How to Turn Baking Soda into Washing Soda

Turn Baking Soda Into Washing Soda
EDIT: Before we move on, please let me take this moment to publicly apologize to Penny, from Penniless Parenting for inadvertently not linking back to her post, as she is the original author for the information contained in this post. I had linked back to her site, but because of an error in the html, the link below was rendered un-linkable on the front end of the site. Needless to say, this was brought to my attention by Penny, as well as a few other commenters, which I’m very grateful for, as it allowed me to fix the problem and publicly address this issue. I did NOT intend to withhold credit from Penny, and anyone who reads my site regularly knows that I always link back to the original post, if indeed I borrowed from another blogger. I also should clarify that after this whole issue happened, I changed some wording around to include the direct quotes from Penny, as well as added her name to the post (kind of a gesture to apologize for the broken link). Whereas before, I had summarized her words, I later changed it to some direct quotes, to make it very clear that I wasn’t trying to plagiarize her work. You may read my entire apology to Penny in the comments below this post. Thanks!


turn baking soda into washing soda

Well, as the title says, we’re turning baking soda into washing soda this week. A good number of my homemade products require the use of washing soda, but for every item I post that uses washing soda, I always get at least 5 or 10 comments asking where you can find it. It’s true, sometimes it’s a little hard to find – even I had trouble the first time around. (It’s usually in the laundry aisle or can be found on Amazon, by the way.) But for those who live in rural areas, or without large grocery stores, it’s still hard to track down. So in my search for the best place to buy washing soda for one of our readers, I stumbled upon this idea that you can actually turn baking soda into washing soda, simply by baking it! turn baking soda into washing soda I know, it sounds weird, but just bear with me. As Penny explains,

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.

So, the steam and carbon dioxide are released during the cooking process, leaving you with… washing soda! See? Now, don’t I sound all smart and science-y? :)

turn baking soda into washing soda

The process is really simple. Just heat your oven to 400 F (or 200 C), sprinkle some baking soda on a shallow pan, and bake it for about half hour, until it changes composition. You should also stir it up occasionally, just so that it bakes more evenly. turn baking soda into washing soda So how do you know when it changes into washing soda? That part takes a little more work; just a closer, watchful eye. Once you know the differences between the 2 sodas, you’ll be able to tell in no time. Penny breaks it down like this: Baking soda is powdery, crystallized like salt, and clumps together. Washing soda is grainy, dull and opaque, and is separate grains. You can see the difference below: baking soda on the left, and washing soda on the right. turn baking soda into washing soda That’s it! See? I told you it was simple! Now you can go make liquid laundry detergent, powdered laundry detergent, and dishwasher detergent, without worrying about where to score your next box of washing soda. This post was proudly featured here:


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Sarah UmmYusuf is a former school teacher turned stay-at-home wife and mama with a passion for all things simple, natural, and homemade. She loves the natural world, and believes the solutions to many of the world’s ailments lie in nature. Her blog, , began as a way to document her family’s journey to a greener home, but has since become a thriving community and resource for those wishing to take small steps towards a more eco-friendly, natural and sustainable lifestyle. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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Comments

    • Ziggy3339 says

      Thank you for posting this. I’m not particularly science minded so have a gazillion things to learn still. I buy baking soda from Costco in HUGE bags so always have it in stock. Now the washing soda was something I was getting at Amazon so now I can be even MORE frugal, less of a footprint (“green” thing) and even though I don’t understand the chemical formula I can know this simple thing by heart and save exasperation when I’m only missing the one thing for a recipe/formula in cleaning. Head bowed in gratitude for what will be with me the rest of my life. clap clap clap (and to Jerica from Sustain, Create & Flow.

  1. says

    Ok, girlfriend… this is for serious awesome. I dont actually follow all that many blogs because it seems like 90% of the posts arent that useful but Im telling you each one of your blog posts is useful. this is great… I was just at Costco yesterday looking at the price of their eco-friendly laundry detergent and thinking maybe I should give making my own a try when Im done with my current bottle. This is a great tip, Sarah, thanks!

    Im excite d to join the carnival today. I posted two “tips”, one from my archive and one I did today. thanks for starting this, I look forward to reading everyone elses stuff tonight when kiddo is in bed. God bless!

    • Sarah says

      Aww, I’m glad you find my posts useful – I really try hard to keep them relevant and practical ;)

      And please, do yourself a favor and try making your own detergent – you will never look back, I promise!

      Thanks for linking up!

  2. says

    That is so awesome! I am constantly hearing people say they can’t find washing soda…so happy to have a tip to share with them now. Thanks!!!

  3. Staci says

    I’ve been looking all over the place for washing soda so that I could make homemade laundry detergent, so this post is just what I’ve needed! Thanks:)

  4. says

    Thanks for the wonderful tip. I use regular baking soda with vinegar to clean the sinks and bathtub, but didn’t know how to use baking soda for washing clothes. It’s such a natural and inexpensive way to clean!

