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Introduction to Baking Soda

Last updated date: 27th Jan 2023
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The common name of Baking Soda is Sodium Bicarbonate. The Egyptians of the Middle Ages first mined Natron, a natural deposit mostly made up of Na2CO3. It's been used as soap. Nicolas Leblanc, a French scientist, created NaHCO3 for the first time in 1971. Austin Church and John Dwight established a baking soda production facility in 1846, utilizing carbon dioxide and sodium carbonate.

We can notice different applications of chemistry, which are being exhibited in every part of a household, like in the kitchen, bathroom, and more places. Sodium bicarbonate is one such compound, which is majorly used because of its usefulness, versatility and its low price.

Let us look at preparation, properties and uses of baking soda in detail here.

What is Baking Soda?

Baking soda is a powder-type compound that is also defined as Sodium Bicarbonate, having the chemical formula as NaHCO3.

Preparation of Baking Soda

The preparation of baking soda can be done using a process called Solvay, which is detailed here.

The Solvay process can be used for the production of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate industrially. In this process, water, ammonia, carbon dioxide and brine solution in their concentrated form are used as the raw materials. This process is mainly used because it is inexpensive and fewer raw materials are used to produce the necessary chemicals. The essential chemical reaction, which is used in the production of sodium carbonate and baking soda, is given as follows:

CO2 + H2O + NH3 + NaCl → NaHCO3 + NH4Cl

2 NaHCO3 → Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O

The resultant carbon dioxide, which is produced, is recycled to produce NaHCO3.


Baking Soda

Properties of Sodium Bicarbonate

Physical Properties of Baking Soda Observed

The physical properties of the substance are characteristics, which can be noticed without changing the identity or composition of the substance. Physical characteristics include odour, colour, condition of matter, and taste, which are all observations on the appearance of sodium bicarbonate.

  • Sodium bicarbonate is defined as a white and crystalline powder, which sometimes forms lumps.

  • It has a bitter, salty taste and is odorless.

  • It is solid at room temperature.

  • Either the solubility or the ability of a substance to dissolve in water is also given as a physical property. Sodium bicarbonate is soluble in water and can be separated from water using the process of evaporation.

Chemical Properties of Baking Soda Ascertained

Chemical properties describe the observations of a substance based on the ability of the substance to change its chemical composition. pH and decomposition are the two common chemical properties of baking soda. The concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) in a solution is given as a chemical property, which is referred to as pH and the pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH below 7 indicates an acid, a value greater than 7 is considered alkaline and a value of 7 is neutral.

A 1% of a molar solution of baking soda in water at room temperature holds a pH of 8.3. This number indicates which baking soda is alkaline that accounts for its bitter taste. Decomposition is the process that uses heat to break down a substance into simpler components, which are different from the original substances. When heated to a temperature above 50℃ (122 degrees F), sodium bicarbonate either decomposes or splits apart to form mostly water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) with trace amounts of sodium carbonate (NaCO3). Decomposition is given as a chemical change.

Working on Baking Soda

Baking soda is an alkaline chemical that produces carbon dioxide gas when it reacts with an acid. And, the small bubbles of carbon dioxide gas become trapped in the batter, causing it either to inflate or rise. Common acids which are used to cause this reaction include lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt, buttermilk and cream of tartar.

When baking soda decomposes due to heat, it also produces gas. This reaction does not require any acid; only temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius are necessary (176 degrees Fahrenheit).

Uses of Baking Soda

Baking Powder for Personal Care

To Make Toothpaste

Commercial non-fluoride toothpaste can be made with a paste that contains 97 percent baking soda and 3 percent hydrogen solution. This paste produces a minty smell and thus a refreshing mood. Still, if you need an extra boost, you simply need to dip your toothbrush with toothpaste into the baking soda.

To Freshen Your Mouth

A teaspoon of baking powder in a half glass of water can keep your mouth fresh. Only, you need to make the solution, spit, swish and rinse. This will neutralize the odour as opposed to covering them up as with the commercial mouth fresheners.

Soak Oral Appliances

You can soak oral appliances like dentures, retainers, and mouthpieces in a solution with 2 teaspoons of baking soda that has been dissolved in a glass of warm water. Baking soda helps in loosening the food particles and neutralizing odours, as well as keeping appliances looking and smelling fresh. In addition, baking soda is more effective when it comes to brushing appliances clean.

As a Facial Scrub

Give your body a gentle scrub applying the baking soda. Make a paste mixed with baking soda and water by mixing 3 parts to 1 part, respectively. After that, rub your body in a gentle circular motion to exfoliate your skin. Rinse clean and do it regularly. And, this is gentle enough even for daily use.

As a Hand Cleanser and Softener

You can always avoid the harsh soaps and scrub away any dirt lightly and neutralize possible odours on the hands using a paste of water and baking soda. Mix 3 parts soda with either 1 part water or 3 parts of baking soda with gentle liquid hand soap. Use it to clean your hands and then rinse clean.

Cleaning Hair

Vinegar is very popular for hair treatment, but baking soda has its own place in the shower too. You are only required to sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm and mix it with shampoo. Clean as usual and rinse thoroughly. Baking soda is most effective at removing residue, which remains behind after using any styling products; your hair is manageable and clean now.

