Thursday, 10 May 2012

Trialing different frugal laundry liquids

After a very wet night and very little sleep, today dawned damp but warm. Just been to top up with food ready for next week's menu. Might actually make it this month, or very near to it on the old food challenge.

Had our ex-school colleagues around last night for our half/termly meet up. We had the usual Chinese, coming in at £8 each including £1 towards the booze for next time! T. is coming around this afternoon to learn how to make sloe vodka (using some frozen sloes).

When hubby said good morning this morning I thought something was different about him. As I was half asleep due to still being awake at 5.00am, it took a while to work it out. A partial black eye, nowt to do with me, I wasn't even in the same room last night! Might be his medication so will keep a record of it.

On a completely different subject, I have noticed a very slight 'grey' tinge on my white towels (though nothing else pale seems affected) using the soda based frugal laundry liquid. I had been told this might happen. I thought I would have a look at what the differences are, between using soap and washing soda crystals to make my laundry liquid, or soap and borax substitute.

The claims for each are mentioned below:

Washing Soda Borax Substitute
Bio-degradable Eco-Friendly
Softens Water Softens Water
Stain Remover Stain Remover
Grease remover Grease Remover



Mild Bleach Effect

It is the mild bleaching effect that caught my eye, so today I made some 'whites' only laundry liquid using Borax Substitute rather than
Soda Crystals.

I timed myself from beginning to grate the soap until I had poured it into containers and it took just 20 minutes. Borax Substitute works out a little more expensive at 3p per cup (or 200mls) for a wash as opposed to 1p per cup (or 200ml) for Soda Crystals. Still very good value for money though.

Grate 1/2 bar of soap and add it to 1 litre cold water in a large pan (you need a large pan to add the water at the end or could tip the warm liquid into a bucket then add cold water). DO NOT LET IT BOIL.

When it has melted, remove from the heat and stir/whisk in 1/2 cup (around 3 oz) of Borax Substitute - (for my coloured wash I use Soda Crystals instead). Make sure it has all dissolved.

Finally, add 3 litres of cold water. Stir/whisk quickly then decant into storage containers. I use 4 litre milk containers.

One immediate difference making it was that it became gel like very quickly as I added the Borax to the soap and water in my pan.

The second difference was when I add my 3 litres of cold water at the end. It seemed to behave as normal but by the time I had got my 2 storage containers, funnel and jug ready, it was almost set. I had to give it a good whisk before decanting and before it was completely cool, it was set.

One of the first things you learn about making laundry liquid is:

It usually sets like a jelly so leave enough room in your storage container to give it a good shake before use.

It often separates with the soap part floating to the top. Again, nothing to worry about, give it a good shake before use.

Anyhow, I have only used it once so far so will let you know if there is a difference.


  1. The vaoue for money is excellent. When I get the time its something I will try!

    Youmake it sound dead simple. Where do you get your soda crystals and borax from? Do you use any old soap to grate into the water?

    1. Hi, if you go to my cleaning sections in labels (bottom right of my page), I do a better tutorial on making it in larger quantities. You can use scraps of soap that are left over. I usually buy 4 blocks for around £1 then cut them in half as and when I want them. I tend to use non-moisturized soap. Soda crystals are available everywhere - all supermarkets, Wilkinsons etc. Borax Substitute is more difficult to find but you can buy it online - just try and get the cheapest one you can (including P & P) otherwise it puts the price up more. All things can be bought from an online company called Summer Naturals but you need to buy quite a few things as their P & P is expensive (courier delivered).


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