Are Soda Crystals the Same as Bicarbonate of Soda

Are Soda Crystals the Same as Bicarbonate of Soda?

It’s easy to get muddled up between soda crystals and bicarbonate of soda because they’ve both got ‘soda’ in their names.

But, the fact of the matter is, soda crystals are not the same as bicarbonate of soda.

And while they both have their uses, sometimes different and sometimes similar, you should not use Soda Crystals instead of bicarbonate of soda, particularly when cooking.

Soda Crystals

Soda crystals have been used for laundry and general cleaning purposes for years in the UK. They’re non-toxic, have a good environmental footprint, and because they have so many uses, one bag literally does go a long way! 


As with many other products, soda crystals have a few different names. Here’s a list of names for soda crystals:

  • Soda crystals is what we call them in the UK. This is the name you need to look out for when you go shopping.
  • Hydrated sodium carbonate is the scientific name for soda crystals.
  • Washing soda was the name given to soda crystals many moons ago.

pH level

Soda crystals have a much higher pH level than bicarb. The pH level of soda crystals is 11, which makes this product a very strong alkaline and you should not eat it.


Soda crystals are typically white in colour and have a yeast-like consistency.

Do Not Use Soda Crystals for Cooking

Cannot be used in…

You should never cook or eat soda crystals. This is very dangerous.

If you do accidentally mix the two products up, and you eat soda crystals by mistake, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Or, if you’ve popped the wrong product in the mixing bowl, throw your mixture out. Clean the mixing bowl out thoroughly before you start cooking again. 


Soda crystals are pretty tough and they’re known to be abrasive cleaners. Here’s a quick look at some of their uses:

  • Cleaning stained pots
  • Cleaning washing machines
  • Clearing blockages in sinks and drains
  • Breaking through grease
  • You can read more about their uses here

Where can you buy Soda Crystals?

Soda Crystals can be bought from most supermarkets in the UK. These include:

  •     Morrisons
  •     Tesco
  •     Sainsbury’s
  •     Wilko

Bicarbonate of Soda


Bicarbonate of Soda

Good old bicarbonate of soda has been helping us bake wonders in the kitchen for years and years, but this little goody is also a good cleaning agent too! It’s particularly good at tackling problematic stenches and mould.

Plus, we’ve usually got a pot of bicarbonate of soda tucked away in the cupboard, just waiting to be used.


If you’ve been reading around online, you may have come across a few different names for bicarbonate of soda, so let me clear up the confusion for you.

Bicarbonate of soda or bicarb, for short, is what we call this product in the UK.

Sodium Bicarbonate is its official name.

Baking Soda is the American name for this product.

Bread soda is another version, and this is used as a bread-raising agent.

pH level

Bicarbonate of soda has a pH level of 8 and it is more alkaline than acidic.

pH Level

Its pH level means that it’s quite safe for people to touch and to eat, unlike Soda Crystals.

Bonus: Bicarbonate of soda is made up of these elements; hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and sodium.


Bicarb is also white in appearance and is quite soft to touch. It’s almost powder-like.

What can bicarbonate of soda be used for?

Bicarb is a mild abrasive that actually has many uses, from being used in the kitchen to cleaning many goods around the home. Here are just some of its uses:

The list is endless.

Baking soda and Vinegar

Plus, you can use bicarbonate of soda alongside other products to clean various items in the house. Usually, when bicarb is mixed with another product, usually acidic based, it causes a chemical reaction and can clean goodies around the house very well.

It’s also a very cheap alternative to buying specialised cleaning goods.

Where can you buy bicarbonate of soda?

Bicarbonate of soda, like Soda Crystals, can be bought from most supermarkets in the UK. These include:

  •     Morrisons
  •     Tesco
  •     Sainsbury’s
  •     Wilko



Soda Crystals and bicarbonate of soda are different products.

They both have different strengths and cleaning powers, and you should never use Soda Crystals when cooking.



Are Soda Crystals the same as Borax?

No, they are not the same thing. Check out the differences between the two productshere.