Home made laundry powder

vlcsnap-error399This morning looks like homesteading central here in Tassie, it’s a cold day out on our 3rd official day of winter so the fire is lit and we are all snuggled up inside taking advantage of its warmth.  Muffins have been baked, soup is in the slow cooker and Dave walks in with an empty laundry detergent container, huh what?  yes, that’s right I make my own laundry detergent so the arrival of the empty container is the prompt to make some more.  It’s also the prompt to make a video of making it, it’s been on the list of videos to make for a while but I just wanted to wait until I needed to make it rather than do a staged show of it all.

So that’s all been done and is now being edited by the wonder Dave and I’m here typing up the recipe and telling you all about the what, where and why’s of homemade laundry powder.  I will also include some links to detergents that you can purchase but that are genuinely enviro and skin friendly if you don’t feel inclined to make your own – I do know it’s not everyone’s thing and there is no judgement here on that just a nudge to make a kinder choice with your next purchase.

There are stacks of recipes online to make your own but I wanted to make sure that you could just reach into your pantry and find the ingredients.  As we travel I have realised how priviliged people in larger centres are in terms of accessabilty to choice when it comes to purchasing.  So I have made an effort to just keep it simple and accessible for all.

I’ve been making this recipe for about 6-7 years now so I feel a little out of touch when it comes to the current costs of commercial laundry detergents so I’ve had to go and do a bit of shopping research and to be honest I’m shocked at how expensive some washing powders are now and pleasantly surprised at the lower cost of the more eco varieties available in the supermarkets.

Commercial brands will always offer more powerful cleaning but at the cost of adding some really potent chemicals into the mix such as bleach and borax, which can be a serious irritation to those with sensitive skin.  I’m happy with the clean I get with this powder used in a cold water wash and believe me we’ve had it all over the last few years, red dirt, tomato sauce stains, greasy stains, beetroot, – ask the kids I’m a messy cook and I seem to always end up wearing white when I’m making something messy and the stains have always come out.

Here’s a breakdown of the costs of my raw ingredients and I can make about 4kg of product (with left overs of some ingredients)  for a total cost of $15.14 or $3.75/kg of powder.

Laundry soap      -$1.99    4 bars

sards soap            -$2.65     1 bar

citric acid             -$2.25      125gm

salt                         -$0.90      1 kg

bi carb soda          -$3.50      1 kg

washing soda        -$3.85      1 kg


Now here’s the why.  Why are these ingredients used and important to the overall mix.

Soap – well, we all know it’s a cleaner, it’s also a degreaser and stain remover

Citric Acid – is a water softener, degreaser and cleaner

Salt – this little wonder provides the scrubbing power and is useful in preventing mould

Bi Carb Soda – its big job is to whiten and deodorise and assist in stain removal

Washing Soda –  also a whitener and stain remover and works with the citric acid as a water softener (this has been effective even when we’ve been washing in very hard water in some of Australia’s more remote locations).

Essential Oils – you could effectively leave these out if you wanted to but they add a delicious scent of your choice to your wash and also often assist in disinfecting your wash (this would depend on your choice of oils of course).  As I mention in the video use whatever oils you like but make sure they are in fact essential oils not fragrance oils.  I have been using a variety of  reputable Australian brands for the last 20 years and I’m aware that there is a lot more information and access to some big brand oils now.  Here is a link to some well priced Australian oils if you wanted to add to your collection. lemon oillemongrass oilessentials collection.
So here’s the recipe

1 bar soap – sunlight or similar, cut into rough cubes

1/4 bar sards soap – cubed

1 cup bi carb soda

1 cup washing soda

1/2 cup salt

1/4 citric acid

30 drops essential oil

add soaps to your processor bowl and blend for approx 20 seconds on speed 9, or until it’s a fine powder ( it needs to be fine to ensure it dissolves in cold water)

add remaining ingredients and blend on speed 6 for about 30 seconds.

store in an airtight container.

I use approx 1 tablespoon per load unless it’s heavily soiled in which case I use 2 tablespoons.  To use as a soaker dissolve 1 tablespoon in water and add clothes to soak.


Here’s a few links to products I have used and/or recommend for those of you who like the idea of a more enviro/skin friendly option but perhaps aren’t so keen on making them for yourself.

white magic laundry,  Innoscents laundry

The links that appear in this blog will take you to products that I will receive a small payment for if you choose to purchase via the link.  You will pay no more for your purchase but you will be assisting me to create a small online income.

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