Homemade Washing Powder

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I have spent weeks and weeks researching this topic to create my own recipe. You would think this is quite simple but there is a bit you need to know. Everything is explained below.

Before I go on, if you have a favorite brand of powder and are absolutely in love with it, making your own will be a big leap. The consistency is different, the smell is different and its less sudsy. The store bought ones are a lot more powerful but that is because they use powerful chemicals such as bleach. I have experimented using this powder on baby clothes, kids clothes and a load of dirty tea towels and fabric place mats. It worked well. They dont smell as nice as my perfumed store bought liquid but I can deal with that as I’m saving money and using less chemicals.

This is for front and top loaders. Less powder is used for a front loader or alternatively make the powder using half a block of soap rather than a full and follow the directions below the recipe. For our American likers, everything I’ve read is telling me this is safe for HE machines as well. Please check with your machine handbook however.

I am still on the fence with Borax after reading what was possibly hundreds of articles and would like to do some more research into it. This is my borax free version of washing powder. If you have sensitive skin this is something that may help. My research tells me that borax is often the ingredient in store bought powders/liquids that can cause irritation. Some research also says that borax containing powders shouldn’t be used for infants. With a 14 week old I don’t want to take the chance until I research it some more so borax free it is for the moment.

Mine has a few extra ingredients than a lot of other recipes out there. This means that the price per load is slightly more expensive but my opinion is I’d rather spend that little bit extra for extra cleaning power and get a better result.

Please do a test wash on an old item of clothing to be sure it doesn’t affect your clothing. For dedicates, woolens and silks I recommend using a powder or liquid specifically designed for them.

My lovely friend Nikalene, from the amazing group Skinnymixers, did some testing of my powder on a beetroot stained top and delicate dress. The stains had been there for 3 days due to traveling and once home washed them in my powder with cold water cycle and saw these results. Even I was surprised how well they removed a three day old stain.

Click to enlarge:

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 The cost:

  • Sunlight/Velvet soap: $0.85 
  • Washing soda: $0.87
  • Bi carb soda: $0.85
  • Salt: $0.11
  • Citric acid: $1.17
  • Lemon essential oil: $0.40

Total = $4.25 for what I have estimated to be 20-30 loads. That is just $0.21 a load!!!
* Each store will vary slightly in price as will each brand. Buying these ingredients in bulk will lower the price dramatically. Have a look at your local health food or bulk buying store.

The Ingredients:

  • Soap: cleans, guts down grease and is a stain remover. 
  • Washing soda: is a water softener, whitens clothes and is a stain remover.
  • Bi carb soda: is a stain remover, whitens, deodorises and is a substitute for borax.
  • Salt: salt is added for scrubbing power as well as a natural disinfectant. It also helps prevent mould.
  • Citric acid: cleans, breaks down grease and is a water softener.
  • Essential oil: adds a scent to your clothes but also has disinfecting properties.

Tips:

  • Its recommended you wear gloves when handling washing soda. Remember to put it out of reach of children and pets when finished with it.
  • If your loads aren’t cleaning try slightly more powder.
  • If you want to use Borax you can use it in place of the bi carb soda.
  • Citric acid and washing soda can work against each other so the rule of thumb is 1 cup of washing soda to 1/4 cup of citric acid. Remember this if you start tweaking the recipe.
  • You can grate a bar of sard soap and add to the mix too if desired. Do not get excited and add any more than one bar as it will make your powder far too soapy and will not be good for you machine.
 
Homemade Washing Powder
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 bar of sunlight or velvet soap, cubed
  2. 1 cup of washing soda
  3. 1 cup bi carb soda
  4. 1/2 cup of salt
  5. 1/4 cup of citric acid
  6. 20-30 drops of essential oil, optional
Instructions
  1. Place soap into bowl.
  2. Blitz slowly up to speed 9 until very fine. Approximately 20 secs. Scrape down.
  3. Note: You want this to be a super fine dust so that it dissolves easily in cold water. If you are a warm/hot washer it wont mater if its slightly coarser.
  4. Place everything into the bowl.
  5. Blitz on speed 6 for 30 seconds.
  6. You just want to break down the ingredients slightly and ensure they are well combined especially the essential oil.
  7. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. For a front loader use 2 tablespoons of powder, top loader I use 4 tablespoons. This may vary depending on how hard your water is and size of machine.
The Road to Loving My Thermo Mixer http://www.trtlmt.com.au/
By | 2017-06-12T11:23:40+00:00 January 5th, 2014|Categories: Household Items and Cleaners|29 Comments

About the Author:

Peta
Peta is a mum to three gorgeous and very energetic young boys. She loves everyday food that is achievable for a busy family, and has a passion for involving children in cooking.

29 Comments

  1. Jenni June 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Peta, I’m keen to try to make my own powder. I’m wondering if you make your own baking soda from Bi-carb and citric acid or buy it made? Also, how many grams or mL in a small scoop? Thanks Jenni

    • Peta
      Peta June 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Jenni,
      I purchase bicarb soda from the shops. Good question about the small scoop. I will weigh it and let you know.

  2. Jenni June 5, 2014 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Oops I mean Washing soda not baking soda.

  3. Lisa June 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Do you need to keep the powder in an air tight container, or is one of those ‘tin’ laundry buckets with lids you can buy these days ok?

