How to make your own washing powder

Green Goddess Wendyl Nissen shares her tips for washing your clothing and linens without the nasty chemicals.

I often get queries about where to find washing soda, which is a main ingredient in a lot of my recipes. You can order it online but if you’re really in a bind, it’s actually very simple to make out of baking soda – all you need is an oven.

How to make your own washing soda

1 Pour 2-3 cups of baking soda into a baking tray and spread out evenly, breaking up any large clumps with your fingers.

2 Place into an oven at 205°C for around 1 hour, giving it a good stir occasionally. As oven temperatures do tend to vary somewhat and the baking soda needs to reach 205°C for the conversion to happen, the real trick to this recipe is knowing when it has changed into soda ash.

What you’re looking for is a difference in texture. Baking soda is lighter and finer with a crystal-like sheen, and it has a smooth, slippery quality to it. Washing soda, on the other hand, is duller and grainier.

If you’re really having trouble telling them apart, keep some baking soda aside and run both powders through your fingers after “cooking”. Once the washing soda has cooled down, you should be able to feel the difference.

Now you have your washing soda, why not mix up some nice, natural laundry powder? This is my original recipe, which uses lavender oil, but you can experiment with different oils and make your own unique blends.

How to make Green Goddess Laundry Powder

1 cup washing soda

60ml liquid castile soap

1 cup baking soda

2ml lavender essential oil or oil of your choice

1 Put the washing soda in a food processor and reduce the lumpy crystals as much as you can. Slowly drizzle in the liquid castile soap while the processor is still running to create a white frothy paste.

2 Add the baking soda and lavender oil, then continue to process until you have something resembling white clay.

3 Keep the powder in an airtight container and use a tablespoon for an average load – double it if you are washing a big load.

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