What is sodium carbonate

Sodium carbonate — Na2CO3 — is the sodium salt of carbonic acid. It is also known as soda ash, washing soda, and soda crystals. Chemically and physically, it is distinct from sodium bicarbonate, though there is some overlap in their applications, particularly in manufacturing and general industry.

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Sodium carbonate is an odorless, white solid with a melting point of 851 degrees Celsius. It is soluble in water and glycerol. In high concentrations, it is hazardous in the event of skin contact, eye contact, inhalation, and ingestion. It is non-flammable, but reacts with fluoride, aluminum metal, and certain other substances, posing an explosive hazard. Use proper protective clothing when working with sodium carbonate, and store unused product in a cool, well-ventilated place. View individual product pages for detailed specifications and handling precautions.

Industrial Applications using Sodium carbonate

Outside of the home, several industrial processes depend on sodium carbonate. The most common of these is glass manufacturing, where the sodium carbonate acts as a flux for silica, lowering its melting point. Other applications include photo developing, commercial baking, and toothpaste manufacturing. In addition to being a powerful pH regulator, it is also an anticaking agent, leavening agent, and stabilizer.

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Sodium Carbonate vs. Bicarbonate of Soda

Bicarbonate of soda — sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda — has a chemical formula of NaHCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is also known as sodium hydrogen carbonate, and is structurally similar to sodium carbonate, though much less caustic. As a result, it is suitable for a wide range of household applications. Sodium bicarbonate is a common leavening agent in bread and baked goods, as well as a general purpose cleaner. Sodium carbonate is a stronger base than sodium bicarbonate, or bicarbonate of soda. In the home, it is occasionally used in cleaning products, as well as in the production of certain foods, like pretzels. In addition, pool owners often use sodium carbonate to raise the pH level of their water.

Food-Grade Sodium Carbonate

For applications where sodium carbonate is used as a food additive — for instance, in the production of ramen noodles, pretzels, and toothpaste — you can rely on Brenntag North America and our extensive network of distribution locations to supply you with top-quality food-grade ingredients. We are committed to food safety and traceability through our GFSI-Certified warehousing and our tailor-made supply chain solutions that fully comply with all of the industry’s latest and growing food safety and quality standards.

Our food-grade additive specialists will work with you to select the right quantity and quality of ingredients to meet the needs of your unique applications without ever sacrificing on safety standards or end results. When you have strict deadlines and quality control requirements to meet in the food industry, choose us as your specialty food additive distributor.


Brenntag North America is a leading sodium carbonate distributor in different concentrations and configurations.We sell a range of over 10,000 products from some of the world's most trusted suppliers, ensuring everything in our inventory meets our standards for purity and integrity.

We maintain a network of 190 distribution locations throughout the US and Canada, helping our team quickly fulfill virtually any request. We also provide on-site service and support as necessary.

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