soda and salt makes a fantastic scrub that cleans, deodorizes, and freshens beyond using either alone. The magic is their chemical reaction. We’ll explore the science behind this nifty cleaner, discuss the benefits of mixing baking soda and salt, and give tips for making and using this powerful potion. With just two simple ingredients you already have, you can make a super-charged cleaning and deodorizing powder beyond any store-bought scrub. Get ready to discover baking soda and salt’s secret power!

Quick Summary

Yes, you can safely mix salt and baking soda. In fact, combining these two common kitchen ingredients is a useful technique in baking.

Salt and baking soda perform different functions in recipes:

  • Salt is added for flavor. It enhances the other ingredients and balances sweetness.
  • Baking soda is a leavening agent that helps batters rise. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or buttermilk, it produces carbon dioxide bubbles that make baked goods light and fluffy.

Adding both salt and baking soda to a recipe serves dual purposes. The salt seasons the food while the baking soda causes it to rise during baking.

For example, many cookie recipes call for both salt and baking soda on the ingredient list. The tiny bit of salt enhances the flavor of the cookies, while the baking soda reacts with the butter, sugar, and eggs to spread the cookies during baking.

Muffin, pancake, waffle, and quick bread recipes also frequently contain both salt and baking soda. The salt brings out the flavor, while the baking soda creates air pockets in the batter for fluffier texture.

Quick Summary

Chemical Composition

Salt, also known as sodium chloride (NaCl), is a crystalline ionic compound composed of sodium cations (Na+) and chloride anions (Cl-). Table salt is mostly made up of sodium chloride but also contains trace amounts of other minerals like magnesium and calcium, which are often added to improve flow and prevent caking. The sodium and chloride ions arranged in an alternating 3D ionic lattice give the salt its characteristic cubic crystal structure and solid form at room temperature.

Baking soda, on the other hand, is chemically known as sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and is composed of sodium cations (Na+) and bicarbonate anions (HCO3-). The chemical structure of baking soda consists of one sodium cation, one hydrogen cation, one carbon atom, and three oxygen atoms. Unlike the ionic bonds in salt, baking soda is held together by covalent bonds, which give it a crystalline solid structure but not a distinct cubic form.

The sodium cation is common between salt and baking soda, but the anions dictate the chemical behaviors. Chloride exists stably with sodium in salt, while bicarbonate creates a gas-producing reaction.

For cooking

While baking soda and salt make an excellent cleaning mixture, you can also use this dynamic duo in baking recipes that call for baking powder. Baking powder acts as a leavening agent to help batters and doughs rise. It contains baking soda, cream of tartar, and starch. The acidity of the cream of tartar reacts with the alkalinity of baking soda to produce those important air bubbles that provide lift.

If you open your pantry and realize you’ve run out of baking powder, don’t worry! You likely have the ingredients on hand to make a quick substitute using items you already have in your kitchen – baking soda and salt.

Here’s the magic formula – for every 1 teaspoon of baking powder called for in a recipe, use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda combined with 1/2 teaspoon of salt instead. Mix the baking soda and salt thoroughly into the dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients. This will allow the baking soda and salt to fully integrate and react.

The salt provides the acidity that the cream of tartar would in a traditional baking powder recipe. When the alkaline baking soda and acidic salt mix with the moisture from the batter or dough, the same leavening reaction occurs, producing those bubbles of carbon dioxide that make batters rise to perfect fluffiness.

For cleaning

In addition to being handy in the kitchen, you can also mix baking soda and salt together to make an incredibly effective homemade cleaning scrub that’s tough on grime but gentle on the environment.

For cleaning

The mildly abrasive textures of both baking soda and salt make them ideal natural ingredients for tackling stained or dirty surfaces around your home. Baking soda acts as a gentle scouring powder, while the salt provides more scrubbing grit to lift tough grease and buildup.

