DIY Cleaning Recipes: Make your own Washing Soda from Baking Soda

You may have noticed that Washing Soda is a popular ingredient in some of our DIY cleaning product recipes, including our Homemade Laundry Detergent recipe and the Homemade Dishwasher Detergent recipe

It can usually be found in the laundry aisle (frequently under the Arm & Hammer label), but it’s not baking soda. 

In this picture, the washing soda is in the big yellow box, and the big orange box to the left of it is baking soda.  The last time I headed to Walmart though, there was a big empty spot between the baking soda and the Borax.  Bummer.

Leave it to the internet to help me find a solution.  Without going into a whole chemistry lesson here, baking soda and washing soda are very similar chemically.  When baking soda is heated, some water molecules evaporate, leaving behind washing soda.

If you want do try this little chemistry experiment on your own, spread baking soda on a cookie sheet and bake it at about 400°. 

You’ll know it’s done when you can see a difference in the texture.  It’ll change from the fluffy, more crystallized look of baking soda to a more grainy, matte finish of washing soda.  Depending on the amount you’re baking, it should be done after 20-30 minutes.  Keep it in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it. 

Have you tried our other DIY Cleaning recipes?  They’re low in chemicals, super frugal, and do a great job.  Check them out:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Vinegar & Dawn: Soap Scum cleaner, Carpet spot treater, and much more!

Versatile Vinegar: tons of uses for vinegar all over the house, plus a recipe for great-smelling Orange Infused vinegar

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  1. Lindielee says

    Thank you so much! I can’t Arm and Hammer baking Soda anywhere and borax is really hard to find too. I’m going to try this recipe.

    Much appreciated!

    • Megan says

      I find my borax at Walmart, with the laundry supplies. (they usually have washing soda and big boxes of baking soda close by the borax too). Look for it near the stain treaters and the Oxi-Clean. I also noticed someone with it in their cart at Giant Eagle yesterday, so hopefully it’s becoming a little more common again and won’t be quite as hard to find! :)

      • Barbara says

        I was going to say the same thing. If you cannot find it at your local grocer, try walmart. On my last visit there they had the baking soda (value size), washing soda, and borax on the shelf together. I find the borax there and it is a little bit more inexpensive there than other stores so I keep going back there. Also another hint is to always check the bottom shelf. One time I was looking for Borax and could not find it where it should be but ended up with a little help from a store employee, ended up finding it on a bottom shelf in a place that made no sense (with the soap and not the laundry boosters/pretreaters. The popullarity of using borax in this day and age does not suprise me. I had an aunt that was born in 1894 and used 20 Mute Team Borax all her life. In the 70’s she told me she never used bleach. Shje used Borax with Cheer on her cotton slips and they came out whiter than white.

  2. Danielle says

    You can find a ton of this stuff at the dollar store as well. :) We have made the homemade cleaning solution and also use tea infused water with olive oil in it also to clean wood. I think my fave is the homemade de-wrinkle spray LOVES IT!!!!

  3. Janet Stevens says

    Awesome info. Can’t wait to try and share THANK YOU. I have used the vinegar and dawn in a dishwasher wand and cleaned my shower and tub. This was awesome as well. ….

  4. cathy says

    has anyone had any experience using the frugal laundry soap in a HE washing machine? I think the HE soap is concentrated and low suds.

  5. Jody says

    I am following the recipe but it has been in the oven for 8 hours and is still baking soda. My oven reads 450, I put on a dark baking sheet after it being in glass dish. I cannot imagine why it is not working.

    • Megan says

      I bet with that amount of time it’s done–maybe take a look at it next to some baking soda fresh out of the box and you might be able to tell the difference. It shouldn’t take that long, but it’s a pretty subtle change in appearance.


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