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Washing Powder - what is it?
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hedgewitch



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Posts: 5834
Location: Daft wench GHQ
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I wasn't very scientific about how much to use I put some in the drawer and it got the clothes clean and seemed to rinse away OK. I would've adjusted if I'd had dirty clothes or soap not rinsing out.

Just checked the pack and it gives measures by weight for a machine wash -

30g for soft water
40g for medium water
50g for hard water

lottie



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 5059
Location: ceredigion
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Thanks hedgewitch and judith for advice----think i'll give it a [cautious ] try

nettie



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 5888
Location: Suffolk
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

I use sarah D's recipe of 6oz soap flakes, 2 cups of borax and 2 cups of washing soda, plus then a few drops of my favourite essential oils. I like this recipe as I do worry about the soap flakes clogging the machine up. Having said that though I've had no problems in 2 years and do the occasional hot wash to rinse the machine through.

With soap flakes you do have to do an exra rinse on dark washing to get rid of any residue. But I must say using the home made stuff gets a lot better results than Ecover.

hedgewitch



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Posts: 5834
Location: Daft wench GHQ
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Oh - I should say that I wash at 40 degrees too - I think 2steps asked about that.

And I do an empty cycle every few months - when I remember - on the hottest cycle to clear everything out.

marigold



Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 12458
Location: West Sussex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Why do an empty cycle for the hot clear-out wash? I put my tea towels through on a hot wash from time to time, so the cycle isn't wasted.

I use the same recipe as Nettie, or Surcare (non-stinky) liquid.

hedgewitch



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Posts: 5834
Location: Daft wench GHQ
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

marigold wrote:
Why do an empty cycle for the hot clear-out wash? I put my tea towels through on a hot wash from time to time, so the cycle isn't wasted.


Dunno. Thought it had to be empty. To be honest, I've never given it that much thought. I was just pleased I'd managed to remember to do something about good care of at least one appliance

kevin.vinke



Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 1304
Location: Niedersachsen, Germany
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Just tried a towel load with my deep fat fryer soap and a dash of vinegar feels much softer and just sort of smells clean.
Just got to persuad OH.

hedgewitch



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Posts: 5834
Location: Daft wench GHQ
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Something I noticed was that things like towels and socks were much softer. I like that

Mrs Fiddlesticks



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 10460

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

what effect would having hard water have on the soap flakes and my machine?

I use either Ecover, Clear Spring or Enviro clean depending on what I see in the shops at the time. They're all low scented and eco friendly but not cheap.

hedgewitch



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Posts: 5834
Location: Daft wench GHQ
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Mrs Fiddlesticks wrote:
what effect would having hard water have on the soap flakes and my machine?

I use either Ecover, Clear Spring or Enviro clean depending on what I see in the shops at the time. They're all low scented and eco friendly but not cheap.


My local 'sells everything' shop was selling washing soda as well as soap flakes and I think maybe a combination.

I've honestly never lived anywhere with hard water, so I haven't a clue, really

kevin.vinke



Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 1304
Location: Niedersachsen, Germany
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

If I understand correctly hard water cuts down on the foam. I seem to remember hearing that if you bring your shampoo on hols from a hard water area and you go to soft water area you end up with a foam party it's formulated for different areas... could be an urbanmyth though

nettie



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 5888
Location: Suffolk
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Mrs Fiddlesticks wrote:
what effect would having hard water have on the soap flakes and my machine?

I use either Ecover, Clear Spring or Enviro clean depending on what I see in the shops at the time. They're all low scented and eco friendly but not cheap.


I've got hard water and no probs so far, apart from having to do the extra rinse on the dark stuff.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

Laundry soap powders are, mostly, soap or other detergent. The way its manufactured is quite fun, I believe, involving dissolving a really thick solution and spraying it in a tower to make flakes. Or I could be imagining that.

Anyhoo, they also contain other stuff. Optical brightners have been alluded to already. What they do is they absorb uv light, and fluoresce blue light. Thats why a newly laundered white shirt looks neat in UV light, and its why such powders make things look 'whiter than white'. Largely also part cultural; such additives aren't used in all countries, so for example in Italy a yellow appearance is considered the ideal for whites, so they put something else in.

I've just checked Wikipedia, and heres something on optical brightners:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_brightener
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbelliferone

Umbelliferone is a 'natural' product. Harmless I'd have thought.

Lots of other goodies in there too. Phosphate is included as a water softener; hard water is all to do with calcium ions, and calcium phosphate crashes out of solution every time the two ions run into each other, softening the water. I should think thats partly what borax is for too, and while phosphate isn't a good thing for the environment at all (rather makes rivers go green and gooey, along with nitrate) I'm personally happier with phosphate than with borax, as the latter is way, way nastier. The phosphate also gets the pH right for the wash, and that function has been replaced in many powders with other buffers; again, borax helps, but other choices are carbonates.

You also get biologicals. Typically from Bacillus bacteria that can grow at a higher temperature, these enzymes break up fat and protein particles. In a low (up to 40C temperature wash) they really, really do work very well; try washing at an even lower temperature (30C) if you're using a biological powder, it'll get rid of grease spots you'd otherwise think hard to remove.

Bare in mind that very often modern soap powders are so good that they make clothes feel very, very dry; they're so good at removing stains and oils that we've got a whole other product (softener) to put the fat back in, to soften the fabric. The downside of washing things and having them left soft is that you haven't got them as clean. Very often thats just fine, of course (does it matter if things aren't all squeaky clean), but its worth remembering.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

judith wrote:

I use my home-made soap which doesn't produce a lot of bubbles - I can't vouch for more bubbly soaps though.


Soap bubbles aren't the bits that clean of course, but they do aid in taking the dirt away. For a washing machine it isn't what you want, so a soap that you're using wants to be 'flat.

I've dabbled with my own soap here in Cambridge, its okay in the machine, but when I've used that soap in soft water areas for washing myself I get masses of foam so I don't know what to reccomend for elsewhere; may I ask, whats in your soap Judith, and how is your water?

jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 35056
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 07 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
    

kevin.vinke wrote:
If I understand correctly hard water cuts down on the foam. I seem to remember hearing that if you bring your shampoo on hols from a hard water area and you go to soft water area you end up with a foam party it's formulated for different areas... could be an urbanmyth though


You just get used to using more if you live in a hard water area, so when you go to a soft area you do get heaps of foam because you pour too much out. I love soft water because I now have shiny taps and no water marks on the shower door. But it tastes carp

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