A few questions about washing soda

mara_2008July 20, 2009

As I understand it, washing soda is stronger than baking soda. I've had good results using baking soda to deodorize stinky laundry when necessary.

How does washing soda compare with baking soda in this regard? In other ways?

And, where can one find washing soda?

Does washing soda fade clothing?

I've looked at virtually every local store and haven't seen it yet. I'm just wondering if it's worth a search.

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Washing soda is sodium carbonate, where as baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Washing soda is a natural builder much like phosphates in detergents. Washing soda forms insoluble precipitates when it softens the water so it is not as effective a builder as STPP (sodium tri-polyphosphate). Washing soda is a great laundry booster for getting clothes cleaner, but not effective at odor removal like baking soda. You should be able to buy it at your local grocery store in the laundry aisle, if not it can be bought online at the chemistry store. If you are looking for a great laundry booster and deodorizer then 20 Mule Team Borax is hard to beat. Borax can be found at your local grocery store in the laundry aisle as well. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 6:51AM
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From "Laundry: the Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes & Linens" by Cheryl Mendelson (she's one of my favorite authors of books about housekeeping)

Washing soda, an alkali, helps cut grease, and is a water softener. Use 1/2 cup per regular load or 3/4 cup for an extra-large load.

Washing soda is effective as a pretreatment for many stains, including food stains, grease, diapers, lipstick and crayon. Work 4 tablespoons into a paste with water. Dampen the stain, and, wearing rubber gloves, rub the paste into the stain. To use washing soda as a presoak, use 1 tablespoon per gallon of warm water or 1/2 cup per regular washing load. Drain the clothes before washing.

You should exercise caution when using a strong caustic substance such as washing soda; test it first on an inconspicuous area of the garment. It should never be used on wool, silk, or other protein or animal-origin fibers. Also avoid using washing soda on any delicate cellulosic fibers. Use rubber gloves and keep it off your skin.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:25AM
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Thank you both for all this info. I remember seeing washing soda at local stores in the past, but it seems to have disappeared from the shelves now.

I did find 20 Mule Team Borax at one (just one) of our local Super Walmarts. Is it comparable to washing soda?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 6:23PM
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Borax is just as effective as washing soda as a laundry booster, plus it has the added benefit of removing certain odors.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 6:38AM
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Thanks for the info, jdenyer. I'll just use the Borax and forget about trying to find washing soda. :-)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 9:22AM
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Yes, washing soda does fade clothes. I did a test with clothing dye and put some in water, when I added the washing soda it did fade the color. I did the same test with borox and it did not fade the color at all. The washing soda would be good to use when washing whites.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 3:59PM
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