Updated: Aug 1, 2020
So, what is it, really? No, it is not the same as baking soda.
chemical formula: NA2CO3 – sodium carbonate names: washing soda, soda ash, laundry soda, sal soda, soda crystals, soda
It does occur naturally. Washing soda is an environmentally-friendly natural cleaner. It is very safe for the environment, breaking down easily and causing no problems.
It can be used to clean floors, walls, sinks, drains – almost any surface where you would use a multi-purpose cleaner. It is as safe as a chemical can be.
A word of caution: As with any cleaning product, keep it away from where small children and pets can reach it.
What’s washing soda good for?
Use it for cleaning your laundry (1-2 tbsp for one load)
It is very good for dissolving grease and waxy deposits.
It can be used for getting rid of greasy stains on clothes. It is useful for blood, tea, and coffee stains.
You can use it for flushing sinks and drains to get rid of soap scum and grease.
It will give glass-ware a shiny, lustrous appearance. Tiles and bathroom ceramics come up beautifully clean, too.
It will help dissolve burnt-on grease from kitchen ware.
washing soda works well to clean outdoor furniture and decks
Use it as a water softener when washing items by hand – preferably use gloves.
Use it to descale kettles and coffee makers.
sodium carbonate is also used to help dyes adhere to the kitchenwarefabric. This could be useful when you use natural dyes from plants.
Where to find it?
In Vienna you can find it in numerous bulk stores: e.g.: Neuber’s Enkel, Der Greißler, Lieberohne. Rest of Austria & Germany: Spar, dm :Brüder Ploy Kristallsoda Billa: Heitmann Reine Soda Reiniger
In the United States: Arm & Hammer by Church and Dwight.
In the UK: Dri-Pak Soda Crystals
If you know where to find it in your city or country, please leave a comment below that I can update my list.
How safe is it?
Washing soda is quite strongly alkaline so you should not let it be in contact with your skin. Use rubber gloves when dealing with it. It is classed as an irritant and is particularly irritating to the eyes.
You should also avoid breathing the dust. As it is usually supplied as a crystal, this isn’t hard to do. Once it is dissolved in water it doesn’t give off toxic fumes.