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What Is Baking Soda Called In South Africa?

Quick Summary

In South Africa, baking soda is commonly known as bicarbonate of soda or bicarb. It is a versatile ingredient used in baking, cleaning, gardening, and personal hygiene. Bicarbonate of soda can be used as a raising agent in baking, a natural cleaning agent for various household items, a natural fungicide and insecticide in the garden, and even as an antacid for indigestion and heartburn. Its multiple uses make it a must-have item in every South African home.


Baking soda is a versatile ingredient that has numerous uses in baking, cleaning, gardening, and personal hygiene. In South Africa, it is commonly referred to as bicarbonate of soda or simply bicarb. This white crystalline powder plays an essential role as a raising agent in baking by releasing carbon dioxide when combined with acidic ingredients.

Not only does baking soda add lightness and fluffiness to baked goods like cakes and cookies but it also serves various other purposes around the house. From being used as a natural cleaner for household items to acting as a fungicide in the garden, this humble ingredient offers countless benefits.

In this blog post, we will explore what exactly baking soda is called in South Africa (bicarbonate of soda), its different applications across various domains such as cleaning agents for home maintenance or even personal care products like toothpaste/mouthwash – all while answering some frequently asked questions along the way.

What is Baking Soda?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda, is a white crystalline powder that has various uses in baking and cooking. It is chemically classified as a leavening agent due to its ability to release carbon dioxide gas when combined with acidic ingredients.

Uses in Baking

Commonly used for its rising properties, baking soda helps doughs and batters expand during the baking process. When mixed with an acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice) and moisture, it produces bubbles of carbon dioxide which create air pockets within the mixture. This results in lightening the texture of baked goods like cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes, and bread.

Other Uses

Apart from being a raising agent in culinary applications, baking soda serves other purposes too. It acts as a versatile household cleaner and can be utilized in personal hygiene routines due to its alkalinity. Bicarbonate soda’s mild abrasive nature makes it effective at removing stains, dirt, and grime from surfaces without causing damage or scratching delicate materials. In addition, it neutralizes odors by absorbing them rather than just masking them temporarily. This property makes baking soda a popular choice for deodorizing refrigerators, carpets, and shoes.

Baking Soda in South Africa

Baking soda, a versatile ingredient used in baking and cleaning, is known by different names across the world. In South Africa, it is commonly referred to as bicarbonate of soda or simply bicarb. While these terms are often used interchangeably with baking soda, there are some slight differences between them.

Chemical Composition

The main difference lies in their chemical composition. Bicarbonate of soda (bicarb) refers specifically to sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), which is an alkaline compound that acts as a leavening agent when combined with acidic ingredients like buttermilk or vinegar during baking. On the other hand, baking powder consists of both sodium bicarbonate and an acidifying agent such as cream of tartar.

Availability and Purchasing

When it comes to availability and purchasing options for baking soda in South Africa, you’ll be pleased to know that it can be found easily at most grocery stores and supermarkets nationwide. It’s typically sold either packaged under its common name “bicarbonate of soda” or labeled explicitly as “baking soda.” You can find it on shelves alongside other cooking essentials like flour and sugar.

If you prefer shopping online for convenience or if your local store doesn’t carry this product consistently enough for your needs, various e-commerce platforms offer reliable sources where you can purchase high-quality brands from trusted suppliers within South Africa.

Whether you’re looking forward to experimenting with new recipes requiring leavening agents or seeking natural alternatives for household cleaning purposes – finding quality baking sodas won’t pose any significant challenges throughout the country.

Baking Soda as a Cleaning Agent

Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda or bicarb, is not only useful in the kitchen but also serves as an excellent natural cleaning agent. Its mild abrasive properties and alkaline nature make it effective for tackling various household cleaning tasks. Here are some benefits of using baking soda for cleaning and tips on how to use it effectively.

Benefits of Using Baking Soda for Cleaning:

  1. Non-toxic: One major advantage of using baking soda is that it is non-toxic compared to many commercial cleaners available in the market today. It does not contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your health or the environment.
  2. Versatile Cleaner: Baking soda has multiple uses when it comes to cleaning different surfaces around your home – from countertops and sinks to pots, pans, cutting boards, and even bathroom fixtures.
  3. Odor Eliminator: The ability of baking soda to absorb odors makes it an ideal choice for eliminating unpleasant smells from carpets, upholstery fabrics, shoes/closets/wardrobes with lingering odors (such as smoke), refrigerators/freezers with food odor issues – just sprinkle some onto these areas before vacuuming up after 15 minutes!

