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Old 10-08-2009, 11:24 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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gargling with salt water vs. salt water + baking soda

Ah, flu season.

So a recommendation is going around my office to gargle with warm salt water a couple times a day, to disinfect one's throat.

It's something I've done all my life when I get that "I'm about to get sick!" tickle in my throat, and it often does stave off a cold. What's new to me is the idea of gargling as a preventative measure, but it makes sense.

I was gargling with warm salt water last night and Mr. Horseshoe says, "You should add some baking soda to that."

He was not, upon further questioning, able to tell me why the baking soda should be added to the salt. Just that this was how it was done when he was growing up.

So, Dopers: does adding baking soda to the warm-salty-water-gargle solution do any good? Does it help kill germs better that way? I'd never heard of the baking soda part before.
  #2  
Old 10-08-2009, 11:27 AM
pan1 pan1 is offline
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baking soda kills some germs.

salt kills some germs.

Using both = killing more germs.

Whether any of the germs these kill would otherwise make you sick, I don't know.

Last edited by pan1; 10-08-2009 at 11:28 AM.
  #3  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:17 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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I never heard of baking soda having any antiseptic properties. I guess that's the germ of my question.

Salt, sure, but baking soda?
  #4  
Old 10-08-2009, 12:37 PM
pan1 pan1 is offline
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you do realize that baking soda is just another type of salt.
  #5  
Old 10-08-2009, 06:36 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Baking soda is basic and could be caustic to various infectious agents. It's a mild base (only 8 or so in pH) so it's not going to hurt you like gargling lye would. Bacteria actually survive slightly better in basic environments than acidic ones, but other things (including fungi such as yeasts) prefer acidic environments. I'm not sure how viruses feel about it.

That said, I always thought the point of gargling baking soda was to neutralize acid in your mouth that might cause tooth decay. I've never heard of it being used as an antiseptic.

I would suggest gargling with diluted peroxide rather than either salt or baking soda if you're looking to prevent colds.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:50 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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As a kid, I had a bad case of strep throat....gargling with vodka really seemed to help.
  #7  
Old 10-08-2009, 07:09 PM
Baby Driver Baby Driver is offline
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I reckon baking soda is killing something. My housemate says she grew up brushing her teeth with baking soda instead of toothpaste. I'd probably pitch a spoonful into the gargle for good measure - it won't hurt, may help.

Last edited by Baby Driver; 10-08-2009 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:02 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Baking soda in water is slightly basic. Gargling with that after vomiting helps to neutralize stomach acid that is in your throat, and seems to help clean up that bad feeling in your throat.
  #9  
Old 10-09-2009, 02:27 AM
guizot guizot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
...I've never heard of it being used as an antiseptic.
Yeah, I wonder if it actually "kills" the germs. I've always thought it just limits their capacity to spread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
I would suggest gargling with diluted peroxide rather than either salt or baking soda if you're looking to prevent colds.
That's what I use--half peroxide and half water.
  #10  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:06 PM
Serenata67 Serenata67 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
...

I would suggest gargling with diluted peroxide rather than either salt or baking soda if you're looking to prevent colds.
No, no, no! Peroxide is bad for your mucous membranes.

I haven't heard about the baking soda remedy, but I know consuming peroxide is not a good idea. Your are quite possibly doing more damage than good. Mucous membranes protect you from infection and damaging them is never a good idea.
  #11  
Old 10-09-2009, 02:18 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby Driver View Post
I reckon baking soda is killing something. My housemate says she grew up brushing her teeth with baking soda instead of toothpaste. I'd probably pitch a spoonful into the gargle for good measure - it won't hurt, may help.
Baking soda works for brushing your teeth because it's a mild abrasive. Good enough to scrape the bacteria off, but not hard enough to scrape the surface of the teeth off.
  #12  
Old 10-09-2009, 02:20 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serenata67 View Post
No, no, no! Peroxide is bad for your mucous membranes.

I haven't heard about the baking soda remedy, but I know consuming peroxide is not a good idea. Your are quite possibly doing more damage than good. Mucous membranes protect you from infection and damaging them is never a good idea.
Wow... thanks for correcting me. I've heard this recommendation from so many sources I assumed it was correct. I'll have to go tell my friend now - he's convinced that peroxide is the miracle cure for everything from bad breath and gum disease to cancer and arthritis.
  #13  
Old 10-09-2009, 04:42 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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There is an inverse corrolary: the higher the number of ailments {cheap, easily available household item} can cure, the less likely it is to do any good at all.
  #14  
Old 10-09-2009, 09:46 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serenata67 View Post
No, no, no! Peroxide is bad for your mucous membranes.
That's if you inhale it up your nose. Gargling is a different animal. I wouldn't use it every day but gargling with Hydrogen Peroxide is not bad unless done to excess. I would thoroughly rinse with water when done.
  #15  
Old 10-10-2009, 09:30 AM
ftg ftg is offline
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I don't know about baking soda and mouthwash, but it's an ingredient in the standard Internet recipe for nasal saline solution. It helps take the "sting" out of it. Maybe it has the same effect in a mouthwash, but I think a lot of people think stinging=working so it may not be as popular.
  #16  
Old 09-11-2010, 04:03 PM
Haj Fenan Haj Fenan is offline
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We do all understand that the Hydrogen Peroxide we are talking about is the 3% Solution stuff you buy at Walgreens right? Higher concentrations are available and definitely NOT safe for gargling.

Last edited by Haj Fenan; 09-11-2010 at 04:06 PM. Reason: ambiguous as to statement or question. Should be statement.
  #17  
Old 09-11-2010, 04:18 PM
guizot guizot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haj Fenan View Post
We do all understand that the Hydrogen Peroxide we are talking about is the 3% Solution stuff you buy at Walgreens right?...
Really? And to think: For nearly a year I've been using the industrial stuff I get mail-ordered from Dow Chemical.
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