Making this powerful, non-toxic cleaner is simple. Start by mixing equal parts baking soda and salt in a bowl or container – 1 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of salt works well. To activate the cleaning solution, slowly stir in just enough water to moisten the mixture into a spreadable paste, adding a little at a time. You want it thick but still loose enough to spread.

Armed with this paste, you can scrub away dirt, grease, and stains on oven tops, sinks, tubs, toilet bowls, kitchen appliances, countertops, floors, and other hard surfaces around your home. Apply a dollop of the baking soda and salt paste directly onto the dirty or stained area. Let it sit briefly to start lifting and absorbing grime. Then, gently scrub in circular motions with a sponge, brush, or towel.

The gritty salt will provide the abrasion needed to lift stuck-on food, grease, and dirt. Meanwhile, the baking soda will bubble away, breaking down grime and neutralizing odors. The combination of the two makes for an unbeatable cleaning duo without the need for any harsh chemical cleaners.

For an effective and environmentally friendly way to tackle tough cleaning jobs throughout your home, reach for baking soda and salt before you resort to toxic commercial cleaners full of chemicals. With just a dash of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride from your kitchen, you can make a gentle yet potent cleaner that gets surfaces sparkling.

For a therapeutic bath

Not only do baking soda and salt make an effective cleaning solution, you can also mix these two ingredients to create a soothing, therapeutic bath.
Baking soda is known for its cleansing and detoxifying properties that may help boost your immune system. Himalayan salt contains over 80 trace minerals that can help soothe sore muscles and joints.

To make a therapeutic soak, simply add 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of Himalayan salt to a warm bath. The combination of the alkalizing baking soda and mineral-rich salt helps draw out toxins, reduce inflammation, and leave skin clean and silky smooth.

Soak in this relaxing bath for 20-30 minutes to allow your body to fully absorb the therapeutic benefits of the baking soda and Himalayan salt. The effervescent bubbles will relax away tension so you emerge feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. With just two ingredients from your kitchen, you can enjoy the luxurious experience of a spa-like bath at home.

For a therapeutic bath

Sensory Play and Science Experiments for Kids

You can use baking soda and salt to create engaging sensory play and science activities for kids.

For sensory stimulation, combine baking soda and salt with a bit of water to make a moldable dough. The gritty texture of the salt combined with the soft and fluffy baking soda provides interesting tactile stimulation. Kids will love squeezing and shaping the dough.

To introduce basic chemistry, mix baking soda and salt with vinegar in a paper cup. Watch as the fizzy reaction bubbles over the top. The baking soda and vinegar react to produce carbon dioxide gas.

Add some food coloring to baking soda and salt to make colorful sensory bins for scooping and pouring practice. The coarse texture of the salt adds interest to the fine baking soda.

Whip up some frothy “potions” by mixing baking soda and salt with liquid soap. Kids will be fascinated by the foamy soap bubbles.
With just baking soda, salt, and a few other basic ingredients, you can create all sorts of engaging science and sensory play for kids to explore. Just supervise closely during play.

Safety Concerns

While using baking soda and salt for cleaning, cooking, and bathing is generally considered safe, there are some precautions to keep in mind:

  • Always do a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area before applying a baking soda and salt mixture to any surface. Check for any discoloration or damage.
  • Avoid getting the mixture in the eyes as it can cause irritation. Rinse eyes immediately with water if contact occurs.
  • Don’t use on polished stone like marble or granite as the salt can scratch delicate surfaces.
  • Rinse produce thoroughly after using this mixture as a produce wash, as residual sodium can be harmful if ingested.
  • Use caution with metal cookware or appliances, as the salt and acidity created can cause corrosion if left on too long. Rinse thoroughly after use.
  • When using it for bathing, start with smaller amounts to assess tolerance, as some may experience skin dryness or irritation.

With proper precautions, baking soda and salt can be used safely together in a variety of ways. But be sure to test carefully and rinse thoroughly after use. Avoid contact with eyes, and dilute appropriately for bathing.


