7 August 2007

Various recipes for green cleaning


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.

NEVER EVER mix ammonia and bleach together. It will form a gas that could kill you.

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. : )



  1. Hello Rhonda,

    What a surprise to see that the laundry liquid recipe and creamy soft scrubber recipe were the same ones I use! I ended up stopping using the laundry liquid as my children's clothes were just too grubby so I will head out to buy some Napisan soap to try the heavy duty one this morning.

    I scent my creamy soft scrubber with lemon myrtle oil and it leaves the sinks and bathroom smelling so lovely and fresh, particularly the drains.

    I was very happy to read your recipes for wood polish and wooden floor cleaner, I have been looking for an alternative to O'Cedar oil. I have been using microfibre cloths which work wonderfully but it is nice to have something extra sometimes.

    Thankyou for a wonderful post! I very much enjoy your blog. It is always so informative and interesting.


  2. I am a "green" cleaner and have used most or all of these recipes...they are great and do just as good if not better than the commercial brands of cleaner!

    I love coming here...

  3. Hello Shell. Thank you. Another thing you can try with the children's clothes is to soak in Napisan - I use the Aldi brand of Napisan. My sons are both chefs and wear the white chef's uniform at work. They both use the homemade laundry powder, but every second week, they soak the uniforms in Aldi Napisan the night before they are washed. They use hot water from the tap, with the soaker, and soak until the water is cold (usually overnight). Their uniforms stay nicely white with this treatment and it also gets out any food stains.

    Hi Kelley, it's really good to see so many homemakers using green products now. If you use something I haven't listed, let me know about it and I'll give it a try.

  4. My goodness Rhonda I've never seen so many cleaning recipes. I hope they will encourage more people to throw away all those nasty commercial cleaners that are just not needed to keep a house clean.

    Just one little warning about the toothpaste. For those who like the idea of the added peppermint oil, be very careful with it. Essential oils are very potent. I was a bit careless with the amount and ended up with what felt like burnt, blistered gums. It took over a week for them to recover enough for me to clean my teeth thoroughly again.

    1. I would be very careful about using home made toothpaste. Not wanting to be critical but using tooth paste without Fluoride will greatly increase your risk of dental decay and associated problems. These days you can pick up a tube of fluoridated toothpaste for about one dollar

  5. thanks for the huge list of recipes. I want to start making laundry washing liquid ~ I've got enough empty 3l milk cartons to store it in!!

  6. Thanks for the warning, Polly. In your experience, how many peppermint oil drops would you add to ½ cup of the powder? I'll change it according to your recommendation. Could we get away with one drop?

    Good for you, Ali. You'll notice a big difference in how much you spend on your groceries when you start with these cleansers.

  7. Thank you for all these great recipes, Rhonda Jean! My usual sink cleaning routine is to sprinkle with baking soda, squirt/spritz with white vinegar, then scrub. I'm going to add some salt to the shaker - an old "tin" (probably aluminum) flour shaker - to add some scrubbing power.

    I also use my old knitted cotton dishcloths for scrubbing/cleaning clothes - they seem to last forever!!

    Next project - making my own laundry products, using your recipes. Using my own cleaning products makes housekeeping so much fun!!

    Carla in north Idaho

  8. THanks so much for your practical help Rhonda! You are amazing!
    I do know some who use methylated spirits for cleaning windows, floors and even for deoderant! THey swear by it and say it never stains or smells. Not sure about the alcohol content though!
    THanks so much!
    LS from Adelaide

  9. Hi Rhonda,
    As always you are such a font of useful information! :-) I LOVE green cleaning. I think it's such a simple way for people to cut costs, help the environment and improve the health of their family. I can't tolerate chemicals so have tended to use natural cleaners all my adult life. I am simplifying to more basic ingredients now though. I'm also amazed by how much difference just water and then drying with an old towel can make in cleaning efforts. They say germs can't survive dry conditions so drying something can be as effective as other methods too.

    I also nominated you for your own frugal subversive award. Is that allowed? LOL. Too late if it's not. :-) Details are on my blog.