  5. says

    No kidding! I never knew that you could bake it like this. Brilliant.

    Thanks so much for linking up with Feed Me Friday this week. Looking forward to reading more from you!

    • Sarah says

      It really is brilliant, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by, Emily! That cole slaw recipe looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it :)

    • Sarah says

      Welcome, Joanne! Thanks for sharing your tip! Also, thanks for sharing my link everywhere ;) I just went ahead and Liked your FB page, following you on Twitter, and subscribed to your feed :) Hope you’ll join us again next week!

  6. says

    That is seriously the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time! Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday, and come back next time to see if you were featured!

  7. GT says

    Ran this by my chemist husband. This is his response:

    “Chemically, we can convert NaHCO3 to Na2CO3, but I would be very surprised if we could accomplish that at 400F. I’d have to look up the heat of activation for each of those and calculate the temperature.

    This would be an interim step, though, so if we heat it too long it would continue to degrade into NaO + CO2, which is not what we want. So we would need to have an indicator as to when to stop the heating process.

    My question would be – why would you want to do this?

    If it’s to save money, then we would need to verify if the difference in cost between the two plus the energy to run the oven for 30 minutes merits this.

    But it’s an interesting idea.

    Hope this helps!”

    I explained to him the “Why?” of not being able to find it in the store. So I guess bottom line is if you can find it buy it but if you can’t give this a go.

    • Mary G. says

      Bless you… I was just wondering about that! I CAN find it. All of the grocery stores in my area carry Washing Soda right next to the Borax and Fels Naptha bar soap (the 3 ingredients for making laundry detergent)

      • Pamela says

        I am glad so many can find it in thier area. As for me I have to drive over 40 miles to a bigger store to find it. Sometimes its sold out when I get there. This is a fill in for those who would like to make it when they can travel over 40 miles or more (Amarillo is 120 miles away)
        Thank you for another solution and keep up the helpful hints.

    • Cindy says

      The 99c Store (we have them in California) sell boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda for $0.79 each. That makes it more cost effective to make than to buy Washing Soap IF one can find it. :-)

    • jackie walker says

      what is nao? i tried googling but all i find is na20. I ask because i cooked some baking soda, and now whatever i have made heats up when water is added to it (i guess its called heat of solution?). I am curious if i made something besides sodium carbonate. can you ask your husband?

    • Sarah says

      Dear Penny, Please PLEASE know that it was NOT my intention to withhold credit where credit was due! I meant to link the “stumbled upon this idea” part to your post and in my editor it did indeed look like it was linked (even when I checked it now), but it seems there was an error in the html, which rendered it un-linkable on the front end of the site. Please accept my sincerest apologies for this, as I would never EVER attempt to steal someone else’s work. If you read my other posts, you will see that for most posts, I usually credit back to the original author. I love the open community of blogland and LOVE sharing others’ ideas (with credit), and having my ideas be shared.

      Again, please accept my apologies openly, and publicly here on my site. I hope this doesn’t create a rift between us or leave any negative feelings or vibes. Thank you for actually commenting and bringing this to my attention, as a few other commenters have as well.

      With my humblest apologies and sincere regret,
      Sarah @ Nature’s Nurture

      • says

        Apology accepted. I know what html snafus are like…
        I also have to add that its not always easy to know what the terms of netiquette are, and I wish there were a book out there that would detail word for word when you should credit people and how, because its not so easy to know that!!!

        You have a great blog here, and I look forward to coming back to check it out again.

        • Kathy says

          Enjoyed reading the post and comments. Referring to net etiquette, my stance has always been to credit ANYthing shared with others to the poster it came from on FB. E-mails are slightly different when they are jokes. If someone has written a letter or published matertial being passed though, that person should receive the credit. Even when I share FB posts, jokes and memes, the person I share from is left in the ‘via’ area. If I quote their actual words in the share, quotation marks are used to attribute them to that person. My opinion is, I’m using something taken from another, therefore credit needs to be given. Sorry so wordy. :) Now I’m going to sign up for this blog!

    • Sarah says

      This was a complete accident! Please read my reply to Penny below:

      “Dear Penny, Please PLEASE know that it was NOT my intention to withhold credit where credit was due! I meant to link the “stumbled upon this idea” part to your post and in my editor it did indeed look like it was linked (even when I checked it now), but it seems there was an error in the html, which rendered it un-linkable on the front end of the site. Please accept my sincerest apologies for this, as I would never EVER attempt to steal someone else’s work. If you read my other posts, you will see that for most posts, I usually credit back to the original author. I love the open community of blogland and LOVE sharing others’ ideas (with credit), and having my ideas be shared.

      Again, please accept my apologies openly, and publicly here on my site. I hope this doesn’t create a rift between us or leave any negative feelings or vibes. Thank you for actually commenting and bringing this to my attention, as a few other commenters have as well.

