Natron was an important preservative the Egyptians used in their embalming process. In The Genesis of Science
(2010), Stephen Bertman says Egyptologists use the term natron to refer to a variety of chemical compounds; specifically, sodium chloride (table salt), sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, and sodium sulphate.
Natron worked to preserve the mummy in 3 ways:
- Dried the moisture in the flesh thereby inhibiting the growth of bacteria
- Degreased -- removed moisture-filled fat cells
- Served as a microbial disinfectant.
Natron was also used in the production of faience.
Source: "The Technique of Egyptian Faïence," by Joseph Veach Noble;American Journal of Archaeology; Vol. 73, No. 4 (Oct., 1969), pp. 435-439.