About Bicarb Soda

A well known green cleaning ingredient, Sodium Bicarbonate or Bicarb, has many uses. Famous for its fizzy reaction with vinegar, it is used in a whole range of DIY solutions around the home, from cleaners to deodorant.  But have you ever wondered what it actually is?


An ancient ingredient,  sourced the exact same way as Washing Soda. Derived from natural mineral deposits that have taken millions of years to form,  a natural energy preserved in a tiny fine white sold crystalline powder.


Naturally available in abundance in mineral deposits around the world, where underground deposits are formed from dried up reciprocated lakes. 

A pitcure of a Solvay plant used to produce synthetic bicarb - a big polluter of waterways

Solvay Plant

Also synthetically made in abundance using either the Solvay or Hou process that relies on several different chemicals.


Synthetic Bicarb production leaves behind by-products and require either seaside discharge or waste beds to catch leftover impurities. These impurities have led to water pollution and overall deterioration of the surrounding environment.


A pitcure of a Solvay plant used to produce synthetic bicarb - a big polluter of waterways

Solvay Plant


Also synthetically made in abundance using either the Solvay or Hou process that relies on several different chemicals.


Synthetic Bicarb production leaves behind by-products and require either seaside discharge or waste beds to catch leftover impurities. These impurities have led to water pollution and overall deterioration of the surrounding environment.


Here are some ways to use this magical and versatile ingredient 

  • Dishwasher - Make dishwasher powder or tablets and replace costly synthetic detergents

  • Pots & Pans - Combine with table salt & washing soda to form an abrasive paste. Apply & scrub!

  • Sanitiser - Soak mops, dishcloths & even bins in a solution of water & washing soda to disinfect and remove any nasty smells.

  • Laundry - Make pastes and powders to keep clothes clean, whites white and stains away

  • Multi Purpose  - Make effective pastes to clean the oven, tiles, grout, the toilet and even the BBQ!

  • Freshen Carpet - Add natural scents with essential oils, sprinkle over carpet and let sit before vacuuming

  • Removes Odours - Sprinkle in bins and place in damp areas to absorb moisture and smell.

  • DIY Beauty - Sprinkle in bins and place in damp areas to absorb moisture and smell.Make your own toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant & face scrub.

  • Antacid - Please seek medical help if you’re in pain, but bicarb is known to reduce stomach acid by diluting a small amount in water and drinking it.

  • Bath Bombs-  make fragrance bombs you can use in the shower, bath and even the toilet

  • Bake- A natural raising agent used in making cakes

Bicarb shares a very similar chemical makeup to Washing Soda, in fact you can make Washing Soda from Bicarb.  The chemical formula for Bicarb is NaHCO3 and for Washing Soda it is Na2CO3. Bicarb contains less sodium but has a lovely Hydrogen element, which is the cause of its bubbly personality.


Although Bicarb shares properties with Washing Soda, it is not as strong. It has a pH of around 9 which makes it slightly alkaline.


Like many ingredients Bicarb is known by many names - Sodium Bicarbonate, Baking Soda, Bicarb, Bicarb Soda & sodium hydrogen carbonate. Do not however, confuse this with Baking Powder which is a mix of Bicarb and Cream of Tartar.


Here we have a fascinating, ancient raw material that we use for so many things in our lives. The natural option should not be exploited but synthetic production needs to stop. Many use Bicarb as a green option, unwillingly purchasing  a version that contributed greatly to the pollution they are trying to curb. 


Although it its often hard or impossible to determine the true source of your Bicarb, there are places that you can trust and it never hurts to ask.

Footnotes

Thank you to the various sources relied upon the compile this article


Couriers Post. (n.d.). New Jersey sues Solvay over pollution from West Deptford complex. Retrieved from https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/2020/11/10/solvay-specialty-polymers-pfas-gurbir-grewal-lawsuit/3760477001/


Fibre to Fashio. (n.d.). Solvay opens SE Asia's largest sodium bicarbonate plant. Retrieved from https://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/textile-news/solvay-opens-se-asia-s-largest-sodium-bicarbonate-plant-174730-newsdetails.htm


Medline Plus. (n.d.). Sodium Bicarbonate. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682001.html


Pubchem. (n.d.). Sodium Bicarbonate. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682001.html


Wikipedia. (n.d.). Sodium Bicarbonate. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_bicarbonate


Article has been updated 20th December 2020


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