      With my humblest apologies and sincere regret,
      Sarah @ Nature’s Nurture”

    • Sarah says

      This was a complete accident!! Please read my reply to Penny below:

      “Dear Penny, Please PLEASE know that it was NOT my intention to withhold credit where credit was due! I meant to link the “stumbled upon this idea” part to your post and in my editor it did indeed look like it was linked (even when I checked it now), but it seems there was an error in the html, which rendered it un-linkable on the front end of the site. Please accept my sincerest apologies for this, as I would never EVER attempt to steal someone else’s work. If you read my other posts, you will see that for most posts, I usually credit back to the original author. I love the open community of blogland and LOVE sharing others’ ideas (with credit), and having my ideas be shared.

      Again, please accept my apologies openly, and publicly here on my site. I hope this doesn’t create a rift between us or leave any negative feelings or vibes. Thank you for actually commenting and bringing this to my attention, as a few other commenters have as well.

      With my humblest apologies and sincere regret,
      Sarah @ Nature’s Nurture”

    • Sarah says

      Please know this was a complete accident! Please read my reply to Penny below:

      “Dear Penny, Please PLEASE know that it was NOT my intention to withhold credit where credit was due! I meant to link the “stumbled upon this idea” part to your post and in my editor it did indeed look like it was linked (even when I checked it now), but it seems there was an error in the html, which rendered it un-linkable on the front end of the site. Please accept my sincerest apologies for this, as I would never EVER attempt to steal someone else’s work. If you read my other posts, you will see that for most posts, I usually credit back to the original author. I love the open community of blogland and LOVE sharing others’ ideas (with credit), and having my ideas be shared.

      Again, please accept my apologies openly, and publicly here on my site. I hope this doesn’t create a rift between us or leave any negative feelings or vibes. Thank you for actually commenting and bringing this to my attention, as a few other commenters have as well.

      With my humblest apologies and sincere regret,
      Sarah @ Nature’s Nurture”

  8. Sonja says

    Hi! Thanks for sharing this post. Any suggestions on substitutions for borax? I cannot get it where I live & and want to try to make laundry soap. Thanks!!!

  9. says

    Sarah,
    Thank you for your honesty and transparency. It is your desire to share that keeps me coming back here. And your simple mishap is why I avoid HTML! ;)
    The recipe quoted in the other website that you have linked to has been found many times over all over the web for many years. It is not new but not fairly known as for many years no one really had a large use for washing soda. I am glad you and other writers are sharing it ! It is nice we operate in a community with such a spirit of sharing and are passionate about teaching, rather than being being self involved & self rewarding. It means so many will learn many lost information. :)
    God Bless!

    • says

      Chele, this is exactly what I was thinking as well…a quick search pulls up articles about this from long before Penny posted about it either….the author could easily have left her completely out of the equation and just reworded the tip with no reference at all to where she first heard it, and since she did that but the link got messed up she got blasted for it.

      • says

        I didn’t mind her using the idea, because the idea wasn’t mine originally. It was the copy pasting paragraphs from my post without crediting me that bothered me.

        • Barbara says

          Is it REALLY that important??? For pity sakes…her apology is all over the place and needless conversations about not receiving credit detract from the very nice topic at hand. It was an accident, end of story, this isn’t a competition race or attempted fraud. I think this whole comment parts about her html accident should be deleted, and her wriiten apology remain…and it ENDS. It really throws a damp rag on the whole thing. I like to go through the comments to read more ideas, not endless discussions about the copyright. GREAT IDEA though!

          • Anne says

            Yes, it does matter. If you copy and paste someone else’s words, you need to give them credit. This should ALWAYS be the case, giving credit where credit is due. In the future, in addition to a link to the article, the original author’s name should be included as part of the re-posting. Such as “I saw this on Penniless Parenting and thought it was too good not to share” . . .

            Copying and pasting and rewording someone else’s work is not authentic. And I think, judging from the caliber of the postings here, Sarah is an authentic person. A little extra effort to make sure links works and the original author is cited in the re-posting will work wonders. So Barbara, it does matter. Not a damp rag after all after the gracious apology and the equally gracious acceptance.

            If you’ve read this far, I did a search for a good recipe, and my search (after looking at 7 other posts / recipes) brought me here. So thank you Sarah. Love the recipe. My new dish-washing liquid is cooling on the counter. I can’t wait to use it. Actually I already did :)

          • anon says

            While it does matter, I wish people would have read the blog more clearly before blasting her to bits. All they would have needed to do was read another article of hers and check out how she credits people. Typically bloggers use specific wording when hyper-linking a certain phrase. Her words “stumbled upon” is one of those indicators. In another article she says “this recipe” with it being a link. The average person really isn’t observant enough these days. Had people bothered to check that out first, they could have realized very quickly that it was an accident.

