Washing soda features either as an ingredient in some cleaning products or as a standalone cleaning agent. It is often used in homemade detergent recipes, and is sometimes used as a laundry booster or water softener. It’s an alkaline substance that can be used for general household cleaning, and even for the laundry. Read on to learn all about washing soda, what it is and how it’s made, how you can use it, and whether it’s really the best solution for your laundry.
What is washing soda?
Washing soda is a chemical compound with the formula Na2CO3, known as sodium carbonate, and it’s a salt of carbonic acid. Some use washing soda to make homemade laundry detergent, to clean especially in hard water, and some even use it as a laundry additive to soften water. Water which is rich in minerals like magnesium and calcium, is known as hard water. Hard water can affect the cleaning power of your detergent, but washing soda can bind to minerals in water allowing homemade detergents to better-absorb into fabric fibres and get on with the cleaning. Washing soda should not be confused with baking soda, even though chemically they are closely related.
How is washing soda made?
Washing soda is often made from the ashes of burned plants, which is why it’s sometimes known as soda ash. Another way it’s made is by simply putting baking soda in the oven. Heating baking soda in the oven causes a chemical reaction that changes the baking soda compound, transforming it into washing soda. Please note, that making your own chemicals at home can be extremely dangerous, so we don’t recommend trying to make your own washing soda.
What are some of the uses of washing soda?
- Removes stains. Washing soda is highly alkaline, and can act as a solvent to remove some stains.
- Removes greasy build-up in pots and pans. It can be used to remove tough stains off kitchenware or to remove soap scum off bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
- Unclogs drains. Washing soda and boiling water can be used to unclog drains.
- Cleans outdoor furniture.
- Controls aphids, whiteflies, and black spots on roses. Mix it with water in a spray bottle and spray on plants to help control outdoor pests.
How Ariel is different to homemade laundry detergent and why you don’t need washing soda
The main difference between washing soda and a laundry detergent, like Ariel, is the detergent’s additional ingredients and the use of surfactants, whereas washing soda is usually just an ingredient used in homemade laundry detergent, which will usually contain:
- Water softeners. Like washing soda or borax (a boron compound), water softeners work to soften hard water so that the main laundry detergent ingredients can work.
- Soap. This is the main ingredient that cleans the garment.
- Boosters. This works to remove hard-to-remove stains and to whiten whites.
You do not need to add washing soda to your laundry load if you’re using Ariel.
Why choose Ariel over homemade detergents?
The difference between commercial detergents and laundry soaps is that soap is made by mixing fats or oils with an alkali base like lye, and can even be made at home, while a detergent uses surfactants, which are made using more complex chemical reactions. You cannot make surfactants at home, as very high temperatures and complex reactions are involved.
Surfactants, like those you’ll find in Ariel detergents, attach to dirt and the water used during the clean, allowing any dirt or soiling to be washed away. They’re specifically designed to trap any soiling, suspend it in the water, and then be rinsed away. Soap does not do this.
Why should I choose Ariel instead of washing soda?
Ariel offers more sophisticated laundry technology that works to remove minerals in hard water even without the use of washing soda. Ariel Matic powder works to remove tough stains, like Tomato, Curry, Chocolate, in just 1 wash with the Smart enzyme technology. Liquid detergent, on the other hand, is more concentrated than washing powder, dissolving quickly not only to remove tough stains, but also protects the brightness of your colours.
Using Ariel instead of washing soda, laundry soap, or any homemade variety will give you better stain removal results, working to remove soiling more efficiently while caring for your fabrics.