Jump to content
MrsSurvival Discussion Forums

Home made laundry soap


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 78
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

doing some research ... baking soda vs. washing soda..




Baking Soda or Washing Soda?

by Heather L. Sanders www.ohmystinkinheck.com


What is the difference between Baking Soda and Washing Soda?

One of the main questions that we get asked regarding laundry is about the usage of Baking Soda and/or Washing Soda. There is much conflicting information across the diapering sites and diapering boards online. Many are concerned that Baking Soda will build-up on their diapers, in their washing machines or even, eat away at their diaper's fibers. There is also confusion about the difference between Washing Soda and Baking Soda, why either should be used and which one should be used (if at all) in laundering cloth diapers.


The Baking Soda/Washing Soda question pondered . . .


A definition from Dr. Dan Berger (Faculty- Chemistry/Science dept. at Bluffton College) gives a bit of understanding regarding the primary difference between Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate) and Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate).


". . . washing soda will consume two equivalents of acid, while baking soda will only consume one equivalent."


So, what does this mean for those of us concerned about laundering our cloth diapers and family laundry? Well, basically that Washing Soda is a stronger base than baking soda, and is in fact, CAUSTIC.


This is one reason why it isn't used for baking!

Washing Soda is caustic/alkaline with a pH of 11 (with 7 being neutral). Though it does not give off harmful fumes, you do still need to use/wear gloves when handling it directly as a cleansing agent. In reading about safe household cleaners, it always is recommended to save the Washing Soda for the stubborn stains that you are going to tackle by making a paste. For instance, if speaks about petroleum spills on garage floors . . . grease build-up in your oven . . . y'know, truly STUBBORN STAINS!


Baking Soda is only slightly alkaline with a pH around 8.1 (again, 7 being neutral).


What exactly is PH?


I personally prefer Baking Soda to Washing Soda for my laundry because it is a much milder alkali and yet, still can lift dirt/grease/urine/poopies off my diapers/laundry effectively to dissolve easily in the wash water. Because it is so very water soluable, it dissolves before its soft crystalline molecules can scratch or damage a surface.

The same is NOT TRUE of Washing Soda - because of its extra alkaline, it can eat away at elastic and cloth over time and is also used to rough-up fabric for dying. In fact, Washing Soda has just enough alkaline content to fall short of being labeled non-toxic.


Baking Soda and Washing Soda have the power to neutralize odors, instead of just covering them up. Most unpleasant odors come from either strong acids (like our baby's urine) or strong bases (fish oils - which we find in some of our mainstream diaper rash ointments).


The Baking Soda and Washing Soda deodorizes by bringing both acidic and basic odor molecules into a neutral state.


Robert Barefoot - Medical Journalist - cites from Nobel Prize Winner, Otto Warburg's work in his article, "Why is our pH Balance So Important . . ?" He substantiates that all body fluids are supposed to be mildly alkaline at pH 7.4, EXCEPT for stomach and urine fluids. Stomach fluids must remain acidic to digest food and urine must remain acidic to remove wastes from the body.


Drawing from what we know of Baking Soda's neutralizing properties and the acidic levels naturally present in our baby's urine, we can see how Baking Soda would help restore pH balance in our washing routines.


We know that our body also produces a form of sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda) and utilizes it much like we do with our laundry. For instance . . . our body's naturally produced sodium bicarbonate neutralizes the stomach acids mentioned above (helping to prevent ulcers) and neutralizes plaque acids (helping to prevent tooth decay). So, this 'like' substance that even our bodies produce is most definitely a safe alternative for stain removal and pH balance in our laundry/for our diapers.


What is pH?


It is a measure of whether a particular substance is alkaline or acidic based. It is compared to water - which has a neutral base of 7.0. If a substance falls below 7.0 it is considered to be acidic. If a substance rises above 7.0, it is considered to be alkaline. Two examples are Blood and Urine. Blood is slighly alkaline (between 7.35 and 7.45) while urine is slightly acidic (with a pH of about 6.4).


© 2002, Heather L. Sanders. May not be reprinted without permission.




Link to comment

I have also used baking soda in my washing.. says to on the box!


here is another thought..

you could use less washing soda and more baking soda or all baking soda if you have babies or children or you for that matter with sensitive skin.



Link to comment

any bar soap can be used, of course FN, Zote and others are made for laundry, but if you have sensitive skin use what you use for bath soap.





Colgate Octagon

Pure and Natural


Kirk's Castile Soap

Dr. Bonner's Castile Soap (Australia, England, Japan, US, Canada)

Zote Soap

Lever 2000

Sunlight Bar Soap



all can be used for soap.. if this is true then all bar soaps can be used.