  10. Thankyou Rhonda. I use the Woolies home brand napisan with good results, it's just frustrating to have to pretty much napisan everything, we go through a lot of washing. A friend of mine with five young children has referred to this time as being 'the napisan years', I think she is right on the money.:)

  11. i can not wait to get started on the laundry powder.. fantastic.. happy day margie

  12. Rhonda, I just wanted to mention that the nappy soaker shouldn't be used on so-called "modern cloth nappies" which always contain elastic. Bicarb slaughters elastic which makes fancy nappies quite redundant very quickly!

    I have been wondering about the toothpaste. Bicarb is so good at absorbing odours that I wondered if the oil would be worth it. Could the gum/teeth damage be caused by the oil drop being contained in one spot only and the user therefore getting it all in one go? Perhaps it would work better if it was a paste rather than a powder.

    I have also noticed with interest that even the most green of us (the kind of people reading this wonderful blog) still refer to Napisan as if it were a generic product! It seems we are affected by advertising and consumerism, even when we're striving to avoid it.

    I must get on to making some of these recipes soon. I've had the soap making ingredients on my kitchen benchtop for almost a week though and still haven't found enough time without the children around to get at that. Good thing the batch will last so long when I finally get around to it!!!!

  13. Thank you again Rhonda for the recipes. Does anyone have a preference for whether they use the liqiuid or powder in their washing? I have all the ingredients to make either recipe, now I just need to the time.

    1. I like the liquid the best as you don't have to dissolve it first. I just save old containers to store it in. I will never go back to store bought soap again this stuff is awsome. I use zote soap to make mine it has such a nice scent.

  14. Carla, I'm sure you do well with the homemade cleansers. I'm posting my swap parcel to you tomorrow.

    LS, my mother used to be a big fan of methylated spirits for window cleaning. Welcome.

    Lightening, thank you. I use warm water + a bit of time and a cloth to cleaning many things. Oh gee! a boomerang award. LOL Thank you. I'll get on to it later in the week.

    Shell, I think she's right too.

    Margie, let me know how you go with it. I use the powder for my washing, have done for years now, and still love it.

    Deborah, as you know I'm a long way from nappy buckets, but I thought those new nappies were stored in a dry pail before washing. Hopefully I'll get back to this soon when my boys settle down and have their babies. I use the tooth powder without the added oil and it works fine. The taste took some getting used to though, which is why I mentioned the peppermint. Re Napisan, I used to call it "oxy-bleach", but as it's the original one, I guess it's the one everyone knows, even though we don't actually use that brand. Good luck with your soap love.

    Lisa, I always use the powder when I do my washing. I have a front loader, use it in the drawer and have never had any problems with it. I make up a small amount of the liquid too to help with general house cleaning.

    Hi Shula. I posted the stitchery to you on Monday. : )

  15. You are right Rhonda that most modern cloth nappy users choose to dry pail, it is just as effective generally, a lot less smelly, and has means no drowning hazards. But there are still occasions when soaking is useful so I thought I'd better mention it in case a reader jumps on board. There is a massvie second hand modern cloth market so giving them a good soak is a popular process before advertising nappies for sale. I have destroyed many nappies with bicarb as have plenty of other people that I know! But it is certainly fantastic on flat terries which I am still using for every kind of cleaning and mopping up job. They are SO useful long after a child has left them!

  16. Rhonda I think one drop of peppermint oil would be plenty for the tooth powder recipe. After my nasty experience I stopped using it but I added a drop to the recipe this morning and so far I haven't had a problem. I quite like it I think. :-)

  17. I just read depome's comment about the peppermint oil in the tooth powder. When I had the problem it was in a recipe that includes glycerin to make a paste and was well mixed so I think it is because I used too much. I was careless and didn't count the drops.

  18. Wow yesterday I tride some salt with my cleaner to clean my newish basin and its come up sparkling! I could see the stain lift immediately! thanks for the tips.
    I also bought some cotton from Spotlight tonight and will make an attempt on my first cloth tomorrow. Yippee! LS

  19. Rhonda Jean,

    You'll get a laugh as I did, out of my first effort to make your all purpose cleaner #1 (the ammonia one anyway). I was making the amounts smaller so it would fit into my little spray bottle but somewhere the calculations went awry. About an hour after I'd made it, the entire mixture was solid. I'm sure if I'd been able to dig it out it would have made a fine surface cleaner! Also, I made up the heavy duty laundry powder with some Sard soap and it's brilliant. I look at the horrid brown stains on the knees of my baby's clothes and wonder what they say about my housekeeping!
    Here's another question for you: the washing soda bag says you shouldn't use it for silk or wool. Does this mean your recipe is unsuitable as a wool wash? If not, do you have a suggestion?

