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What Is Washing Soda?

Washing soda is often used to remove stains from clothes. However, it is not the same as washing detergent. It is also nothing like baking soda, which is also used to remove stains. (Are you confused yet?)

Washing soda is an alkaline with the chemical formula of Na2CO3. It is sometimes called sodium carbonate. Since it is often “harvested” from the ashes of plants, it is often called sofa ash. Another source of washing soda is table salt, or sodium carbonate.

The chemical composition of washing soda makes it a very powerful cleanser. The alkaline content dissolves stains, and is much safer to use than bleach because it does not damage the clothes.

Washing soda is also effective when the water is “hard” or when it contains a lot of minerals that prevent traditional detergent from building up a lot of foam. It can clean the clothes, and the chemicals in it will “bind” with the water minerals, minimizing the annoying residue that can destroy washing machines and cling to the clothes.

Washing soda can also be used to clean coffee machines and bathroom tiles, also by binding with the minerals. Other functions include stripping off floor wax, or removing the grit that accumulates around a stove.

The only problem with washing soda is that it can cause skin irritation. That is why it is important for people to wear protective rubber gloves whenever they handle this chemical. If there is accidental contact, people will feel a “burning” sensation. To counterac this, apply baking soda which will neutralize the alkalines.

Featured in Science