Baking soda is one of those products which has so many uses that you’ll want to store a lot of it to have on hand for everyday use and emergency prep. Baking soda can last for many years but it’s really important that you store baking soda properly.
Does Baking Soda Go Bad?
Baking soda doesn’t go bad in the same sense as other foods. It’s safe to store baking soda indefinitely. However, over time baking soda will undergo a chemical reaction and start to lose its potency.
Another issue with baking soda storage is that it absorbs moisture and odors from the air. This property makes it great for things like absorbing bad smells from your fridge, but makes it more difficult to store. If you were to store baking soda next to detergents, for example, the baking soda would eventually start smelling like detergent.
Expiration Date of Baking Soda
As a general rule, baking soda will last 2-3 years in an unopened container. Once opened, the baking soda should be used within 6 months. Of course, this varies depending on the type of packaging: the more air-tight the packaging, the longer the baking soda will last.
Can You Eat Expired Baking Soda?
Like with canned good expiration dates, there are no official expiration dates for baking soda: it is decided by the manufacturers. While I don’t advise it, you can certainly use baking soda long past its expiration date.
The problem with expired baking soda is that it:
- Loses potency: After going through a chemical reaction, baking soda won’t cause cakes to rise nor will it be useful for many DIY deodorant or cleaning products.
- Becomes bitter: Old baking soda gets a bitter taste to it that makes cakes taste disgusting, even if they still rise well.
How to Store Baking Soda
The key to storing baking soda is to keep it away from heat and moisture; these will trigger a chemical reaction in baking soda and make it lose its potency. Your best bet is a completely air-tight container kept somewhere cool. Here are some options for baking soda storage containers.
Original Box – NOT recommended
Boxes of baking soda tend to be very cheap but the boxes are terrible for long-term storage. Air can easily get through the thin cardboard, meaning moisture from the air will also get into the baking soda. Don’t expect baking soda to last more than 2 years in a box and even less if you live somewhere warm and humid.
An easy way to store baking soda is to vacuum seal it in its original box. Vacuum sealer bags still do allow some moisture from the air to pass through, but it is much less than if you left the box out. If you really want to play it safe, double-seal the baking soda.
Mason jars provide a very good seal. So long as you remember to screw the lid down tightly, the jar will keep moisture from getting to the baking soda. Just be careful that no dust gets around the jar lid: the baking soda will absorb the dusty smell quickly.
Air-Tight Plastic Containers
Higher-quality plastic storage containers do a fairly good job of keeping moisture out of their contents. The container will need to have a very good air-tight lid though. See these food-safe plastic storage containers.
Buckets with Gamma Lids
If you want to store large amounts of baking soda, you can put it in food-grade buckets. Normal bucket lids don’t provide a great seal though. Instead, invest in some gamma-seal lids. They keep air out and are also a lot easier to open.
Mylar bags are arguably the best storage container for dry foods, including baking soda. When sealed, the material keeps all moisture and air out. Read about Mylar bags here.
Cans – NOT recommended
While cans are great for storing many types of food, it’s generally not recommended to store baking soda in cans. The main reason is because the baking soda can get a metallic taste from the cans. Another issue is that baking soda releases a small amount of moisture as it undergoes its chemical reaction. The moisture can build up in the can and react with the metal.
Do I Need to Use Oxygen Absorbers when Storing Baking Soda?
No, you do not need to use oxygen absorbers with baking soda. It is unnecessary because oxidation doesn’t make baking soda go bad. Further, the iron in the oxygen absorber packets might react with the baking soda, so it’s better to store baking soda without them. Read more about oxygen absorbers for long-term food storage here.
Should I Use a Desiccants When Storing Baking Soda?
Desiccants are used to control moisture when packaging food. Some people like to put a desiccant on top of baking soda before sealing the container to help prevent clumping. However, you don’t need to do this: the baking soda may clump but you can easily smash it back into a powder.
How to Test Whether Baking Soda Is Still Good
If you are unsure whether old baking soda is still good or not, use this test:
- Put a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a cup.
- Add a pinch of baking soda to the vinegar.
- If the baking soda starts fizzing immediately, it is still good. If the bubbles are slow or small, the baking soda has lost its potency.
How to store baking powder long term.