  20. Hi Rhonda,

    I would like to make your recipe for homemade laundry powder, but am not sure what the comparable ingredients would be in the US. In particular, I'm not sure about what lux is or what washing soda is. If you could help, I would appreciate it. Many thanks from the US. Ellen (If you could email me at birdwoman5151@yahoo.com, I would greatly appreciate it)

  21. Hi. Just wondering, I've heard that pregnant women and children should avoid exposure to borax as it has been linked to birth defects and reproductive problems in children.

    Obviously you're not pregnant or a young child *lol*, but I was wondering if you had heard anything about these risks?

    I spend a bit of my time pregnant these days, and consequently, have young children :-)

    The cleaning products I buy don't contain harmful chemicals and I'm quite happy with them, but they are, of course, more expensive than the home-made stuff(though cheaper than supermarket junk). I use some vinegar and bi-carb, but that has its limits (ie clothes washing). But all the home-made recipies I've come accross seem to contain borax.

    I also don't use bleach or products that contain it as it has been linked to breast cancer and asthma (the latter being a bit of a family issue).

    Not wanting to sound critical or like I'm having a go at anyone, so please don't take it that way :-) - I think what you've done to change your lifestyle is fantastic! It is something I strive for and am slowly working toward. I was just wondering if you were aware of the above.

    Thanks for a great site.

  22. Hi Rachael, no offense taken, love. Borax is a naturally occuring chemical that is used as a remedy as well as for washing. There is a famous eye treatment that uses diluted borax. I know it to be harmful on the vegetable patch when you allow grey water to spill out on the plants - that will allow the borax to build up and boron can be toxic to plants. This needs a fairly high concentrations though.

    My advice would be to use gloves when using borax, I think the regular rinsing would rinse out all traces of borax from your washed clothes. There is quite a bit of info online about borax. Be careful when evaluating it, read as much as you can, then make your judgement.

  23. Hi Rhonda,
    I am very interested in your green cleaning recipes especially the laundry powder as I've been thinking of swapping over from a commercial powder for some time. I am a little concerned over the borax though. I didn't know what borax was so did a little research. Borax contains boron which is a naturally occurring trace element but in higher concentrations is poisonous both to plants and animals. It is expelled by the body very slowly by the kidneys so toxic build up can occur. Boron cleans by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide, a bleach. Most borax is mined from deep within the Earth so it comes at an environmental cost. As the cleaners work without borax maybe a safer and greener option is to simply leave it out.

  24. Thanks for these household recipes. You rock! :)

  25. Love your blog! Great recipes! But a little note on the vinegar solution for tile flooring... it deteriorates the grout. Just for future reference (by experience and a flooring consultation).

    Have a blessed day!

  26. I am so glad to have found this info!
    I did a search, and found many of these supplies at

    I wouldn't know where to find the washing soda here in my town otherwise.
    I love the blog...you are encouraging me to live more sustainably with our children. Now I just need to get chickens!

  27. Hi ~
    Have been reading your blog avidly over the last couple of days.

    I have been exploring the uses of bicarb, vinegar, washing soda and borax for about a month and a half now, after brushing my teeth with bicarb made them whiter than they had been in years!

    I thought I would share my discovery. I live in South Florida, it's always very hot and muggy here. If I wash my face with baking soda, and then spritz undiluted vinegar on my face after rinsing (keep out of eyes), I don't get any pimples or zits...and my skin looks and feels so much better!
    I even made myself some little triangle pads from flannel remnants to use while doing this. I added a strip of the soft side of velcro for a little scrubber. They really work well!

    Also, and I don't know if this will work for everybody, but I noticed that if I soap with baking soda, and get it "slick" with a little bit of water and shave with this, I don't get razor bumps.

    That's never happened with any other product I've used before.

