PDA

View Full Version : sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) vs sodium carbonate (soda ash)


christyf5
03-24-2011, 07:29 PM
Has anyone noticed any major benefit in using either one of these? I'm just wondering with the availability of soda ash if I should be switching to it as I am currently using baking soda, which seems to be fine so far.

don.ald
03-24-2011, 09:32 PM
good question. also, i was thinking of going to the pharmacy and purchasing chem grade sodium bicarb. vs food grade (baking soda).
wondering if there is a difference/ (sorry didnt want to hijack the thread)

ScubaSteve
03-24-2011, 09:40 PM
good question. also, i was thinking of going to the pharmacy and purchasing chem grade sodium bicarb. vs food grade (baking soda).
wondering if there is a difference/ (sorry didnt want to hijack the thread)

Food grade should be sufficient. I used pharm grade for a while and even ran it through my HPLC at work and found that food grade was just as pure (as long as it was the unscented type. No need to pay the premium.

untamed
03-24-2011, 10:22 PM
Food grade should be fine. I believe that bicarbonate and carb will both cause The same long term effect, but have opposite (temp) impact on pH.

Delphinus
03-24-2011, 11:12 PM
I thought soda ash affected the pH less so I always chose to go with that when possible but I usually just made my own by putting baking soda in the oven for an hour at 350 as per Randy Holme-Farley's articles. However I found that when I did so I would invariably get chunks of baked baking soda which would really resist dissolving, without a lot of mixing or by preboiling the RO/DI I was mixing it into. It was a messy and time consuming process which I didn't really enjoy.

I'm using BRS soda ash now and man that stuff mixes nice. No comparison, totally full of win.

I never wanted to use actual "washing soda" (which is supposed to be soda ash), or I should say, I wanted to because it's easily accessible but I never did ever actually USE any because everytime I would buy some it would have this distinctly lemon scent to it. I am convinced that they are adding some kind of perfume to it but they don't list ingredients so I think it's too risky. I googled this several times over the years and each time could not find satisfactory answers, Randy Holmes-Farley just goes so far as to say that it does appear that it is perfumed in Canada but not in the U.S.

The BRS stuff is a total win. Only thing is the shipping costs are high if you buy a lot so it dampens the enthusiasm somewhat. However I'm still hoping to try Eli's stuff that he's brought in for the next round.

Anyhow: soda ash for the pH reasons, and BRS soda ash over baked baking soda for the ease of mixing.

HTH

Lance
03-24-2011, 11:21 PM
+1 on the BRS soda ash Tony. So much more user-friendly. I love it.

PoonTang
03-24-2011, 11:42 PM
Why go through all the hassle of shipping etc to get soda ash. You only really need it if you need the pH move that it provides, and then you can make it yourself if need be. Baking Soda is available anywhere and is of known quality. I would say stick with what you know, unless you have a good reason to change.

es355lucille
03-24-2011, 11:58 PM
Ok, I am learning today. Thanks for all the good info folks!