Link to comment

Powdered Laundry Detergent- Top load machine


Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons.


my note: I just grate mine, after mixing with the powder any moisture from the bar is quickly wicked away causing the bar shavings to get brittle.

Link to comment

thanks for all the info, Westbrook. I always wondered what the difference was. I used one of your "recipies" for the powdered detergent last week. I used the washing soda and also added Oxiclean and Biz! Also, somewhere on one of these threads I read that someone put Ivory soap in the microwave and it swelled way up and stunk. then she said that she could easily turn the microwaved ivory into powder instead of grating it. Well, I decided to try this same thing with Fels Naptha soap. BIG MISTAKE oops first of all, it did'nt swell up and second it started smoking really bad. I had to take it out after about 45 secs. It was shriveled and black and hard as a rock. It really stunk up the whole kitchen! So for now, I'll stick to the grater.

Link to comment
  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...
Well, I discovered that the homemade laundry soap, while it seemed to do a great job on the regular laundy, did NOT seem to be effective on my 5 year old's bed wetted pajamas. They came out still smelling ammonia-y.


Any suggestions? For now I've gone back to our Arm&Hammer detergent.


Add some oxy clean type of stuff to the wash, I just use the off brand kind from Save A Lot. Then use vinegar in your rinse. Then if the weather is agreeable, hang it outside to dry. Between all those things, I can usually get any smell out. And considering how many pets we have, sometimes we have some pretty big smells.

Link to comment
Well, I discovered that the homemade laundry soap, while it seemed to do a great job on the regular laundy, did NOT seem to be effective on my 5 year old's bed wetted pajamas. They came out still smelling ammonia-y.


Any suggestions? For now I've gone back to our Arm&Hammer detergent.

I have a chihuahua that I trained to use tee tee papers in the spare bathroom floor. Unfortunately he also tee tees on the hand towels I use for a bath mat in the non spare bathroom. [rolls eyes] If you add baking soda AND oxi clean (which is different than oxy clean) you will oxidize the ammonia. Use hot water, vinegar in a downy ball and the extra rinse and don't be upset if you have to wash it twice. The home made recipe IS arm and hammer detergent without perfume.


You can presoak in a rubbermaid tub or 5 gallon bucket with oxi-clean and baking soda. It helps way more than you think to combine these two ingredients.

Link to comment
  • 1 month later...




Laundry Liquid

Makes 10 litres

You may add any essential oil of your choice to these homemade cleaners. Oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender or rose are ideal but are not an essential ingredient. They are not necessary to the recipe but do not detract from the effectiveness by adding them. Use essential oil and not a fragrant oil.



1½ litres water

1 bar Sunlight or generic laundry soap or any similar pure laundry soap, grated on a cheese grater OR 1 cup of Lux flakes

½ cup washing soda – NOT baking or bicarb soda

½ cup borax




10 litre bucket

Slotted spoon or wooden spoon for mixing

Into a medium sized saucepan add 1½ litres of water and the soap. Over a medium heat, stir this until it is completely dissolved. Make sure the soap dissolves properly or the mixture will separate when cold.


Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat.


Pour this mixture into your 9-10 litre bucket then fill the bucket with hot water from the tap. Stir to combine all the ingredients. The laundry liquid will thicken up more as it cools. When cool, store in a plastic container. I use one of those 10 litre flat plastic box containers with a lid. Use ¼ cup of mixture per load or monitor to see what works well for you. I keep a ¼ cup measuring scoop in the box to measure the mixture into the washing machine.


This detergent will not make suds when you wash as it does not contain the chemicals that supermarket detergents add to make suds. You do not need suds to wash your clothes or for the detergent to be effective. The agitation of the washing machine does most of the washing. Additives loosen the dirt and grease. If you use the greywater from your laundry on your garden, leave out the borax.

All these washing aids are suitable for top loaders AND front loaders. I have been using them in my front loader machines for years with no ill effects.


So, lets do a costing on this first recipe of 10 litres of laundry liquid.

These prices are a bit old, I'd say today in Australia it would cost about $2


Lux Flakes - $5.50

Sunlight soap 4 pack - $2.47

Homebrand laundry soap 4 pack - $1.39

Borax 500 grams - $2.55

Washing Soda 750 grams - $1.65

I’ll use the median soap price (Sunlight) for my calculations.

1 bar of Sunlight soap = 61 cents

½ cup borax = 63 cents

½ cup washing soda = 55 cents

Total comes to $1.79 for 10 litres of laundry liquid. The equivalent amount of national brand, TV advertised detergent is currently $4.30 for a litre in a refill pack. So, $4.30 x 10 = $43.00 for the same amount.

