Difference between Washing Soda and Baking Soda

By: | Updated: Nov-19, 2021

Baking soda and washing soda sound like they are the same product. Although both are commonly used as affordable and environment-friendly household cleaning products, it is important to know that they are completely different and that each has its own unique purpose. This post will discuss the uses of and difference between washing soda and baking soda.

Summary Table

Washing Soda Baking Soda
White coarse powder White fine powder
Has a pH level of 11 Has a pH level of 8.1
Naturally derived from plant ashes Collected from a natural mineral called nahcolite
Molecular formula is Na2CO3; chemically known as Sodium Carbonate Molecular formula is NaHCO3; chemically known as Sodium Carbonate
Also called soda ash Also called cooking soda or bicarbonate of soda
Caustic and may scratch surfaces; not safe to eat; should not be applied to the skin Mild and does not damage surfaces; edible and can be used in baking and cooking; can be applied to the skin
Leaves a white residue on the surface if not rinsed well; slowly disintegrates in water Does not leave white marks; highly soluble in water

Descriptions

Washing Soda

Washing soda is Na2CO3, or Sodium Carbonate. It is naturally derived from the ashes of plants that are grown in sodium-rich soils but can also be synthetically made from limestone and salt through the Ammonia-soda or Solvay process. It is also called “soda ash” in some areas.

Washing soda is a white coarse odorless powder with a pH level of 11. It should not be consumed, inhaled, or applied to the skin because it is abrasive. When handling the product, it is best to wear gloves.

As the name suggests, the chief purpose of washing soda is for cleaning or washing. Aside from being used to wash clothes, it can be used to clean bathtubs, bathroom sinks, floor tiles and stubborn stains like grease and wine. However, it is caustic so it may damage some surfaces. When not rinsed well, it may leave white marks on the surface as it does not quickly dissolve in water.

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Because washing soda reacts with calcium and magnesium bonds, it is also widely used as a water softener. Additionally, it is also a component in glass-making and is used in neutralizing the chlorine in swimming pools.

baking soda

On the other hand, baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate or NaHCO3. It can be collected from a natural mineral called “nahcolite” but can also be artificially produced by the Solvay process. It is a water-soluble white fine powder with a pH level of 8.1.

Baking soda, sometimes called “bicarbonate of soda” or “cooking soda,” is an edible base. It is used not only as a leavening agent in cooking and baking, but also as an ingredient in homemade diy personal hygiene solutions like mouthwash, a toothpaste and facial exfoliator.

As a as a cleaning agent, baking soda is widely used to clean and disinfect ovens, carpets, countertops, chopping boards and sinks. It is gentle and does not damage surfaces.

Baking soda is not a type of alkaline material that has been used in the past to make things work better. In fact, the main uses of baking soda in the past was as a material for medicine for people who had various medical conditions.

Baking soda can neutralize gastric acid by acting as an antacid.

Additionally, baking soda quickly dissolves in water and does not leave white residue on surfaces. Although it is gentle enough to be ingested, it should not be inhaled or applied around or to the eyes.

Washing Soda vs Baking Soda

What, then, is the difference between washing soda and baking soda?

Washing soda’s chemical makeup is Na2CO3 or Sodium Carbonate while baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate or NaHCO3. Both can be synthetically produced by the Solvay process. However, washing soda can be naturally derived from plant ashes, while baking soda can be collected from nahcolite, a naturally occurring mineral.

Baking soda has a lower pH level than washing soda. Baking soda such as Arm and Hammer baking soda is also edible, can be applied to human skin and can clean most surfaces without causing damage. Washing soda is caustic and should not be consumed, inhaled or applied to the skin.

In terms of texture, baking soda is white and fine while washing soda is coarse. Additionally, baking soda is water-soluble and does not leave white residues on the surface, unlike washing soda.

However, when baking soda gets heated up in high temperatures, this chemical formula mainly used for baking dish breaks down to become your own washing soda, water steam, and carbon dioxide.

Which one is more effective? Baking Soda vs Washing Soda?

Baking soda is not as effective as washing soda when it comes to cleaning power.

When it comes to getting rid of stains on clothing with baking soda, there is also a tendency for the stain to come back even after you have washed your clothes multiple times with baking soda.

This happens because bicarbonate-based cleaners such as baking soda are not very effective when it comes to removing grease stains. However, baking soda is an excellent cleaner for hard surfaces such as glass, tiles, and stainless steel sinks

In contrast, washing soda is more effective than baking soda when it comes to clean laundry as it has higher pH. Washing soda is also more effective than baking soda when it comes to getting rid of the smell of cat urine.

This natural cleaner can also help to make our clothes brighter and shinier by removing stains from them as they act as deodorizer and clean.

Washing soda can be used as an alternative to laundry detergent when we do not have access to laundry soap or liquid detergent that we can use on our clothes while washing them with cold water. And it’s okay to use washing soda in the washing machine

When people use washing soda as homemade laundry detergent, it has been found to be more effective in a number of different cleaning tasks such as cleaning grout without bleach.

However, washing soda cannot be washed with hard water because this will cause the chemical reaction to stop because the sodium hydroxide would get destroyed by the water. This would make washing soda not useful anymore.

Ease of Use

Baking Soda: Baking soda is easier to use than washing soda. This is because baking soda does not require any mixing and only requires a quick shake before use. This means that it can be used straight from the box without having to first dissolve it in water before using it.

Cost

Baking Soda: Baking soda costs less than washing soda. It costs around $1.29 for a 32-ounce box of baking soda in the United States.

Washing Soda costs around $2.03 for a 32-ounce box of washing soda in the United States. This type of alkaline material that is used to clean our dishes and other household items can be found in most grocery stores where it can be purchased in different sizes.

You can easily find this super washing soda in the laundry aisle next to all the laundry boosters products at grocery stores.

This cleaning products can also be purchased online at places like Amazon where you can find it in bulk.

All-Natural Cleaning Recipes

Detergent can be found in almost every household. But if you have super sensitive skin and try to avoid harsh detergents and buy more natural brands, this recipe is so easy to make and smells really good. This homemade laundry detergent is free of most of the harmful chemicals found in store bought detergents. Making your own detergent will also save you money.

Ingredients:

1 cup of Borax

1 cup of washing soda (NaOH)

2 cups of white vinegar

1 cup of borax powder (5 lbs.)

½ cup of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Place in an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dry place. Use one tablespoon of this detergent for every five pounds of clothes.

Tips:

It is an easy DIY laundry detergent recipe, which saves you money and helps you to reduce your carbon footprint. It is also biodegradable and eco-friendly because it does not contain any toxic ingredients like phosphates or perfumes. The only drawback is that this homemade laundry detergent will not clean well stains or marks that are on the clothes. It is also not suitable for very dirty clothes because the vinegar can damage fabrics and colors can fade after several washes. It is best to use it with light colors like white, gray, and light blue to avoid these problems.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have now explained how washing soda and baking soda differ from one another when it comes to their effectiveness, ease of use and cost as well as their effectiveness. Baking soda is mainly used for making carbonated drinks and making doughs. While washing soda is used as a softener for fabric and laundry detergent, and to clean kitchen stains.

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