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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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


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

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What can I use as a substitution for washing soda?

By tjlr from Elizabeth City, NC


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

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

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

Jennifer from Illinois


Substitute for Washing Soda

Washing Soda is available at Wal Mart in the laundry aisle. (08/29/2006)

By imaqt1962

Substitute for Washing Soda

I live by Wal-Mart's home office, and none of the Wal-Mart stores around here have washing soda in the laundry aisle. They do have baking soda, which can be used in laundry too, in that aisle. (08/29/2006)

Substitute for Washing Soda

Baking soda is the only thing I've seen as a substitute for washing soda. They are different though and will work differently. Washing soda is a cleaning booster. If your local stores (U.S.A.) don't sell it, ask them to order it. It should be available from their distributors.
Susan from ThriftyFun (08/29/2006)

By ThriftyFun

Substitute for Washing Soda

Arm and Hammer's website has a locator feature for finding this product in your area. (08/29/2006)

By Linda.

Substitute for Washing Soda

Washing soda is sodium carbonate, which can also be found at pool supply stores. There aren't any stores around me that carry the washing soda and I could not justify the shipping cost for ordering it. After some research I found this little tidbit. It cost about the same in pool supply.

By robin

Substitute for Washing Soda

Oxygen cleaner like OxiClean works wonders. It has the sodium carbonate (washing soda) and one other ingredient. This is what I use as a substitution. (09/14/2006)

By Angee

Substitute for Washing Soda

I could not find washing soda in any Wal-Mart near me in TX, but I found it at Brookshire's. (01/09/2007)

By onetam

Substitute for Washing Soda

You can look in the pool supply section of Wal-Mart or wherever and find pure sodium carbonate (a popular brand is pH Up), which is what washing soda is. (01/10/2007)

By jdrinkwater

Substitute for Washing Soda

The only store that I found to carry washing soda is Kroger's. (04/20/2007)

By Paul

Substitute for Washing Soda

I found a thing somewhere called soap nut shells (look on ebay) which are basically enviro friendly but just release saponin. Can also be made into shampoo etc. Very cheap and economical if you use them 3-4 times per 'lot' (depending on water type). Just put into a sock and tie and then shove in the machine. It's as simple as that. Use about 6 half shells per load for soft water, about 8 for hard. Experiment. (06/05/2007)

By Johanino

Substitute for Washing Soda

I am a SAHM who has returned to college. In a recent chemistry class, I learned that at high temperature like 450 deg for about 4 hours would reduce sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to sodium carbonate (washing soda). It has something to do with the chemical composition and the breakdown rates of chemicals.

Take it with a grain of salt but I would think that if you would take a small box of baking soda and sprinkle it evenly over say a cookie sheet and bake in oven at 450 for around 4 hours that could possibly work. Although you would have an oven going for 4 hours which may not be that cost efficient. Take it all with a grain of salt. Have a good day. (06/12/2007)

By Kansas Gal

Substitute for Washing Soda

I used 3/4 of a cup of Amaze detergent booster, and 3/4 a cup of baking soda in place of washing soda. It seems to work really well. (08/13/2007)

By Cassie

Substitute for Washing Soda

You can use salt and soap flakes grated from a bar, or you can use soap flakes plus a little sodium bicarbonate, about a dessert spoonful in the powder drawer. Even cheaper and very eco-friendly, use a wash ball.

See my site: for more info on these ingenious devices. (07/10/2008)

By Rona from Greenfootsteps

Substitute for Washing Soda

I have looked everywhere for washing soda and I have yet to find it (actually I am on the phone with Kroger's to see if they have it). Thanks for suggesting sodium carbonate instead of washing soda, I think that it will make this easier finding one of the two products. I would like to use the Oxi-Clean but I am afraid that something might go wrong, knowing me. (01/16/2009)

By Kelly From TN

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Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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Home and Garden Cleaning Cleaning Supply RecipesOctober 18, 2010
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