From film developing to taxidermy and from chemistry labs straight to your kitchen, sodium carbonate, commonly known as washing soda or soda ash, has had a fascinating history of usage.

A pH stabilizer, water softener, lye pretzel maker and a calcification remover in water heaters, washing soda has multiple uses. But the most common is its simple household use – as a laundry detergent.


Washing soda is a water-soluble sodium salt of carbonic acid that is widely used as an effective natural cleaner and cleaning booster. In fact, all the commercial detergents contain washing soda as a prime component.

However, washing soda isn’t that readily available across the world, and especially for those living in rural areas with only small or no grocery stores, washing soda can be hard to track down.

But here comes the rescue. Get your hands on baking soda and you can make your own washing soda with just 1 common ingredient. All you need is an oven and simply bake it!

washing soda from baking soda


Using enough heat on baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for a long period of time will change the structure of it into washing soda (sodium carbonate) while releasing the excess carbon dioxide.

Steps to Prepare Washing Soda:

Things you’ll need:

how to make washing soda from baking soda

  • Baking soda – 2 to 3 cups

Step 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

preheat oven for making washing soda from baking soda

Preheat your oven to 400° Fahrenheit.

Step 2. Spread out and bake the baking soda

bake baking soda to make washing soda from baking soda

  • Grab a cookie sheet and spread a thick layer of baking soda (2 to 3 cups) across it.
  • Stick it in the oven at 400° for 1 hour.
  • To help it bake evenly, stir well 1 or 2 times while it’s baking.

For conversion into washing soda, baking soda needs to reach 400 degrees, so the exact amount of time is needed for the reaction to take place.

You should observe a change in the look, feel and texture of the baking soda when it’s done. While baking soda has a silky and powdery feel, washing soda is grainy in texture.

Step 3. Cool and store

cool store the washing soda made from baking soda

  • Take the baking tray out of the oven and allow the composition to cool down completely.
  • Store it in an airtight container.

Use this homemade washing soda in natural cleaning recipes and laundry soaps.


Baking soda is light, fluffy, powdery and crystallized, and clumps together.

Washing soda is flat, dull and grainy, and does not clump easily.

make washing soda from baking soda

Additional Tips

  • Washing soda is caustic and a nonedible composition. Make sure you wear gloves while touching it with your hands.
  • Do not stir too hard, lest you may inhale the tiny particles of the composition.
  • You may also use a glass pan for the baking process. However, it will take a little longer in a glass pan. On the other hand, using stone or metal will take less time.
  • The best advantage of a homemade laundry detergent is that you can experiment with essential oils. Just add in a few drops of your favorite scent to keep your clothes smelling fresh after every wash.