A baking soda bath is a refreshing way to rejuvenate, cleanse, and detox your skin. Normally used in the kitchen for baking and keeping the refrigerator fresh, baking soda is also a valuable—and very affordable—natural health product.
Baking soda—or sodium bicarbonate—can leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, and clean without leaving a residue on your bathtub or increasing your chance of falls (like bath oils do).
It also offers some really useful detoxifying effects. Because of its high alkalinity, baking soda can help with a number of common health issues, such as yeast infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), rashes, bug bites, dry scalp, smelly feet, and hemorrhoids.
The Importance of Alkalinity
When your body is acidic, it’s hard on your body. It can lead to inflammation and degeneration, ultimately creating a very unfavorable environment. The Standard American Diet, which is high in fried and processed foods, is very acidic. Creating an alkaline environment is very important to your health, because it limits acidity and therefore minimizes its negative effects.
Alkalinity optimizes heath by providing a setting that allows your body to function at optimal levels. Because baking soda is alkaline, it can have detoxifying effects on your skin—and other exposed areas—that can provide healing and regeneration.
Related Reading: 6 Health Benefits of Drinking Alkaline Water
Detoxing with a Baking Soda Bath
Baking soda and water is truly a powerful combination. It can take a toxic infection and send it back to where it came from in a few days, leaving you feeling refreshed and healed.
Now if you’re feeling sick and tired and want to “detox,” I’m not sure taking a baking soda bath will help you. It’s not going to suck the acidic “toxins” from your skin and leave you in a fresh, healthy state. The “toxins” you might be imagining don’t work that way, and neither does baking soda. Instead, you can use a baking soda bath for specific ailments that affect the skin and other exposed areas. Here’s a list of some of the conditions a baking soda bath can help alkalize and eliminate:
- Itchy skin: If you’ve got a rash or are experiencing itchiness from a bug bite or another reaction, a baking soda bath (or a baking soda-based rub) can help take care of it in a hurry. We’ll get to the various ways you can use baking soda later, but itch relief is one of its best uses.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): A UTI can be a painful infection. It can impact the bladder, kidney, and other connecting tubes associated with unration—and one of the worst symptoms is a painful burning sensation when you pee. Sitting in a baking soda bath can neutralize the acid in your urine, providing great relief from the burning sensation caused by a UTI. And although it might not cure a UTI, it can provide symptomatic relief during the healing process.
- Acne and other blemishes: Soaking your face in a baking soda-based water mixture can relieve acne and blemishes on your face and body.
- Smelly feet: Soaking your feet in a baking soda bath can kill the bacteria that causes unpleasant foot odor.
- Dry scalp: Massaging a baking soda-based water mixture into your scalp can refresh the scalp to relieve the dry, itchy feeling.
- Yeast Infections: Sitting in a baking soda bath can neutralize a yeast infection.
- Hemorrhoids: A baking soda bath can also help relieve the itch and discomfort of hemorrhoids.
Different Ways of Bathing with Baking Soda
- If you’re looking to smooth out your skin or treat a UTI, yeast infection, or hemorrhoids—or even just relax—then sitting in a baking soda bath is recommended. Use warm water (not hot) and add a half- to one-cup of baking soda to the tub. Swish it around a bit so it dissolves and you’re good to go. Sit in the tub for about 15 minutes and relax!
- Treating specific rashes or bites, on the other hand, can be done by making a water and baking soda solution using one part baking soda and three parts water. You can use a tablespoon of baking soda and three tablespoons of water—give or take—depending on your needs. Stir it into a paste, apply it to the affected area(s), and let it dry. Once it’s dried, rinse it off. You can use the same recipe to cure dry hair and scalp. Simply rub the paste in, let it sit for about three minutes, and then rinse it out with lukewarm water.
- You can make a face wash by using a tablespoon of water or lemon juice and one tablespoon of baking soda. Stir to a paste and apply it after washing your face with your regular cleanser. Rub the paste on two to three times a week to clear up acne and other unwanted blemishes.
- If you want to improve the smell of your feet, fill a basin or a large bowl with one quart of lukewarm water and one tablespoon of baking soda. Soak your feet for about 15 minutes and it should kill off the odor-causing bacteria.
Precautions to Take Before Getting in a Baking Soda Bath
Although a baking soda bath can be soothing, there are certain conditions that can pose problems. If you’re pregnant, have high blood pressure, or suffer from heart problems, you should consult your doctor first.
Bonus: Other Useful Detox Bath Recipes
- Epsom salts: A good way to relieve pain and relax your muscles is to add Epsom salts to a bath.
- Scented candles: One of my favorite ways to relieve stress is with aroma therapy. Using scented candles around a bath is a great way to unwind and relax at the end of a long day.
Mcleod, J., “Natural Itch Relief,” Farmers’ Almanac web site, June 6, 2011; http://farmersalmanac.com/health/2011/06/06/natural-itch-relief/.
King, M., “Can You Use Baking Soda for Itching Skin?” Livestrong.com, January 18, 2014; http://www.livestrong.com/article/242199-how-to-use-baking-soda-for-itching-skin/.
“Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs),” Palo Alto Medical Foundation web site; http://www.pamf.org/youngadults/sex/uti/, last accessed August 10, 2015.