Baking Soda in the Bathroom Makes an Eco-friendly Shampoo, Deodorant, and Toothpaste!

For years I knew that baking soda had a huge variety of household applications.  We use it to make a soft scrub for the sink, we deodorize the fridge, it helps our muffins rise and can even be used as an antacid. 

But, thanks to a tip from Frugal Babe I tried baking soda as a shampoo.  When I first worked it into my hair the lack of suds and lather seemed a little strange.  Surprisingly, my hair was actually very soft and clean after the wash—as was my skin.   Since then I’ve heard that really oily hair can benefit from a quick “dry wash” with baking soda if there isn’t time for a full shampoo.  Just sprinkle the baking soda onto oily hair without wetting it, work into the roots, and brush out.

Frugal Babe also recommends storing vinegar in a spray bottle and spraying it on as a conditioner after a wet baking soda wash.  I gave this a try and felt like I was wearing “ode de pickle” all day.  Rebecca tried adding a bit of lemon essential oils to her apple cider vinegar spray and found that it worked well and smelled quite nice.

I have to admit that I haven’t tried this next idea, but it sounds rather intriguing. According to How Stuff Works.com, you can make your own toothpaste by mixing 3 parts baking soda with 1 part salt. You’ll need 3 teaspoons of glycerin (which can also be used to make homemade bubble solution) and 10 to 20 drops of flavoring (peppermint, wintergreen, anise, or cinnamon). It can all be mixed into a paste and then stored in a refillable squeeze bottle.  Although I haven’t tried baking soda toothpaste recipe, I know that just using baking soda on a wet brush works wonders. 

Bolstered by my success with baking soda shampoo, I tried using baking soda as a deodorant and found it works better than anything I’ve ever used before—including traditional brands with aluminum-based antiperspirants! I put a bit of lotion on my skin and then sprinkle on a little baking soda.   If you use too much baking soda, or put it directly on your skin, it can cause a rash so you have to experiment a bit with it.  Baking soda utterly wipes out the smell, so that even though I might sweat a bit there is no scent. 

Although there is no direct link between deodorant and breast cancer, spreading aluminum-based antiperspirant on skin that is located near several lymph nodes isn’t appealing to me—especially when breastfeeding.  Since high school I have been trying different versions of natural deodorants, only to find that none of them worked.  I had switched back to traditional brands but was trying to use them less frequently. It seemed like a difficult choice: do I want to expose my body to toxins, or feel smelly most of the time?   Thanks to baking soda, there is solution that works for my budget, my body, and the environment.

What a thrill to get to replace shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and deodorant with more natural, eco-friendly, and thrifty alternatives!   It means saving over a dozen plastic containers a year costing around fifty dollars (on the cheap end) with one big cardboard box of ultra-cheap sodium bicarbonate.  My baking soda fervor continues next week as we explore how to use baking soda with baby.  

Click here if you’d like to join us for Thrifty Green Thursday and please check out the links below!

 

Comments

  1. I’ve heard of baking soda as deordorant and toothpaste, but not shampoo–I’ll have to try that. It’s amazing how we’ve been marketed all these products that are so bad for you, like regular deordorant. I started using “the rock” and it works surprisingly well.

  2. Thanks for the tips! I like to use baking sods as a quick scrub when I run out of my favorite. It is amazing the amount what baking soda can be used for! I will try out the deodorant use this Winter and see how it works!

  3. After reading about using baking soda as a shampoo on Sorta Crunchy’s blog I’ve wanted to try it. I just haven’t yet. I’ve never heard of it as deodorant. I’ll have to try that too. I do wonder though, how do you “sprinkle” up into your armpit. That’s something I’ve never been able to figure out.

  4. I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar as a hair wash. I have very dry hair so I need to condition the ends, but I love the whole process. I dissolve the soda in water, one tablespoon to one cup, pour over my head and use a shampoo brush to work it in, then rinse well. Then I dissolve two tablespoons of the vinegar in two cups of water (I have long hair; you can halve it if you have shorter hair) and pour that over, comb through, then rinse well. Then i follow with conditioner. My hair is very clean, the vinegar smell dissipates once my hair is dry, and I can go several days without needing to wash my hair. It’s nice for dry hair because it doesn’t strip the oils out like shampoo does … even moisturizing shampoo left my hair dry and brittle. My hair also has great shine and body. All for a few cents!

