Where to Get Washing Soda


Some of the recipes in my book The Minimalist Cleaning Method require an ingredient known as washing soda.

There has been some confusion as to this particular ingredient so it is time to help clear this up.

Washing soda is known by the chemical name of Sodium Carbonate, and helps clean things by raising the pH in water to a higher, more acidic level.

Baking Soda, also known as Sodium Bicarbonate is NOT the same as washing soda. Sodium bicarbonate acts to neutralize the pH in water rather than raise the pH as is needed in some of the recipes (like for laundry detergent) in my book.

Washing Soda is most commonly found under the Arm & Hammer brand; I have included a picture with this post to show you what to look for. It is located with the laundry detergents in stores (it is considered a laundry booster) and generally hangs out near the borax.

J11130If you are unable to locate Washing Soda in your local stores, visit the pool supply section of your local hardware stores and look for pH raiser. Read the ingredients and locate one that is composed of soda ash or sodium carbonate (soda ash is another name for sodium carbonate or washing soda). Here is an image of a container of pH raiser that contains sodium carbonate:


You will use this in the exact same amounts  in the recipes in my book as you would Washing Soda because it is the same thing, so don’t worry! The only thing of concern is the cost of pH raiser when it isn’t swimming season in your area!

If you do not mind using an online source I have discovered that GreatCleaners.com offers boxes of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda on their website for $2.50 a box; a friend noted that even with shipping charges it costs less than what Amazon likes to charge. If you are interested then click on this link to be taken to page on GreatCleaners.com.

Please note that a single box of washing soda will go a long way in your cleaning recipes; it only takes 1/3 of a cup to make a gallon of liquid laundry soap, which will last a small family for quite a while. Even making the powdered version you will get a lot of loads from a single box of sodium carbonate (washing soda).

Other than for making laundry soap I have used washing soda for washing dishes and other items. For complete washing soda recipes please see my book The Minimalist Cleaning Method.

Thank you so much for your help during my current challenge. You are awesome!

8 thoughts on “Where to Get Washing Soda

  1. meg

    Hi Annie–I found my washing soda at Ace Hardware. They had the Fels Naptha soap, too, but not the other soap you recommended, which I can’t find anywhere.

    1. Annie Post author

      Octagon is hard to find, but I love it because you can also use it to wash dishes. That was my first use of it, actually. If you can find it locally it is a lot less expensive than the online retailers, but Food Lion at my sister’s in Central Ky has it for 75 cents a bar so I stock up whenever I go to visit her 🙂

    1. Annie Post author

      I’m not sure if I have any left in my area or not. I know we lost a lot of Piggly Wigglys a few years ago and I’ve never noticed a Shur Value. I’ll have to look, thanks!

  2. Onie Mckethan

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your blog. You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Kudos!

  3. LuAnn Williams

    Hi I was wondering if you can help. I made the recipe exactly by the recipe last week and have used it 3 times and my dishes are having a film on them and the glasses still have handprints and if you have anything greasy on them it leaves it as it was. Anything I can try because it was so easy and cheap to make I would love to continue using it. Thanks so much.

    1. Annie Post author

      Dear LuAnn,
      One thing I have noticed is that this recipe treats grease a bit differently than regular dishwashing liquid, presumably because it does not contain the many chemicals that most dishwashing liquids contain. Change your water a bit more often if it gets greasy and lather a bit of the soap on your sponge or cloth when you wash greasy items or fingerprints. I have used this recipe (and also the bar soap directly) for years now without issue but it does work a touch differently to regular dishwashing liquid. Start by washing your cleaner items first and separate (glasses, etc) and work your way to the dirtier, greasier stuff to minimize grease on your glasses. Hope this helps!


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