Tips for Using Baking Soda To Clean Various Household Items:

  1. Cleaning Kitchen Surfaces:
    • Make a paste by mixing equal parts water and baking soda to clean stubborn stains on countertops.
    • Sprinkle dry powder directly onto greasy stovetops or ovens; let sit overnight then wipe away grime easily next morning!
  2. Freshening Up Carpets:
    • Sprinkle generous amounts over carpeted areas where there may be pet accidents/smells present.
    • Let sit undisturbed for at least 30 minutes before thoroughly vacuuming up all traces of baking soda and odors.
  3. Removing Stains From Pots And Pans:
    • Fill the stained pot or pan with water and add a few tablespoons of baking soda.
    • Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer for 15 minutes before scrubbing away any remaining stains.
  4. Cleaning Bathroom Fixtures:
    • Make a paste by mixing baking soda with water and apply it to a sponge or cloth.
    • Gently scrub away soap scum, limescale, and other stubborn stains from sinks, showerheads, tiles, fiberglass surfaces.
  5. Deodorizing Trash Cans:
    • Sprinkle some baking soda at the bottom of your trash can before inserting a new bag.
    • This will help absorb odors and keep your garbage area smelling fresh.

Remember to always test on an inconspicuous area first when using baking soda as a cleaning agent, especially on delicate surfaces like marble or stainless steel. Additionally, ensure that you rinse off all traces of baking soda after cleaning to avoid leaving behind any residue.

By incorporating this versatile ingredient into your regular cleaning routine, you can enjoy effective results without exposing yourself or loved ones to harsh chemicals found in many commercial cleaners. Baking soda is not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly – making it an excellent choice for maintaining cleanliness throughout your home!

Baking Soda in Gardening

Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda or bicarb, is not only useful in the kitchen but can also be a valuable tool for gardeners. Its versatility and natural properties make it an excellent addition to any gardening routine. Here are some ways you can use baking soda in your garden:

Using baking soda as a natural fungicide:

Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and black spot can wreak havoc on plants, causing leaves to wither and die. Fortunately, baking soda has antifungal properties that help combat these issues effectively.

To create a homemade fungicide using baking soda, mix 1 tablespoon of baking powder with 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of water along with a few drops of liquid soap (to act as an adhesive). Spray this solution onto affected plant surfaces every week until the problem subsides.

Using baking soda as an insecticide:

Insects like aphids and spider mites often infest gardens, damaging plants by sucking out their sap or leaving behind unsightly webs. Instead of resorting to chemical-laden pesticides that harm beneficial insects too, you can use baking soda as a natural insecticide.

Baking Soda for Personal Hygiene

Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda or bicarb in South Africa, is not only useful in baking and cleaning but can also be beneficial for personal hygiene. Here are some ways you can incorporate baking soda into your daily routine:

Using Baking Soda as an Antacid:

One common use of baking soda is its ability to act as an antacid. If you’re experiencing indigestion or heartburn, a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water may help alleviate the discomfort by neutralizing stomach acid.

Using Baking Soda for Allergic Reactions:

In certain cases where allergic reactions occur due to insect bites or skin irritations, applying a paste made from mixing water with baking soda onto the affected area might provide relief. The alkaline properties of the bicarbonate ions present in it could help soothe itching and reduce inflammation.

Bicarbonate Toothpaste and Mouthwash:

Many commercial toothpastes contain sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) because they have natural whitening properties that aid oral health care routines effectively. You can make your own homemade toothpaste using equal parts coconut oil and baking powder mixed together until a smooth consistency is achieved; this mixture will leave teeth feeling clean while reducing plaque buildup over time.

Additionally, rinsing your mouth with a solution consisting of warm water mixed with half a teaspoonfuls of salt along with one tablespoon full each of vinegar and bicarb helps maintain healthy gums by balancing pH levels within our mouths, which prevents bacterial growth leading towards gum diseases such as gingivitis, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between baking soda and baking powder?

Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents used in cooking, but they have different compositions. Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda or bicarb, is a pure chemical compound called sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). It needs an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar to activate its leavening properties.

On the other hand, baking powder contains not only sodium bicarbonate but also acid salts such as cream of tartar. This means that it already has an acidic component mixed in with the base (sodium bicarbonate), allowing it to react when combined with liquid ingredients without needing additional acidity from external sources.

Can baking soda be used for skin care?

Yes! Baking soda can be beneficial for skincare purposes due to its exfoliating and cleansing properties. However, caution should be exercised because everyone’s skin reacts differently. Some people find that using diluted solutions of water and small amounts of baking soda help remove dead skin cells gently, while others may experience irritation if their skin is sensitive.

It’s always recommended to do a patch test before applying any new substance on your face or body extensively.


  1. https://www.taste.com.au/articles/whats-difference-between-baking-soda-baking-powder-bicarbonate-soda/h90demgk
  2. https://www.home-dzine.co.za/Lifestyle/life-bakingsoda.html
  3. https://www.gardeninginsouthafrica.co.za/frugal-gardening-tips/baking-soda-tips-for-the-garden-and-home

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