Can Baking Soda Go Bad?

A package of baking soda

Can baking soda go bad? Baking soda is used in cooking as a leavening agent. If it has gone bad or it has lost its potency, your cooking won’t end as well as you’ve wanted to. Because of that, you should know how to store it properly, how long does baking soda last and how to tell if it has lost its potency. Answers to all those questions can be found in this article.

How long does baking soda last?

As I’ve mentioned above, baking soda has potency. When baking soda is potent, it’ll work well as a leavening agent and your baking goods will grow as they’re supposed to. Once the potency is lost, it’s useless in cooking. Therefore, baking soda is good as long as it’s potent.

Every manufacturer places a “Best By" or “Use By" date on the package. Those dates tend to differ between various manufacturers. It’s pretty safe to assume that an unopened package of baking soda should be potent for about two years, assuming it’s stored in the right conditions. Once the packaged is opened, baking soda should maintain its potency for about half a year (again, provided it’s stored properly).

A package of baking soda
Image used under Creative Commons from kafka4prez

How to properly store baking soda? It’s simple – you just need to keep it in a dry and cool area (the pantry is an obvious choice). Once the package is opened you need to remember one more thing – the package must be always tightly closed. Keeping the powder dry is the most important factor – if any moisture will find its way into the package, baking soda will become useless and it’ll spoil quickly. You need to keep it dry!

Does baking soda expire? How to tell if baking soda lost its potency?

Baking soda doesn’t expire in a way that it goes bad after certain amount of time, but, as I’ve mentioned earlier, it loses its potency. Once the potency is lost, it’s useless in cooking. Fortunately for us, one can examine whether baking soda is still potent before cooking a cake with it. How to do that? Pour 3 tablespoons of vinegar into a vessel, then add one teaspoon. If you’ll notice that the mixture bubbles, your baking soda is still potent enough to use.

As you should know after reading this article, unless some water finds its way into the package of baking soda, it won’t go bad in a way other products do. Unfortunately, there is one very important factor you should keep in mind – potency. Once baking soda loses its potency, it’s useless in cooking. If you’d like to know the answer to the main question – “can baking soda go bad?", the answer is affirmative, but spoilage happens to baking soda very rarely. One more reminder – once you’ll open your baking soda’s package, make sure it’s always tightly closed, moisture will make your baking soda go bad almost immediately.