Combs and Brushes

Do you want lustrous hair with shine? You need to keep the combs and brushes clean and use baking soda to remove the hair products residue and natural oil build-up. Combs and soak brushes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water. Then, rinse them and allow them to dry.

Baking Soda as a Deodorizer

Deodorizing Cars

Upholstery and car carpets can keep odors locked and therefore, each time you sit on chairs or step on carpets; they will release the odors into the air. You can eliminate these odors by sprinkling baking soda on the fabric seats and car carpets. Leave it for up to 15 minutes or longer if there is a strong smell and wipe it with a wet cotton cloth. In this manner, the smell can be lost.

Deodorize Your Vacuum Cleaners

You can remove the odor from vacuum cleaners by following the same method used for upholstery and car carpets. Baking soda will eliminate the smell and leave your cleaner with zero smell.

Deodorizing Your Refrigerator

To remove the odor from the refrigerating machine, you need to put an open box of baking soda in the back of your appliances and leave it.

Deodorizing the Cutting Board

You can clean the cutting board thoroughly by sprinkling some amount of baking soda on it and letting it settle for up to 15 minutes and then scrub and rinse it. If the cutting board contains a lot of dried food particles and food stains, you can give it more time.

Deodorizing Trash Cans

Sprinkle a few amounts of baking soda on your trashcan and on the edges of its base to keep it with a stinky and pungent smell at bay. Also, baking soda will eliminate all the smells coming out of your trashcan within a few minutes.

Deodorizing Recyclables

You can ensure the recyclable container is thoroughly cleaned and free of smell from the previously-stored food by sprinkling baking soda on its bottom. And, you can sprinkle some amount of it on a damp sponge and clean it. Then, wipe it and rinse.

Deodorize Drains

To clean and deodorize your sink drains and tub and keep the lingering odour at bay, keep a half cup of baking soda to your drains while running with tap water. The base in bicarbonate soda will counteract the acid and basic stenches for a fresh drain. Thus, if you have a baking soda, which is nearing the expiry date, use it to deodorize your drains.

When to use Baking Soda?

Baking soda can be used to leaven several “quick bread” like muffins, pancakes, fried foods and cakes. These batters are not strong enough to hold the shape for the length of time that it takes for yeast in the creation of gas. Because baking soda produces gas quickly, it is not required to let the batter rise for a long time, as with yeast bread. When the batter is exposed to the heat, it becomes ​rigid and then, the expansion caused by the gas bubbles is set in place.

If a batter having the baking soda is left to sit at room temperature, it will begin to rise slowly and then become slightly fluffy as both the acids and bases react in the batter. The second, more dramatic rise takes place in the oven when the batter is exposed to the heat. Heat accelerates the acid-base reaction and causes decomposition of the baking soda as well, both of which produce the leaving gas. The leavening baking soda action is often rapid, which can be observed in real-time.

Side Effects of Baking Soda

There are some problems to note that you should over consume baking soda. Applying it to your teeth long-term will erode tooth enamel, as with combining baking soda with acid as a DIY tooth whitener. Thanks to its high sodium content, it is also possible to consume a large amount of baking soda. An overload of sodium may cause diarrhea and vomiting and more serious problems like kidney failure and seizures as well.

When using it in an antacid form, it can actually make GI problems worse if it produces an excess amount of gas. Alarmingly, in rare instances, taking it after having a large meal can cause a stomach rupture. The National Capital Poison Center (NCPC) also recommends sticking to safer products like Tums. Finally, because of its sodium content nature, you will want to check with your doctor prior to taking it if you have high blood pressure.


Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), popularly known as baking soda, is a crystalline salt found in nahcolite deposits as a natural mineral. Baking soda's science, this unassuming salt, has a plethora of domestic and industrial applications, including culinary additives, medicine, and cleaning products. It's also found in pyrotechnics, fire extinguishers, fungicides, and insecticides, and it could have new applications for businesses wanting to reduce their environmental impact.

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FAQs on Baking Soda

1. How to prepare baking soda chemically?

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a naturally occurring substance, which is present in all living things. Baking soda can be produced from soda ash (also called sodium carbonate) that is obtained by passing the ammonia and carbon dioxide through a concentrated table salt solution. Also, it can be mined in the form of an ore - trona. Then, the soda ash is dissolved into the solution through which carbon dioxide is bubbled and the sodium bicarbonate precipitates out by forming baking soda.

2. Differentiate Baking Soda and Baking Powder?

While baking soda is strictly said as an alkaline compound, it is already combined with an acid. The acid compound in the baking powder is in salt form, i.,e., it will not react with the base until a liquid is added. Baking soda is good to use in recipes that include other acidic ingredients. If a recipe does not have enough acids, using baking powder is appropriate as it has its own acid. Using baking soda in alkaline recipes can also yield a bitter taste because there is not enough acid to neutralize the alkaline sodium bicarbonate.

3. How to identify the freshness of baking soda?

Because baking soda can decompose over time, one might want to test the potency of baking soda. To test baking soda, just add a pinch of baking soda to fewer amounts of vinegar in a bowl. If it vigorously foams, still, the baking soda is active. This reaction can create a great deal of foam, so ensure to do this over a sink.