  10. says

    Oh and I am grabbing your button! I need to make myself one but then there is that tricky HTML thing again. ;)

    • Sarah says

      Thanks Chele! I just perused your blog, and I LOVE it! I’m adding you to my “Blogs I Love” page and just subscribed to your RSS :) Looking forward to reading more! Take care and God Bless…

  11. Ivriniel says

    I’ve been buying washing soda for years, but the last time I went to buy it, I couldn’t find it anywhere. Went to lots of places with different Supplies (my Dad was a Grocer, so I know which stores are supplied by whom) , before finally finding some at Walmart (which was my last resort). I can usually find either Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, or Amaze by Sunlight.

    It was weird. I bought 2 boxes, so I haven’t been looking since then, but it makes me wonder if there was some sort of problem with the supply chain.

    • Sarah says

      I know what you mean! I’ve had times where I couldn’t find it anywhere, and others where it was all over the place, LOL. That’s why I’m so happy I found this recipe, because baking soda is so readily available, even in big bulk bags too! :)

  12. April says

    I like this idea, however I always just throw baking soda into my laundry soap it helps with those terrible smoke odours that my fiancee has from smoking….also helps make my whites white lol….but I am definatley going to try this!

  13. says

    Great tip, Sarah. While looking for homemade recipes in lieu of expensive store-bought dishwasher rinse aid, I stumpled upon this. Seems so many things are now offered as synthetic, chemical substitutes, and the average person is no longer aware of the basic, fundamental ingredients that actually work as well or better than the fancy stuff – any usually far cheaper.
    Just a note – I read through the instructions two or three times, but no where does it mention mixing the baking soda with water prior to baking, although it’s implied (water steam).

    • Sarah says

      Hi Ron! Yes, that’s why I started this blog, to remind myself and others that most commercial (and chemically laden) products can actually be made right at home with basic ingredients!
      With regards to your note, you’re not actually adding water to the baking soda. The water and carbon dioxide just bake off during the heating process. Hope that helps clarify, and thanks for stopping by!

  14. says

    Hey Sarah,

    This is interesting use for Baking Soda, I am trying to raise awareness in the UK about the many uses of baking soda. (Its not very common here.)

    Is it ok for me to link your website? I love this post in particular.

    Thanks,

    Jess

  15. Kelly says

    Hi Sarah! I just found your blog today and love it! I’ve been making my own laundry soap for 3 years. I use a variation of the Duggar Family recipe. I’ve also had a hard time finding washing soda. I think I’ve only seen it at Walmart once and no where else. However, the Duggars say in their recipe that washing soda is sodium carbonate, which you can find anywhere that sells swimming pool chemicals! Just look for Sodium Carbonate. I paid around $7 or $8 3 years ago for a canister of it and just ran out on my last batch ( we have 4 kiddos and 2 adults, that equals ALOT of laundry!)

    • Sarah says

      Thanks for stopping by, Kelly! And thanks for the info on washing soda! I’ve heard you can find it in the pool aisle, so I’m glad someone’s actually found it there and confirmed for us :)

  16. Klk242 says

    Thanks for the awesome tip! I love this blog!
    As a sidenote, to those of you who “blasted” the author for not giving credit, including Penny. Yes, there is a certain etiquette that comes with blogging. That includes rudeness and snarkiness in the comments section. Wouldn’t the world just be a better place if everyone stopped feeling as though they had the right to treat complete strangers with sarcasm and disrespect? Just be nice, for goodness sake. It is a blog about washing soda, not a summit on middle east peace.

  17. Angie says

    Thank you soo much! I live in the Seattle area and can’t find washing soda anywhere! I have been checking online, and it is not so cheap, around $8 for 32oz. I can get 16oz of baking soda at the dollar store for .59, so there is no beating the price of making my own!

    • infoseekrs says

      I’m in a suburb of Seattle and Fred Meyer has Arm & Hammer Washing Soda in the laundry aisle near the Borax and Fels Naptha, but this make-your-own stuff seems to work great. Don’t really know if it’s cost effective as far as the energy used in the oven, but probably is because the baking soda is SO cheap (I’ve gotten it at Fred Meyer-their brand-for .69; Costco also has those huge bags of baking soda), and we use the residual heat for the house (leaving the door open AFTER baking — NEVER HEAT YOUR HOME WITH THE OVEN, ESPECIALLY WITH GAS!) if you don’t want to make it, try Fred Meyer, or I’ve heard Walmart has it but I haven’t checked. I have to wonder about what baking soda is doing in cookies, especially if overdone. . .

  18. rhonda says

    really. i make laundry soap going on 5 years now. i took 2 different recipes and made my own version and then added more to it. who gets the credit? me! there has been people converting baking soda to washing soda for awhile now. i see people being rude like this to bloggers all the time. how sad.

