Thread Tools
Old 10-08-2009, 11:24 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 9,352
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.
Old 10-08-2009, 11:27 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 845
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.
Old 10-08-2009, 12:17 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 9,352
I never heard of baking soda having any antiseptic properties. I guess that's the germ of my question.

Salt, sure, but baking soda?
Old 10-08-2009, 12:37 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 845
you do realize that baking soda is just another type of salt.
Old 10-08-2009, 06:36 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 8,867
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.
Old 10-08-2009, 06:50 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 16,681
As a kid, I had a bad case of strep throat....gargling with vodka really seemed to help.
Old 10-08-2009, 07:09 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In Transit
Posts: 200
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.
Old 10-09-2009, 02:02 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 13,809
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.
Old 10-09-2009, 02:27 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 7,754
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.
Old 10-09-2009, 01:06 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Titletown, USA
Posts: 3,038
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.
Old 10-09-2009, 02:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 8,867
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.
Old 10-09-2009, 02:20 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 8,867
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.
Old 10-09-2009, 04:42 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 9,352
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.
Old 10-09-2009, 09:46 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 27,172
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.
Old 10-10-2009, 09:30 AM
ftg ftg is offline
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 16,226
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.
Old 09-11-2010, 04:03 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1
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.
Old 09-11-2010, 04:18 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 7,754
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.
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:43 PM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: [email protected].

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: fancy feast reviews reddit benzo marvel wiki sentry reddit springfield mo morgue hospital underwater fuse frozen jellyfish snowman happy birthday engine braking prohibited cycles in walmart song about johnny silly syllogisms 12v bridge rectifier lipstick fish what's a teener wetting toothbrush towels in italian sprite upset stomach coca bushes pauley perrette brother smoking while masturbating jail glasses 22 bullet wound left handed shake playground spinny thing suicide scars backwards k french fried eyeballs permanent press meaning male mental orgasm rambo jacket west side symbol when in trouble or in doubt 3 way bulb in regular socket los portales in english can you put drano in a dishwasher when to shift gears in an automatic transmission principal residential mortgage com questions to ask the opposite gender why are police officers called one time old style beer can dragon age female dwarf can iron make you constipated gifts for new citizenship folded like a cheap suit is national geographic reliable what does dropping the soap mean illinois child seat laws front seat you got junk prices how to stop hair from parting in the middle you are so anal radiator tank repair kit how to tickle someone to death can i use diesel in my oil furnace get well soon broken foot what is an ionizer steve blues clues shirt lyrics danny boy meaning removing stuck cd from car stereo car key battery walmart columbia jacket liner replacement where to buy screws for glasses server ram vs desktop ram in n out burger sticker running from the police