Friday, March 22, 2019

Laundry Detergent Substitute

Have you ever thought about natural substitutes for the modern laundry detergents? You could try baking soda. Not only is baking soda a universal cleaner, but it works just fine for your laundry as well. Plus, it's inexpensive and environment-friendly. I hardly ever use regular washing powder any more, and I'm satisfied with the results, more or less. I still think it's somewhat weaker than a regular detergent, but at least, it has no toxic ingredients as it's actually something you can eat:) If you have any experiences with baking soda, feel free to share!


  1. Post Alley CrackpotMarch 22, 2019 at 5:26 PM

    Baking soda works OK, but borax works even better.

    Then there's a little hack that's become popular because of cheap laundry soap bars from Mexico: mix borax and baking soda with some grated bits of Zote.

    Zote is a natural soap made with tallow, coconut oil, and citronella.

    You are fortunate to live in a place without free-ranging fungus: we have to wash everything with a cap of Dettol in the washer in order to keep fungus from growing on clothes and towels while they're drying.

  2. Hi and welcome to the blog! I've heard about borax but I''m afraid it's not sold over here. Baking soda also is more or less new, it wasn't sold in a supermarket before, you had to go to a Polish store to find it.

    About fungus, I heard folks complain about it. I'm not sure if it's the same as mold because I do have a problem with mold sometimes, we have to keep our bread refrigerated, for instance, and I even sometimes encountered it in my laundry basket, when many wet towels were put together at the same time.

    However, I've never had problems with it growing on clean towels which are hanging out to dry.

  3. Housewife OutdoorsMarch 23, 2019 at 5:48 AM

    Borax is not sold for individuals in EU, only for industry. It is concidered a poison. Also, using bar soap (that Zote) for laundry is not good for your laundry machine: at least you should clean it with citric acid very regularly. It can also make colours of loundry duller, because of the soap remains, one should use vinegar for fabric softener.

    I wonder how people managed to dry their laundry 50-100 years ago, when it was washed manually with no spinning that makes it almost dry? Well, most laundry was boiled in lye water, maybe that would solve the problem with fungus.

    I use regular but unscented and allergy-friendly detergent. But I might try baking soda, too. But the funny thing is that baking soda is hear more expensive than detergent and I have never seen that big packages. Washing soda is other thing, it is cheap and comes in big packages mut I t is not the same thing.

  4. Housewife OutdoorsMarch 23, 2019 at 5:58 AM

    BTW, have you noticed baking soda discolouring clothes? Because I have heard people use it on white laundry, to make it more white.

    And how much do you use?

  5. Housewife, thanks for the info. I'm not really keen on poisons, I do use chlorine sometimes, but chiefly switched to vinegar and soda. The package costs about 1.50euro if I'm not mistaken and the local supermarket has just recently started selling it. It's on the shelf with Polish and other ethnic stuff:)

    I have to add though that if you use vinegar and baking soda together, they will cancel each other, so if you use the vinegar as a softener, it should be added later.

    My laundry is drying outside in warm weather, otherwise I use the radiators to speed up the process. I've never yet had any problems with mold.

  6. About your second question, no I haven't.

    I aim to use about 1/2c but I'm not precise:) It's def less that the amount of detergent I was using before.

  7. Also, a scary story about commercial washing powders. Apparently, you can develop an allergic reaction to it all of a sudden, after years of use. I saw a lady in the supermarket once whose face looked as if she'd been beaten black and blue but it was allergy caused by laundry detergent! She was telling this story to the cash register girl so I overheard:)

  8. I agree about baking soda. It does a good job and so does white vinegar, which also keeps the machine and the pipes and drains clean! Left overnight in the toilet bowl and tank, cabd take out stubborn mineral staibs from water.ive left it in a cooking pan and it shines it.

  9. I made my own for a while of borax, Fels Naphtha soap and washing soda (which isn't the same as baking soda), but it couldn't get my husband's whites clean enough, so I went back to regular detergent. My husband has very oily skin and it takes a degreaser to get it out of his whites. Bleach only made them grayer, as bleach is not a grease remover. Each homemaker has to find what works for her specific situation. I like using vinegar in place of fabric softener as it removes all traces of the detergent and gives everything a nice clean smell. Keeps the machine from smelling musty too.

  10. Housewife OutdoorsMarch 24, 2019 at 6:35 AM

    I googled a bit and found a recipe that used baking soda, washing soda and salt. They said it should remove grease too.

    I actually have that grease problem with pillowcases: I used oils for my face and it feels regular detergent does not remove it very well, even if I wash with 90 degrees water (colours do suffer from that). Now I added some baking soda to detergent, we will see what it does.

    BTW I found out that one can find cheap baking soda for cleaning purposes here too. But of course it is not in the baking shelf, that's why I didn't know it exists.

    I had to switch to unscented detergent because the scents irritate my lungs. And even some unscented detergents do that, because they have their own scent, and some of them are actually really strong. So some less chemical-laden alternative would be nice.

    One more question: Have you dared to use baking soda with wool or silk? We have quite a lot of wool clothes and I wash them in machine.

  11. For years I have been using the cheapest detergent (meant for white clothes) our local supermarket has. I've used it for both whites and colours, btw, and I've never had any problems with the removal of grease, most stains, or anything else. And I never wash higher than at 70*C. I'm not sure if it's just unusually strong or whatever?

    I don't have many purely woolen garments, mostly it's some sort of an acrylic blend. Some are permanent press and can't be washed in the machine, but those which could, I didn't encounter any problems so far, but of course you need to judge for yourself:) I have ruined some very nice clothes by improperly washing through the years...

  12. SARAH HERE: You can also use ammonia in the wash water to get grease out of bedding. I use Fels Naptha bar soap and water on any stain.grease or otherwise before washing. With the machines that use very little water I make sure I rinse the soap out before putting it in the machine or at least flush it some. Are you talking about baking soda you use in baking or washing soda?? SARAH

  13. Hi Sarah, I have missed you!

    Thanks for your tips. I do mean baking not washing soda, which btw, seems to have disappeared from the supermarket shelf so that I'll probably have to go back to my all purpose detergent:)