And it works too!

There is also a powdered version of this recipe. I like the liquid because you can use it for stain removal too, but the powder is much easier to make up. I am now using the powder for my washing and the I usually have about a litre of the liquid made up for general cleaning.


CONCENTRATED LAUNDRY POWDER - this is the powder I use in my front loader

4 cups grated laundry or homemade soap or soap flakes (Lux)

2 cups borax

2 cups washing soda

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid. Use 2 tablespoons per wash. Again, this powder will not make suds and again, this is perfectly okay.




For use on worker’s greasy or dirty overalls, football and sports uniforms or fabric that has food spills.

2 cups grated Napisan soap

2 cups grated laundry or homemade soap

2 cups borax

2 cups washing soda

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid. Use two tablespoons per wash. The powder will not make suds.


For a very heavily stained load of washing or tradesperson’s clothes, if you have a top loader turn the machine off when the powder is completely dissolved. In a front loader, operate the machine to dissolve the powder and then stop the machine for an hour to soak the clothes. Leave to soak for an hour, or overnight, and then turn the machine on and continue washing as normal.



½ cup ammonia

½ cup homemade laundry liquid

½ cup water


Mix all these ingredients well, and store in marked spray bottle.

Make sure you mark all your bottles so you know what they contain. If you reuse a bottle that previously contained other cleansers, make sure the bottle is completely clean and marked before you fill it with your homemade cleanser.




¼ cup borax or washing soda

2 cups cold water


Sponge on and let dry, or soak the fabric in borax mixture before washing in soap and cold water.



¼ cup hydrogen peroxide

¼ cup water


Mix together and dab onto stain. Leave two hours and repeat if necessary. Good on white clothes.




½ cup white vinegar in final rinse




Bicarb soda is a good pre-soaker for soiled nappies. Dissolve ¼ cup of bicarb soda in a bucket of warm water, soak for at least an hour or overnight, then wash the nappies in hot water with homemade laundry liquid. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the final rinse and let them dry in the sun.





ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER #1 - do not use on aluminium

1 tablespoon ammonia

1 tablespoon liquid soap or homemade laundry detergent

2 cups hot water

Combine in a spray bottle. Pour in hot water, screw on the spray bottle top and shake until completely dissolved. This cleaner can be stored in this spray bottle, so mark it “HOMEMADE ALL PURPOSE CLEANER” with a permanent marker.

Spray the cleaner on surfaces you wish to clean. Use your terry cloth to rub on as you go. For hard to move grease or dirt, leave the cleanser on for a few minutes before wiping it off.



½ cup washing soda

2 litres warm water

Mix together and store in a sealed plastic container that is marked with the name.

Can be used as a floor cleaner – tiles, laminate or vinyl or for general cleaning of walls, counter tops or sinks.




Combine equal parts of bicarb soda and course salt to scrub hard to move dirt and grease. This is an abrasive but it will make the sink shine. Finish off with a litre of water in the sink, add a cap full of liquid bleach and remove the plug. You’ll sanitise and clean the pipes at the same time. Wipe with a dry terry cloth.




¼ cup ammonia

2 cups of warm water


Be careful of the ammonia fumes.


Turn on the oven and leave to heat up for 5 minutes. Pour ammonia and warm water in a baking dish and leave in the warmed oven overnight. This will loosen the grime in the oven, which you can then clean with an ammonia-based cleaner or soap and water. You can also scour with a paste of bicarb soda and water.




This method works by a chemical reaction of the aluminium, salt and bicarb soda. Put the plug in the kitchen sink. Lay a piece of aluminium foil on the base of the sink and add your silverware. Pour in enough boiling water to cover the silver.

Add one teaspoon of bicarb soda and one teaspoon of salt to the water. Let it sit for about ten minutes. The tarnish will disappear without you touching it.




Simply pour about ½ cup of bicarb into a bowl, and add enough liquid soap to make a texture like very thick cream. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and start scrubbing. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bath and shower because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.

Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.




¼ - ½ teaspoon liquid or grated soap

3 tablespoons vinegar

2 cups water

spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.




Vinegar and newspapers


Pour a little vinegar onto a sheet of newspaper and wipe windows. Remove all the grime and polish the window with a clean sheet of newspaper.




½ teaspoon olive oil

¼ cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice


Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wooden surfaces. Seal in the glass jar and store indefinitely.



FLOOR CLEANER – tiles, vinyl or laminate

½ cup white vinegar plus 2 litres hot water in a bucket and a clean mop will clean up all but the worst floor. If you have a really dirty floor to deal with, add a squirt of homemade laundry liquid to this mix.




