What’s the distinction ?


They are similar in name and in stores it can be hard to tell the difference at first glance. They are indeed two odourless, economical and ecological white powders as well as two very popular household products for the maintenance of all surfaces in the house. However, beware of those who believe them to be interchangeable! Between these two biodegradable products, there are notable subtleties which mean that they should not be confused. To avoid making the mistake, we invite you to discover the differences between baking soda and sodium percarbonate. You will thus be unbeatable on their properties and their uses.

The differences between baking soda and sodium percarbonate

baking soda yeast powder
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Looking more closely, we can already see a first difference. Baking soda (also called sodium bicarbonate) is indeed in the form of a fine white powder where soda (or sodium) percarbonate is more like small white balls.

The latter also has a higher pH and is more basic than its counterpart. It makes it more irritating, more effective and inedible. The bicarbonate found on the market is generally an edible bicarbonate (and not technical bicarbonate sold in specialized shops). This therefore explains why it can be used to replace baking powder and why it is found in the same section as salt while percarbonate is found in the household products section or in the DIY store.

Another notable difference: the whitening power of percarbonate compared to bicarbonate

clean and whiten white linen with ecological household products lemon percarbonate of soda
Credits: iStock

It contains sodium carbonate (or soda crystals) and hydrogen peroxide (or active oxygen). The first is a surfactant (or surfactant) and the second is a bleaching agent. This combination gives this detergent cleaning, degreasing, deodorizing and stain-removing properties which are reminiscent of those of bicarbonate except that percarbonate is more powerful.

He also has real whitening properties while its cousin does not bleach, but simply preserves the brightness of the white in the wash. The baking soda can thus prevent it from tarnishing too much, but not restore its shine if it has already yellowed. This bleaching power that distinguishes it has also earned percarbonate the nickname “chlorine-free bleach” or “solid hydrogen peroxide”.

What uses for percarbonate?

sodium percarbonate
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Bicarbonate being softer, it will show more versatile and easy to use on a daily basis. Still, percarbonate is a very effective product that will prove its usefulness in the areas where it shines the most. In particular, it makes it possible to whiten white linen and remove stubborn stains that dot it (blood stains, etc.). This outstanding stain remover can also be used to whiten tile joints and scaled toilets. More surprisingly, it can also be used to clean a terrace, sober up tarnished wood, disinfect a sponge, clean a very dirty oven and unclog pipes. Mix it with warm water to activate it. Count at least 40°C in a washing machine or basin for whitening white linen and clothes.

A few precautions to be aware of:

Bicarbonate which is not used for cleaning certain materials. And we suspect it: percarbonate being more irritating than it, the list of its precautions for use is even longer. First of all, it should be used quickly once you have diluted it with water. Indeed, he becomes inactive after an hour or two. Also, it should not be mixed with an acid or bleach. It should also be handled with gloves to protect your skin and stored in a storage away from any heat source. It releases oxygen which could fuel a possible fire. Finally, avoid keeping it in a metal box or reheating it in a metal container since it could oxidize them and make them black.

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