Saturday, 18 February 2012

Making your own laundry washing powder - its easy!

I have been reading about making your own washing powder on the net for a while. There's a good discussion going about it over at Earth Garden, and Cheapskates also have a lot of information MYO washing powder as well. I talked to my husband about it and he wasn't keen. (He's a bit fussy about his washing - and that's why he does the washing in this house!) and so I left it. For a while.

One afternoon I decided that I would give it a go as we were running low on washing powder and made some and plonked it on top of the nearly run out commercial stuff in the laundry.

He didn't notice a thing!  

Until I made a batch with yellow laundry soap instead of white bathroom soap. And it was only the colour that gave it away! He decided that since it had obviously been working and he hadn't seen any adverse effects on his work shirts thus far - I was "allowed" to continue! But now he gets involved and is happy to make up a batch when we are getting low. It is defiantly cheaper than the commercial stuff, does a good job and has less perfumes and fillers in it. I'm also happy to run the washing machine water onto the gardens as I know whats going down the pipe!

Here's what I did...

For this batch I used (just) 2 bars of old laundry soap (that were stuck together until after I took the photo!) 1 kg of washing soda (not crystals, these dissolve quicker) from the laundry isle of the supermarket (top shelf - about $3.50) and 1/2 packet of bi-carb.

 First - grate your soap - it looks like cheese... don't let the kids pick at it...

Then crush the soap into a fine powder with the bottom of the grater. The finer the soap powder, the easier it will dissolve, especially if you use cold water for your washing. The older the soap the more dried out it is likely to be making the crushing easier. If you use new soft soft, it can be grated into beautiful curls - that mash rather than crush.

Here you can see the difference between curls and crushed soap.

 If you think the soap is to soft and not crushing into a powder - simply dry it out. Here I have crushed it as fine as I can, spread it out on a board and then left it in the sun for the day on the picnic table. If you put curls rather than crush into your mix, you will get undissolved soap curls stuck on your clothes when you pull them out of the wash. Not a current fashion look I've been told!

 That's all the hard work done! Now you simply put all your ingredients together in a suitable container (an ex-cake box with a broken lid in our case)

 Mix together!

And use in the normal manner!I know other people add fragrances, borax, and other bits and bobs to their mixtures but I keep it simple so that its quick, easy and replicable.
The soap powder is what does the cleaning - as soap does in its usual application. If you use a scented soap you will get that scent through your wash. The bi-carb is the deodoriser and the washing crystals are the water softeners that help to remove stains and grease spots.

We have been using this recipe for a few years now with no problems. The grey water goes into the garden beds and even the plant seem happy with this mixture!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for making your own without the extra unnecessary ingredients.
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for making it much cheaper than the commercial stuff.
Time cost: About as long as it takes you to grate the soap - for me, about 3 minutes.
Skill level: Super-duper easy!
Fun -ness: Great fun to make something that looks bought, acts bought but isn't!


cityhippyfarmgirl said...

excellent how to!

Practical Frog said...

Glad you liked it! Its easy and its kinda fun! - Kara

Fine Wash said...

ohh this is very easy way and also it's very good for poor students who don't have enough money for washing stuff:D

Mrs. B said...

Hi Kara, love the blog found it a couple of days ago, quick question about using the grey water, can you use it on veggies and fruit trees too? Ta Jackie

Practical Frog said...

This is one of those "grey area" (if you'll excuse the pun!)The local council forbids it, waste water isn't allowed to go near edible foods and is only allowed to be used on ornamental plants. I have some grey water going onto some lemon trees occasionally and since the part that I eat doesn't come in contact with the water, I reckon its ok. I'm reluctant to say "Yes, go ahead and use it" as that's not a responsible thing to do, but as this doesn't have anything terribly harmful in it, I personally cant see the harm in it - however health and government bodies feel differently (and I'm not allowed to encourage you to break the law!) Try it and see what you think! - K x

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