Is Baking soda the same as bicarbonate of soda? (Explained)

There is no difference between baking soda and bicarbonate of soda; they are both the same. In other words, they are just different names for the same ingredient. So, if your recipe refers to bicarbonate of soda, it simply means baking soda.

In general, recipes originating from the UK will use the term “bicarbonate of soda,” while those from the US will use the term “baking soda.”

Baking soda is mainly used in baking to help the dough and batter rise.

However, it has great importance in the laundry as well.

It can be used to remove odors and help with the cleaning process.

For example, putting baking soda in a washing machine can get rid of static, soften the clothes, and make the colors look better.

It can also be used for washing dishes and even for cleaning surfaces.

What is sodium bicarbonate?

Sodium bicarbonate, also called baking soda or bicarbonate of soda, is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO₃. It’s basically an alkali substance that can be found in many baked goods, such as soda bread or cake recipes.

In technical terms, sodium bicarbonate is a salt that is made up of a sodium cation and a bicarbonate anion.

The bicarbonate of soda gets activated by acid and moisture.

In baking, it is used with liquids such as buttermilk, whereas in cleaning, it is widely used with lemon or vinegar for the best results.

How to use baking soda in your laundry?

Bicarbonate of soda is a natural laundry booster and deodorizer. It helps remove stains, whiten clothes, brighten colors, and soften fabrics. Furthermore, it is also helpful in cleaning your washing machine.

Here’s how bicarbonate of soda is helpful in the laundry:

For cleaning your washer

Just put 1/2 a cup of baking soda in the detergent drawer or in the drum of your machine. Then, run a normal cycle at the highest temperature setting. This should help clean and deodorize your machine.

For removing stains

Make a paste of baking soda and water, then apply it directly to the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then gently pour some water over the stained areas and work on the stains.

Next, rinse the fabric with clean, cold water and wash it as you normally would.

For washing clothes

If you are using a washing machine, use 1/2 cup of baking soda along with your regular detergent.

Add the laundry detergent to the washer’s designated tray and add half a cup of baking soda directly into the drum.

Then, set the washer to the right wash settings depending on the fabric type and run the wash cycle.

This should help clean and deodorize your clothes.

For softening fabrics

If you’re looking for a way to keep your clothes feeling soft, try adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to each rinse cycle. This will help keep detergent or minerals in the water from sticking to your clothes again. Therefore, the clothes will feel softer and fresher.

Other uses of Baking Soda OR Sodium Bicarbonate

In addition to laundry, sodium bicarbonate can be used for a variety of other tasks.

Here are some common uses of baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda.


Baking soda can be an excellent cleaning agent when mixed with water.

You can use a baking soda paste to clean surfaces in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of your home.

Just add some baking soda to water until it forms a paste, then apply the paste to surfaces and scrub with a sponge.

Natural Deodorizer

The deodorizing properties of baking soda make it an excellent natural deodorizer.

You can use baking soda to get rid of smells by sprinkling it on carpets and upholstered furniture and then vacuuming it up after a few minutes.

You can also sprinkle baking soda in your refrigerator or freezer to absorb odors from food.

Toothpaste (Teeth whitening solution)

This may sound weird, but baking soda can be used as a natural toothpaste.

Just mix some baking soda with water and brush your teeth as you would with regular toothpaste.

Baking soda can help remove stains and whiten teeth naturally.


Baking soda is also used in many cooking recipes.

It’s commonly added to cakes, cookies, and other baked foods to help them rise and become light and fluffy.

It can also be used to tenderize the meat and help remove the bitterness from boiled vegetables.

What is baking powder?

Baking powder is a mixture of two dry chemicals, a carbonate or bicarbonate, and a weak acid. The cornstarch in baking powder prevents the base and acid from reacting too early.

In simple words, baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch or cornflour.

The presence of cream of tartar (a dry acid) means that baking powder can be used without an additional acidic ingredient.

So, when we compare baking soda with baking powder, we find that baking soda is the single ingredient version, while baking powder is the combination of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar.

What this means is that baking powder has less potency than baking soda and may not be a good option for cleaning.

Hence, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda are two distinct items.

Difference between bicarbonate of soda and baking powder (Bicarbonate of soda vs baking powder)

The main difference between baking soda and baking powder is that baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, while baking powder has extra ingredients like cream of tartar. When comparing the two, bicarbonate of soda is up to four times more powerful than baking powder.

For recipes that need a quick reaction, like pancakes or cakes, baking powder is the best choice.

Whereas, for cleaning purposes, baking soda is the preferred option.

Bicarbonate of soda and baking powder are both great ingredients to have around the house, but they should be used for their intended purposes.

Baking powder is best for baking, and bicarbonate of soda is great for cleaning.

Are soda crystals and sodium bicarbonate the same?

Even though soda crystals are chemically similar to baking soda, they are not exactly the same.

Soda crystals are sodium carbonate decahydrate and can remove tough stains and grease better than other cleaners. Sodium bicarbonate, on the other hand, is simply bicarbonate of soda that is better for baking and cleaning.

Final Thoughts

Baking soda has great importance in the laundry as well as the kitchen.

Whether you’re baking or cleaning, it’s important to understand the difference between bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.

Remember, when it comes to choosing between the two, baking powder is the better option for baking, and bicarbonate of soda is the best option for cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is stronger, the bicarbonate of soda or baking soda?

Bicarbonate of soda is up to four times more powerful than baking powder.

What is bicarbonate soda used for?

Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is a raising agent used in cooking to make soda bread, cakes, and other baked food items. Also, it can be used to clean surfaces, absorb odors, and whiten teeth naturally.

Would baking soda work instead of bicarbonate of soda?

Yes, you can use baking soda instead of bicarbonate of soda since they both mean the same.

Is bicarbonate of soda the same as baking soda in the UK?

Yes, bicarbonate of soda and baking soda are the same thing in the UK.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at)