Washing Powder and Gel in the Thermomix

A friend on Facebook put out the challenge a while ago to Go Green in all areas of cleaning and housekeeping. One of the areas she talked about was washing powder and she inspired me to give it a go and I haven’t looked back!  For the last 8 months I have been making my own, I have tried both the powder and gel and can not make up my mind which one I like best, so I rotate between the two. I am sure the savings are huge, I have yet to work out exactly what they are. Plus I know what is going into it and there are no fragrances and any ingredients to affect my daughter who has sensitive skin. Neither the powder or gel will create suds. I have adapted her recipe to make it in the Thermomix since grating the soap by hand did not appeal to me at all, and have since found lots of wonderful different recipes readily available on the net.  This is how I do it, and I am always open to new and quicker ways if anyone has any ideas to share.  🙂

Washing Powder

1 Sunlight (or pure) soap, roughly chopped
1/2 bar of Sard (or stain removing) soap, roughly chopped
200g Borax
315g Washing Soda (powder)

Chop the soap for approx 30 seconds on Speed 7.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together on Speed 7 for approx 20 seconds until it is evenly combined.

Use 2 – 3 heaped tablespoons per wash.

Notes: I always make a double batch to save time, but only put one quantity in the Thermomix at a time so you don’t overload the machine or the blades.  A double quantity fits perfectly in a 2 litre ice-cream container.

Washing Gel

1 bar of Sunlight soap, chopped roughly
1 litre water
½ cup washing soda
½ cup Borax
1 litre boiling water
8 litres of cold water
10 litre bucket with lid

Grate soap, 10 seconds speed 7.

Add 1 litre water & cook on 100 degrees for 10 mins speed 1 or until the soap has dissolved.

Pour the hot soap mixture into a 10 litre bucket and add washing soda, borax and 1 litre boiling water. Stir until washing soda and borax are dissolved and starting to thicken. Slowly add the last 9 litres of water, whisking as you go to keep it smooth.

Notes: Mixture will turn to a ‘gel’ as it cools. I use a cup (or a bit less) in a large load of washing. I store mine in a nappy bucket with a lid.  For tough stains, pour a little of the gel directly onto stain and rub it in, then add garment into the wash.


Updated 7/09/2012:

Here is a photo of the ingredients I use to make the powder and gel

The amounts I have listed above to add into your wash is for top loader washing machines. For front loaders you can half that amount.

Both mixes, the powder and gel, will not sud up like commercial  products as you add it to your machine.


Price Breakdown to make one batch: Sunlight soap $0.68, Borax $1.74, Washing soda $1.26, Sard soap $1.24.
Which comes to $4.92 kg
Using 2 tablespoons (30g) per wash.
That gives you approx 33 loads at .15 cents per wash.


Added 16/12/2013
I have since found that I can buy a much more natural borax in bulk and washing soda in bulk cheaper from Blants than I can from the supermarket, cutting the cost down even more to $0.91 per batch! Dropping the cost down to .12 cents per wash. The Blants borax is “authentic natural borax harvested from ancient deep Mediterranean deposits, free of fragrances, and other additional chemicals.

Here is the link to read more about it if you are concerned about using Borax.

Domestic Diva- Blants products for making washing powder

I love my latest purchase! I found this laundry container from Spotlight for $19.95. I managed to fit 6 quantities of the powder into it. Remember to make each quantity separately so you don’t over work the machine. I think this looks great on my laundry shelf, better than an old ice cream container any day!

Domestic Diva: Washing Powder Tin





  1. lisa moore says

    Would I be able to use this homemade soap powder in my front loader washing machine. I don’t have a thermomix what else can I use to make it into a powder.

    • Hi Lisa, yes you can use this powder in front loaders, just half the amount. I have not made it without a Thermomix as I believe the only way to do it is to grate the soap by hand.

    • Lisa, I have made the powder recipe in a food processer with the grater function and whizzed everything in there all together. Just waiting on my thermomix to arrive so I can make it soo much easier to make. Yay.

  2. I make the gel recipe all the time. I grate a box of soap with the grating blade on the food processor. Then put soap and 1litre water in pot, heat n stir till melted. Then add borax and washing soda and stir on heat till thick. Then top up pot (10 litre pot) with hot tap water and stir. When it cools it is very thick so I mix it up with my hand/stick blender. 🙂

  3. Where do you buy washing soda?

    • Hi Tara, you can buy washing soda from most supermarkets in the laundry isle, but I find I have more luck getting it from Coles than anywhere else.

