Sodium percarbonate, sometimes abbreviated as SPC, is a chemical, an adduct of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide (a perhydrate), with formula 2 Na2CO3 · 3 H2O2. It is a colorless, crystalline, hygroscopic and water-soluble solid.[1] It is used in some eco-friendly cleaning products and as a laboratory source of anhydrous hydrogen peroxide.


At room temperature, solid sodium percarbonate has the orthorhombic crystal structure, with the Cmca crystallographic space group. The structure changes to Pbca as the crystals are cooled below about −30 °C.[2]


Sodium percarbonate was first prepared in 1899 by Russian chemist Sebastian Moiseevich Tanatar (Russian: Севастьян Моисеевич Танатар) (7 October 1849, Odessa – 30 November 1917, Odessa).[3]

Sodium percarbonate is produced industrially by reaction of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide, followed by crystallization. Also, dry sodium carbonate may be treated directly with concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution. World production capacity of this compound was estimated at several hundred thousand tonnes for 2004.[4] It can be obtained in the laboratory by treating the two substances in aqueous solution with proper control of the pH[5] or concentrations.[2]


As an oxidizing agent, sodium percarbonate is an ingredient in a number of home and laundry cleaning products, including non-chlorine bleach products such as OxyBoost, OxiClean, Tide laundry detergent,[1] and Vanish.[6] Dissolved in water, it yields a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (which eventually decomposes to water and oxygen) and sodium carbonate ("soda ash" or “washing soda”).[1]

2 Na2CO3·3 H2O2 → 2 Na2CO3 + 3 H2O2[6]

Many commercial products mix a percentage of sodium percarbonate with sodium carbonate. The average percentage of an "Oxy" product in the supermarket is 65% sodium percarbonate and 35% sodium carbonate. The "ultra boosters" seen on infomercials may contain as much as 80% sodium percarbonate. However, sodium percarbonate is less expensive in its pure form[citation needed] and can be adjusted to any percentage the user desires.

Sodium percarbonate can be used in organic synthesis as a convenient source of anhydrous H2O2, in particular in solvents that cannot dissolve the carbonate but can leach the H2O2 out of it.[7] A method for generating trifluoroperacetic acid in situ for use in Baeyer–Villiger oxidations from sodium percarbonate and trifluoroacetic anhydride has been reported; it provides a convenient and cheap approach to this reagent without the need to obtain highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide.[8][9]

Commercial products


  1. ^ a b c Craig W. Jones (1999). Applications of hydrogen peroxide and its derivatives. Royal Society of Chemistry. ISBN 0-85404-536-8. 
  2. ^ a b R. G. Pritchard & E. Islam (2003). "Sodium percarbonate between 293 and 100 K". Acta Crystallographica Section B. B59 (5): 596–605. doi:10.1107/S0108768103012291. 
  3. ^ S. Tanatar (1899) "Percarbonate", Berichte der Deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin, 32 : 1544–1546.
  4. ^ Harald Jakob, Stefan Leininger, Thomas Lehmann, Sylvia Jacobi, Sven Gutewort (2005), "Peroxo Compounds, Inorganic", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, doi:10.1002/14356007.a19_177.pub2 
  5. ^ J. M. Adams & R. G. Pritchard (1977). "The crystal structure of sodium percarbonate: an unusual layered solid". Acta Crystallographica Section B. B33 (12): 3650–3653. doi:10.1107/S0567740877011790. 
  6. ^ a b "Oxygen-based bleaches Archived 2012-01-24 at the Wayback Machine.", The Royal Society of Chemistry, and Reckitt Benckiser (the manufacturers of Vanish).
  7. ^ McKillop, A (1995). "Sodium perborate and sodium percarbonate: Cheap, safe and versatile oxidising agents for organic synthesis". Tetrahedron. 51 (22): 6145. doi:10.1016/0040-4020(95)00304-Q. 
  8. ^ Kang, Ho-Jung; Jeong, Hee-Sun (1996). "New Method of Generating Trifluoroperoxyacetic acid for the Baeyer-Villiger Reaction". Bull. Korean Chem. Soc. 17 (1): 5–6. 
  9. ^ Caster, Kenneth C.; Rao, A. Somasekar; Mohan, H. Rama; McGrath, Nicholas A.; Brichacek, Matthew (2012). "Trifluoroperacetic Acid". e-EROS Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis. doi:10.1002/047084289X.rt254.pub2. 

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