Aussies Living Simply

Homemade laundry detergent

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    This from Wikipedia:

    ” Compounds called “builders” are often used to enhance (“build” ) the surfactant effect. Their role is to lower the water hardness by scavenging the calcium and magnesium ions and adsorbing them or chelating them. Some form of sodium phosphate can be used here, such as trisodium orthophosphate, monosodium orthophosphate, or a form of tripolyphosphate (TPP). In some locations, phosphate is no longer used as an additive due to environmental concerns as phosphates in surface waters stimulate algal bloom.[citation needed] As alternatives, other chelating agents are used. Sodium carbonate precipitates insoluble calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Organic chemicals similar to EDTA can be employed, eg. nitriloacetic acid (NTA). Borates can be used as well.

    Also – Much scarier I think –

    “Borax, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, is not acutely toxic. [6] Its LD50 score is tested at 2.66 g/kg in rats. [7] This does not mean that it is safe, merely that a significant dose of the chemical is needed to cause severe symptoms or death. Simple exposure can cause respiratory and skin irritation. Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Effects on the vascular system and brain include headaches and lethargy, but are less frequent. “In severe poisonings, a beefy red skin rash affecting palms, soles, buttocks and scrotum has been described. With severe poisoning, erythematous and exfoliative rash, unconsciousness, respiratory depression, and renal failure.” [8]”


    I’ll pass on using Borax :tup:


    darls asked about storing the goo, We just leave ours in the 10Lt bucket. It is too thick to pour, so you need an open topped container to scoop.

    any other storage suggestions?


    Maybe smaller wide mouth containers, ice-cream tubs and the 1L yoghurt tubs? Then the rest can be stored in a bucket or whatever out of the way.


    Is the washing soda that you use crystals?

    Do they just dissolve in the wash?

    Sorry silly question, but I’m having trouble finding them in my local supermarket.


    Not sure but should be where the washing powder is, I have seen it there at my local supermarkets. I do know that they dissolve in the water and no question is STUPID :tup:


    The ones I use goes by the name lectric soda crystals. I get them in the laundry detergent aisle near the sunlight soap.

    They dissolve in water, I use them as part of the the gel recipe in this thread.


    Cindy wrote:

    Sorry silly question, but I’m having trouble finding them in my local supermarket.

    If it’s anything like the local stoopidmarket here it regularly is a product that is not re-ordered.. not selling enough of it supposedly, so they say :shrug:


    Is the homemade detergent OK to go straight on to fruit trees. I have been using Tri-nature for 15 years or so with no problems


    Cheers guys – I think I know what I’m looking for now. It’s the same stuff mum used to put in the bath yonks ago for sore muscles :tup:

    I hate it when you get all reved up to make your own stuff and then you can’t find what you need at the shops. Oh well back tomorrow I go.


    Yep you are spot on Cindy – a couple of years ago they also started making it in a powdered form – I find that easier to make a powdered form of washing powder. The crystals tend to go a bit gluggy but are fine if you intend to make the washing liquid.




    Love this thread, i have been making the powdred version for a few months now and i love it!

    I’m wanting to reduce costs even more though and was wondering where i could buy borax in bulk? I tried Bunnings but couldn’t see any?


    You can borax in bulk from http:www/ They supply everything you need for making cosmetics. I used to use borax in mine.

    Today I went and bought a whole lot of stuff like vinegar, bicarb, pure soap and washing soda with the intention of making my own house hold cleaners, then I cam straight on here to find recipes!! Thanks so much everyone. This is such a great place :metal:


    A reply from


    see my webpages for my concerns about ALL laundry products.

    The use of pure soap (saponification of fat) is less suitable with hard water than soft

    water. Melbourne water is soft but they’re the

    lucky ones. Many country areas have hard water and soap is not a wise choice. see my webpage on ‘hardness’. In areas with hard water, a good detergent is the only way to go, and there are some detergents that are low in sodium, phosphorus and pH.

    The sodium carbonate (washing soda) has a pH of

    10+, and unsuitable for greywater reuse. The

    real problem is sodium for plants and soil.

    Borax (boric acid) may have too much boron for sensitive plants.

    I cannot comment on the washing quality as that is not within my research program.



    At 09:58 AM 27/10/2008, you wrote:

    >To whom it may concern,


    >I run a website called

    > and a lot of people on there use homemade

    >laundry detergent. The basic recipe is


    >½ cup Borax

    >½ cup washing soda (lectric Soda)

    >1 Bar laundry / Pure Soap

    >10 litres of water.


    >In your studies do you have any technical data on the ingredients ? and

    >potential dangers ?





    >Dan Stoll


    Hmm… so what does rainwater equals as soft or hard water? :confused:

    I haven’t started on making homemade laundry detergent as I am trying to finish off all those brand stuff and clear up space in cupboards.

    Who finds powder or liquid/gely one work better in both quantity and value? I am still undecided! My only issue is that the ‘greywater’ goes straight to septic tank (Envirocycle) then go over the ground at a designated area. This designated area was chosen by council before we bought and are on sprinklers. We intend to replace the sprinklers and make all ‘underground’ because we want to use the area for orchard next year.

    So any comments?

    Thanks! :hug:

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