  5. I’m not sure if my post is thrifty enough, but I wanted to share something I found on recyclable toothbrushes, including a deal on them (I was not paid or given samples, this review is purely because I liked the product). If it doesn’t quite fit, I’d be happy to remove it from your Mr. Linky.

    And by the way, I’m a baking soda devotee! It works for so many things. I throw some in when I’m washing the cloth diapers, and it also makes a nice cooling paste for when you have a sunburn. Not to mention I use it all the time to scrub pots and pans.

  6. Sara: I know what you mean about trying to sprinkle against the force of gravity! Actually I just sprinkle a bit onto my hand and then apply it to my underarms. We now keep it on the bathroom counter with all our other toiletries!

  7. I love baking soda. My grandma used to have us brush our teeth with it and back then I thought it tasted awful. But she swore by it and that was what we had to use. Now I really like the idea of it. Funny how things change with age.

  8. Oops! Sorry I put last week’s link up. I just put the corrected link up now.

  9. Great post! I’m another baking soda fan. Although I have to admit that until now I’ve used it more to clean my house, rather than my body. Now I’ll have to try it in the shower on me, too.

    I posted a link above to my “Thrifty Thursday” post, although I’m not sure it qualifies since it’s more a link love kind of post. If you think it’s okay, I’ll go ahead and put up your carnival’s logo. Thanks for all you do!

  10. When I was a kid I brushed my teeth with a tooth powder that my dentist recommended–essentially it was just baking soda and salt. It didn’t win points on the taste scale, but it worked great.

    For the baking soda as shampoo, how does that work on dandruff?

  11. I’ve been using the baking soda as shampoo 1 tbl to 1 cup warm water and 1 tbl organic apple cider vinegar to 1 cup cold water. I am very careful to rinse it well. I’ve been using this for over 7 weeks now but I find that there are sometimes that my hair will look shiny and other times that I wash it that it’s so dull looking and dry. I want to give up sometimes but I don’t want to go back to shampoo chemicals. This morning I tride 1/2 a tablespoon of baking soda insted of 1 tbls. It still looks dry I’m going to try using conditioner on my ends. Also, I feel like I get little bits of bakind soda left! I don’t have a big mane so I don’t know how elso to get it out good. I feel like I’m rinsing well. My husband tells me not to give up.
    I also use organic extra virging coconut oil instead of lotion on my body…he uses it too. I feel like I need more moisturizing though so I use one layer than wait and add another layer to my body. I can’t wait to try it as a deodarent tomorrow!…Thank you : )

  12. My email was confusing at the end!….sorry I don’t mean I can’t wait to try the coconut oil as deodarent…..LOL I meant the lotion and baking soda as deodarent.

  13. Larisa:
    Honestly, I don’t use the baking soda on a daily basis, but I do use it a few times a week. I haven’t directly observed that any flakiness improved or worsened with baking soda as shampoo. Has anyone else? I just scoop the baking soda directly onto my hair and scrub it in but I do still use conditioner. Earlier this year I experimented with mineral oil as conditioner and found it to be truly awful. It stays in your hair and makes it greasy and weird all day. Does anyone else have any solutions for natural conditioners other than vinegar?

  14. Jessi:
    I wanted to add that I’ve read that some people buy cocoa butter in bulk at natural foods stores and find that it works really well as body lotion. I haven’t been able to track any down yet, but I’d imagine that it would smell great too!

  15. DON’T GIVE UP! I’ve been devoted to my baking soda shampoo and apple cider vinegar conditioner since I first tried it 3 months ago. I don’t ever want to go back. I have long curly hair, also very dry and when I condition with vinegar I put 2 T in a yogurt cup with water and dip my ends in it and hold it there for a min. Afte that I pour the rest on top of my head. I saw a noticeable difference in how fast my hair was growing! Also I see less hair in the drain after I shower. Because I have curly hair I was still using a product to take away the frizz and give it shine. I was determined to find an alternative, and I have. I finger a LITTLE coconut oil through my hair after i’m out of the shower and my hair has never felt so soft or looked so shiny. I’m amazed.

    I experimented with the baking soda as deoderant, too. I just put some in an old herb container (ya know with holes at the top) so I could sprinkle it on that way. I tried it for as long as I could but just couldn’t get used to it.

    My facewash is also baking soda but sometimes I use honey and lemon. Then as a moisturizer it’s back to the coconut oil. I love finding new uses for this stuff!

