How Baking Soda Can Relieve A Sore Throat

Characterized by irritation, pain, trouble swallowing, scratchy sensations within the throat, and more, a sore throat can stem from either a viral or bacterial infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. Otherwise known as pharyngitis, sore throats are most often caused by a virus. In fact, research from 2007 published in the Canadian Family Physician reports that about 85% to 95% of sore throats in adults are due to a viral infection.

Although cases are commonly seen during the colder months of the year, research shows that less than 1 in 10 patients experiencing sore throats seek medical treatment from a doctor (via Canadian Family Physician). In lieu of treatment from a healthcare professional, many people may alternatively turn to various at-home remedies to relieve symptoms of pharyngitis, such as drinking plenty of fluids, using over-the-counter pain relievers, taking a steamy shower, and getting plenty of rest, according to experts at the Cleveland Clinic. Gargling can also be an effective means of relief. You may have heard about gargling with salt water, but what about gargling with a baking soda solution?

Baking soda may help sore throats in several ways

Experts at the Cleveland Clinic explain that baking soda can target multiple symptoms of a sore throat. Not only can it help alleviate discomfort, but gargling with baking soda can also be effective at breaking up mucus and relieving irritation from acid reflux. Healthline adds that baking soda can also kill off bacteria and protect against fungal growth, which can be helpful for those with bacterial infections of the throat. 

For those interested in trying out a baking soda solution, experts suggest mixing 1 cup of warm water with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, as well as  teaspoon of salt for added benefits. Gargle, swish, and spit with the solution roughly three to four times per day, and clean out your mouth with fresh water afterward.

Although a baking soda rinse has antibacterial properties that can help treat a sore throat, the Cleveland Clinic says to exercise caution when it comes to other at-home ingredients with antibacterial properties that may not be as effective. "[Apple cider vinegar] probably has some antibacterial properties, but that's not going to do much for the sore throat itself," says family medicine specialist Dr. Daniel Allan via the Cleveland Clinic. "The best way to get to the bottom of what's causing your sore throat is to visit your doctor."