Saturday, April 16, 2011

Washing Powder, Take 2

I started a post of making my own washing powder a few weeks ago when I was feeling very organised. I think I must have been preparing myself for the onslaught of work and knowing that I would barely be able to string two words together, let alone an entire sentence.

When I first started this blog I mentioned that I would be asking for help. This is one of those posts.

About six months ago I stopped buying laundry powder and started making my own trialling recipes that I had found on blogs. I was really happy with the results, feeling that I was doing the right thing for my family. While at a Living Smart course recently, we looked at 'greener' ways to clean. This is something that I thought we were doing well here with things like vinegar, bi carb, lemon... One of the ingredients we looked at was borax. It comes up in a lot of washing powder recipes and I hadn't really thought twice about as it even says on the label that it is a 'non-toxic alternative'. One of the ladies questioned the safety of it, especially as it says to 'Keep out of reach of children'.

I looked at some articles here and here. Now I know that anyone can put articles up on the internet, but it made me think.

Now I am not sure if I am over-reacting.

I found a borax-free alternative here.

There is also the soapnut option as tried by cityhippyfarmgirl.

What do you use?


  1. I use a homemade version, with borax. We tried to use soap nuts for a little while, but I found they didn't work as well. I think they are best used in hot water, which we rarely use. Love the bowl in your photo!


  2. Brenna, I know what you mean about hot water. I don't think I have ever used my machine on hot.
    Thanks about the bowl. I bought it is Tokyo last year.

  3. I've not tried making my own but I would be interested to see what else you come up with. Soap nuts I've been happy with (I only use cold water).
    Thanks for link back too!

  4. Sorry dear. I don't make washing powder; but I'm impressed with you having a go. Hope you find what you're after. I hope you have a happy easter and don't indulge in too many chocies. Mariana.

  5. cityhippyfarmgirl, if the recipe that omits borax doesn't work I think I will be giving the soap nuts a go.
    One of the things I love about making my own is that it doesn't contain any of the super strong fragrance that you so often get in the commercially produced laundry powders.
    I'll let you know how it all goes.

    Mariana, I think a lot of it will be trial and error. At the moment, my whites aren't very bright. (I feel like I am in a commercial!) I will try the recipe that used bicarb instead of borax.
    Happy Easter to you all too. Earlier tonight I was thinking that I needed to cut back on the chocies but then I just remembered that next week is Easter so I might need to leave it a week before I start on that little health kick. I will just need to pedal a bit harder to work tomorrow.

  6. Mariana, PS I love the look of your panna cotta. Yum.

  7. Hi Bruise Mouse. I have been making my own washing powder now for over 12 months. I do use borax. I buy it in bulk very cheaply from our local feed produce store. Apparently it is used for cattle or something. Not really sure but it is a very cheap alternative and I have not been convinced that it is bad to use. We are on septic as well. All of my washing water goes onto the lawn out the back and it is doing very well and it is very green. I use hot water once in a while - or should I say warm water. My whites are white my cloths are wearing well and my husband doesn't get any rash like he does when I use commercial powders. I swear by it and make it in bulk once every couple of months. I use 1 cup washing soda (powder not granules) 1 bar sunlight soap grated, 1 packet of homebrand bi card soda (500gr) and 1 cup borax (from the feed store) I mix them together - triple the recipe and store in a big lidded bucket near the washing machine. I use 1 - yes 1 heaped tablespoon per load. I always try and make it a full load. I have a front loader machine. It works. It really works. If there is any stubborn stain I might wet the area and scrub lightly with a bar of sunlight soap. I have used other soaps in this when I had none of the sunlight. It worked okay as well. I just find that the sunlight soap gives me no irritation on the skin so I use it in the shower as well. Cheers, Wendy

  8. Great post, sorry I can't be useful, but you've given me something to try! Love all the ideas in your comments too.

  9. Wendy, thanks so much for the detailed comment. The recipe you use is really similar to the one I use and I must say that I love the fact there is no commercial fragrance all over our clothes, sheets and towels. Mine is a front loader too and I am always amazed at how little is needed to get the job done. As you say, only one tablespoon. I ended up keeping a little measuring spoon from the last commercial pack I bought months ago.
    Thanks again. I will need to do a little more reading about Borax to find out a bit more about it.

    Mrs Bok. aren't the comments great. There are so many amazing people out there with so much knowledge that can be shared.
    I know with commercial powders, whenever you get the fumes up your nose, they tend to burn and really irritate. I figure that that can't be good. Have a go at home made. : )

  10. I have a high efficiency washer and have not found a recommended homemade detergent for an HE. But on YES! Magazine's website, I did come across an article saying that I could use as little as 1 tablespoon of detergent per load, as long as I ran an occasional cup of vinegar through in order to reduce any chances of mold buildup. Makes the detergents go soo much further!


Thanks so much for dropping by. I really appreciate any comments you have to make.

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