    • Peta
      Peta June 6, 2014 at 10:52 pm - Reply

      Any container with some sort of lid is fine. Airtight or not isnt an issue 🙂

  4. Tanya June 8, 2014 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Can this laundry powder be used if the laundry water ends up on the garden? I am worried about the salt in the ingredients.

    • Peta
      Peta June 9, 2014 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      The salt is very minimal given you only use a few tablespoons of complete powder to many many many litres of water. Salt is in store bought powders so if you put those on the garden then this would be no different. Best to speak to an expert however.

  5. Jill June 8, 2014 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Where did you buy the ‘washing soda’ from? Are these things readily available in Supermarkets or did you source stuff in bulk from elsewhere?

    • Peta
      Peta June 9, 2014 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      Everything is purchased from Coles.
      Woolworths, Bunnings, Hardware stores sell a lot of it as does health food shops or bulk buying places.

  6. Anna Donald June 8, 2014 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Have you measured the scoop size yet? I am using my 6th batch of this powder since finding your recipe a few months ago. Am I using too much? I use about 1/4 cup in my 7kg front loader. I found the citric acid didnt do much and I have since omitted it to make the end product cheaper.

    I have also been putting geranium oil in and wow does it smell great.

    • Peta
      Peta June 9, 2014 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      For a top loader, 7kg I use 4 tablespoons.

  7. kellie August 18, 2014 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Peta I seriously need to send you the biggest thank you for this!!! With a baby with bad eczema I was spending $24 per kg of washing powder (that is really NOT an exaggeration!!).

    This was less than $5. Two weeks in and her skin is fine and our clothes are SOFT!! (Feel free to read this in the tone from the movie beaches “free at last, free at last, thank god almighty im free at last” cos that’s how I feel). For people who used regular powder prior to this may not know what its like but for 2 years our towels were like cardboard and Houdini couldn’t get out of our denim. I am one VERY HAPPY GIRL, THANKYOU!!!

    • Peta
      Peta August 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much! This is the best message!!!! Thats amazing.

  8. Melissa August 29, 2014 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    I made this a couple of days ago and I am loving it. I used Eucalyptus Oil and my laundry smells awesome. Thank you very much. 🙂

  9. Deb August 30, 2014 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Hi Peta, this looks fab! I don’t suppose you would know if it would be septic safe? Thankyou!

    • Peta
      Peta September 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      Good question! Im not familiar with spectics etc so not the best person to ask sorry. If you work it out Id love to know the answer.

  10. Holly October 22, 2014 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    I mad this for my in laws and my father in law has dermatitis and it certainly made him a lot more comfortable!

  11. Michelle November 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Is washing soda anything like baking soda? I brought a huge bag of it from Costco today. It mentions laundry on the pack?

  12. Leoni November 8, 2014 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Hi.
    I have made the washing powder and love it. However, one batch only lasted a week (I do a couple of loads a day), so have today made two batches. But it occurred to me that I am using too much. I have a 7kg front loader – have been using 4 tablespoons, and have been really happy with the results – my washing is just as clean if not cleaner than when using commercial powder. Does anyone else use less successfully? I don’t want to waste any by using less and not having clean clothes!

    • Peta
      Peta November 8, 2014 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      I think reducing to 3 would still work really well.

  13. Rowena January 15, 2015 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Hi I want to make the washing powder but I’m a little confused with the one bar of sunlight or velvet. I found the velvet soap in the hygiene section of Coles so they are your normal cake of soap size but found the sunlight soap in the laundry section which is 500g. Can you please clarify? Thank you Rowena

    • Peta
      Peta January 16, 2015 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      They are the same thing in the laundry aisle. I have never seen them in the hygiene section so I would avoid those ones. I imagine they are far too sudsy.

  14. Sharon January 28, 2015 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Hello,
    I am just wondering if, and how, this can be made without a Vitamix or blender? I do not have one but would love to try this 🙂

    • Peta
      Peta February 5, 2015 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Grate the soap using a grater and combine everything together in a big container 🙂

  15. Zack March 24, 2015 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I’ve made this recipe today, keen to try it out, and to clarify: baking soda is bicarbonate of soda- baking powder is different- and washing soda is also different, but you can make washing soda from bicarb in the oven

  16. nicole chila May 9, 2015 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Made this this arvo as i ran out.of the bulk powder I usually purchase and to be honest was a bit skeptical. Gave it the ultimate test first with my whites (3 girls aged 2, 6 and 9…and active girls that get dirty!) and i was super impressed! As good if not better than any i have purchased…normally use either omo or euca. Wont be buying ever again. I made double the quantity but substituted one of the velvets with a sard wonder soap. Will try just velvert next time but all in all very impressed i have a product that works perfectly where i know every ingredient x

  17. amelia May 24, 2015 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Hi i was just wondering 20 drops of essential oil do you know what that would be in mls or teaspoons? My oil doesn’t have a dropper so want to measure in in mls. Thanks 🙂

    • Peta
      Peta May 26, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Oh that is a very good question! I would roughly guess half a teaspoon?

  18. Jennifer May 18, 2016 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Amelia. .. 20 drops is 1mL 😊

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