A clean mop is a necessity when cleaning floors. If you start with a dirty mop you’ll just loosen the dirt on the mop by making it wet again and then spread that on the floor. When you finished your cleaning jobs, rinse the mop out to get rid of the loose dirt then let it soak in the bucket half filled with water and a ¼ cup of bleach. Let the mop soak for 30 minutes, rinse the bleach out and dry the mop in the sun.



WOODEN FLOOR CLEANER - Ammonia will strip floor wax (one cup to a bucket of hot water)

2 tablespoons homemade vegetable soap - grated

½ cup vinegar

500 mls strong black tea

bucket warm water

Combine all the ingredients in the bucket and apply with a cotton mop.




Add a few drops of water to some bicarb and make a thick paste. Wipe over the crayon marks and scrub off with a terry cloth.



This is the recipe for another soap I use. It's a very simple soap that is nourishing and free of harmful additives. It is basically a castile soap with coconut oil added for its good lathering qualities.


Here is the recipe:

800mls of cheap olive oil - the low grade stuff is fine for this.

200mls coconut oil - you can get it from health food stores and Asian supermarkets.

130g caustic soda - from hardware stores or supermarket

400mls rain water

Make the soap up according to the instructions in the soap making tutorial post.



¼ cup Olssons cooking salt or any natural sea salt.

¼ cup bicarb soda


Make up ½ cup at a time and store it in a sealed jar. Just sprinkle some of the powder onto your toothbrush and clean your teeth in the normal way. This powder is bitter and takes a little while to get used to but it works well. I don't notice the taste now. You could add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to mask the taste.


HOMEMADE SHAMPOO - I also wash my hair with my homemade soap

This works very well. Say goodbye to all those expense hairdresser shampoos. It’s great for dandruff too.

Dissolve a tablespoon of bicarb soda in a cup of water. If you’ve got children, it might be better doing this in a squirt bottle.

Wet hair thoroughly and apply the mixture to the hair, massaging it in well.

To rinse, just run water through your hair, or you could use a splash of vinegar. The vinegar smell will go when your hair is dry.

You’ll be amazed at how good your hair feels. It will be clean and healthy.

This is an excellent shampoo for long and frizzy hair or short hair.




Add some bicarb to a shaker and use that. Dabbing a bit of bicarb under your arms is very effective as long as you wash every day.



It’s a great organisational tool and safety measure to keep a record of all the cleansers you use. If you ever have an accident with the cleansers, you’ll need to tell the doctor what the ingredients are so I recommend you keep your recipes together in a Homemaker’s Log Book. You can also keep food recipes in it as well as printed information you need in your home. I have made a Home Log from a three-ringed binder. That way I can add and remove pages when necessary. There is more about the Homemaker’s Log here.


Most of the ingredients for these recipes will be found in supermarkets in Australia. If you're in another country, I'd really appreciate you letting us know where you find your ingredients. Thank you ladies. : )



Link to comment

Inexpensive Fabric Softener Recipes


Recipe #1

1 Cup White Vinegar

Add vinegar to rinse cycle. Works great. Removes residue and odors. Also helps to keep washing machine and hoses fresh and clean too.


Recipe #2


1 Container of Name Brand Fabric Softener

4 Inexpensive sponges, cut in half


Pour entire container of softener into a 5 gallon bucket. Fill empty softener container with water twice. (2 parts water to 1 part softener) Add sponges to softener/water mixture. When ready to use wring out extra mixture from one sponge and add to the dryer as you would a dryer sheet.



as I have mentioned earlier, cream rinse for hair can also be used.



Link to comment

Homemade Scouring Powder: Recipe and Review

My homemade scouring powder


For some time now, I've desired to use more natural household cleaners, but finding solutions that are easy to employ and (in my opinion) actually work well has been an ongoing task.


A couple years ago, I resolved to not purchase any more commercial cleaning supplies (even when they're a great "bargain") in an effort to use up what I already had and then force myself to find better solutions. I knew if I had "back up" supplies, I'd never stop procrastinating about changing!


So, one thing at a time. As my various supplies have run out, I've started experimenting. I had a number of bottles of Comet scouring powder that had been given to me (along with Cameo and a few other scouring powders) and about a year ago, I used the last of those.


My initial idea was to just use baking soda as scouring powder, since I can get it cheaply and it's safe, abrasive, etc. I used baking soda for a number of months but was not thrilled with the results. It wasn't abrasive enough and required a lot of scrubbing but still didn't produce results comparable to the commercial scouring powders I had used.