    • Andrea says

      Hear, hear. As I said earlier, grace is important in both making apologies and receiving them.

    • Sarah says

      Thanks db! Love the name of your blog, looking forward to checking out some more. :)

      By the way, I grew up in south Florida ;)

    • infoseekrs says

      I would say yes, reuse that baking soda! Also, the BEST thing I’ve used for refrigerator odors (and we’re talking failed-fridge-on-vacation-come-home-to-nasty-awful-stuff type of odors) is charcoal (WITHOUT LIGHTER FLUID ALREADY IN IT!!!!!!!) One can clean up from a mess like that with almost anything (baking soda, vinegar, surface wipes, bleach, etc.) but there’s no way to get into the insulation, etc. The charcoal absorbs this in a couple of days, sometimes a little longer. You can put it in your fridge like baking soda all the time for the normal odors, just change it regularly as you would baking soda. I’ve even used it in the barbeque for candle making so I don’t waste it. I’d say the everyday use of it in place of baking soda in a clean fridge could be reused to cook with on the bbq, too. Some say it can be composted and I would agree (see http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/soil/msg11205547592.html a few posts down the page by david52 about the content of charcoal briquettes)

  19. says

    I saw online that u can find washing soda at ACE Hardware. looking to make my own laundry soap to save money. hope this helps. most small towns have at least 1 ACE.

  20. Barbara says

    What a horrible powdery mess! Not worth the extreme cleanup and sneezing episode. Never again!

    • Sarah says

      I’m sorry you had such a bad experience, Barbara! I’ve never had problems with a powdery mess… Wondering where the issue may have occurred.

      • thatgirl says

        I’m sorry–but I don’t know where in your post it says to “make a paste.” I’m reading your directions as “sprinkle baking soda into a pan and bake it at 400 degrees.” Further up-thread, it’s suggested that the evaporating process of baking the baking soda means the powder gives up its water content. Could you please clarify? Thanks!

        • Sarah says

          Hi thatgirl,

          I’m so sorry and thanks for bringing this to my attention! My response to the other commenter (Barbara) was actually wrong. I thought she was referring to another post (one on making a baking soda scrub for blackheads!), so please disregard my comment…I’ve gone back and edited it to reflect that. So, just to clarify again, there is NO PASTE here! :)

    • infoseekrs says

      Try spreading out the baking soda on parchment paper, enough paper to go up the sides of your tray or baking dish. Then you can pick up the edges when cooled and pour it into a storage container (I use metal peanut can from Costco peanuts because it’s a good size and comes with a nice plastic lid–or a home food storage can from powdered milk and the like is the same thing, just usually taller than the peanut can). Reynold’s brand parchment paper can handle 420 degrees Fahrenheit but not higher, so this will work with the recipe/instructions here in this blog. Bake the baking soda according to the parchment paper requirement (which may be below 400 on a different product and in which case it may need more time.) I also found similar information for baking your own washing soda at http://hollythehomemaker.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-make-washing-soda.html. Hope this is helpful. Washing soda really helps with cleaning laundry both of dinginess and of smelliness (great for little ones’ accidents when they are learning to use the potty).

      • infoseekrs says

        You could also use foil on your pan, instead of parchment paper, the parchment paper just makes a nice funnel, more easily than foil.

      • momofalitter says

        I was actually standing above my stove, parchment paper in one hand, foil in the other. I wasn’t sure if the bit of slickness from the parchment paper would leech into the soda, so I opted for foil. If it works w/parchment paper tho, that’s easier to cut for me. Thanks!

  21. Jolee Burger says

    hi there! Just a quick question (or bit of feedback). I did this just now, I baked 1 c of baking soda at 400, I stirred every 10 minutes for about 50 minutes (in a convection oven). The consistency slightly changed, but not dramatically. Tired of waiting and unsure exactly what I was looking for, I went ahead and took it out, thinking it must be done. I used it to make the liquid laundry detergent, and as I am making it, the detergent is not coagulating. Could it be b/c of the improper conversion of the baking soda to washing soda? I am going to try and use the uncoagulated detergent anyway – as I have a lot of time invested into this little project! Thoughts?

    • Sarah says

      Hey Jolee, Hmm, not sure what happened. 50 minutes seems like more than enough time in the oven. Maybe it was an older box of baking soda? There is a definite difference between the unbaked and baked soda, if you look at them together under some light, it’s very clear.

      I would’ve gone ahead and tried the detergent anyways as well, so I’m interested to hear how it worked out for you!

  22. ann says

    I know these are old posts but I was told we could but very hot water on baking soda and that it does the same thing if you let it sit for a bit. Has anybody heard if this is accurate? It would just save a step in the laundry soap making process. It makes sense too that it would work! Thanks for the info!

  23. says

    Founder & Editor of theREALmeMAGAZINE here. I just published a laundry soap recipe on my Financial Tips & Tricks page. I will include the above information, as well. theREALmeMAGAZINE is the new interactive, online magazine that informs, encourages, and celebrates today’s REAL woman!

