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Make your own laundry soaker to strip wash your clothes

I chose to make my own napisan (or soaker) with sodium carbonate, borax and a low-tox washing liquid.

Basically, I wanted to give some clothes, sheets and pillows a ‘strip wash’. That is, reset the clothes back to factory settings. Ridding everything of soap build up or ineffective washing. And I wanted to do that all low-tox!

If you frequently use a DIY washing powder you will need to do this now and then. Or, at the opposite end of the scale, if you use highly toxic and fragrances in washing powders you might want to get rid of some of it.

3 ingredients

Sodium carbonate – highly alkaline, caustic and acts as a solvent.

Borax – while it has many uses, in the laundry it is used for brightening laundry, softening hard water, removing soap residue, neutralising laundry odours, disinfecting, and stain removal. If you’re worried about Borax (because it can get a bad wrap, then go here, have a read and decide for yourself).

doTERRA On Guard washing liquid – because it contains surfactants, enzymes, and stabilizers from sustainable natural-based sources.

How to

Fill your sink or the bath (if you’re using the bath you may need more products) with hot water.

  • 2 tablespoons of sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda)
  • 1 tablespoon borax
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent (you can use anything, but I do prefer low-tox)
  • I used a few drops of lemon essential oil because it brightens clothes

Let it soak for 2-4 hours, swishing it around occasionally.

Then wring out, wash through your machine on a water only cycle.

Repeat the soaking process again if you think it needs it.

Gross!! But I have to show you the gross photo so you can see THIS STUFF ACTUALLY WORKS.

After you’ve strip washed, then make sure you’re using a really good washing liquid moving forward. I use the doTERRA washing liquid because it attaches itself to dirt, but also to the water used to clean, allowing the dirt to be washed away – read more about that here.

I also use this fabric softener. Vinegar will bring your whites back to life! Here’s another posts on making your whites white again.

Happy washing!

♥ KC.

You might like some more cleaning posts here.


  • Alissa Dimov

    Hi Katrina, found you by searching pinterest for “Laundry Soaker” and surprisingly you were the only one! Maybe it’s called something else in America? Haven’t been able to buy my usual eco-friendly soaker, and thought there must be a cheap & easy way to DIY. I don’t have the On Guard detergent, but I do have the cleaning concentrate (LOVE!!) Do you think it would work as well? With 2 boys and a 10 month old baby girl, there’s always something needing soaking!

  • Alina

    Will it whiten dingy, yellow whites? Thank you.

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