    I enjoy your blog so much, and especially your beautiful writing!!! Thank you!!!

  28. Hello Barbara

    thanks for comments about pimple remedy. i also live in hot humid climate in australia. My daughter has acne bad, will see if this helps her.

    Thanks Rhonda great site! WELL DONE.

    gone fishing!

  29. Hi Rhonda,

    Just love this section and have started using vinegar in the rinse and baking soda wherever I can. One question though, what is Napisan, I live in Canada and have never heard of it and I would dearly like to make my own laundry detergent.



  30. What is the US equivalent to washing soda? I love your tips & ideas! I am 28 with two small boys, I'll take all of the advice I can get on conserving. Thanks....

  31. Hi Katie~
    Washing soda is sodium carbonate.
    Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.

    They are two different things. But, it's confusing because both come in almost the same looking box, so be sure to double check. Also...lots of store clerks will have NO idea what you are talking about.

    In the US is can be hard to find sometimes, but generally you can locate it in the grocery store near the fabric softeners or near the Borax. The box is taller than the regular baking soda box.

    If you can't find it near you (as I couldn't)call this phone number 1-800-524-1328 and have the UPC code 33200-03020. The service will ask for your zip code and then tell you places in your area that sell the item.

    They will try to sell you on having them ship it, but it's better to just buy all the store has when you find it, or ask your store to carry it.

    Also I have heard some people found it at their pool supply store called PH Up...just make sure it's sodium carbonate and not bicarb on the label.

    Best of luck!

  32. Hello Rhonda. I used your recipe for the laundry soap and have used it to wash one load already! My question is, my soap is the consistency of stiff jello. Is that right? I was thinking that it would be a little more fluid. Wondering if I let it thicken up enough before adding the water.
    I would be greatful for the information. Love your blog! =)

  33. I found all the things I need to start cleaning green! Thanks for all the wonderful tips and recipies. I was wondering if bicarb soda was the same as backing soda? Also I was hopping you could give some storing tips for the cleaning products. Like do you have to cover the landry detergent ect... I would hate for all this work to go bad! Thanks so much!!

  34. Can you use grated ivory snow for th laundry powder?


  35. Washing soda in the US is made by baking soda. There is a section in our store that has washing soda and borax. They used to have ivory snow flakes, but they don't now, and so I don't know just what to do. I have heard several reports on Felds Naptha (?), but even with it, it's probably better than full out commercial laundry detergent. But I just don't care for the smell of it.


  36. Hello Tara, washing soda and baking soda are two different things. Read this: http://www.diaperpin.com/clothdiapers/article_bakingsoda.asp

    Regarding the soap to use, ideally you would use your own homemade soap because you know what's in it. I wouldn't use Fels Naptha because I believe it is made using petrochemicals. http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=brands&id=4002005&query=Laundry&searchas=type&prodcat=all

    If you can't make your own soap, buy cheap soap flakes or ivory soap or something similar. I have used the yellow bar soap, grated, in the past but had to stop that because it gave me rashes. I now use my homemade soap.

  37. Melanie said

    Hello Rhonda

    My first visit to your site and I LOVE it! I've already been making my own laundry detergent (similar to yours) and toothpowder - I'm looking forward to giving the "shampoo" you suggest a go - and the deodorant.

    I would love to find a green and economical automatic dishwashing detergent. Any ideas?


  38. Hey Melanie~
    I have been using 1:1 borax and washing soda mixture in my dishwasher. You don't need to fill the cups all the way, only 1/2 tb. in each cup and put vinegar in the rinse cup. If you get a residue on your dishes (I think due to hard water), you can add some citric acid to the mixture. If that doesn't seem to get them clean enough, try using that and 1 tsp. of the phosphate free eco-friendly detergent in each cup with the soda/borax mixture and that should do the trick. My favorite up-purposed container for homemade detergents: my husbands coffee creamer bottles. After you take the label off, you can write your own label with a Sharpie right on the bottle.

  39. Thanks for the great recipes! I know this post is older, but I'm wondering if you can store the powdered laundry soap in a glass jar instead of a plastic container?


