I first discovered the joys of laundry gloop when I was pregnant with my first child, back in 2003, and was starting to look for ways to reduce our household’s exposure to artificial substances that could potentially harm my newborn, plus saving money as I was about to go on maternity leave.

I planned to use washable nappies so I knew washing could become a major household expense if I didn’t find a viable alternative!

This was the recipe I found and have used almost ever since.

It leaves no artificial ‘scent’ on the washing, which basically means no chemicals for your baby to be inhaling as the heat of their body warms the clothing and nappy they are wearing and releases more of the chemicals that are used in scented washing powders.


  • 8oz/250g washing soda (also known as soda crystals)
  • 1 bar of cheap white, unscented soap
  • Hot water


  • 8oz/250g borax (available on Amazon/Ebay), or borax substitute. This gives extra stain/smell removing properties.
  • Essential oil – lavender or a citrus one are nice.


  • Large saucepan
  • Jug for measuring water
  • Cheese grater
  • Scales for weighing soda crystals
  • Wooden spoon for stirring
  • Lidded container large enough for storing the gloop quantity you are making


  1. Set a couple of litres/4 pints of water heating up in the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, grate the soap with the cheese grater (or to save energy and time if making a large batch, I use the grating attachment with my 1994 model Moulinex food processor!).
  3. Add grated soap, washing soda (and borax, if using) into the warmed water.
  4. Stir until thoroughly dissolved.
  5. Add further hot water to make up to 4 or 5 litres total.
  6. Add the essential oil, if using.
  7. Pour into your chosen storage container(s).  It becomes jelly-like as it cools, so pour it whilst it’s still warm.

To use: put half to one cup in the washing machine DRUM (not the drawer) on top of the washing – we scoop it out of the storage tub with a plastic dosing cup that came free with some laundry detergent we bought once as a one-off when I was feeling too unwell to make some gloop.

To keep your whites white don’t mix them with any coloured washing, and hang them outside to dry where the oxygen in the air will act as a bleaching agent.

A 1kg bag of soda crystals costs about £1.00 (2018 prices), and a bar of Tesco value soap is 25p.

As each batch only uses 1/4 of the soda crystals, a single batch will cost just 50p!

We use a 15-litre fermenting bin we bought from eBay to store our gloop so we can make up several batches at once.

The last lot we made (3 batches worth, costing the equivalent of £1.50) was 7 months ago and we still have several weeks worth of washing gloop left!

We wash most days as we have a toddler in nappies, so you can see just how cost-effective the gloop is!

The essential oils are optional but if you’re only spending £1.50 every 7 months or so on your laundry, you could splash out on some!

Although we have tended to find that most of the scent has all but disappeared by the time the washing has been hung outside.

Leave it to set and once it’s done, it could still be quite soft or even a solid mass.

It just depends on the amount of water you added, whether you added any extras, how heavy the bar of soap was etc.

If it’s TOO solid, it might not dissolve easily in the washing machine, so I just get my hand in there and break it up:


Photo by Caspar Rubin on Unsplash

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