Washing soda is chemically known as sodium carbonate and is a component of laundry detergent. Domestic effluent, drain water and various anthropogenic activities have been identified as major routes of sodium carbonate contamination of the freshwater ecosystem. The freshwater sponge, Eunapius carteri, bears ecological and evolutionary significance and is considered as a bioresource in aquatic ecosystems. The present study involves estimation of morphological damage, lysosomal membrane integrity, activity of phosphatases and apoptosis in the cells of E. carteri under the environmentally realistic concentrations of washing soda. Exposure to washing soda resulted in severe morphological alterations and damages in cells of E. carteri. Fragility and destabilization of lysosomal membranes of E. carteri under the sublethal exposure was indicative to toxin induced physiological stress in sponge. Prolonged exposure to sodium carbonate resulted a reduction in the activity of acid and alkaline phosphatases in the cells of E. carteri. Experimental concentration of 8. mg/l of washing soda for 192. h yielded an increase in the physiological level of cellular apoptosis among the semigranulocytes and granulocytes of E. carteri, which was suggestive to possible shift in apoptosis mediated immunoprotection. The results were indicative of an undesirable shift in the immune status of sponge. Contamination of the freshwater aquifers by washing soda thus poses an alarming ecotoxicological threat to sponges. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.