The Baking Soda Diaries

I use baking soda for a lot of things. A whole lot of things. If you have shopped for baking soda recently, you will notice a BIG price difference in brands. What's the difference between baking soda brands? Is there a difference? Is it worth the price? What is natural baking soda and why does it cost 4 times more?

The Price Breakdown

  • The natural baking soda brand (I use this one) is about $2.50 a pound.
  • The "regular" brand (you know, the one in the orange box) is about $0.60 a pound.
The natural one is FOUR TIMES more expensive. WHY?!?! Is there such a thing as "quality baking soda?" Yep. Keep reading.

How I Use Baking Soda

Why is the Natural Baking Soda More Expensive?

What's the difference and why the huge price difference?
 
First, the aluminum debate. The orange box used to have aluminum in it. They do not have aluminum anymore. Occasionally, I run across an article that says they did an independent test and it tested positive for aluminum. But overall, the consensus is that all baking soda is now aluminum free. Baking powder, on the other hand, does contain aluminum in generic brands (this baking powder does not contain aluminum).
 
Here's the important part and why I splurge for the upgrade. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It's a natural occurring chemical reaction. The natural baking soda brand mines it directly from the natural source and bottles it. They don't do anything to it, they sell the naturally occurring product.
 
The orange box, however, creates the sodium bicarbonate in a lab. It's a chemical process that starts with the same raw materials (trona ore found in sandstone and shale). It's just not the naturally occurring process. The process includes carbon dioxide and crystallization, things that happen when nature produces baking soda as well. So it isn't necessarily bad, it's just not, well "natural."
 
So, for a couple dollars extra, I splurge for the the all natural baking soda for everything except cleaning. The other is just not the same. I can tell a difference in the texture. The orange box is a little coarser. The natural brand is smoother. And when I'm using it for skin care & DIY beauty, I want the smoother and more natural alternative.