Share Crafts

Substitute for Washing Soda


I'm making homemade laundry detergent, but can't find washing soda. What can I use instead?

By Heather from Brooker, FL


Recent AnswersAnswer this Question

By Elaine 173 890 10/20/2010 Flag

I have found it at Walmart and most grocery stores in my area carry it.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

By Monica 296 58 10/20/2010 Flag

Washing soda is usually found with the laundry products in most stores. I know the Kroger chain stores carry it.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

By Sue Hadley 62 10/20/2010 Flag

I've found you can get washing soda at a swimming pool supply store, look for "sodium carbonate" that is washing soda.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

By 4getmenot 1 01/28/2011 Flag

Call this phone number 1-800-524-1328 and give them the UPC code 33200-03020 (for Washing Soda). The service will ask for your zip code and then tell you places in your area that sell the item. I believe this service will locate any item if you have the UPC code number.

Washing Soda is sodium carbonate, aka soda ash, and is NOT the same as Baking soda (Bisodium carbonate).

Washing soda has many uses. It is often sold as a pool chemical to lower effects of chlorine and raise PH, but is much more expensive at pool supply companies than as Washing Soda elsewhere. Sodium carbonate is also used in making glass, in taxidermy, and as an ingredient in some toothpastes.

At home, many people use Washing Soda (also known as Super Washing Soda, Soda Crystals, and Sal Soda) in dyeing fabrics, cooking, making their own cleaning products, and as a descaler for coffee pots, espresso machines, etc. The most common use is as a laundry additive: It softens the water, helping your detergent clean better, neutralizes odors, and removes greasy stains. It does not damage delicate fabrics like bleach does. It is one of the ingredients in Oxyclean. It can also be used as safe household cleaner on just about anything around your house. It is a great grease cutter, and because it's has no suds, it rinses easily.

I use it to safely and inexpensively, clean silver. To do this, you first put a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a glass container (I use a 9x13 baking dish), and put in enough very hot water to cover your silver item. Then add a few tablespoons of Washing Soda, drop in your silver items, making sure they touch the aluminum foil. Let sit a few minutes, remove, and dry. You may need to repeat the process.

Tip: Washing Soda is packaged in a box and is usually displayed near the fabric softeners.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

By Rhonda G. 1 04/03/2013 Flag

You can turn Baking Soda into Washing Soda by baking it. Below is the explanation on how you can do it.

The difference between baking soda and washing soda is water and carbon dioxide. Seriously. Baking sodas chemical makeup is NaHCO3 (1 sodium, 1 hydrogen, one carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules). Washing sodas 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.

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.

Baking soda is powdery, crystallized like salt, and clumps together. Washing soda is grainy, dull and opaque, and is separate grains.

Below is a picture so you can see the difference.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

Archive: Substitute for Washing Soda

I want to make the fels naptha laundry soap recipe. I don't want to use the washing power and I don't have the money to purchase right now anyway. Does anyone know of something other than washing soda that I can use in a laundry soap recipe?

Delanie122000 from Oak Park IL

RE: Substitute for Washing Soda 10/22/2005
I have used baking soda instead, because sometimes washing soda is hard to find in my area. It seems to work really well.
By wendiesioux
RE: Substitute for Washing Soda 10/23/2005
Washing soda is pretty cheap but hard to find. Arm and Hammer has a toll-free hotline that is just dedicated to this issue. You enter your zip, and they give you names of stores in your area where its available. I make the powdered detergent using w. soda, borax and grated soap. I use any kind of soap that is free or cheap. The little bars from hotels or any other dollar store soap works-you don't need Fels. Use your food processor to grate the soap.
By Linda (Guest Post)
RE: Substitute for Washing Soda 10/28/2005
You can't really substitute baking soda (sodium bicarbinate) for washing soda (sodium carbonate). They are two different products and perform two different ways. A box of washing soda retails for less than $3. While I make big batches of the detergent (3 boxes of each borax, washing soda, a box of baking soda), you can get by easily for now with one box of each borax , baking soda, and a bar of Fels Naptha, which costs only 1.50. So to make this stuff, you only need to spend about 5-6 bucks. That shoudl last you at least a month or more!

Call the A and H line to find out where to purchase the washing soda.

By Missy
RE: Substitute for Washing Soda 11/01/2005
I remember when I was a child, my grandfather would make homemade soap, grate it up and use it for laundry. In my books on making homemade soap, laundry soap is soap rebatched with borax added, so you could use those two together without the washing soda. While baking soda and washing soda are chemically different, either can be added to a load of laundry. Some people use the bar soap with salt for a homemade detergent. Amy D. said plain water cleans without any soap at all. Use what you can, even if it's just soap in the water.
By susan (Guest Post)

Archive: Substitute for Washing Soda

I am looking for a substitute for washing soda. I was trying to make my own laundry soap but I cannot find "washing soda" in any stores around me. Can I substitute it?

Archive: Substitute for Washing Soda

What can I use as a substitution for washing soda?

By tjlr from Elizabeth City, NC


RE: Substitute for Washing Soda

You haven't said what you are using it for? If it's laundry why would you want to replace it? You can use baking soda, but that would be more expensive. Washing soda is one of the cheapest stain removers and laundry refreshers there is. Here in Canada, Arm and Hammer sells "SoClean" and they also make the baking soda. You can google them. (09/03/2009)

By quiltmum

RE: Substitute for Washing Soda

I found washing soda at my hardware store Ace Hardware, they also had fels naptha. It was available no where else. I live in a small area so was thrilled to find it and it was less then 3.00. So try a hardware store, they have some amazing things there and they will give you free paint mixing sticks that are great for stirring your liquid detergent.

By Kelda

Archive: Substitute for Washing Soda

Have anybody ever experienced any problems with using washing soda in your homemade liquid laundry soap? (Such as it being too harsh on delicate fabrics, leaching dye, damage to clothes in the long run, etc.) Is there any substitute to washing soda that I can use? (Like vinegar or baking soda. No borax please.)

I don't use hot water in my washing machine.

Thanks for your kind attention!

By Alphonse from Singapore


RE: Substitute for Washing Soda

I've been using washing soda for about 20 years when doing my laundry. I've used it with commercial laundry detergent, and I've added it to home made laundry powder. I've never had a problem with it with any type of fabric. (08/29/2010)

By cett

Answer This Question