The key difference between baking soda and washing soda is that baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, whereas washing soda is sodium carbonate.
People have a lot of confusion about the baking soda and washing soda. Even though both compounds are salts of sodium, and they are naturally occurring, sometimes, using one compound instead of another may give undesirable results at the end. Therefore, it is useful to know the difference between baking soda and washing soda before using.
What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is an essential ingredient for the bakery industry, and it is very common in our kitchens. Sodium bicarbonate is the chemical name of baking soda, and it has a chemical formula of NaHCO3. It is a white powder that acts as a leavening agent in baking.
Usually, bicarbonates produce carbon dioxide when reacting with acids. Likewise, baking soda is also releasing carbon dioxide. Hence, this is the underlying principle behind using baking soda in baking. In the presence of liquid and acid, it undergoes a chemical reaction and produces carbon dioxide gas bubbles. After that, these bubbles get trapped inside the dough, and it causes the dough to rise. Therefore, when baking, the dough will have a porous structure inside, making it soft and light.
Moreover, other than the wide usage in the bakery, baking soda has a variety of other uses too. Baking soda is weakly alkaline. Therefore, we can use it to neutralize acids. Also, this property of baking soda makes it a deodorizer. Furthermore, when cooking, we can add baking soda to neutralize the acidity. Also, we add it to balance the pH level in swimming pools.
Moreover, when we add it to detergents, it stabilizes the pH level; thus, it will enhance the detergent activity. Baking soda is an inexpensive, safe, and environmentally friendly alternative cleaner in the household. We can prepare this compound via the Solvay process.
What is Washing Soda?
Washing soda is the common name of the chemical compound sodium carbonate. Also, we sometimes call it soda ash. It has the chemical formula of NaCO3. It is highly alkaline, and the alkaline property of washing soda helps to remove the stain from clothes.
Moreover, sodium carbonate is useful in glass manufacturing, to neutralize the acidity of water, as a water softener, as a food additive, etc. Other than the stated usages, there are a numerous number of benefits of washing soda in the household, industries or chemical laboratories. Mainly, the advantage of using washing soda is that it is not harmful or toxic to the environment. However, it can become harmful in large doses. We can prepare washing soda via the Solvay process and Hous’ process.
What is the Difference Between Baking Soda and Washing Soda?
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Washing soda is the common name of sodium carbonate. This is the key difference between baking soda and washing soda. Moreover, Chemical formula of baking soda is NaHCO3, and the chemical formula of washing soda is NaCO3.
As another important difference between baking soda and washing soda, we can say that the washing soda is highly alkaline compared to baking soda. Washing soda has a pH value of 11, and the pH value of baking soda is around 8. Furthermore, a very significant difference between baking soda and washing soda based on application is that we use washing soda mainly to remove the stain from laundry, whereas baking soda is mainly used in the bakery industry.
Summary – Baking Soda vs Washing Soda
Both baking soda and washing soda are salts of sodium. These are useful in different applications. The key difference between baking soda and washing soda is that baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, whereas washing soda is sodium carbonate.
1. “Sodium Bicarbonate.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available here
2. Lazonby, John. “Sodium Carbonate.” The Essential Chemical Industry Online. Available here