When it comes to washing our clothes, we all have our own way of doing things.
Some of us separate our colours, some of us only use washing tablets, some of us pop in a bit of scent booster or Zoflora… there are close to hundreds of options when it comes to cleaning your laundry!
If you’re looking to go eco or just want an alternative for washing powder we’ve got something for you.
These alternatives can be used if you’re looking for something cheaper or more eco-friendly, or if you run out of washing powder and need something else to use at short notice.
Alternatives to Washing Powder
Washing tabs and pods are a much more efficient way to apply a detergent to your wash.
There’s no messy powder clogged inside the washing machine drawer and you don’t get the risk of overdosing your washing, which can result in damage to certain fabrics, not to mention the impact on the environment.
Despite the useful nature of washing tablets, they are still adding chemicals into the water system and in turn causing harm to marine life. Therefore, it’s worth considering natural and eco-friendly alternatives.
1. Soap nuts – A natural alternative to washing powder
If you want to keep all of your laundry day products as natural as possible, you can’t get better than soap nuts, as they grow on trees in the Himalayas.
Soap nuts have been used for centuries in India and Nepal and not only do they leave your washing fresh and clean, but they are great for sensitive skin! You only need a small handful of nutshell halves (around 4 or 5) for each wash and they can be reused a number of times. A 1 kg bag should suffice for around 100 washes!
Salveo Natural Indian Soap Nuts
Ecozone Soap Nuts
How to use soap nuts
- Pop 4-5 shells into a small cotton bag – these are usually provided when you purchase soap nuts. If not, these little cotton drawstring bags would be ideal.
- Close the drawstring and loosely tie the strings together in a bow – just so the nuts don’t fall out.
- Place the bag inside your drum on top of the wash load and carry out your normal wash!
- Re-use these soap nuts multiple times until you notice they are no longer lathering.
2. Laundry eggs – A cheaper alternative to washing powder
If you want a washing tool which will help you save lots of money, not to mention lowering your chemical output when doing the laundry, then a laundry ball or laundry egg might be the option for you.
These eggs or balls contain hypoallergenic cleaning pellets which can be used in multiple washes – some even claim to work for up to 1000 washes!
Eco Egg Laundry Egg
ECO SPIN Laundry Washing Ball 1000 Washes
How to use an Eco Egg
- When you first receive your eco egg, you will have to add in the pellets – the instructions will tell you how many packets you need to add.
- Once the pellets are inside, twist your egg back together and lock in place.
- Pop the eco egg on top of your laundry inside the drum and start your normal wash cycle.
- Once the pellets have depleted, you will need to refill the egg. If you run out of pellets, you can buy them separately, check out these Spring Blossom scented pellets for 50 washes.
3. Eco laundry liquid – an environmentally friendly alternative to washing powder
You can buy eco-friendly detergent from a number of eco shops and also from those great refill stations which often opt for more environmentally-friendly cleaning products.
These detergents are made with more natural ingredients, have recyclable packaging and use no artificial colours or brighteners.
Ecoleaf, Ecover and Ecozone are probably the most well-known eco cleaning brands in the UK at the moment, but there are plenty of new environmentally conscious cleaning brands popping up all of the time.
Ecozone Ultra-Concentrated Non-Bio Laundry Liquid 5 Litres
Botanical Origin Concentrated Eco Laundry Detergent 1.6 Litres
These eco washing powder alternatives can be used in exactly the same way that you use your current detergent or washing powder, but they are much better for our earth and oceans! You can also get eco-friendly detergent pods, which make dosing a doddle!
Ecozone Non-Bio Laundry Capsules
4. DIY washing detergent – A homemade alternative to washing powder
To save money and be sure of exactly which ingredients are in your washing powder alternative, you could try making your own detergent. You don’t need many ingredients and they’re all really natural, so won’t harm the environment!
How to make your own laundry detergent
Here’s a great homemade washing detergent recipe we found on YouTube:
This should make 750 ml of detergent:
- 1 tbsp Soda Crystals
- 1 tbsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1 tbsp Epsom Salts
- Fill near to the top with warm tap water and shake
- Add 2 tbsp of liquid Castille Soap
- 5-10 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil (or choose your favourite scent)
- Top up with tap water and gently shake
You can also wash your clothes by using a combination of bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar, lavender oil, and tea tree oil. Baking soda helps to remove stubborn odours and reacts with the cleansing powers of white vinegar to form a really great natural way to wash clothes.
Adding essential oils means your laundry will smell just like your favourite scent – be careful not to add too much, as oils can build up in your washing machine over time.
White vinegar has so many amazing cleaning properties, it can be used all over the house – just take a look at our post which details 5 ways that white vinegar can make cleaning cheaper and easier!
How to use vinegar in laundry
You will need:
- 8 tbsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 120 ml White vinegar
- 10-20 drops of essential oil
- Place the measured bicarbonate of soda into the drum with your clothes
- Mix your white vinegar with your chosen essential oil drops
- Pour the vinegar and essential oil mix into the fabric softener tray within the washing machine drawer
- Run your normal washing cycle!
A brief history of washing powder
Washing powder has been around for decades and has been used to wash many garments, bedsheets and towels, even to this day. It was first developed in 1907 to be used as a replacement for more traditional soap and was used in the first-ever electric washing machine, The Thor, in 1908.
The 1930s saw washing powder take over as the preferred method to wash laundry and households all over the world were discovering the benefits of this powdered detergent.
However, there was a huge disadvantage to the use of these chemicals for washing – the environment could not cope with the sheer volume of wash water being produced from people’s homes. Changes were made and recommended dosing was introduced.
Developments of washing powder
In the 1960s washing powder was compacted to create washing tablets and since then we have seen many developments with regards to laundry detergents. Many cleaning brands have their own washing tablets or pods, which mean that our washing detergent can be measured and regulated.
So there you have it, multiple alternatives to washing powder for you to try at home. Our favourite washing powder alternative on this list is the Eco Egg, as we love how much money this could save you over time and the fact that it is eco-friendly – it’s a win-win!
In The Wash is your guide to the best laundry and cleaning products, tips and tricks. Our mission is to solve the UK’s cleaning and laundry dilemmas!