  4. Ashleigh says

    The water from my washing machine goes on to my lawn…. is borax okay to use still??

    • Hi Ashleigh, In my searches on this, it is recommended that you use “Use detergents that are biodegradable, low in phosphorus, sodium, boron, chloride and borax” for grey water systems. To be honest, there is no list of what is considered low levels anywhere to gauge it. To me only using 2 tablespoons per wash seems a very little amount… please let me know how you go if you try it.

    • hi Ashleigh,
      I have read recently on the ‘down to earth blog spot’ that if you use your grey water from your laundry for your garden to just leave out the borax.

    • I just know borax is used in ant killer

  5. Does anyone know if you can use the powder or gel for washing woollens and delicate fabrics like silk.

    • Hi Joyce, I have successfully used both the powder and gel on woollens and other delicate fabrics on a gentle wool cycle in my machine. I have not washed silks with it as I don’t own any… but I do not see why it would be a problem.

  6. We are a soap free household what can I use as a soap substitute

    • Hi Mary, I have not tried a soap free variation. What do your usually use to replace your bathroom soap with? Could that be used with the other ingredients? I know there are recipes out there that just use baking soda, washing soda, epsom salts, salt and lots of other variants. But I have not tried it as yet, so don’t know how effective they actually are.

  7. My partner is a plant mechanic, so comes home covered in diesel, oil and god knows what else. Is this strong enough to clean his clothes do you think?

  8. How do you ensure the thermomix is clean enough for food use after using it to make the washing powder? I would really like to make this but concerned.

    • Hi Kerrie, It actually gives the Thermomix a very good clean. It washes up well once I have finished making it, I just pull it apart and give it a good wash under the blades to remove all the soap residue. It always come up sparking clean afterwards and and have not had a problem using the bowl for food straight after.

  9. Is it possible to put essential oils in the gel to give it a nice fragrance?

    • Hi Shannon, by all means you can put essential oils in the gel if your family can tolerate them ok. I have left them out on purpose as my children get reactions from them.

  10. Can either of them be used in cold water

  11. Tracey Gould says

    Hi Rona – I have made both the washing powder and gel now, and think I prefer the gel….but, do have a question. My gel now seems to be swimming in water. Is this normal? Doesn’t seem to affect its effectiveness, but I’m not sure if I have perhaps done something wrong. Thanks!

    • Hi Tracey, I have had that happen occasionally when I make the gel also, I have not found a cause for it and it doesn’t affect how it washes either. I just give it a good stir before using it. 🙂

  12. I would like to make the gel, but how much do you use per wash in front loader.

  13. Thank you so much for this! Does anyone know if it would be ok for washing MCNs (modern cloth nappies)??? Can’t wait to try it.

    • Hi Jessica. I personally haven’t tried the washing powder or gel with cloth nappies, all my kids are past this stage, but it should be fine. Please let me know how you go 🙂

      • Will do. I wonder if the Sard will cause a film on the nappies as they say not to use brighteners, fabric softeners etc. Will let you know how I get on.
        Thanks again.

        • I spoke with my MCN distributor and she advised against using home made washing powers that are soap based.. apparently the soap will build up on the outside of the Nappy and also affect the absorbency of your soaker pad set 🙁
          So I use a low enzyme “Earth Choice” washing powder for my Nappies.

  14. When you say 1 pure soap, you mean one bar? I bought ‘Velvet’ – looks very similar to the one in your photo, and it has 4 soaps in it.

  15. There is a lot of contraverse regarding borax. Is there any Natural & safe substitute?

    • I buy my borax from Blants now, I have included that in an update at the bottom of the post. They state “Why settle for a synthetic man-made alternative when BLANTs Super-Naural Borax is an authentic Natural Borax harvested from ancient deep Mediterranean deposits, free of fragrances, and other additional chemicals” Here is the link if you are interested. http://www.blants.com.au/content/natural-pure-borax

  16. Hi,
    Im 9 weeks off having a baby and am keen to try making my own washing powder or gel. Would either of these be too harsh on a baby (particuarly newborns) clothes? Or would you think it would be sensitive enough?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Vanessa, congratulations! Hoping the 9 weeks go quickly for you.
      I have been using this washing powder for a few years now, and I wish I had known about it when my kids were babies. They are sensitive, especially one of them, and I would have preferred to use this powder as my daughter got rashes from commercial ones I tried. I would suggest making it before bub arrives and see how you find it for yourself. 🙂

  17. i am very interested in making and using this for my family of 5, but I’m concerned it would fade my expensive clothing. Thoughts?