Then my friend Abigail sent me a booklet titled "200 Fabulous Frugal Uses for Baking Soda" by Vicki Lansky.* In it was a recipe for homemade scouring powder. Since I already had the three ingredients it used, I figured it was worth a try.

Kitchen sink: left side has been scoured with the homemade scouring powder


Homemade Scouring Powder


1 cup baking soda

1 cup salt

1 cup Borax powder**


Mix all ingredients and store in an air-tight container. Use as you would use commercial scouring powder.

Kitchen sink: left side has been scoured with homemade scouring powder

(Left side of sink has been scoured, right side has not)


Mixing up a batch of the scouring powder took just a minute or so. First I used it on my kitchen sink (porcelain). Wow! I must say I was very very impressed. This scouring powder works wonderfully. While it does require scrubbing effort, I definitely didn't think it required any more scrubbing than Comet did. I could see results almost immediately, which was a shock to me since I didn't have high hopes after my previous experiences.


I was even more delighted when it came time to rinse the sink I had just scoured. The sink was rinsed in less than a minute, without the gritty residue that Comet always left. I can remember rinsing, rinsing, and rinsing my sink after scouring with Comet, and when it dried, it still had residue on it. For that reason, I would scour the bath tub before my shower rather than before the childrens' baths, since I didn't want scouring powder residue in their baths, and it seemed almost impossible to rinse away completely.

Freshly scoured bathroom sink


I also scoured my bathroom sink (plastic). Again, I was pleased with the results. I am so excited to have found a simple, natural, frugal solution for scouring powder, and of course the "old-fashioned" part of me is happy that it's "homemade". ;) Just one less thing I need to worry about buying now! I never did like having those metal + cardboard containers to get rid of when I used Comet.


*I'll be sharing more ideas from this booklet as I try more new things, so stay tuned!


**A box of Borax powder costs about two dollars and can be found in the laundry aisle. I already had some on hand because it is used in my homemade laundry soap.



Link to comment
  • 1 month later...
If this is in the wrong spot please move it.


Does anyone know if it's possible to make laundry soap that smells as good as the expensive stuff made with febreeze? I just can't see spending between $8-$12 per jug.






I don't know if this has been mentioned, but I have read that some people will still buy 1 large container of their favorite 'scented' detergent and then make the homemade detergent and then just add about 1/2 cup of the scented detergent to make the whole batch smell good.


I know alot of people like Gain for this reason, because of how it smells.


I personally use the powdered version of the homemade laundry detergent, so this wouldn't be an option for me. But I don't mind the smell of the Fels or the Zote.

After washing & drying the only thing that gives my clothes their 'scent' is the dryer sheet I'm using anyhow. ;)




Michelle in middle Tennessee

Link to comment
Recipe #2


1 Container of Name Brand Fabric Softener

4 Inexpensive sponges, cut in half


Pour entire container of softener into a 5 gallon bucket. Fill empty softener container with water twice. (2 parts water to 1 part softener) Add sponges to softener/water mixture. When ready to use wring out extra mixture from one sponge and add to the dryer as you would a dryer sheet.



as I have mentioned earlier, cream rinse for hair can also be used.


I've heard about using the hair conditioner idea, but I always thought it would need to be diluted somehow.

After reading your post, this sounds much more reasonable diluting it down with so much water.

I was always afraid to use it full strength in case it might leave spots on the clothes or put some kind of coating on the inside of the dryer, but diluting it makes so much more sense.

Thanks for taking the time to post these recipes, I really appreciate it!



Michelle in middle Tennessee

Link to comment
If you're in another country, I'd really appreciate you letting us know where you find your ingredients. Thank you ladies. : )





As for the Fels Naptha, Mule Team 20 Borax & the Arm & Hammer Washing soda, this can be found at Kroger grocery stores, at least here in the South. ;)


I LOVE this blog that you posted the link too, I've been reading it as well, for almost a year and I love her ideas!



Michelle in middle Tennessee

Edited by cheles2kids
Link to comment
another laundry soap from Mexico.. like Zote.


this company only offers the pink bar but it comes in a yellowish bar and smells like fels naptha..







I just wanted to add that I've had really good luck finding the Zote soap at Save-a-Lot.

It is about twice the size of a regular Fels Naptha bar and does smell much better, although it's pink! :P


Works just as well, in my opinion, too.


Michelle in middle Tennessee

Link to comment
Zote also comes in a lemon scented white bar if you can find it. The scent is heavenly.



WHAT??? LEMON???? drat... adding that to my list of things to look for!


this list is getting longer and longer! I love heavenly scents! <smile>

Link to comment
  • 10 months later...

I'm bumping this, because someone was asking about the soap.

Link to comment
  • 1 year later...
  • 2 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.