homemade washing soda

Homemade Washing Soda

Homemade washing soda. Note the graininess.
Compare to the baking soda picture below.

Washing soda, also known as soda ash or sodium carbonate has many uses, from acting as pH stabilizer in pools to acting as a water softener to removing calcification in water heaters to making lye pretzels. Washing soda is a beneficial item to have around the house, especially if you want to make homemade laundry detergent, as it is one of the main ingredients. However, washing soda isn’t always so easy to come across (especially if you’re living in a far out place like I do).

Fortunately, washing soda is fairly simple to make at home, not to mention frugal as well!

Homemade Washing Soda

Ingredients
Baking Soda

Instructions
1. Fill a wide baking dish with baking soda.
2. Heat in the oven at 400 degrees until all the baking soda becomes washing soda. Occasionally mix it so that this process happens faster and more uniformly.
3. Use as needed!

See- told you it was simple! 1 ingredient. 1 step.

The difference between baking soda and washing soda is water and carbon dioxide. Seriously. Baking soda’s chemical makeup is NaHCO3 (1 sodium, 1 hydrogen, one carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules). Washing soda’s chemical makeup is Na2CO3 (2 sodium, 1 carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules). When baking soda is heated up to high temperatures, it breaks down to become washing soda, water steam, and carbon dioxide.
By cooking your baking soda, you can easily and safely get washing soda without needing to travel to far flung places to buy it, and you can make as much as you need at a time and don’t need to lay out a lot of money on buying washing soda. (If you buy baking soda in bulk as I do, you can make washing soda especially cheaply.)

Baking soda on the left, washing soda on the right

So how do you know if your baking soda became washing soda? Baking soda and washing soda look different, feel different, and taste different. If you make your own washing soda, you’ll be able to tell in an instant which baking soda has become washing soda and which has not yet.
But if you don’t believe me that you’ll know immediately, the differences between the two are this:
Washing soda is grainy, baking soda is powdery.
Washing soda is dull and opaque, baking soda is crystalized like salt and reflects light, i.e. it is semi shiny.
Washing soda is separate grains, baking soda clumps together.

Baking soda. Note the differences between how it
looks and how the above washing soda looks.
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