Sunday, 7 August 2011

Green Friendly, Frugal Washing Powder Concentrate

How do I make my own fabulous home-made washing powder?   

I use this easy recipe from Wendyl Nissen - Green Goddess.  The link to her website is on the sidebar, she has a lot of recipes and ideas for green, simple living.

For the Washing Powder you need:

1 cup of Washing Soda Crystals (gives a pasty clay) or Soda Ash (gives a powder)
60mls of Liquid Soap - I use whatever Eco Friendly dishwashing liquid I have on hand
1 cup of Baking Soda
2 mls of Essential Oil - your choice of fragrance, or you could go smell free (lavender and tea tree oil both have anti-bacterial properties if that is important to you)

In your food processor add the Soda Ash/Washing Crystals (if using crystals blitz them up now), with the processor running slowly add the liquid soap.  Next add the baking soda and essential oil and whizz up till well mixed.  Pop into an airtight container (I used Soda Ash this time so I have a powder which I keep in a recycled brown paper bag. A clay mix will obviously need to be in a container).  Use only 1 tablespoon per load or if the load is extra big or dirty use 1 1/2 tablespoons. Just add it to the wash as you would normal powder.   This makes approx 500gms worth.

It does not leave any marks on the clothes and they come out smelling fresh and very clean.  One good thing I have noticed about this powder/clay is that if the clothes have to be left sitting for some time they don't take on that yucky stale "I've been sitting in the washing machine for a day smell".  Yuck! Hate that smell, I used to re-wash so many loads using commercial powder if we didn't get to hang it out straight away - lots of money, power and water!

Soda Ash ready to go
In Wendyl's recipe she says to use Liquid Castile soap but I don't have any of that so I just use my Eco Friendly dishwash liquid and it is fine.  So go ahead and use whatever dishwashing liquid or liquid soap you have on hand.  

In goes my Liquid Dishwash - Earthwise is what I have at the moment, grey water and septic tank safe
 Keep in mind the difference that the Soda Ash and Washing Soda Crystals give you. I used the Washing Soda Crystals that I got from the supermarket (in the laundry isles from both Countdown and Pak N Save) and I stumbled across Soda Ash in the bulk food store on Dominion Road in Mount Eden.  The Soda Ash is a powder itself and is not wet based so it stays a dry powder, whereas the Soda Crystals are wet based so they turn into a pasty clay and yes there really is no way to get this into a powder. ....trust me been there done that LOL.  That is why I thought I would explain this to you so you don't have the same concerns about it working right the way I did :).  Both work just as well in the machine. If you make this and are not sure its right, as long as you have followed the ingredients, just use it as normal (trust me I have doubled up on the baking soda to try and dry up the Soda Crystals and it still stayed a clay but it worked just fine :) ).   I have made this using Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Lavender EO and last night I used Sweet Orange EO. So far I love the lavender and DH loves the sweet orange :). It really is just personal preference, and remember if you don't have any its ok, just go smell free.  I will say that the bottles of Essential Oil, although tiny, do last a good while especially if you only have it for your washing powder. 

The finished powder - remember this will be a wet clay with washing soda crystals
Cost wise, it works out the same as a standard 500gm box of commercial concentrate powder in the shops here in NZ.  In the supermarket they are worth anywhere between $1.99 on special to upwards of $4.00.  This last batch I worked out based on my ingredients I used came to approx $2.39, so you get the same quantity as the commercial but the BIG DIFFERENCE is that you use less than half the amount per load.  Only 1 tbsp compared to 1 scoop which I think is about 1/4 cup.  So the home-made powder gives the power of many more washes and it is completely green, grey water safe and septic tank friendly! That to me is good value :).

Once my DH has brought home his little coffee scales I will be able to work out the cost of the powder per load which will be handy.  I will also start up a little tally of how many washes I get out of my latest batch and post it once the batch is finished.  It seems currently that I get about 3 weeks or so out of one batch but will do the tally to get an accurate picture of how far it stretches :).

Happy Washing

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Hiya, thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I can't wait to read your comments and to share ideas, I am a busy mummy with 2 boys to run around after so I will try and get to comments as quickly as I can...if there is a delay in seeing them published this is why, not because I don't care, I'm just taking some time to smell the roses :)

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