The chemicals, fillers, fragrances, etc., in many mainstream washing powders are not what you want sticking to your clothes and touching your body all day. Nor are they the kind of thing we want washing into our waterways.

It takes about 5 minutes to get over the fact your clothes will smell less like a vanilla bean cross frangipani tree cross musk stick, and more like, ah, clothes.

There are so many reasons that I love using this washing powder recipe: the natural ingredients are superstars in the land of cleaning and washing, with grime-fighting, water-softening, stain-removing capabilities; one batch makes over 100 loads so the average person who does 5x loads a week will only need to make washing powder every 5-6 months; you’re washing machine is less likely to get slimy and gunky (only the companies who make fabric softener will tell you to use it. Washing machine manufacturers and repairmen will tell you it’s horrible stuff).

You’re convinced to give a whirl now, right?

Washing Powder

Makes: 3.3 kg | 7.3 lb Prep time: < 5 min.


 4 cups | 1040 g | 2.3 lb sodium carbonate (washing soda)

4 cups | 880 g | 1.9 lb borax

3 cups | 840 g | 1.9 lb fine salt

3 cups | 420 g | 14.8 oz fine soap powder (see recipe notes)

½ cup | 140 g | 4.9 oz sodium bicarbonate (bicarb)

2-3 drops of essential oils (optional, per use)

My choice of essential oils…

My favourite essential oils in this recipe are lemon and eucalyptus, but don’t be limited by my suggestions. Use oils that fit your budget, or those that you already have in your collection. Read here for more information.


1. Add all ingredients to a large bucket and mix until combined.

2. Transfer into container of choice.

To Use

If you’re using essential oils, add drops to 1 tablespoon of washing powder and add directly to washing machine (best added to designated compartment). Wash on your usual setting; warm water is only marginally more effective than cold. If you have a particularly large or heavily soiled load, use 2 tablespoons of powder. Check out my Fabric Softener recipe too.

Want to ditch the borax?

While I am comfortable using natural borax for cleaning applications (check out this blog post), you might prefer to avoid it. If so, just leave it out – simple. I don’t notice much of a difference in cleaning results.

Recipe Notes

I recommend sourcing the purest laundry soap you can find – check the ingredients panels and watch for fragrance especially. I use pure coconut soap powder, or castile soap powder. If you are buying soap in a block, make sure it is milled to a very fine consistency.

Less is more. Don’t go adding too much of this powder to your wash as it won’t make a difference. Occasionally you may need to spot treat stains, or soak clothing, but you would have to do that with regular commercial powders too.

If your machine can only take liquid, check out my Liquid Laundry Detergent recipe.

I trust that you will make the decision on whether this formula is suitable for your washing machine. I cannot take any responsibility if your washing machine doesn’t agree with this recipe.

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.


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