What is sodium hydrogen carbonate?


Sodium hydrogen carbonate is also name as sodium bicarbonate, is a chemical compound with molecular formula, NaHCO3. It is also known as an acidic salt or bi salt, which is made from carbonic acid.

Sodium hydrogen carbonate is commonly known as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda. It is a salt composed of a sodium cation (Na+) and a bicarbonate anion (HCO3-).

Sodium hydrogen carbonate is a white crystalline solid, but often appears as a fine powder. The molecular weight or molar mass of sodium hydrogen carbonate is 84.01g/mol. Sodium hydrogen carbonate salt is soluble in water. The density of sodium bicarbonate is 2.2 g/cc.

Uses Of Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate

Leavening agent in cooking

In cooking, baking soda is mainly used in baking as a yeast agent. Baking soda causes the batter to expand. For this reason it is used to make cakes, quick bread, soda bread and other baked and fried foods.

Baking powder

Baking powder is also sold for cooking. It contains about 30% bicarbonate and various acidic components. Many types of baking powders contain sodium bicarbonate, including calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate or tartar.


Sodium bicarbonate is one of the main ingredients in common “black snake” fireworks. When sodium bicarbonate is heated CO2 and H2O are released. Both are also used to delay the combustion reaction as they are flame retardant.

Used as mild disinfectant

Sodium hydrogen carbonate has weak disinfectant properties. For this reason it can be an effective fungicide against some organisms. In agriculture, sodium bicarbonate is applied to the leaves to prevent fungal growth.

Uses as fire extinguisher

Sodium bicarbonate is used to extinguish electric fires. This is because heating sodium bicarbonate releases carbon dioxide. This CO2 surrounds the fire. As a result, the fire is extinguished due to lack of oxygen.

Medical uses and health

Sodium bicarbonate suspension is used as an antacid to treat indigestion and heart burn. It reacts with HCl acid in the stomach to produce salt, water and carbon dioxide.

NaHCO3 + HCl → NaCl + CO2 + H2O

Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is used in cardiopulmonary resuscitation under medical supervision. It is usually used when the blood pH is markedly low.

Again, HCO3−ion is used to treat hyperkalemia. This is because it will bring K + back to the cell during acidosis.

Since baking soda or sodium bicarbonate can cause alkalosis, it is sometimes used to treat overdose of aspirin. It can be applied topically with three parts baking soda, one part water, as a paste to relieve bites and stings of some insects.

Personal hygiene

Sodium bicarbonate is also used as an ingredient in some mouthwashes. It works as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums, neutralizes the production of acid in the mouth, and also acts as an antiseptic to help prevent infections. It is used in eye hygiene to treat blepharitis.

Cleaning agent

Sodium bicarbonate is used for color and corrosion removal. Baking soda is usually added to the washing machine to replace the water softener and remove odors from the fabric. It is also as effective as sodium hydroxide in removing heavy tea and coffee stains from cups.

Other uses of NaHCO3

Sodium bicarbonate is used as a cattle feeds supplement, in particular as a buffering agent for the rumen. It is also used as a neutralization agent in laboratory.