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Soda Crystals vs. Baking Soda: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 8, 2024
Soda crystals, or washing soda, are a water softener and cleaning agent, whereas baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a mild alkali used in baking and cleaning.

Key Differences

Soda crystals, also known as washing soda, are chemically sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), a powerful cleaning agent. Baking soda, scientifically known as sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), is milder and used in baking as a leavening agent.
Soda crystals are primarily used for cleaning and laundry, as they are effective in removing grease and stains. Baking soda, due to its mild nature, is used in cooking, especially as a leavening agent, and also for gentle cleaning.
The pH level of soda crystals is higher, making them more alkaline and stronger for heavy-duty cleaning. Baking soda has a lower pH level, which makes it suitable for cooking and light cleaning without damaging surfaces.
Soda crystals can soften water and are great for laundry, but may be too harsh for delicate fabrics. Baking soda is safer for cleaning a wider range of surfaces, including kitchen countertops and even teeth.
Handling soda crystals requires caution as they can be more abrasive and irritate skin. Baking soda is generally safer to handle, making it a popular choice for household cleaning and personal care.

Comparison Chart

Chemical Name

Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3)
Sodium Bicarbonate (NaHCO3)

Primary Use

Heavy-duty cleaning and laundry
Baking, light cleaning, and deodorizing

PH Level

More alkaline, higher pH
Less alkaline, lower pH

Suitability for Surfaces

Effective for tough stains, may harm delicate materials
Safe for a wide range of surfaces, including cooking and personal care


Requires caution due to abrasive nature
Generally safer and non-irritating

Soda Crystals and Baking Soda Definitions

Soda Crystals

Useful in garden care, like cleaning pots and patios.
I sprinkled soda crystals to clean the algae from the flower pots.

Baking Soda

Can be used as a mild abrasive for cleaning kitchen surfaces.
I cleaned the kitchen counter with a paste of baking soda and water.

Soda Crystals

Commonly used for laundry to soften water and remove stains.
Adding soda crystals to the wash helped brighten the whites.

Baking Soda

A mild alkaline compound used in baking as a leavening agent.
The cookies rose perfectly thanks to the baking soda.

Soda Crystals

Can be used to clean outdoor areas like patios and driveways.
The patio was cleaned using a solution of soda crystals.

Baking Soda

Popular for its use in cleaning and deodorizing.
Baking soda removed the coffee stain from the carpet.

Soda Crystals

Effective in unblocking drains and removing buildup.
Soda crystals cleared the kitchen sink blockage effectively.

Baking Soda

Used in personal care products like toothpaste for gentle cleaning.
I brushed my teeth with a baking soda-based toothpaste.

Soda Crystals

A powerful cleaning agent made of sodium carbonate.
I used soda crystals to remove the grease stains from the oven.

Baking Soda

Effective in neutralizing odors in refrigerators and trash cans.
Placing a box of baking soda in the fridge eliminated the odors.


What is baking soda used for?

Baking soda is used for baking, cleaning, deodorizing, and in personal care.

Are soda crystals more alkaline than baking soda?

Yes, soda crystals have a higher pH level, making them more alkaline.

Can soda crystals be used for baking?

No, they are not suitable for baking due to their high alkalinity.

Is baking soda good for laundry?

Yes, it can be used for gentle cleaning and odor removal in laundry.

What are soda crystals?

Soda crystals are a cleaning agent made from sodium carbonate.

Is baking soda safe for cooking?

Yes, it's commonly used as a leavening agent in baking.

Can I use baking soda to unblock drains?

Yes, especially when combined with vinegar, it can help clear minor blockages.

Do soda crystals have a scent?

No, they are odorless.

How does baking soda deodorize?

It neutralizes odors rather than masking them.

Are soda crystals safe for all fabrics?

No, they can be harsh on delicate fabrics.

Is it safe to mix soda crystals with other cleaners?

It's not recommended as it can lead to chemical reactions.

Is baking soda environmentally friendly?

Yes, it's considered a natural, eco-friendly cleaning product.

How long does baking soda last?

It can last for years if stored in a dry, airtight container.

How do soda crystals affect garden soil?

They can alter the pH of the soil, so should be used cautiously.

Can baking soda whiten teeth?

Yes, it's often used in toothpaste for its mild abrasive properties.

Can baking soda remove stains?

Yes, it can remove light stains and is safe for most surfaces.

Can soda crystals be used in dishwashers?

Yes, they can help remove grease and soften water.

Are soda crystals more effective than baking soda for heavy-duty cleaning?

Yes, due to their higher alkalinity and abrasive nature.

Can I use baking soda in the garden?

Yes, it can be used for certain gardening tasks, like pest control.

Is it safe to handle soda crystals with bare hands?

It's best to use gloves as they can be irritating to the skin.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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