  24. Tm Tom says

    Just a silly question, when using baking soda in the fridge/freezer for odors they recommend changing the box every month – can you make washing soda with this “used” baking soda with this method? It seems like such a waste to just toss the baking soda…

    • says

      Not a silly question at all, Tm! It’s actually a great question, but unfortunately I’m not really sure. I tried to do a quick search just now but didn’t find anything. I don’t use baking soda in the fridge so I’ve never tried making washing soda out of it either. We buy our baking soda in bulk because it’s a main component of our household cleaning, so it’s very cheap. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help. :-/

      • thatgirl says

        I would imagine if the baking soda in question has been sitting in your refrigerator for that purpose, it probably won’t impart a fresh smell to your laundry; I know mine isn’t too pretty smelling when I toss it. It’s not bad, but not neutral, either.

        You might, however, still use it as a scrub for pots an pans or for bathroom surfaces, in lieu of kitchen cleanser, as it shouldn’t lose its abrasive properties. Try mixing in a little dishwashing liquid to slightly emulsify it and help its cleaning properties.

  25. Tiffany says

    I sent my husband to the store for me (obviously a mistake lol) for washing soda to make detergent. He comes back with 3 huge boxes of baking soda. You just saved his butt! Lol

  26. says

    I love this idea. I’ve been looking for another brand of washing soda since I went vegan three months ago, and decided to start making my own cleaning products. Arm and Hammer tests on animals, and I can’t contribute to that. I’m favoriting, and will definitely refer back to this article many times. :)

  27. jackie says

    Is washing soda supposed to get really hot when water is added to it? I never noticed before but recently I had some water on my hand and touch some of my homemade washing soda and it was extremely hot! I know washing soda is caustic but I didn’t think it would heat up like lye!

    • says

      Wow, never had that happen before! But I’m usually pretty cautious when working with these ingredients. Thanks for the heads up though!

  28. Grammy says

    I’ll happily BEAR with you, but I don’t get BARE with strangers. :-) So, no, ‘fraid I won’t bare with you. I leave that to nudist beaches. I’ll look around your blog, though. I’ve been using a washing soda, Dawn, and Borax mixture for laundry for a couple of months and it is every bit as good as any commercial detergent for pennies instead of dollars. Both my husband and I think it’s better, actually. Thanks for publishing the difference between those two….but I’ll buy the washing soda because I can get a much larger box of it than I can the baking soda.

  29. Rusty says

    Just an extra tip: hunting for washing soda in your supermarket might be a pain, but soda ash (also sodium carbonate), can be found easily at any pool cleaning supplier. It’s used in reducing chroline levels.

  30. Fufubaby says

    I’ve made my laundry soap for 30 yrs.I finally got my 40 something daughter to make some as her daughter has allergies from hel* an was sick all last yr. My daughter washed EVERYTHING in it and guess what healthy as a horse!!! Now she has 5-10 gallons at all times ready to go. Haha kids :-)

  31. Anj says

    Thanks for the helpful helpful post. Just curious, how long will it take to bake the baking soda into washing soda?

  32. says

    I love this. I can’t find store-brand washing soda, and because I do my very best to avoid the bad companies that do animal testing (like Arm & Hammer), I love that I can make washing soda now, reducing waste and at least letting ME be cruelty-free. (Next…finding grass-fed beef…somewhere…)

  33. Kim says

    Oh my goodness…. thank you for this very informative post. I am looking for washing soda. However, I live in Spain and have just realised that I have been using washing soda to bake with, because they more or less don’t bake here, and if they do, they don’t use baking soda!!! I had been wondering why the “baking” (not) soda here looked more grainy, and far too often left a salty taste in my baking. Thank you for explaining. Now if somebody could just tell me how to turn bicarbonato sodico back into baking soda – lol!

  34. Diana says

    Very serious issue with a lot of these natural DIY recipes. It isn’t necessary to use Arm and Hammer. If you have ever seen an animal having chemicals burn their eyes while in a head vice you would know there is nothing natural in that. Bob Red Mill is a little more, but frugal shouldn’t mean cruelty. Sorry to be a downer, but someone has to speak for the voiceless and defenseless.

    Please consider humane when choosing ingredients.

    • says

      Diana, no need to apologize. You’re absolutely right, and I only just recently came to know about these issues with Arm and Hammer. We use Bob’s Red Mill for not just baking soda, but lots of other things like arrowroot powder, oats, etc. I really need to get on it and create a new graphic for this post. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Beverly LIne says

      Thank you so much for pointing that out, and yes it is a VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE. This was my quest, to find a recipe for homemade laundry detergent that didn’t use borax so it would be cruelty free. Then people started saying about A&H testing on animals and now they could make cruelty free products and I wondered how when it was still A&H baking soda too!! I did not know that there was any other brand of baking soda besides A&H. I have never seen Bob Red Mill baking soda. Is there any other brand that is cruelty free?? I would feel SO MUCH BETTER using one that is. I really hope that the day will come soon when there will be NO TESTING ON ANIMALS FOR ANYTHING!!!! It is very barbaric and inhumane and needs to be stopped. Thank you so much Diana for speaking for the voiceless!! Kudos and much appreciation to you.

