Bicarbonate vs. Baking Soda

How bicarbonate and baking soda differ from each other

Because they both contain carbon and oxygen molecules in their chemical make-up, bicarbonate and baking soda are quite similar. Baking soda, a very common household product, is the first thing people think of when they hear the word bicarbonate but there is a great difference between the two.

About Bicarbonate

Three different types of molecules are used in the formula for bicarbonate. There are three molecules of oxygen, and one each of carbon and hydrogen. This combination of five molecules results in an ion, which is a compound that contains more electrons than protons. The chemical formula is HCO-3.

This chemical combination plays an important role in the pH buffering system of the body. It stabilizes the acid levels of the blood so that it is not too basic or too acidic. This helps regulate your digestive juices and bring them back to normal levels once the body has digested the food you have eaten.

When the acid in rainwater hits rocks, it turns to bicarbonate. In nature it serves an important purpose as well because it keeps the carbon cycle in motion.

About Baking Soda

The proper chemical term for baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It is a substance that occurs naturally and is a crystalline. Mineral springs contain this substance because it is part of the mineral neutron. However the baking soda that we are most familiar with is produced by artificial means.

The main use of baking soda is as a leavening agent, especially for baking. It makes dough rise almost in the same way that yeast does. It is also commonly used in laboratories because of the reaction it causes with acids and bases. It can also be used to put out small fires.

Baking soda can be used in daily hygiene and it can be found in such products as deodorant, shampoo and toothpaste. One of the most common ways it is used is to reduce odors in a refrigerator. You only have to open a box of baking soda and leave it on a shelf to eliminate odors. If you mix it with water and drink it, it is a good home remedy for heartburn.

The difference between baking soda and bicarbonate

Both baking soda and bicarbonate are neutralizing agents. Bicarbonate helps to control the acid levels in the blood and baking soda can alleviate indigestion and heartburn. The both contain the same chemical combination – HCO-3. However, bicarbonate is an ion, which means it has more electrons than protons, and because of this it is negatively charged and is not a complete substance.

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, can be formed by artificial means and it has an equal proportion of electrons and protons. Bicarbonate is only a part of baking soda and has a tendency to produce a very high chemical reaction because of the extra electron.


  1. Both bicarbonate and baking soda help control the pH levels in the body, but bicarbonate occurs naturally in the body and baking soda is made in labs.
  2. They both have the same chemical formula – HCO-3
  3. Baking soda is a complete substance, buy bicarbonate is an ion.
  4. Baking soda does not produce the same level of chemical reaction when it is mixed with other substances.
  5. There are numerous uses for baking soda, but bicarbonate can only be used in a laboratory.