A Look Into The History of Bicarbonate of Soda
These days we know bicarbonate of soda as baking soda. We buy it in a small box or container at the grocery store. It has a multitude of uses. One of the most common uses for it is in the baking process.
Its long history is very colourful. In the past it has been used for countless applications. The strangest of these uses was applied by the Ancient Egyptians in the process they used to protect and preserve their mummies.
They used a substance called Natron. Natron is a combination of Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Carbonate (soda ash), Sodium Chloride (salt) and Sodium Sulphate (a neutral salt). It was found and mined in the dry lake beds 25 meters below sea level. The beds used to run along side of the Nile River.
It was also used as a deodorant. Oils and fragrances were added to keep the mummies smelling fresh through out the process of mummification. Another application the Egyptians had for Natron was making it into a smokeless fuel. When the artists worked in the tombs painting and drawing they needed torches to light their way. Unfortunately the regular fuels would cause soot to attach to the walls and destroy the paintings. By adding caster oil to the Natron it produced a smokeless fuel. Natron neutralized bad odours so the Egyptians used it to get rid of any bad body odours.They believed that by staying clean and pure the evil forces wouldn't be attracted to the bad odours.
Natron was also used as an ingredient in their toothpaste. A small amount of water was added to the natron to make a paste then a few drops of Myrrh were added. Myrrh was found in the thorny desert trees that grew in Ethiopia, Yemen and Somalia. The Egyptians thought this toothpaste would be a protection against gum diseases and improve their oral hygiene. Natron was used in glass and soap making as well.
When you mix baking soda and cream of tartar (tartaric acid) you get a new substance baking powder which is used in baking. Cream of tartar is a white sediment that collects in the lining of the inside of wine caskets after fermentation occurs.
In Victorian times it was added to lemonade and ginger beer to give it a fizzle. The birth of pop had occurred. The only problem with this was that you had to drink it down fast because the bubbles didn't last long. In the 20th century Alka seltzer was made from aspirin, bicarbonate of soda, and citric acid. It was used for medicinal purposes. Such as an antacid for heart burn and indigestion. It was also used to treat a hang over.
Kitchen uses, Cleaning microwaves, dishwashers, coffee makers, removing newsprint stains from surfaces, baby bottles, cleaning stove tops and removing plastic wrappers from hot surfaces.
Bathroom uses, shower curtains, removing soap scum from the shower, cleaning tiles and grouting. cleaning faucets.
General uses, silver and brass cleaner, ink spills, crayon markers, floor cleaner.
Laundry uses, fabric softener, cleaning the iron, grease stains, removing blood stains and vomit.
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