      • says

        I know, Beverly – I hope we see that day sooner rather than later as well. You can find Bob’s Red Mill online at Amazon or at your local health foods store. I’m not sure what other brands are cruelty free. Hmmm, now you’ve got me thinking about doing a whole blog post on this!

  35. Susie M says

    I can easily get Washing Soda at my local Walmart – but I cannot pay for it with my food stamps like I can with white vinegar. I use white vinegar to clean just about everything, and/or baking soda. Since I cannot work, and am waiting for disability to come through, there is very little assistance that I qualify for (no matter HOW much I have paid into the system over the years) So, for me to fork out cash money hurts.
    Now I know how to turn baking soda into washing soda!!! Yaaayyyy!!
    Will it harm bread if I am baking at the same time (hate to waste a hot oven)?

    • says

      Honestly, I don’t know about the bread thing because I’ve never tried it. If you do try it, I’d love to hear about it! Take care :-)

  36. Ronnie says

    The word you want is ‘bear’ not ‘bare’, unless, of course, you are inviting your readers to disrobe. This may seem nitpicky, but people who do not use words correctly are perceived as being less credible and less likely to be believed.

  37. dave says

    hmm. i don’t see Penny crediting anyone on her site. Did she just magically get the idea in a dream one day?

  38. says

    I LOVE your site, get you by facebook as well as your newsletter. And you’ve NEVER before failed to give credit where credit is due, nor link back. So I know this little glitch was a mishap and not intentionally intended.

    Thanks for the great work you do….

  39. MaryMoondrops says

    Why does baking soda need to be converted? Why can’t you just use the baking soda instead??

    • says

      Baking soda and washing soda are two completely different products. Some recipes for detergents and soaps call for washing soda, which is why it would be converted if you can’t find it locally.

  40. LadyBunny says

    Hello!

    I have been experimenting with the “baking Sodium Bicarbonate into “Sodium Carbonate” procedure for a little while… I have 2 potential tips and/or questions :)

    1. With the “recycling” concept in mind, I did try to recycle my old “fridge baking soda” as others have mentioned and it doesn’t seem to make a difference with in the final product, the odors probably disappear with the heat and evaporation.

    I googled it several times and just found the question/proposition, but never an actual answer… While in the fridge, it absorbs odors as well as water from condensation. I would assume it doesn’t change it’s chemical structure and that you would just need a little more time in the oven to achieve the same results…
    —> can anyone corroborate this with scientific facts?

    2. I didn’t calculate the cost effectiveness as far as the energy used by the oven while making soda ash, but I agree that, in the winter, residual heat for the house could be an argument… :) ) From that thought, came my next idea: I have a self-cleaning oven (extremely high temperatures reduces food grime to ash ), I don’t use it often, but it works. I thought I might as well turn other good thing to ash next time I do it – which should be pretty soon – and putting baking soda on the bottom part of the “clean” broiling pan that came with the oven ei coated for this process!

    —> My question is: Does anyone know if it can be over-baked, both in time and temperature, kill it all together or produce something else? Any thoughts?

    I doubt the latter but…To be safe, I searched this as well, never found an answer. The proposed times vary from 30 min to 2 hours and there are some arguments about what temperatures are “too low”.

    3. (oups! I lied… 3 questions) Besides the visual aspect, is there other clues to verify one has succeeded in transforming it? I haven’t used it in soap recipes yet…

    Thank you!

  41. Shawna says

    I have a quick question. If I put the converted baking soda to washing soda in a seal container will it remain washing soda. I am experimenting with different recipes and don’t want to use it already. I also am having a difficult time finding washing soda. Do you have a recipe for dishwasher detergent?

  42. says

    I love this tip! I never see washing soda in the stores and there’s so many recipes I want to make that use it. Thanks!

    • says

      It’s just a stronger, more alkaline version of baking soda, and packs a stronger cleaning punch. It also works great on getting mildew smells out of towels. Lots of people just use baking soda in their detergent recipes, so if it works for you, no need to change a good thing! :-) I actually use both – washing soda in the detergent recipe, and I also add 1/4 cup of baking soda to help soften clothes and regulate the ph level of the water.

  43. sophie lee says

    Cool! I used to be able to find it at my local walmart but now I can’t find it anywhere! Thanks I can make my own detergent again! :)

  44. Ruth Quinn says

    Hi there,
    I am looking for washing soda so I can dye some fabric. I will try changing plain old baking soda into washing soda and see how my colors turn out from dyeing them.