  40. Rhonda, I have been viewing your blog for a long time now and have used many of your ideas. I was looking back through your homemade cleaning products and find that the washing recipe is great. I was wondering if you have any potion ideas to make something to keep flies off animals, dogs in particular. Love your blog, kind regards, Anita

  41. I'm game to try some of these....thanks.

  42. I'm interested in trying the all-purpose cleaner. When you say "liquid soap", do you mean a dishwashing soap, like Dawn?

  43. Hi Rhonda,
    I have just made my first batch of washing liquid and it came out very firm.. like very stiff jelly, should I just add more water to the mix? Also I would like to know what you use for washing dishes.
    PS thanks for such an informative blog.

  44. What a wonderful list. I hope it is okay but I would like to print this out and add it to my Household Manual, I will put your name as the maker. I made my own three ring binder household manual and wanted to share the link with you, as you mention one in this post.


  45. LS made a comment about methylated spirits and I just wanted to add my own experience. I've had terrible fungal toenails for ages and started dabbing just a few drops of methylated spirits onto them after the shower 2 or 3 times a week. The improvement has been enormous in a few weeks. Almost back to normal. Maybe this could help someone as the toenail treatments are VERY expensive!

  46. Hi love your blog/aspire to your lifestyle, made liq laundry soap and it separated to gel and water (thought i had cooked it long enough) how do i get this mix to an appropriate consistancy to use in my washer? reheat? if so for how long?
    thanks again Rhonda, justine.

  47. I know it has been awhile since this article was posted but I thought I would comment on the laundry detergent. I use twice the amount of washing soda and borox than the recipe calls for and use vinegar as a softner and this seems to work alot better. the clothes don't come out dingy. I do however still use bleach for my whites and towels I haven't found anything that works as well and just a little goes along way especially if set your washer on the soak cycle and let the soak get them clean. Just thought I would add my 2 cents worth.

  48. Thank you so much for this post. I have forwarded it along to my mom who has multiple chemical sensitivity disorders so she can get rid of her toxic cleaning supplies. And for me to get them in my own cupboards!
    Thank you again.

  49. Hey there Rhonda,

    I'm newly married and in college in the states. My mother-in-law linked me to this blog and I'm SO glad! I love the idea of green (and cheaper) cleaning. I just made your liquid laundry detergent and I'm waiting for it to thicken.

    I thought I'd amuse you by letting you know I spent quite a while in my local grocers looking around for bicarb soda (which I was mispronouncing to every store-clerk I asked about it) until I finally found out that bicarb soda is what we call Baking Soda in United States. I was laughing so hard!

    I easily found the washing soda, laundry soap bars and borax in at our grocery store and am excited to try out the recipes for dishwasher soap, face-wash, shampoo, deoderant, toothpaste, and all the other household cleaners. :)

    Thanks so much for your blog! It is absolutely delightful! I'm way inspired! :D

  50. Hi Rhonda, I just made up a batch of your washing powder and was wondering if I have to do a hot wash with this powder as I usually wash with full cold water (saves power ;) )

    Thanks for a great blog and sharing your awesome wisdom!

  51. Hi Rhonda,
    Well, I am very excited because I found everything I need to at least start green cleaning. I just washed my hair with baking soda and it came out cleaner than I expected, although the vinegar rinse makes it feel a little greasy? I don't know. But - what's exciting is that I found 3 items that, until this blog, I had never heard of! Fels-naptha (or something), washing soda, and Borax. Hurray! The Fels was with the soap and the other two were in the laundry aisle (I felt so retro :-). I'll try the laundry soap this weekend. FYI - in midwestern US, I found this at the supermarket chain Price Chopper.

  52. Thanks so much for the laundry soap recipe. I have found other sites but none as thorough and explanatory as yours. I have been cleaning with vinegar and have thrown the cleaning chemicals away but i wanted recipe's for other things than cleaning. I have printed this page to use for reference.

  53. I like your idea for deodorant. I just started using the natural rock salt deodorant, and it is fantastic! It lasts a whole year, and you can use it on your feet as well if they tend to smell. All you do is wet it under the tap and then apply it just like you would normal deodorant. It's wonderful! Anti-perspirants are so horrible because of the aluminum. A lot of people will end up with either grey or yellow armpits because of it.

