Sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda, is a widely used ingredient in kitchens everywhere. As its name implies, it’s particularly prevalent in baking and is an essential component in various types of bread and cakes. But neat freak Melissa Maker has been using it for a very different means; the owner of housekeeping service Clean My Space has been putting the chemical compound on her mattress – with surprising effects.
One reason why the use of baking soda is so widespread in cooking is that the substance acts as a leavening agent. In essence, it makes a bread or cake mixture lighter by producing gas bubbles as it cooks in the oven. That’s why you often come across holes when you slice home-baked bread.
That being said, baking soda use isn’t limited to baking. The ingredient is commonly used when soaking pulses as it acts as a softening agent. In fact, the peas used to make mushy peas, the popular British accompaniment to fish and chips, are often left overnight in water containing sodium bicarbonate for this very purpose. Other areas of world cuisine, Latin American and Asian chief among them, use baking soda to help tenderize meat.