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Baking Soda V Sodium Bicarb: Over-neutralizing?

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Kate Lacour, Oct 28, 2021.

  1. Kate Lacour

    Kate Lacour Member

    Would SO appreciate a clue here- thanks in advance!

    I'm a newbie and used Krowtan on a batch of skins, everything went over fine. The directions are SUPER clear that if you want to use baking soda instead of sodium bicarbonate for the neutralizing bath, you must double the amount. Well, I did and wound up with some slip, which I've never experienced after tanning.

    Am I nuts or is this because I over-neutralized, and the problem lies with using double quantity of baking soda per the directions? I mean, it is pure sodium bicarb isn't it? I did find that weird but figured there was some obscure chemistry reason for it. Now I wonder...
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Baking soda IS sodium bicarbonate.

  3. Kate Lacour

    Kate Lacour Member

    Exactly! The product FAQ was very clear that 'baking soda may be substituted for pure sodium bicarbonate if you double the quantity.' That's... crazy, right?
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I think that it should read sodium carbonate, which is basically soda ash, first and then sodium bicarbonate second, which is baking soda and more mild than sodium bicarbonate. The directions, I believe, has a typo in them that hasn't been corrected. It makes sense that more bicarbonate would be used as opposed to the harsher corbonate.
    cyclone and Kate Lacour like this.
  5. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    Never could understand the why of that part of the directions.

    I just use baking soda without doubling. Small mammals don't need much time, and some are even thinner on average. I don't have the instructions in front of me, but I believe it says to neutralize for 15 min. Don't do it any longer that this. Especially for thin hides.

    For thin hides I even do less time. By the time you wash the hair, this will also neutralize the skin a bit.
    livbucks, Johnnyclyde and Kate Lacour like this.
  6. Kate Lacour

    Kate Lacour Member

    So good to know- I almost always do thin skinned critters!
  7. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    I think time is the most important part.
  8. moonshine

    moonshine Active Member

    I use krowtan on 80 whitetails a year never with a problem, mabe you had an issue with the hide before it went into the tan, i never had a prob overneutrolizing , i use double as the directions state
  9. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I posted a big discussion about neutralizing , try to look it up . Been in business for 35 years , been tanning my own capes and small game for 25 Of those years , using formic acid and now safety acid . I had trouble the first year with some slip after neutralizing . So I stopped , I ask and searched and no one could tell me why I needed to . After pickle I put cream on then freeze , when I take out and wash in tide , dawn and a squeeze of conditioner. Rinse well and towel dry . Then mount , since doing that I’ve never had any more issues and have mounts , competition pcs that look awesome after 20 years . No cracking or acid rot . I don’t do this for rugs , but all my mammals are done without neutralizing. Look that post up a lot of people joined in on the conversation .
    Kate Lacour likes this.
  10. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    Most laundry detergent has sodium carbonate as one of the ingredients.

    I have read that neutralizing a hide brings the pH to the proper level for the oil to bond in the hide. Maybe it was from that conversation, I don't know.
  11. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    If you dont neutralize a Krowtann skin it will have the stretch of a truck tire.
    ARUsher likes this.
  12. I have tested baking soda against sodium bicarb. No difference in results. Even with Krowtann and I have used it since before Brian sold it, lots of field testing.

    So with the sodium bicarb, four jars, two with tap water, the other two with acid pickle. I used a gun powder scale to insure the exact about of each was used.

    The results between tech sodium bicarb and baking soda were the same. zero pH difference at 5 minutes. zero at 15 minutes, zero difference between the two in all jars at 60 minutes.

    Sodium bicarb is the exact same as baking soda.
    Vulpes Vulpes likes this.
  13. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    Sometimes people just need an answer. Twice as much baking soda is still Sodium Bicarbonate. It's prudent to fashion your answer to also minimize subsequent questions.
  14. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Well, since baking soda IS sodium bicarbonate, I would expect the results to be the same.
    Glenn M, DFJ and Frank E. Kotula like this.
  15. DFJ

    DFJ Active Member

    Lol...Can't state it any better or simpler than this but unfortunately some will still question.
  16. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    Testing is fine, nothing wrong with that...

    Me, I just read the box..100% sodium bicarbonate IS, well, sodium bicarbonate..

    Frank E. Kotula and Glenn M like this.
  17. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    There always seems to be confusion on this and I think it has a lot to do with these Krowtan instructions, because they seem to come up on this topic.

    Hopefully people will see this in a search. We all have said baking soda is sodium bicarbonate in many different sentence structures and context, so that it can't be taken any other way than sodium bicarbonate is baking soda.

    And, good on Kate for knowing this when she posted. She rightfully had a legitimate question.
  18. cyclone

    cyclone Posts: 400001

    It's more than likely a typo in the Krowtan instructions. No one, however, has ever fessed up to it and seems unwilling, perhaps unlikely to make a change to the instructions.

    BTW, if you doubled the amount and used the exact same time frame and other conditions for neutralization then it's highly unlikely that this is what caused your slip.
    Keith likes this.