Friday, 18 June 2010

How to make your own washing powder

Before I start telling you about my washing powder, I’d like to start with an unrelated warning. You, like me, might be new to yoga. If you are, let me warn you that there is more than one kind. From my own experience, there are two kinds. One of them is very much about not pushing your body, being in tune with your breath, being conscious of how you are feeling, general happy fluffiness. The other involves straps, and putting your legs into positions not found in nature. It was into a class focusing on the latter that I wandered last night, and today I can’t walk. So be warned, and as soon as anyone brandishes a strap at you and expects you to lift your leg against a wall in a way you wouldn’t do normally, please realise that you will spend the next day complaining and whimpering. I’m sure it’s doing me good.

Right, washing powder.

I am washing some things with this as I write, and nothing has gone wrong yet (i.e. there are not suds all over the kitchen floor/ the washing machine hasn’t set on fire) but obviously since they haven’t come out yet I can’t say whether or not it is any good. It did look credible, though. This is based on a recipe from Make Your Place by Raleigh Briggs (which is an excellent book! And very cheap, go out and buy it!) but I have made it English by translating the ingredients and weighing them rather than using cups (so the weights might look a bit strange but I promise you I did it properly.) This makes enough for 3 washes. If it works out OK I will make a bigger lot. I have not worked out how much this costs per wash yet but I suspect it works out cheaper than Ecover (which is the one I buy normally), especially if you buy your ingredients in bulk.

Mix all the following in a bowl:

30g grated soap (I used some of my homemade soap – it used about 3/4 of a small bar. I grated it on the middle hole of the grater.)
115g bicarbonate of soda (this used up about 2/3 of one of those small tubs you get from the supermarket. I used this because it needed to be used up but you can buy this in bulk and it is cheaper.)
25g soda crystals (you can buy these in the supermarket, near the washing powders.)
45g borax (don’t get me started! I could only find this at

Then squash up the lumps (the bicarb and borax can be quite lumpy) and add a couple of drops of essential oils. If you are thinking that will not be enough to scent it, be reassured that our kitchen smelt like Lush. I put a third (a couple of tablespoons) in the washer, and I stored the rest carefully in a passing Tupperware.

I will let you know how well it works when I have done a few loads of washing with it. (I feel like one of the women on the soap powder adverts. How white will my whites be? Well, they weren’t all that white to start with. My standards aren’t high.)