Make Washing Soda with Baking Soda & Heat

Washing soda is great for DIY cleaners, but it’s hard to find locally. Did you know you can make your washing soda using baking soda and an oven?

Washing soda is great for DIY cleaners, but it's sometimes hard to find locally. Did you know that you can make your own washing soda using baking soda and an oven?

I was all ready to make my homemade cleaners for the month, and I realized I was out of washing soda. I drove out to Wal-Mart (where I am usually lucky enough to find it), and the shelves were empty where the washing soda usually sits. I went back the next week, and they were still out. I tracked down a friendly Wal-Mart associate, and he informed me that they would no longer be carrying the washing soda, but hey, they had plenty of baking soda. Does he realize these two things are not the same?

After checking out stores throughout the county, I realized I may no longer be able to purchase my washing soda locally. Amazon is great, but I hate the wait. Bummer…

To say I was discouraged would be putting it mildly. As a last resort, I checked out this little podunk hardware store near my house. She told me that they didn’t have any, but she remembers her nephew making some as part of a science project for school. She couldn’t remember the details, but she was pretty sure it was just heated-up baking soda. It can’t be that easy. They aren’t the same thing, remember?

Washing Soda is Baking Soda?

I rushed home and hopped on my trusty Google search. Lo and behold, all you have to do is heat up baking soda in the oven. It really is the same thing… sort of. I made it, and it actually works. I’ve cleaned with it, and it actually cleans. Color me surprised! Today, I’m sharing the pearls of wisdom with you:

  • Heat your oven to 400ºF
  • Put baking soda onto a cookie sheet or glass pan in a thin layer (no more than 1/4″ deep)
  • Place the cookie sheet (or two) in the oven and wait for an hour to an hour and a half.
  • Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon (rubber spatulas will melt – ask me how I know)
  • Remove when it’s finished

Converting Baking Soda into Washing Soda

Washing soda is great for DIY cleaners, but it's sometimes hard to find locally. Did you know that you can make your own washing soda using baking soda and an oven?

So, how do you know when it’s done converting? Just use your eyes. It’s subtle, but you can tell the difference. Baking soda is fine and powdery. It also appears a bit shiny. Washing soda is dull and grainy.

When you’re done making washing soda, you can use any of your leftover baking soda to clean your stove top and oven.

The Science-y Stuff

For those of you who care about the chemistry, this is for you. For the rest of you, feel free to scroll down and pin the image below to save for later or share with your friends.

When baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) gets heated, it turns into washing soda (sodium carbonate) + Carbon Dioxide + Water.

2NaHCO3 + Heat = Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O

What is washing soda used for?

Also known as soda ash or soda crystals, it’s a solvent used for removing stains. As the name suggests, it’s most commonly used for washing laundry. That’s not the only use. Here are a few other ideas.

Prairie Homestead has a cheap and easy liquid dish soap recipe that I’ve fallen for. We use the dishwasher for most of our dishes, but if I forget to run it, I’m stuck hand washing. This works up really fast and only costs pennies.

Root Simple shows you how to scour cotton for dyeing by soaking it with washing soda.

One Good Thing by Jillee has 39 other uses for washing soda if you still need ideas.

Washing soda is great for DIY cleaners, but it's sometimes hard to find locally. Did you know that you can make your own washing soda using baking soda and an oven?

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  1. Miss Anna says:

    I use washing soda to make my laundry soap along with two other ingredients and dishwasher soap too. I had been getting the washing soda from Amazon where 3 months ago I got it for $4.12 and also found it at the store later for around the same price. I went to Amazon a couple of days ago to order it again and they want almost $21.00 for the same amount of product as I got before! The store doesn’t have it and I don’t know when they will have it. I looked online and it’s either not available or the cost is way too much. Then during my online search, I found out I can make it! WoW, am I surprised as to how easy it is and I happen to have a huge bag of baking soda here now. Thank you so much for posting this info, you have saved me looking any further!

  2. Hello Jessica – I’ve been making washing soda for years, but when I read your blog a few years ago, I was elated. I had taught my youngest daughter Chemistry at home using the Dr. Jay Wile text, and we did a lot of chemical computations. Seeing the chemistry info on your article was encouraging because I could read and understand the sentence! Make me feel like a real mad scientist in the kitchen 😉 Thank you!

  3. I will make washing soda according to your tips .thanks for sharing,and keep sharing.

    1. Doris Theiss says:

      Thank you for sharing! Iam going to do this with my OVEN this week!

  4. Great article! I didn’t realize washing soda was so easy to make. Much more expensive to buy, so I’ll be making my own from now on!

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      I’m so glad to help Esther!

      1. Marty Agree’s!! I also subscribed…..Thank you…Martini

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