Washing Soda?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mexipike, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. mexipike

    mexipike Subscriber

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    I'm down in Mexico and have a desire to brew up some caffenol, however, I don't know where to find any washing soda. Could anyone tell me the chemical name of washing soda? It's not sodium carbonate, right, isn't that baking soda?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated,
    John
     
  2. mjs

    mjs Member

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    I used to be able to find Arm & Hammer washing soda practically anywhere -- went to buy some a couple of weeks ago and can't find it anywhere, so if you know what it is under another name, I'd like to know, too!

    Mike
     
  3. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    It is Sodium Carbonate, baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate....EC
     
  4. Steve Smith

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    Na2CO3 = Sodium Carbonate = Washing Soda - This is what you want.

    NaHC03 = Sodium Bicarbonate = Baking Soda - It may work but I think you would need a lot more of it.


    (I think I have it right. If not, I'm sure I will be corrected!).

    Steve.
     
  5. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I don't think baking soda (sodium BIcarbonate) would work. no matter how much you add, it won't raise the pH enough.
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I was not too sure about the baking soda. My response was just repeating something I read once on a thread about Caffenol.

    It's probably best to just get the right stuff.


    Steve.
     
  7. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    If you have access to baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), a cooking stove, and a clean pan, you are all set. Simply heat the bicarbonate until it stops "frothing" (not bubbles, but a curious fluffy appearance) and when it cools down you will have sodium carbonate. The decomposition reaction occurs around 100 C, but sodium carbonate doesn't begin to decompose before about 400 C, so no great precision is needed.

    You should be aware that this process will yield anhydrous sodium carbonate, whereas photographic formulas are probably written for the monohydrate (about 15% heavier per mole). You can either keep the anhydrous salt dry in a sealed container, or let it naturally hydrate in the air until the weight stops increasing, and use it as the monohydrate.

    Food-grade bicarbonate is quite pure (at least in the USA) but washing soda or the "soda ash" sold for adjusting pH in swimming pools may be questionable for photographic purposes.
     
  8. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    For our convenience the washing soda has been
    packaged with the detergent. We've been spared
    the effort and time consuming chore of hauling
    it home, measuring it out, and tossing it in the
    washer. Be thankful. Dan
     
  9. rkmiec

    rkmiec Member

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    i found mine at kroger(a grocery chain) here in georgia it is called arm and hammer all natural super washing soda.it was in the detergent isle i believe.3 doollars for the box i think.
     
  10. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Googling for "carbonato sódico" led me to the Spanish version of the MSDS for the sodium carbonate made by Solvay Chemicals: http://www.solvaychemicals.us/static/wma/pdf/6/7/3/5/Sodaash-sp.pdf
    It looks like they call it "ceniza de soda" (and the MSDS is explicit about being intended for use in Mexico, so I expect it's idiomatically correct). The synonyms given are "sal de sosa", "cristales de sosa", and "carbonato disódico".

    I would think that if you walked into a shop and asked for cristales de sosa or carbonato sódico, and then tried to handwave through an explanation of what it's used for, you'd stand a fair chance of finding it.

    Watch out for "sosa caustica" or "soda caustica", however: lye!

    -NT
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2008
  11. rkmiec

    rkmiec Member

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    just so you know , doollars are an even exchange for dollars even with the dollar being so low :smile:
     
  12. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Washing Soda here in the US

    Read this thread and then happened to head for the local Publix, a Florida chain. I had seen Arm & Hammer Washing Soda there in the past, and there it was, $2 for three pounds or so. Pretty amazing since this particular store is smaller than the average and the selections are less.

    Now, I did buy two boxes, but not for photography. It's the standard cheap treatment to raise swimming pool pH, which I needed to do.
     
  13. CBG

    CBG Member

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    I found 20 Mule Team Borax and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda at: www.soapsgonebuy.com They do mail order, so perhaps thay may be useful.

    C
     
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  15. tpersin

    tpersin Member

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    here in Pittsburgh washing soda seems to be hard to find, but a pool supply store (or Kmart?) will often have something to increase ph levels... the one i found at Kmart was from Aquachem and is called ph Add... i've also seen another product called ph Up.

    http://www.aquachem.com/products/phadjusters/ph_add.html

    good luck,
    tom
     
  16. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Washing soda has been for many years the common name listed in the CRC Handbook for Sodium Carbonate decahydrate, which has 10 molecules of water of crystallization in each molecule. We usually use either the monohydrate or the anhydrous salt. Washing soda SHOULD be cheap. It used to be very commonly available and used for cleaning auto radiators and general cleaning. Now it returns with a flourish that makes it seem quite special. The chances are that pH Plus or other brand of swimming pool "medicine" will be more suitable, although I did use in days gone by washing soda in developing printing paper. I had a stabilazion processor that used special paper that could be developed in a strong alkali and fixed in standard fixer. A handful of washing soda in a gallon or so of water made a very fine developer for that stuff. The paper was double weight fiber based and good for exhibition prints, but that's another story.

