Making your own washing soda, also known as soda ash, is a very simple process. All you need to do is change the chemical structure of baking soda so that it becomes washing soda. If you're interested in a little chemistry lesson, read on. If not, skip to the directions below the decorative page break.
Washing soda is a white powdery substance that is soluble in water and is able to absorb moisture in the air. Baking soda has a chemical formula of NaHCO3, whereas washing soda has a chemical formula of Na2CO3. In the simplest of terms, this means washing soda has one sodium atom and one hydrogen atom more than baking soda does. When baking soda is heated at a high enough temperature, a change takes place that releases elements from the chemical compound to leave only Na2CO3, or washing soda.
This is why all you need to do to create your own washing soda at home is to heat up some baking soda at a high enough temperature.
- baking soda
- a baking pan
- an oven
1. Evenly spread some baking soda into a baking pan.
2. Bake it in an oven at about 200°C (about 400 °F), until all of it turns into washing soda. This will probably take anywhere between 30-45 minutes. Stir the baking soda once in awhile while it's being heated to make sure it bakes evenly.
|It's like a zen Japanese rock garden you can play around with in your oven! Just be careful not to burn yourself.|
|Left: Baking soda|
Right: Washing soda
Keep in mind that you'll end up with a little less than when you started. One cup of baking soda will probably yield 4/5 of a cup of washing soda. So remember to account for that when making your measurements.
Most people use washing soda at home as a water softener while doing their laundry. What water softener does is prevent elements such as magnesium and calcium ions in hard water from binding with the detergent, and they'll easily wash away with water instead.
Washing soda can also be diluted in water and run through hot water boilers and coffee machines to clean them of any mineral buildup inside.
Hope you found this useful!