I have 'sodium bicarbonate' powder , which is supposed to be (NaHCO3) , is there a way for me to do a test on it at home , without some special equipment and determine whatever its 100% pure or it has some additives?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Simple tests--for example, dissolving some of the material in water and looking for undissolved matter--can only tell you so much about its purity. If it is food grade and in its original brand package, it is probably OK to use, but if you really need to be sure, you are better off buying a new box. If you purchase analytical or reagent grade material, it comes with a certificate of analysis listing levels of impurities--still pretty cheap relative to having it analyzed. $\endgroup$
    – iad22agp
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ Didn't bought the box in the first place , bought it in bulk as 500gr for like 30cents, that why there is no label to make it certain. However disregarding this , even on those small packages of 20gr there is no label such as NaHCO3 only E500. $\endgroup$
    – Sutekh
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ No. Without having some real idea of what impurity your looking for, or some idea of how much on an impurity is tolerable you can't make any judgement. For instance radioactive polonium would poison you at trace levels but it would be readily detected by a Geiger counter. As another example a mixture of $\ce{NaOH}$ and $\ce{NaCO3}$ would give a yellow flame test and a ppt much like pure $\ce{NaCO3}$. So never ever eat something unless you KNOW it is "food grade." $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 6:37

1 Answer 1


Without additives its a bit hard.

You can test easely if it must be it or not, if you put a bit of it on a flame you must see a yellow flame which means there is sodium $\ce{Na}$ in the compound. Like this. enter image description here

And to be more sure if you pour some acid (like ethanoic acid or vinegar) it must makes gas. Now if you want to verify that this gas is carbon dioxyde you can try to do the reaction on a glass or whatever you want, light a candle and pour the gas (which is inside the glass) on the top of the flame, if the flame disappear it must be carbon dioxyde. Exactly like in this video obviously you don't use backing powder but your product..

You can also use a solution of limewhater but you musn't have this at your home...but if you have you must obtain this: (but you need to pour the gas only in your solution!) so its not really easy at home. enter image description here

So if you do all this experiments you can say its $\ce{NaHCO3}$ but its impossible to be sure at 100% whitout doing an Infra-Red exams for example. It can be mass spectroscopy or RMN.. but obviously not at home, and you can detect all additives if they are.

Hope it will helps you a bit, Friendly.

NB : If you are not sure don't use it for your food.. :)

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your time answering , well i am sure its NaHCO3 , what worries me is it only NaHCO3. As i suspected there is no simple test to make sure its 100% clean. I will take it tomorrow to lab. $\endgroup$
    – Sutekh
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Sutekh this compound is use to absord smells so you may find a lot of things inside. $\endgroup$
    – ParaH2
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 19:06

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