The chemical name for washing soda, also called sodium carbonate, is Na2CO3. Another name for sodium carbonate is soda ash, which also has a pH of 11.6. This compound is white, odorless and soluble in water.
Many countries, such as the United States, Mexico, China and South Africa, have large deposits of sodium carbonate that is usually found in a mineral called trona. Other sources of sodium carbonate are sodium carbonate-rich bodies of water.
Sodium carbonate is used in glass manufacturing, explosives, the chemical industry and the manufacture of synthetic rubber. In household contexts, soda ash is used in water softeners and detergents.