    Ruth

  45. Cat says

    Thank you so much! U have no idea how much this post helps me! I’ve been wanting to make my own paper naturally, but every recipe calls for caustic soda or washing soda. But all the companies that sell those use chemical processing to produce them. But I have a Bob’s red mill baking soda that uses NO chemicals. So now I cant just making my own washing soda and use that to finally complete my goal! Thank you again! And God Bless You!!!

  46. Jennifer says

    I tried this. I cooked it for 2 hours because it wouldn’t change. I have washing soda on hand and feel its almost a gritty feeling. after baking it still is powdery feeling. Has anyone had this problem? I don’t know what to do.

  47. Mommasita4 says

    My daughter and her friends shared your site with me. They all love it! It’s rather lovely and I needed this one on the washing soda. Thank you!!
    I am not one to comment,…but reading all the postings regarding “the mishap”…I have to say…
    First…I was a bit “taken aback” at how you were approached by penny and the others. It’s amazing to me that their comments “read” as if you had done it on purpose, which clearly, if they had gone to your site, would have seen you always give credit where it’s due. It’s sad people assume the worst, first! Also…I have seen many many similar posts all over the internet, so penny was NOT the original maker. I just hope she’s as diligent about crediting others! Who is HER moral compass? My daughter follows her (well, she and her friends USED to…till now) and when they showed me this, i understood why the don’t follow her anymore….we all think that “calling someone out in public” isn’t perhaps the “right” way to go. (Not good etiquette) to be more professional, perhaps she could have been less worried about having her 15 minutes of fame and contacted you PRIVATELY and nicely drawn your attention to the mishap. I’m sorry you had to go through this, but you handled yourself with the utmost honesty and integrity. You should be proud of yourself.

    • says

      Thanks Mommasita4 :-) To be fair, Penny did also contact my privately about this issue. At the end of the day, it was still my fault for not making sure my post linked back to her site. But all is well, it’s in the past now, no hard feelings.

      P.S. Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad to have you as a new follower! :-)

  48. Sara says

    You can tell if you have washing soda as it chemically reacts with hard water. It precipitates the calcium and the reaction heats the water. Baking soda and water do not react. It stays the same temperature and settles on the bottom. It’s an easier way for me to tell if it’s changed.

    • says

      Thanks for that info, Sara! Someone commented before that washing soda felt hot on her wet hands, so this explains it!

  49. Debbie says

    Thanks! Been, making my own for years but finding the washing soda has become more challenging as supply seems to not be keeping up with demand and the shelf is more often empty than not anymore. Now I can buy that huge bag from the bulk distributor and make it. Awesome!

Trackbacks

  1. […] All you need to do to turn ordinary baking soda into washing soda is to pour baking soda in a wide baking dish and bake on 400-degrees Fahrenheit until it loses its luster and becomes a little grainy—a commenter remarked that a batch of 6 tablespoons took around half an hour.Photo by Nature’s Nurture Blog […]

  2. […] How to Turn Baking Soda into Washing Soda – Nature’s Nurture… – I use regular baking soda with vinegar to clean the sinks and bathtub, but didn’t know how to use baking soda for washing clothes. It’s such a natural and inexpensive way to clean! No kidding! I never knew that you could bake it like this. Brilliant. […]

  3. […] Baking Soda is probably the most common ingredient in DIY cleaning products.  It whitens naturally as well as deodorizes.  With its versatility it’s probably already a staple in your home.  As an added bonus, you can actually cook baking soda and turn it into washing soda—another commonly found ingredient in DIY cleansers.  (For directions, follow this link! http://naturesnurtureblog.com/2012/05/08/ttt-turn-baking-soda-into-washing-soda/) […]

  4. […] Many natural cleaning recipes include borax as a key ingredient. And it is not possible to buy Borax off the shelf in Singapore because it is a controlled poison. Not to worry, we can substitute the Borax with hydrogen peroxide (available from Guardian pharmacies at 500ml for S$10) and washing soda (which is hard to get too. But it’s okay, just get some baking soda and you can make your own washing soda). […]

  5. […] Of course, if you’re like me and want to make it on the spur of the moment but don’t have washing soda around, you’ll be interested to know that you can make washing soda from baking soda very easily by baking it for 20-30 minutes. Check out this recipe for full details. […]

  6. […] 1. Baking soda: One reader commented on my article about DIY hygiene products that baking soda is mined and processed; thus, it is not exactly natural and certainly not sustainable. I did a little more research and found this interesting, if not slightly off-topic, article on aluminum-free baking soda that will help you with how far you’d like to push the ethics of your baking soda purchases. However, I do want to note that it is mined, which means not the ultimate sustainable solution, but it still represents a better alternative than buying normal cleaning products. Also, sometimes recipes call for washing soda, which can be made from baking soda. […]