Top Baking Soda FAQs You Can’t Miss!

Published Categorized as Ingredients

Today, let’s get into the most common questions and misconceptions about baking soda, providing you with the insight needed to use this ingredient to its fullest potential!

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Baking soda, a humble pantry staple known as sodium bicarbonate, is a true kitchen chameleon. This multi-functional ingredient not only plays a crucial role in baking but also has various uses around the house. From cooking applications to cleaning hacks, understanding the nuances of baking soda can enhance both your culinary creations and your home maintenance.

Baking Soda Magic: Top Baking Soda Faqs You Can’t Miss!

Table of Contents

What is Baking Soda?

At its core, baking soda is a simple chemical compound: sodium bicarbonate. It’s a mild base that reacts with acids like vinegar or lemon juice to release carbon dioxide, which helps baked goods rise by creating air bubbles in the dough or batter. This reaction is not only fundamental to making fluffy cakes and cookies but also to numerous household cleaning tasks.

What is Baking Soda Used For?

In the kitchen, baking soda is used as a leavening agent. Often, it is combined with acids to produce carbon dioxide. As the bubbles of CO2 rise, it helps the batter inflate.

Baking soda is found in recipes for pancakes, cakes, muffins, friend food, and other items that bake quickly. You won’t find baking soda where there is yeast, since yeast creates gas for longer periods while baking soda burns out rapidly.

When you’re cleaning with baking soda, imagine that you’re using a very harsh scrubbing sponge. It may look like a white, soft powder but it’s powerful stuff. Be careful when cleaning silver, gold or marble surfaces. Also avoid cleaning aluminum cookware with this.

Is All Baking Soda the Same?

Technically speaking, there is only one kind of baking soda, which is known as sodium bicarbonate (CHNaO3). When baking soda is mined, it is dredged up with sodium carbonate (Na2C03), also called washing soda.

Some confusion is formed when people are baking something that does require the application of sodium carbonate, such as pretzels. However, most of the time, sodium carbonate is more industrial and can be used for making glass.

So baking soda is always going to be sodium bicarbonate and nothing else.

Are All Brands of Baking Soda the Same?

The main difference between baking soda brands would be where they get their sodium bicarbonate from. Some brands will mine for baking soda directly from the ground, while others might manufacture sodium bicarbonate in a facility. However, despite the processing involved, the sodium bicarbonate produced is identical.

More: Is All Baking Soda the Same

Is All Baking Soda Edible?

Yes, all baking soda is edible. Baking soda is a food-grade substance that is also a mild base. This means that you can put it in baked goods or use it in homemade toothpaste. If your stomach is upset, you can also use it for an antacid.

However, it’s important to use it as directed, especially in culinary applications, to ensure it’s consumed safely and effectively. Be careful that you don’t knock over the baking soda or inhale it. The powder can be irritating to the eyes and throat.

Can You Use Arm & Hammer Baking Soda for Baking?

If you are using the one labeled Pure Baking Soda, the answer is yes. Arm & Hammer produces food-grade baking soda mainly for baking and cooking, but sodium bicarbonate has a broad range of uses.

Different Kinds of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

Arm & Hammer has been selling baking soda for over 170 years, which tells you they are doing something right.

They have multiple products that utilize baking soda, including:

  • Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda (available in a box, resealable bag, and shaker)
  • Fresh-N-Natural Deodorizer
  • Arm & Hammer Air Filter
  • Arm & Hammer Fridge-N-Freezer Odor Absorber
  • Clear Balance Pool Tablets
  • Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh (and other pet-related items)
Arm & Hammer Pure Baking SodaYes
Fresh-N-Natural DeodorizerNo
Arm & Hammer Air FilterNo
Arm & Hammer Fridge-N-Freezer Odor AbsorberNo
Clear Balance Pool TabletsNo
Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh (and other pet-related items)No

Can I Use Fridge-N-Freezer Baking Soda for Baking?

No, you can’t use Arm & Hammer Fridge-N-Freezer for baking purposes. Why? Because the granulation of Fridge-N-Freezer is designed to deodorize.

