- Sodium carbonate is either found naturally or is manufactured from sodium chloride (common salt). It has many uses, notably to make glass.
Sodium carbonate is a household chemical with a variety of different uses. Its chemical formula, Na2CO3, is similar to that of baking soda, NaHCO3. But baking soda is a nontoxic chemical commonly used in food preparation, while sodium carbonate is toxic. Instead, it’s a common cleaning product.
Chemically, the utility of sodium carbonate is largely as a cleaning agent. Commonly known as “washing soda,” or “soda ash,” it’s a water softener and helps laundry detergents to lather more effectively, particularly when the water in which the laundry is being washed is hard, meaning that it contains magnesium or calcium salts. As Dr. Martin Silberberg explains in his book “Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change,” the carbonate from sodium carbonate helps free soap molecules in hard water and increases their effectiveness.
No side effects are known.
None are recorded.
Source: LiveStrong, http://www.livestrong.com/article/270001-what-is-sodium-carbonate/