    This is the one I purchased, if you want to see what it looks like: http://www.amazon.com/Rock-Thai-Crystal-Deodorant-Stone/dp/B000AN1JEI

  54. Hi, I just tried to make the laundry detergent, it seemed fine as I left it to finish cooling last night, This morning it is not liquid any longer. Is that normal? What might have I done wrong? Nothing has separated it's just a thick glob in the bucket. Help?

  55. Hello,
    My name is Christina. I found your page through a friend off facebook. Um.. I'm looking for a green recipe to make dish-washing liquid. Not the powder to wash them in a dishwasher but the one for hand-washing the dishes. Any suggestions?


  56. Hi Rhonda

    I noticed that in the laundry liquid recipe you stated that you can leave the borax out if you use your grey water on the garden. Can you leave out the borax in the concentrated laundry powder as well and still have an effective laundry powder?

    Many thanks

  57. Hi Rhonda,

    I have been using your recipe for concentrated laundry powder for over a year. I love it! It works so well (I have a front loader) and I get to choose what essential oil to add to the vinegar rinse. My bottle of tea tree essential oil hasn't run out yet... It was the tiny 25ml bottle. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes. My favourite part about it is that if I get the powder on my hands it doesn't make them feel strange.


  58. Thanks for all the great info and cleaning recipes. Can't wait to try them out.

  59. So glad to have found your blog, very helpful information here! Thank you!

  60. Christine GilmourJune 07, 2010 12:29 pm

    Hello Rhonda,
    Your story on 'how your passion has taken over your life' this morning on Radio National - Perth - was fascinating! Thank you for sharing and I look forward to following your 'down to earth' blog and changing my ways!
    Thank you so much!

  61. well, after running out of laundry liquid this morning I decided to run out of excuses as well - Just Made My First Batch of laundry liquid and it will be ready to test-drive tomorrow morning!
    Thanks for all the recipes, I'm sure this won't be the only one I'll use in the next little while!

  62. Hi Rhonda

    Instead of lux soap flakes - could you substitute by using melted down soap slivers. Would you need to use at least a cup full or more?

    Take care and warmest wishes


  63. Hi Rhonda, Thanks for linking to your older post, I hadn't read it. Some great recipes & tips there. Very excited to see you use your home made liquid in your front loader, every other recipe I've read says don't use it in a front loader. So I will be whipping up a batch of your liquid this weekend. Thanks again, Mel. :)

  64. We have used the laundry recipe for about two years now - saved SO much money. have recommended it to others becuas of the savings - they just don't do it - too much work, I guess... :( We have found it to work quite well...I am going to make others now.

  65. I've used a few of your recipes, and they work great :) I just was reading through them again from your link today, and I wanted to add an easy one I use--

    To get crayon off of painted walls, board books for kids (the slick kind), wooden tables, even upholstery, I use a simple rubber eraser. Just erase it away :)

    If it doesn't get it all (it almost always does), then I follow it up with the baking soda scrub.

  66. Thank you so much for the cleaning recipes! I can't wait to try the laundry soap.

    Oh one for you.. if you have a really stained coffee pot or tea kettle.. put in about a cup or so of ice and a table spoon of coarse salt then swish :) Works awesome and you don't have to try and cram your hand into it :) The ice helps the salt scrub :) Thank you again!

  67. It's so funny, I had never read about how to make CREAMY SOFT SCRUBBER, but I've been making a slight variation of that recipe for months to wash my underarms. I've stopped using regular deodorant, and the natural stuff doesn't always keep the smell away and it doesn't always wash away with simple soap, so I make a creamy paste out of baking soda and aloe vesta liquid soap, rub it on, let it set for a few seconds and then wash off. Takes the BO completely away with no scrubbing.

  68. Hi Rhonda,

    I was just wondering about a natural toothpaste for kids? I have an almost 2 year old and he hates having his teeth brushed (we only use water at the moment), we don't want to use the commercial ones. Any ideas? Thank you.


  69. Awesome Awesome Awesome

    Just a couple of questions though. Will the heavy duty washing powder be ok in a cold wash (I was just about everything cold)?
    and can I add Napisan granules instead of the grated soap?

