Homemade Washing Soda

enjoying the results of my newest experiment
Washing soda is a key component to my homemade laundry and dishwasher detergents. But unfortunately I do not have the best luck finding it around here. So when I started running low on detergent, I started to panic a little because I was out of washing soda and had no idea where to find it (it is supposed to be easy to find at regular grocery stores and even Walmart but I have had no luck). But then I learned that you can make your own washing soda out of baking soda!

Washing soda (sodium carbonate) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) are two different things. But you can easily turn baking soda into washing soda by heating it to a high enough temperature for long enough. Want to find out more? Check out Penniless Parenting's post that explains the science behind it and gives you the how-to.

Okay, some of you may be wondering if this is even worth the trouble of making (though believe me, it is no trouble!). I broke down the cost of the baking soda I buy at Costco vs. the cost of washing soda that I could find on drugstore.com. Obviously your prices will vary (and I am sure you could find washing soda cheaper in an actual store if you are lucky enough to find it!) but in general, washing soda is more expensive than baking soda. So even if you are just saving pennies per cup, those savings add up!

baking soda - $5.39/13.5 lb (216 oz) or $0.03 an oz
washing soda - $7.49/55 oz or $0.14 an oz

Some of you may also be considering the hidden cost in making your own washing soda: the electricity used to heat your oven for so long. While it may be minimal, the cost and the energy used is still there. My advice? Stick your baking soda in the oven when you are already going to have the oven on. No more electricity will be used than you would have anyway! 

So what do you have to lose? Check out this post next time you are in need of washing soda - if nothing else it is a fun science experiment!

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