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Sodium Carbonate: Frequently Asked Questions

This Sodium Carbonate FAQ is a listing of the most frequently asked questions about Sodium Carbonate. A great place to start getting answers to all your basic Sodium Carbonate questions.

Is sodium bicarbonate (bicarb soda) the same as sodium carbonate or baking powder?

No, sodium bicarbonate (bicarb soda or baking soda) is completely different to sodium carbonate (soda ash) or baking powder (which contain aluminium compounds). Sodium bicarbonate, as used by us, is completely free of harmful effects.

What is the difference between Baking soda and Sodium bi-carbonate?

Technically speaking there is no difference between the two. Usually baking soda is a food grade product that is much more refined than raw sodium bicarbonate. Preferably, try to use Baking soda.

What's the difference between baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3) and sodium hydrogen carbonate?

They both act similarly as buffers. From my experience sodium bicarbonate raises pH as well. I don't know about sodium hydrogen carbonate.

But is baking soda really the same? The dealer stuff has a chemical name of "sodium hydrogen carbonate". Is that the same?

Yes, it's EXACTLY the same. Baking soda is the pharmaceutical grade (extra pure) of sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate. The pool store stuff is the industrial grade which is slightly less pure and is not as fine. But, except for impurities, they are identical.
Yes, it's EXACTLY the same. Baking soda is the pharmaceutical grade (extra pure) of sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate. The pool store stuff is the industrial grade which is slightly less pure and is not as fine. But, except for impurities, they are identical. It's common in pool product labels to use the most obscure chemical name legally allowed, all for the purpose of allowing to sell you on their "sodium hydrogen carbonate" @ $1.50/lb instead of baking soda @ $0.40.
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