I chose Rhondas Heavy Duty Washing Powder to use first. It was brilliant. After chatting with some folks I decided to switch the borax for bicarb though as there are some apparent nasties in borax. I did this in the same quantities and it worked just as good.
So here goes the tutorial
What you will need:
2 cups soap flakes (1 bar of laundry soap will yield 2 cups)
2 cups Bicarb
2 cups Washing Soda
2 cups Napisan
Laundry Soap - You can buy Lux flakes if you like. I never have luck with Lux so I use laundry soap and grate it. I am currently using my own homemade soap for this but I used to use the homebrand laundry soap. Around $1.70 for 4 bars.
Bicarb - easy enough to find in the baking isle of the supermarket
Washing Soda - make sure it's the granulated stuff (looks a bit like Napisan) and not the stuff that looks like rock salt. I find Lectric Washing Soda in Woolworths here.
Napisan - my boys are grots so I need to add this in. I buy the cheapest homebrand stuff I can find. You can alternatively buy a bar of Sard soap and grate it if you wish.
You can leave out the Napisan if you don't need it, or even not put as much in if you'd like. I plan to reduce the amount that I use in there as the boys grow and become less messy too.
I have found that since adding the Napisan into the powder I don't have to soak the kids clothes any where near as much anymore. I always have a bucket with clothes soaking before, and now I'm lucky to have to soak something once a month.
Now I tend to make a double batch as I find a single batch uses half a packet of each of these items (except the soap) so by making a double batch it saves having half packets lying around, plus I need to make the powder less often for really only about an extra minute or twos work.
A close up of the ingredients.
Because I am using unscented soap I also add in some fragrance oil as I prefer that. For a double batch I'd use about 20-25mls.
First up in a large bowl (or I use two bowls making a double batch) add your soap flakes, or grate your soap.
Add your washing soda, bicarb and napisan.
This is a pic of the washing soda, this is what you want, not the rock salt looking stuff.
Mix all the ingredients together until well combined.
Now you may leave your washing powder like this if you like. However, some people have trouble with the soap dissolving properly. It was recommended to me to run my batch through a food processor to break up the soap more. I have done this since I first started and haven't had any issues.
I also add a few mills of fragrance oil before I blitz the powder so that it even distributes. for my machine I add 3mls per batch in the food processor or about 20-25mls all up for a double batch.
And this is what it will look like when it's all blitzed up. Just like normal washing powder.
A double batch yields about 3.2kgs of washing powder. I use only about 1 tablespoon (or about half a concentrate powders scoop) per wash. I use a cold wash for most of my washing and it works perfectly. This mix is also low suds so perfect for front loaders (which I have) and apparently it is also safe for MCN's.
A double batch probably lasts us a good couple of months and only takes about 30 mins to make.
I roughly worked out the pricing a while back, but will get new prices this week and post up. It is MUCH cheaper than buying it. Plus if you don't use the napisan in it, it's perfectly safe to use the greywater on your garden.
I really hope you give this a go. If you do please let me know