A moderately toxic and alkaline salt used in powdered laundry detergents and automatic dishwasher detergents to boost the performance of the surfactants. Primarily responsible for the alkalinity of these products. Does not biodegrade, but not thought to be particularly dangerous to the environment.
Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda ash), , is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. It has a cooling Alkaline taste, and can be extracted from the ashes of many plants.