When I first heard of making your own washing powder, a little over a year ago, I could not think why you would bother when Crazy Clarkes had it so cheap. To be honest, I didn't do my maths properly and only lately realised that it was not such a bargain.
My friends who have a Vitamix were telling me that they had to grate the soap by hand, I had asked about using the Vitamix to prepare the soap and they said that it does not come apart for easy cleaning... which is not a problem for the Thermomix, Kogan or my new appliance from Honey for my birthday... a Kenwood chef pro.
So basically the recipe I found on the internet here by Wellness Mama, called for soap (using the cheap method any old soap will do... if you want to limit nasty chemicals from your household- use pure soap) borax (which Honey was like OMGoodness and bought me some gloves to wear when using it) and letric soda... which goes by a few names such as washing soda, sodium carbonate or soda ash. I am using cheap soap today as Honey has heaps in storage and I prefer to use liquid bath-wash... so its a sneaky way to use it up.
To be honest when Honey found out Borax was an ingredient in the mixture, he was not too keen and wanted me to try another recipe... So far I have not been able to find one that does not use borax, but I will keep looking. With the rain, we had Mt Everest of dirty laundry that I was saving till the sun came out we could not wait any longer so my washing day started in the rain and I used every available airer to get the things dry.
My second problem was I had like 3 scoops of powder left and more than 3 washing piles. Ordinarily I would go find some spare shampoo for the few extra loads... but that was when I was single... there was loads of spare shampoo as I went though more conditioner than shampoo... as a married lady I have more conditioner than I know what to do with... Not such a bad problem to have, but I was not racing to the shop just for washing powder.
So I popped one load of washing in and went to work on making the home-made brew. I knew if it didn't work out, I would just wash the essentials with my 2 scoops and get some real stuff when I was shopping next.
The ratios are 2 parts Borax and sodium carbonate for one part grated soap. The websites I saw suggested grating soap in front of the TV or getting the family involved...
Making it in Mix style...
I chopped the soap into Ice-sized pieces.
Dumped it in the Bogan... as it was the nearest machine
Pressed the turbo button for 10 seconds, I noticed a change in sound around the 5 second mark, but I wanted to be sure it was a fine powder.
Measured the soap... It did not make enough powder to register on the Kogan jug so I tipped it into a measuring jug and got about 125mLs
There was a slight irritation on my skin which went back to normal when I washed my hands immediately in cold water. This irritation was not much different to the irritation I get from glove powder.
Does it work?
Yes it does. I did 2 loads of washing with the powder, and the clothes smelled just as clean coming out of the machine as using a regular powder does.
As you can see from the pictures, we used Palmolive soap, and the load smelled a little like very clean kids or sunshine.
I am not sure how drying in the sun goes but compared to drying under fans the clothes feel and smell just as clean and fresh as the regular clothes. Though the soap smell is a little more pronounced in the home-made powder lot.
I should note here I deliberately use less washing powder than recommended, a tip I picked up as a teenager... Unless the clothes are particularly dirty, they do not need what the box suggests and its a way to cut back on the nasties and cost.
Honey is up, yea to his dad for calling... the half strength powder worked a treat sheets are clean, no lingering soapy smell and reading up on borax, probably a good thing to use a half strength of 1tbs instead of the recommended 2tbs. I just reused my small laundry scoop and use the halfway mark to measure. I am also saving more money too.
I should also mention that I used one cap-full of water soluble eucalyptus oil with my second wash. It smelled nice wet, however there is no noticeable difference in the dry product. In my washes today I have added WM lavender oil instead and it has worked nicely too.
Also... I always wash my hands immediately after putting the powder in the washing machine and am very careful to open the container away from my eyes. I am using an old nappy san container... it is air-tight and best of all it's PINK.
I said goodbye to my store-bought washing powder, mixing it with my cheapie nappy sanitiser. It smells a whole lot better now, but I have not tested it to see how it changes its effectiveness.