  70. Oh wonderful thanks Rhonda!

  71. Thank you Rhonda! I made a copy of your recipes and can't wait to try them out!
    Very mad at myself for trying Crest Whitestrips to whiten teeth. Have noticed though my teeth are slightly whiter, I have more plaque buildup. Checked with a dentist friend living out of state and he said it makes teeth more porous! So I am very happy to make and try out your "toothpaste" as my first project! Thanks, Cindy

  72. Hi, Just wondering i made the laundry liquid the other day and i store in a big bucket with lid. This week i have noticed that the it seams to have seperated. It has a watery liquid surrounding it. Did i do something wrong when i made it or do i just mix it althogether again?? Thanks Tracy

  73. Tracy, that's normal, just give it a good mix before you use it. I store mine in milk bottles and give it a good shake before I use it.

  74. Hi Rhonda, I LOVE THIS BLOG!! My family is trying to make a conscious effort to be greener. My question is Ive just made a batch of the laundry liquid and its VERY stiff jelly, we used 1 bar of laundry soap grated, just wondering if it was meant to be 1 cup of grated soap not 1 bar? ive seen others with the same question but didnt see any posts answering, can we fix it by adding more water or do we scrap it and start again? thanks, Audz in Melb

  75. Thank you for these wonderful home helps. Can you please advise on a problem I have with a nasty orangey stain around the plug hole of the porcelain basin. I have tried annomia,bleach even gumption, but nothing make even a little difference. Does anyone know what to do??? Im considering replacing the whole thing-what a waste. Also which of your mixtures is best for cleaning the toilet bowl.
    Much gratitude for your loving care Regards June

  76. I was surprised to read that you recommend newspapers for cleaning windows and glass. This used to be so when lead based inks were used but most newspapers use soy based inks now and I find that they don't clean glass very well at all and leave streaks an build up.

  77. What a wonderful list! Just a quick question, can I use the laundry powder in cold water?

  78. I know this is an old post but I have only recently come across it. I live in the UK so I thought you might be interested to know how much the costings are here. I made the dry laundry detergent -

    Grated laundry or homemade soap/soap flakes - I used Tesco Pure soap which costs £1.50 for 500g
    Borax - I bought from Amazon at £3.09 for 500g
    Washing soda - Bought from Home Bargains for 60p for 1kg.

    I worked out in grams (a lot easier in the UK) I made 400g for my first batch so for 200g of soap it cost 60p, 100g of borax cost 62p and the 100g of washing soda cost 6p so it costs £1.28 for 400g. Using 2 tablespoons per wash which is approx 28g you would get approx 14 washes hence costing around 9p per wash. My usual supermarkets own brand costs around 13p per wash.

    Its so simple to make, no cooking which is good, and very effective for my laundry!


  79. another charlotte here, i wanted to know if the laundry liquid which thickens, is runny enough to come out of a
    30 litre drum with the tap attachment(i bought bulk laundry liquid years ago and still have the container)
    I guess i could add more water since i have the room to store the liquid

    here in oz we have letrics washing soda $3.90 for 1kilo at woolworths, it is great as a soaker so ammonia or bleach wont be needed,

    I wasnt sure if you had mentioned but spraying vinegar diluted in a spray bottle with water and sprayed directly onto any red stains like tomato sauce and left on the clothesline on a sunny day actually bleaches the stain completely away, then just wash as normal, ive heard of it and tried it today after my baby ate spaghetti bolegnese as you can imagine it was a white top completely covered in red..thanks to daddy forgetting the bib

    hope that helps anyone out there

  80. Just found this site. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes.

  81. Hi, I was just wondering where you buy BORAX in Australia? I live in Brisbane and am having trouble finding it.

  82. Hello Rhonda from Wisconsin,U.S.A.
    Thank you for all the great "recipes" :) I have quite a few that I have made and loved and there are definitely a few new ones that I will be looking to make. The only problem I have is that I have decided to really focus on producys that do NOT do animal testing and it is very very hard to find, say Borax or washing soda or ammonia or bleach from companies that don't animal test SO at this point I have kind of given up just a bit on the "homemade, green" idea and I have specifically looked for companies that don't do animal testing AND are green friendly:) So far....I have found Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products and J.R. Watkins....thanks for hearing me out and I can't wait to see what I CAN make!!!!:)


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