    If you need a more precisely measurable carbonate and all you have is washing soda, you can heat a pan of it in the oven at about 200 F. Weigh it before you start and stop heating when it stops losing weight. You can do the same with baking soda. It will not burn and the gas emitted at that temperature is water vapor. If you are sure it really is washing soda, you can allow for the water in it by using 2.7 times as much.
     
  17. Paul Verizzo

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    Very interesting!

    Is it really almost 2/3 water? Wow!

    When I need controlled heat for dehydration or similar, I use the toaster oven. Very easy to control. Wish I could get my Ohaus Centigram in there, ha ha.

    I checked out Arm & Hammer's website and found this: "ARM & HAMMER Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate. It does not contain fragrance, surfactants or other additives."
     
  18. gainer

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    Ah Ha! They call it "Super Washing Soda"! Hard to tell what it might be. You could try heating some to see how much, if any, the weight changes. I haven't found any of it here in my hills, even though it used to be common when it came in a blue box. But I can't get Red Devil Lye anymore either. Too many drug-related uses to allow home made soap anymore.
     
  19. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Gainer: I CAN get 100% lye, but it isn't Red Devil anymore. Menard's carries it in Iowa.

    Edit: Whoops, it's Roebic (http://www.roebic.com/catalog/clog.htm) and it can be found at Lowe's stores nationwide in the US, apparently. I swear I saw some at Menard's, though.

    The washing soda that I can find (At K-Mart, no less) is Borax. $3.79 for quite a bit.
     
  20. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    No Red Devil here at the Queensbury, NY Lowes. I guess we have a lot of druggies in the foothills of the Adirondacks.

    FWIW, I'm told that A&H SWS will become monohydrate if you accidentally leave the box open in a dry room, ie, not the basement.
     
  21. Anscojohn

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    *******
    I asked the Arm and Hammer folks years back about this, and they responded that under these conditions it will "tend" to become a monohydrate. Talk about hedging. I just keep it in a tightly sealed container and use it as if I were using crystals. I have also heard of mixing it into a saturated solution in water and using it on a percentage basis. But being no good at math mesself, I just keep it dry.
    And no, washing soda is not borax. That's something different.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  22. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Of course it will tend toward the monohydrate in an open container. One still pays for shipping the water of crystallization.

    A saturated solution doesn't need math to prepare, but its saturation point will vary with temperature. You can simply keep adding washing soda or whatever crystalline form it happens to be until some remains at the bottom of the container and keep the solution at constant temperature. If it it saturated at one temperature, it will be at lower temperatures provided it didn't supercool. There are tables that can tell you the concentration of a carbonate solution by the weight of 100 ml of it. Most of our uses of carbonate do not require great accuracy of measurement
     
  23. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Will run these tests tomorrow

    Carefully scraped off level tablespoon of each:

    1. SC anydrous, screw top container that lived most of its life in Dever, i.e., dry. Closed, of course. Opened maybe three times briefly here in humid Florida.

    2. Super Washing Soda, opened and in a closet here for years. Not so many that the silverfish have yet to find the pasteboard.

    3. Super Washing Soda purchased yesterday. Who knows where it's been?

    My scale is an Ohaus Centigram, hundredth of a gram.
     
  24. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    re the red devil shortage

    I use sodium hydroxide in some of the lith developers I mix. I also use a whole lot more in a soap making venture/holbby that I uses to underwrite this disease we call GAS.

    I too started with Red Devil, but found that often I had to ask my hardware store to order it in. Then I found a place to sell it to me bulk. For the price of 17 red devil cans I came home with 25kg of sodium hydrixide granules - that works out to 93 red devil cans worth.

    There was, of couse, the nagging feeling that someone from law enforcement would be knocking on the door in a day or two after I bought that. It never happened though. I would like to see how they would react to all of the photo chemistry that I have on the shelves, though.
     
  25. jim appleyard

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  26. Paul Verizzo

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    OK, the envelope please....

    Per one level tablespoon,

    Anhydrous, 15.77 grams

    Old Washing Soda, 17.44

    New Washing Soda, 17.83

    Using 17.5 as a general weight for the washing sodas, that would mean one would need 10-11% more than for anhydrous.

    In any recipe I've ever seen for soda, there is so much latitude as to be very forgiving. IIRC, I've put 5 grams of anyhydrous in a liter of water for a pH 10.5. Up that to 90, and you can get it to 11. Twenty time the carbonate to get five times the alkalinity. The latter, of course, does have much greater reserves of pH.