Where can I find washing soda and some of the other supplies mentioned?
Washing soda can be found in the laundry aisle of most Walmarts and many regular grocery stores. It is also available online from vendors such as Amazon.
Borax is also found in the laundry aisle of most stores.
Castile soap can be found online at websites such as Vitacost. The bar soap may be carried by your local Walmart, grocery store, or drugstore. Our momsAWARE Online Store offers an excellent coconut castile in both bar and grated forms, as well as an old-fashioned laundry soap uniquely designed for more effective cleaning.
Can the homemade powdered laundry soap be used in high-efficiency machines?
Yes, we have seen it used successfully with HE machines.
What type of washing machine is recommended for mold avoidance?
Top loading offers better ventilation since the top can remain open. A stainless steel basket is ideal. Clean the machine regularly with hydrogen peroxide.
What can I use as a bleaching agent?
Hydrogen peroxide is often used for this purpose. Food grade hydrogen peroxide is stronger than the 3% version found in stores. It is 35% hydrogen peroxide and is very strong. It must be handled carefully and diluted before using. Examples of available food grade hydrogen peroxide can be found on eBay.
Seventh Generation has a non-chlorine bleach which is made with hydrogen peroxide and deionized water.
What can I use for a fabric softener and/or replacement for dryer sheets?
White vinegar makes an excellent softening agent. Add 1/2 cup to the rinse cycle.
For added fragrance, place an essential oil of choice on a wet washcloth or rag and place in dryer with clothing.
What can I add to help with mold smells on towels and clothing?
Tea tree oil is an excellent antibacterial agent. Add several drops to the rinse cycle. Add 1/2 c. baking soda to the laundry soap for added protection.
I read that borax is toxic to plants. Is this true?
Yes, borax can be hazardous, so it's best used sparingly. The homemade laundry and dishwashing powder recipes we feature here use minimal amounts of borax. See our article Borax: Friend or Foe? for more information on the safety concerns of using borax in the home.