While baking soda and salt can be an effective scrub, there are other common kitchen ingredients you can use instead:

  • Baking powder – Contains baking soda, so offers similar cleaning power. Combine with water to form a paste.
  • Lemon juice – The acidity cuts through grime. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto surfaces and let sit before scrubbing.
  • White vinegar – Has antimicrobial properties that kill bacteria. Make a solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water for cleaning.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – Its bubbling reaction helps lift stains. Apply it directly or mix it with baking powder.
  • Table salt – A more fine-grained alternative to sea salt for abrasive scrubbing. Use with water or lemon.
  • Borax – A natural mineral cleaner that disinfects and deodorizes. Mix with water to make a paste.

So, if you’re out of baking soda, don’t worry. You likely have one of these other effective, eco-friendly cleaning solutions in your pantry already. They provide natural scrubbing power without harsh chemicals.
Sensory Play and Science Experiments for Kids


What kind of salt works best with baking soda?

Fine grain salts like table salt or kosher salt work best as they can dissolve and distribute evenly in the paste. Sea salt or large rock salts have a courser texture that can be too abrasive for some surfaces. Always do a spot test first.

How does adding essential oils boost the cleaning power?

Adding a few drops of antibacterial essential oils like lemon, lavender, or tea tree oil can help disinfect surfaces. The oils also add a fresh, pleasant aroma. Stir in 5-10 drops of essential oil per 1 cup of baking soda and salt paste.

Can I use baking soda and salt to clean my wood floors?

No, avoid using this mixture on wood floors. The salt’s abrasive texture can damage and scratch delicate wood surfaces. For wood floors, stick to a mild cleaner like castile soap and water. Always check if a surface is salt-safe before cleaning it with baking soda and salt paste.

How long can a baking soda and salt scrub last before it loses effectiveness?

Store unused baking soda/salt scrub paste in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. It will maintain its cleaning power for 1-2 weeks. After that point, the chemical reaction that produces the cleansing bubbles will have expired. Make fresh batches every few weeks.

Is there a limit to how much baking soda and salt I should add to bath water?

Start with 1 cup each of baking soda and salt per bath, and increase only gradually if desired. Too much can dry out the skin. Add a moisture-restoring oil like olive or coconut oil if the skin becomes dry. Limit soaking time to 20-30 minutes.

Can I use this mixture to scrub fruits and vegetables?

No, avoid using baking soda and salt directly on produce, as the sodium content can be unsafe to ingest. Rinse produce thoroughly under cool water instead. Only use this mixture on non-porous surfaces.

What temperature does the baking soda and vinegar reaction work best?

Room temperature, between about 65°F to 75°F. Warmer temperatures speed up the reaction mildly, while colder temperatures may slow it down. But the reaction works at any common indoor or outdoor temperature.

Does mixing baking soda and vinegar produce any harmful byproducts?

No, the products are non-toxic carbon dioxide gas and water. However, mixing in a closed container can lead to pressure buildup from the gas, so leave the container open.

Related Video: Healing Your Body With Baking Soda & Water | Dr. Mandell

Final words

As we’ve explored, baking soda and salt are two humble kitchen staples that pack a powerful punch when combined. Though they seem like unlikely partners, these two ingredients create an impressive multi-use cleaner, deodorizer, and scrubber.

The magic of this duo lies in the chemical reaction between the alkaline baking soda and the acidic salt. Mix the two into a paste with water, and the resulting fizzing reaction lifts dirt and odors as no single ingredient can alone.

Beyond cleaning uses, baking soda and salt can be substituted for baking powder in recipes when you’re out of that vital leavening agent. The right ratios of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride mimic baking powder to lift batters to perfect fluffiness.

This pair not only cleans but also entertains kids through fun sensory play, frothy potions, and fizzy science experiments. With just basic kitchen ingredients, you can make playdough, colorful sensory bins, and chemistry lessons.

While this dynamic duo has many applications, take care to follow safety precautions. Avoid direct ingestion in large quantities. Spot test on surfaces and rinse thoroughly after cleaning.

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