Chapter One: Washing Powder


The Idea

Clothes washing has come along so far since the days of doing it by hand with a washboard and mangle and for that I am forever grateful, but looking at the pile of empty plastic bottles which inevitably will end up in landfill my conscience was well and truly punctured, not just pricked. I have toyed with the idea of making my own washing powder for a number of years but have never got round to actually doing it, but it has been increasingly been playing on my mind.

The Push

Since we have given up running our B&B this has given us more time to spend with the family, and this means getting out and about more. I was luckily enough to have already done a course down at River Cottage HQ and have been raving about it for the last few years. So this past May bank Holiday I took my husband and two children to the River Cottage Spring Fair where the children discovered pottery and how to build a shelter, my husband discovered that actually to was quite nice sitting down and not rushing around and I discovered the amazing Rebecca Sullivan and her book The Art of the Natural Home. Sadly we weren’t in time to see her demonstration but I bought the book and have opened up a wonderful array of homemade natural products ranging from food to cleaning products. It also helps that we did go to the same college although many years apart. Delighted to find a recipe for washing powder Amazon was the next stop for the ingredients.

How to …..



  • 100-150g bar of soap (castile or Dr. Bronner’s)
  • 250g borax, I used Borax substitute
  • 250g washing  soda crystals
  • 5 drops of lemon or orange essential oil, I used rosemary as that is what I had but lemon acts as a degreaser and bleaching agent

Chop the soap into small pieces and put in a blender/food processor along with the other ingredients and blend until smooth. The amount suggested to use is 1-3 tablespoons.

I would like to say that on googling there are a myriad of washing powder recipes for you to choose one, this was just the one I liked.

The Verdict

We have been using the powder for a while and 98% of the time is her been really pleased with it. There has been some residue left when I did a woolly wash so will probably use liquid for that, maybe I can make my own, and there was one heavily stained load that I again used the shop bought liquid. My son has reactions to a lot of the shop bought washing powders and liquids and has had no reaction to this whatsoever. So this is a keeper.

This is who i get to spend time with now

Next week: watermint vodka


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