    • Hi Kim, My clothes have not faded since I have been using this washing powder, but I will also say that my clothes line is not in full sun, so they don’t get faded by the sun which I think is the main cause of that issue.

  18. I am interested in the difference in soaps between the powder and gel, ie: no ‘sard’ in the gel. Is there a particular reason for this or could you use half sunlight and half sard?

    • Hi Narelle, You can add 1/2 bar of the sards soap into the gel if you like (I have tried this), it will just add a bit more extra stain removing power. I also found if I had a stubborn stain, a little bit of the washing gel directly onto the stain before putting in the wash helped. 🙂

  19. Hi Rona, I make my own laundry soap, do you think it will work the same? Instead of the Sunlight soap

  20. What does Borax add to the laundry powder? I make mine without Borax. I also have a slug system on my property.

  21. Casandra says

    Hi this looks great. Which is better for kids stains / gel or powder. I have a front loader. Currently use Omo powder. but costs $30 for 5kg.

    Just seeing if anyone knows also if the gel is ok for front loaders?

    • Hi Casandra,
      Both work well to get stains out and are fine for front loaders, when I make the gel I place a little on a tough stain and rub in it before putting it in the wash. Just halve the amount per wash. Making it yourself is definitely a much cheaper option. 🙂

      • Hi Thanks you so much for your washing powder recipe, made it the other day and used it for the first time yesterday.

        It is absolutely amazing, my whites and Colours where actually brighter than normal, got all my kids stains out, l was very skeptical at giving it a go as l have always used omo small and mighty, – but would have to say this is BETTER well done.

  22. Why not omit the last 9 litres of water and just use less?? Would make it easier to store and a higher concentrated detergent.

    • Hey Kerry, it would be incredibly thick and very concentrated without the 9 litres of water. It may be easier to store but may be harder to dissolve in each wash.

  23. With the Washing Gel. Just seeing why their is no sard in it for stains?
    Does it need it. Want to make this for my nana.

    • Hi Cas, I found that the gel doesn’t really need it. You can add it if you prefer, just add some more water as it will make it even thicker.

  24. Can I buy Sunlight soap in Sydney – don’t think I have ever seen it.

  25. Hi we are not on tank water so need this to be grey water friendly. Thanks

    • Hi Kathy,
      Yes it is if you use this borax and not the one from the supermarket. The borax I buy from Blants is a much more natural and pure form than from the supermarket which is chemical based (plus cheaper). It is an “authentic Natural Borax harvested from ancient deep Mediterranean deposits, free of fragrances, and other additional chemicals”. Here is a link to their info page about it which will answer more of your question. http://www.blants.com.au/natural-pure-borax

  26. Sorry that is we are on tank water

  27. Hi just wondering can you use any soap or does it have to be pure soap

    • Hi, I have not tried it with another soap, the pure sunlight soap I use is specifically for “laundry, kitchen and personal use”. It doesn’t have lots of fragrance or extra ingredients in it, making it perfect for washing powder (especially those with sensitive skin). You could try another soap, but sorry I could not tell you from personal experience how reliable it would be in cleaning your clothes or removing stains.

  28. Hi guys, I have a bo of lux flakes, I guess they will be just as good at the sunlight soap……Can you please tell me how much to use (what is the weight of the bars you are using)???
    Oh, by the way, there is a lot of misinformation out there re the borax, Particularly at the levels it is being used in this mix. I live on a farm and have always used borax with no problems. If you were to ingest a larg quantity then you may have a problem. We use it heaps with honey to solve our ant problems.


  29. Hi. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Just a question about Sard. I understood it’s some kind of stain removal agent, but we don’t have it in Germany. Could you please tell me what exactly it is.
    As far as borax is concerned, I have read about the one you linked to and to be honest all they wrote about their “natural” borax is only a load of marketing bullsh…
    There’s absolutely no difference between pure borax made in a lab and pure borax found under the sea. You only have to check that nothing has been added to the lab made borax. As for the “natural” borax, that could also be “contaminated” by other chemicals, because chemical elements are very, very rarely found as a completely pure deposit. And they don’t write about the environmental impact their harvesting and probably cleaning has on the mediterranean.
    Doesn’t mean you should’t buy it, but it’s something tothink about. Just my two cents. I’ll step off my soap box now.

  30. Hi Rona,
    My mum has a stack of soap from a batch she wasn’t happy with that she wants to grate for laundry powder instead, and I’ve offered her my thermomix for it… can you tell me, roughly how small do you chop it?

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