Even though both Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda and Fridge-N-Freezer have only 100% sodium bicarbonate listed in the ingredients, you will notice that Fridge-N-Freezer is made of larger, more dense granules than the variety made for cooking.

Is Any Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Edible?

Yes, Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda is edible. You don’t have to worry about any bad effects when consuming Arm & Hammer baking soda. Just be sure to use the “Pure Baking” kind.

More: Can You Use Arm & Hammer Baking Soda For Baking

What’s the Difference Between Baking Soda for Cooking vs Cleaning?

Be careful when purchasing baking soda as there are different types.

Using pure baking soda for cooking and eating is safe. Baking soda for cooking is milder and therefore it can be consumed, though it is best to consume in large quantities.

Baking soda also has very high PH levels which means it can be a great cleanser and break down grease, dirt and stains. The best baking soda to buy for cleaning would be washing baking soda. Washing baking soda can not be used for cooking or baking. It should not be ingested as it can make you very sick. This is due to washing soda being a baking soda with high concentration.

It is advised that you always check the packet of baking soda to see if it instructs it to be used for cleaning or for cooking. Always follow the packet’s instructions carefully.

Baking Soda vs Washing Soda

Baking soda and washing baking soda sound similar, apart from their strength difference.

The complicated explanation for what makes baking soda and washing baking soda different is what chemicals they are made from. Baking soda is made up from 1 part sodium, 1 part hydrogen, 1 part carbon and 3 parts oxygen molecules. Washing baking soda is made up from 2 parts sodium, 1 part carbon, and 3 parts oxygen molecules. This is what makes washing baking soda harsher.

Can We Use Cleaning Baking Soda For Cooking?

Never use cleaning baking soda for cooking. If it says cleaning on the packet – avoid using it for cooking! Only choose baking sodas that say cooking on the packet if you want to consume it.

More: Baking Soda For Cooking vs Cleaning

Are Baking Soda and Baking Powder the Same?

No, cornstarch and baking soda are two separate ingredients that act in different ways.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a type of salt that acts as a leavening agent. Baking soda has an alkaline ph and tastes very salty when added to food.

Baking soda also has disinfectant properties. It can be used in other ways other than cooking and baking, such as cleaning and taking care of the skin. Baking soda can also be used in home recipes for teeth whitening and exfoliation. It can even be mixed with water to help relieve indigestion

Cornstarch is very different. Unlike baking soda, cornstarch is not a type of salt and is made from a corn kernel.

Cornstarch is mainly used as a thickening agent in food meaning. Its main use is to help get the consistency right in a recipe. It’s not really valued for its flavor. When added to food, cornstarch will help to thicken your recipes. It can be used in foods such as soups, gravies, custards, and stews to thicken the consistency.

Although both cornstarch and baking soda can be used to clean, cornstarch is strong enough to clean multiple problem areas but gentle enough to not damage your products or home while you clean.

Baking SodaCornstarch
Chemical CompositionSodium bicarbonateCorn kernel derivative
Primary Use in CookingLeavening agentThickening agent
pH LevelAlkalineNeutral
Cleaning UsesEffective in removing grease and odorsUsed for polishing and absorbing stains
Health UsesUsed as an antacid, toothpasteLimited to cosmetic uses like face packs
Reaction in RecipesReacts with acids to release CO2Reacts with heat and liquid to thicken

Can Cornstarch Be Substituted For Baking Soda?

Baking soda is not a good substitute for your cooking if you are looking to replace cornstarch. Cornstarch and baking soda function in different ways when added to recipes and baked goods.

Can I Use Cornstarch Instead Of Baking Soda

We would not recommend that you use cornstarch to replace baking soda or baking soda to replace cornstarch. Baking soda and cornstarch are not interchangeable!

More: Baking Soda vs Cornstarch

Baking Soda Basics – Covered!

Having delved into these common questions about good ol’ baking soda, you’re now armed with the insights needed to make the most of this versatile ingredient!

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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