Does Baking Soda Go Bad? How Long Does Baking Soda Last?

If you are digging through your pantry and you have found an old box of baking soda, you might not even find a best-by date on the label. You may get to wondering, does baking soda go bad?

Quick Answer

A sealed box of baking soda will stay fresh for up to 2 years. If your baking soda has been sitting open in your pantry for 6 months or more, it is not likely to perform in your baked goods, but it is still safe to eat. Even if it is too old for your baked goods, it can be used indefinitely for various other chores throughout your home and garden.

Baking soda is a kitchen necessity that is so useful, some of us buy a box every time we go shopping. This can easily lead to a stockpile that may collect dust in your pantry.

Does Baking Soda Go Bad? How Long Does Baking Soda Last?

Over time, baking soda will fail to make your baked goods fluffy. It is still safe to eat and useful in other foods, but you can always use baking soda to clean and deodorize throughout your house.

How Long Does Baking Soda Last On The Shelf?

Keep baking soda dry to maximize its shelf life. It will last the longest in the pantry or a cupboard, where it is not likely to accumulate moisture from the air.

An unopened box of baking soda can stay fresh at room temperature for about two years. Some advocates claim it can last up to three years.

Once opened and exposed to moisture in the air, it begins to degrade. It will be useless in baked goods within six months, but it will always be good for deodorizing or cleaning jobs throughout your house, because it readily absorbs odors and moisture, including grease.

How Long Does Baking Soda Last in the Fridge?

Baking soda absorbs odors and moisture so efficiently, it is not recommended to store it in the fridge if you intend to bake with it. Any odors it takes on will transfer into your recipes and can have interesting to disastrous results.

You can transfer baking soda into an airtight glass jar. It may condensate if you are consistently pulling it out and putting it back into the refrigerator. Moisture is the enemy of fresh baking soda.

When using a box of baking soda to deodorize your refrigerator, it can last for up to three months. Leave the box open on a shelf in the back and write the date on it to keep track of when you should exchange it for a new box.

How Long Does Baking Soda Last in the Freezer?

Some people recommend storing baking soda in the freezer, in an airtight container, to keep it fresh forever. Temperature changes may create condensation, however, so keep it in the freezer at your own risk.

You can expect baking soda to effectively deodorize your freezer for up to three months. It will not be good for baking after absorbing all those odors. It will negatively affect the taste of your baked goods.

Maximize the deodorizing benefits of your baking soda in the freezer by pouring it into a shallow, open bowl. It requires surface area exposure to work properly and some brands recommend throwing it out after 30 days.

Conclusion

If you are an avid baker, you likely will not experience your baking soda going bad. It takes quite a long time to lose potency in baked goods, but can easily be used another way, and does not grow mold or spoil.

How To Tell If Baking Soda Has Gone Bad / How To Know If Baking Soda is Fresh

Half-way through baking a cake and you notice that your baking soda is a few months past the best-by date. If you don’t bake often, this is more common than you might think. Luckily, testing your baking soda is easy.

Baking soda reacts to acid. Sodium bicarbonate is a weak base that reacts with other bases (alkali) and acids like lemon juice. This is how it makes your muffins fluffy in the first place. Think of how it bubbled and expanded when you mixed it with vinegar for a fun science project as a kid.

Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of vinegar in a small bowl. If it bubbles, fizzes, or becomes foamy at all, it is still fresh enough to act as a leavening agent in your recipe. This is the reaction it needs to have to make your cake rise properly.

If the reaction is weak or there is none at all, you can still use it. It may not make do any favors for your cake, but it will clean, deodorize, and absorb. Use it to soak up pet urine from a couch cushion, deodorize your sports equipment, scrub grease from your oven, or whiten your teeth.

How to Store Baking Soda?

Proper storage can have an impact on how long your baking soda stays useful. If it absorbs odors from your pantry, fridge, or freezer, you will likely not want to use it for any other purpose.

Unopened, you can store baking soda anywhere. It will likely stay fresh indefinitely, whether you keep it in a pantry, fridge, or freezer. Some say it may absorb odors through the cardboard box, so you may find it helpful to seal the box in a plastic bag for double protection.

Opened, transfer it into an airtight container. Unless it is exposed to the moisture of condensation, it should be safe to keep it in the pantry, fridge, or freezer. It will degrade in six months to a year, depending on how often you open and close the container.

Can You Freeze Baking Soda? How?

It is widely debated whether or not baking soda can be stored in the freezer. The key component is moisture, because baking soda needs to stay dry to keep its leavening quality. Use your best judgement for your own home and needs.

If you transfer it to an airtight container and rarely expose it to room temperature, it may last forever. Remember it can absorb moisture in the form of condensation and any freezer-associated odors, and both of those things will significantly degrade your baking soda. Glass and plastic containers are considered airtight, but cardboard is not.

You can intentionally store an open container of baking soda to absorb the odors in your freezer. For this job, it can last 30-90 days, depending on how much surface area is exposed. A shallow dish is recommended. You will want to throw it out when it is spent, as the odors will alter the taste and smell of the crystals.

How to Thaw Baking Soda?

Baking soda will only freeze solid if it is blended with some liquid. In which case, it will be useless to you, and it is recommended you simply throw it out.

If you have been freezing it in an airtight container for a long time, it will not need to thaw. It should still be powdery and fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions About Baking Soda’s Shelf Life

How long will baking soda last in a recipe? Once you have baked it into brownies, for example, baking soda will last as long as the fastest spoiling ingredient in your recipe. Other ingredients may cause the food to spoil, such as eggs or milk. Any recipe with fresh fruit will spoil quickly as well, but baking soda itself is technically safe to eat indefinitely. It is non-toxic, harbors no bacteria, and grows no mold.

Can old baking soda make you sick? Typically, consuming baking soda after its best-by date will not cause you any harm. You can, however, get very sick if you eat an excessive amount of baking soda. In fact, consuming too much baking soda can lead to severe or fatal consequences. Consult with a doctor for more information on any of baking soda’s physical effects.

Wrap Up

It would seem the only reason to throw out your baking soda is if you have used it to absorb odor and/or moisture. It will lose leavening quality after some time, but it never truly spoils, and the only danger is in consuming too much of it.

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