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How to Convert Baking Soda into Washing Soda

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

What is Washing Soda

Baking soda and washing soda are two extremely useful household cleaning chemicals, but do you know the difference between them? Washing soda is the compound sodium carbonate (Na2CO3). It’s a natural substance usually made from limestone and salt. It’s very alkaline (pH11) so avoid contact with skin and eyes, it has the potential to burn. Do not inhale or ingest. Baking soda on the other hand is only pH 8.1 and can be ingested.

You may be able to find washing soda, also known as soda ash, with laundry supplies at the store, but if you can’t find it, this is one chemical that’s super easy to make from baking soda. I like to purchase Baking soda in bulk!

To make it easier, you can order Washing Soda here.

How Washing Soda Works

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (NaCHO3), while washing soda is sodium carbonate Na2CO3. When you heat baking soda, water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are driven off, leaving you with washing soda. Simple as that!

How to Make Washing Soda

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Sprinkle baking soda onto a cookie sheet. Spread it out to form a thin layer.

  3. Bake the baking soda at 400°F (200°C) for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The time isn’t critical. You can’t ‘overcook’ the soda, but you want to be sure to drive off all the water.

  4. I like to test it by holding the hot cookie sheet with a hot pad and lightly shaking it to move the soda slightly. I do this one or two times during the baking cycle.

  5. Remove the pan from heat, allow the washing soda to cool, and store it in a sealed container to keep it from picking up moisture from the air.

Thin Layer Baking Soda on a Sheet Pan

Place in Oven

Shake Pan Occasionally

Store in AirTight Container

Things to Do With Washing Soda

Apart from being a key ingredient in homemade laundry powder, washing soda has other household uses as a water softener, degreaser and stain remover.

Once you have purchased or made washing soda, here are a few other things you can use it for?

  1. Washing soda can be used on its own as a gentle, non-toxic, non-scratch cleaner. Consider it the perfect all-purpose cleaner.

  2. Mix a bit of washing soda with water to form a paste to help lift grease or burn marks from pots and pans, baking glassware, or cookie sheets. Avoid using this treatment on aluminum pans or surfaces.

  3. Use washing soda to help remove hard water stains, clean tile and grout, and remove soap scum from tubs.

  4. You can add 1/2 cup to a load of laundry to help brighten whites and remove odors. Plus, we have an even better laundry whitener in this recipe or a perfect use in these two detergent recipes; Concentrated Version and Regular Version.

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