  16. Thanks Joy! I will try the cocoa butter for winter b/c I still get itchy with the raw organic coconut oil.

    I haven’t given up the BS as shampoo and Organic ACV rinse but I still get little pieces left over in my hair, I kind of ignore it and the more I comb it it comes out but I’m wondering if anyone else has this problem?

    Oh and for some reason if I wash it at night and sleep with my hair wet my hair will look awesome in the morning wavy and shiny! But, when I wash it during the day and don’t lay on it it looks kind of dry. I don’t use a lot fo BS. I only use 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of ACV to one cup of cold water.

  17. I keep a container of baking soda and water in the shower and although I don’t measure it out, it ends up being a smooth paste. Since the baking soda is mostly dissolved in the water, I haven’t had a problem with bits of it in my hair later.

    As for the washing it at night issue, I don’t know why this is but I can agree! I wash my hair at night too and find that it seems healthier and shinier in the morning. For some weird reason though, I also find this to be true when I use shampoo on occasion.

  18. Hello,

    I’ve been using baking soda as shampoo for about 2 months now, and I’m having a bit of trouble with some things. I LOVE the idea of not using shampoo, and I’m totally in love with baking soda and vinegar for all kinds of cleaning. But, I too have had problems with sometimes having little flakes of soda in my hair (looks like dandruff), and often my hair still feels very oily after washing it. Also, I was wondering, what is the point of the vinegar? I was using ACV, but my husband didn’t like the smell of it (even though the smell goes away after it dries), so I switched to lemon juice, but I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be for.

    Also, I used baking soda instead of toothpaste for a few weeks, but my teeth/gums started to hurt, so I went back to toothpaste. any thoughts on this???

    AND – I’ve been using it as deoderent for about 2 months also, and totally love it. It works best to put it on right after the shower, when my skin is still a bit moist. I noticed that on the days I don’t shower, though, it doesn’t work as well. I need to start with nice clean pits first!! 🙂

    Anybody have any tips for me on the shampoo thing???

  19. oh yes, I also wash my face with baking soda, and have been using jojoba oil as a moisturizer – just a TEENY bit on my fingertips works its way around my whole face.

  20. oh, one more thing about the shampoo thing… when I stayed at my parents house over Christmas, my hair felt AWESOME – not oily or powdery as it sometimes does. They have soft water. I do not. maybe that could have something to do with it???

  21. The last time I messaged here it had been just 3 months of using only BS shampoo and ACV conditioner. This month makes my 1 YEAR anniversary. Not a single drop of commercial shampoo/cond. has touched my hair in 1 year. The decrease of split ends are amazing. I haven’t got a trim in about 5 months and you’d never know. I have long curly hair that used to be dry but now it’s normal and also now i find less hair in the shower drain than ever before.

    I’ve never had a problem with baking soda flakes in my hair and I use 1 tablespoon to 1 cup water. All I can say to that is, make sure you are dissolving it in water first and rubbing it into your scalp, not so much the rest of your hair. You need to clean the scalp where all the oil comes from to get your hair clean. That’s all I know to say.

    I can’t see myself ever using anything else. Good luck ladies.

  22. oh yeah and Jeannine, the soft water and hard water definately will make a difference in softness. Gather some rain water and filter through coffee filters, lol it will work if you’re willing to go that far.

    The vinegar removes build-up and residue from your hair, gets rid of tangles and makes it shine. Have you tried adding some essential oils or herbs to it to make it smell better?

    Also, I know what you mean about the sore gums. Baking soda is an abrasive, that’s what makes it such an awesome cleaner but that’s also why you need to gentle. That’s about it!

  23. The baking soda literally reacts (neutralizes) the fatty acids in the scalp oils which cleans them out of your hair. The disadvantage is that the high pH opens your hair’s outer shaft (cuticle) which will cause moisture loss and dull/rough hair if not returned to the normal lower pH (which hair is). That’s where the vinegar comes into play. The low pH of the vinegar close the cuticle and leaves the hair shaft smooth. Most of the conditioning effect in mass-produced conditioners is because of low pH waxes in their formulas.

  24. I just started using BS shampoo about a month ago. The first time I used it I was very impressed. I have super long hair, mid calf. My husband always brushes it for me because of the problems in my shoulders. The next time I washed, I used regular shampoo and conditioner. The third time I was going to wash my hair I asked him which method he preferred me to use. He said, don’t use that commercial stuff again. He found it so much easier to brush. Today he tried it on his hair for the first time. I’m waiting to see what he has to say.
    I still haven’t tried the ACV rinse, but after reading here, I think I will use it next time.

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