Please note: I originally wrote this post back in 2014 - but it has now been updated with 2018 prices!
We do a lot of washing in our house. About 20-25 loads a week roughly, sometimes more. This is something that all households have to do but it does make it hard when one of your kids has very allergic skin. We have a lot of problems with various washing powders and fabric conditioners as they contain so many harsh chemicals that I might as well just roll my youngest through a patch of nettles!
So we decided to make our own homemade washing powder, four years on and we haven't looked back since! There are many recipes out there but most are US based and contain borax (nasty chemical stuff and banned in the UK and the rest of Europe!). Our recipe is the UK version and is fantastic. With this mix you will NOT NEED fabric conditioner, Calgon or other limescale preventer tablets or any stain removers such as OxyClean or Vanish. It is a 4 in 1 mix! The savings are astronomical as well as being much better for you. But you have to remember one thing. This mix does not create any soap suds. SUDS OR FANCY SMELLS DO NOT MEAN CLEAN!!! This is a hard concept to get your head around at first but just trust me ;) Suds really do not mean clean and it is in actual fact the soap suds that can cause machines to break down as they cause problems with residue. If you live in a particularly hard water area, watch out for our very cheap fabric conditioner recipe coming up next week if you do find you need a little conditioner.
It really is the way to go if you want to watch what you are using on your skin.
So are you ready to be all natural and save a wodge load of cash in the process? Yes? Then on we go!
We shop at Natural Selection for our natural alternatives for our home cleaning, links below for the items you need.
- 2.5kg Natural Borax Substitute = £7.45
- 2kg = Soda Crystals = £2.00
- 500g = Bicarbonate of Soda = £1.49
- 3 x bars of soap (standard size approx 125g-150g bars) = £1.00 / OR... If you need extra pure soap try 3 x castile soap bars.
- 1kg = Chlorine Free Oxygenated Bleach (OPTIONAL - the recipe works perfectly fine without this BUT if you have stubborn stains this is then beneficial) = £3.93 (you will have some left over!)
- 35 drops of essential oil (OPTIONAL) = 99p (eBay is the cheapest place for essential oils! Lavender is only £1.00, we personally use sweet orange as it makes the whole house smell beautiful when we do the washing!)
= 6.5kg approx of 4 in 1 washing powder (plus in built conditioner, water softener and stain removal) for £16.86
- Grate the soap into a large bowl and once all grated, run your hands through the soap mix so that it starts to fall apart into really small pieces.
- Mix everything else in and really mix well.
- If using essential oil for aroma, add at the end and break up lumps that this will cause in the mix, stir and mix thoroughly. Please note that this will give you a very SUBTLE aroma. We want clean, not something that just smells nice...
- This recipe above makes approx 6.5kg of laundry powder.
Simply add 1 and a half egg cups of powder (approx 80g) to the washing powder tray in your washing machine and use on any heat of washing maching from 30 degrees +.
The mix should wash about 82 washes, but remember you will not need fabric conditioner, limescale preventers such as Calgon or any stain removal powder or liquid such as Vanish or OxyClean with this mix.
So price wise this is how it works out:
Homemade laundry powder mix for 82 washes = £16.86
Full price items, not sale prices as these change too frequently...
Ariel Powder 65 washes + Ariel Powder 22 washes (this is as close as I could get so this makes 5 more washes, just 5...) = £17.00
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/282048443 = £12.00 + https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/282026901 = £5.00
Comfort Fabric Conditioner 85 washes (gives 3 more washes) = £6.50
Calgon Tablets 90 tabs (gives 8 more washes) = £24.00
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/261697247 = £12.00 x 2 = £24.00
Vanish Stain Remover 1kg
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/260288065 = £10.00
= £57.50 - take off the extra £3.32 to allow for over washes of powder, conditioner and tabs and lets round it up to £54.18
Homemade = £16.86 vs Commercial Chemical Brands = £54.18
That is a saving of £37.32 every 82 washes! And you know exactly what's in it!
The bigger bulk you make the cheaper the ingredients get - I made a batch for 800 washes worth for £49! Just scout around for bulk prices!
Go on, give it a try and remember SUDS & FANCY SMELLS DO NOT MEAN CLEAN! ;)