Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6 - Laundry Powder

We have been using the all natural liquid laundry soap from Costco and have been happy with it. However, I decided to try making my own laundry powder (it is really cost effective). I found a recipe that lists out:

1 bar of Fels-Naptha or Ivory soap
1/2 Cup washing soda (not baking soda)
1/2 Borax.

I couldn't find Fels-Naptha at my grocery store, but will be ordering it online, or searching for it locally because I hear it is an excellent stain fighter. However, I also hear it can be caustic, so I've seen the recommendation to use 1/2 Fels-Naptha and 1/2 some other natural soap. I think I will try this with my natural soap being Dr. Bonners.

I also thought the soap to other stuff ratio seemed high, so my recipe is (or will be when I get the Fels-Naptha):

1/2 bar Castille soap
1/2 bar Fels-Naptha
2 Cups washing soda
2 Cups Borax

You shred the soap and mix it with the powder ingredients.

Then, place it is a jar and use about 1 to 2 Tablespoons per load.

I decided to test it out on the hardest washing load I have - dirty cloth diapers. Wow, the diapers came out smelling clean and looking bright. I am a convert. I then did a load of light coloured clothes, and same thing - smelled good and clean.

Can't wait to try it out with my homemade fabric softener (but that is a post for another day).

I love fresh, clean natural diapers!!


  1. Oh, what a cutie! I am impressed by your results, too! Way to go!!

  2. I was just thinking about homemade fabric softener today. And Lorelei is too cute!

  3. can i use anything in place of the borax? surely there must be some sort of substitute?

  4. Fels Naptha is not only caustic, it is toxic. Ivory is safe. I used a similar recipe for a while, but now have gone back to using this: If you buy more than one little bag, there is a discount. The price is postpaid, which I appreciate. It rinses clean, is great for anyone with sensitive skin. No fabric softener is needed with this soap because it leaves no residue. I have a front loading washer and so if I don't have it stuffed full, I don't even need to use the entire 1 Tablespoon recommended and I wash nearly all of our laundry with cold water. I realize that diapering mommas would want to use hot water, but other than that, there are very few things that need warm/hot water to wash. Think about it... what do we SOAK in? Cold water! Anyway.. just thought I'd put in my 2 cents worth! Sweet baby. :D

  5. Thank you for the head's up about the toxicity of Fels Naptha. I did some research and it has minimal toxicity levels, but that is still too much for my comfort - my family has extremely sensitive skin and one person has psoriasis.

    Owl - didn't find any substitute, but will look. Does Borax irritate the eczema?

  6. I use a semi-homemade version: one tablespoon of a 1:1 mixture of borax and washing soda and a drizzle of Tide. Mostly because I was given some enormous jugs of Tide and I still like using it. :>)

    I also use that mixture in my semi-homemade dishwasher detergent, I use 2 cups of the 1:1 mixture (so basically one cup of each) to one cup of Cascade powder. Thanks to our extremely hard water, I also add some Lemi-Shine, because even vinegar didn't touch the film that ended up on our dishes.

    Can't wait to see your fabric softener... I recently tried one I found online that combined vinegar and baking soda (yup, THAT was exciting!) and water. I added a splash of Downy as a number of reviewers said they had. Usually, I just use a splash of Downy. My 2.5 year old daughter came up with a rash after I started the new stuff! It's been going on for 3 weeks, and I'm not sure what to do. (I've been washing her clothes with no fabric softener at all.) So, can't wait to see what you do!

  7. PS - meant to add that I've read a few things online about the toxicity of borax, and sure it's not like baking soda, but I think it's a fair alternative.

  8. What a great blog! Thanks for sharing all your endeavors with us. I am lacking in time and arms most days (two year old on one hip & 10 month old on the other), so I have been using a simpler version of this. Mix 1:1 borax & washing soda, add 1/4c to each load. Works beautifully, as does the recipe you posted. Thanks again!

  9. A quick "testimonial": I make this laundry detergent all the time -- I use 1 bar Fels Naptha soap, 1 c borax, and 1 c washing soda. It really works great... leaves clothes smelling CLEAN... and none of my kids have had any problems with it.

    I'm so excited to find your blog! Can't wait to see what else you make this year!!!