Baking soda and washing soda are two entirely different products. Both baking soda and washing soda are alkaline (bases), with washing soda being the stronger of the two products. Although they have some uses in common, they cannot be freely substituted for each other.
Baking soda is also called sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate of soda or sodium hydrogen carbonate. Washing soda is also called sodium carbonate, soda ash or soda crystals.
Household Use of Baking Soda
Baking soda is used in cooking as a leavening agent for breads and cakes, as a browning agent for pretzels, and in candy recipes. Baking soda is also used for cleaning and deodorising, as a laundry additive, as an antacid to treat indigestion and to adjust the pH levels in swimming pools.
Household Use of Washing Soda
Washing soda is used as a laundry additive, to make homemade washing powder and cleaning solutions, and as a fabric dyeing fixative.
Precautions for Baking Soda
Do not add baking soda to vegetables because it will cause them to lose nutrients.
Precautions for Washing Soda
Do not eat washing soda or add it to food. Wear gloves to protect your hands when using washing soda. Do not use washing soda on fibreglass or aluminium surfaces, and be cautious when using it on painted, varnished or waxed surfaces.