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Washing Soda Crisis Hits NZ

Posted by on Nov 9, 2009

I took myself to Bin Inn, Fitzroy, to find out from the owner, Kath Williams, what people have been saying about my MAKE homemade cleaning products behind my back.

So much for digging the dirt… apparently it’s all been very positive and popular.  In fact one of the core ingredients, washing soda, is becoming increasingly difficult to source.  This crisis is not limited to Taranaki. Due to the unheralded popularity of my recipes, washing soda is becoming a scarce commodity in towns all over New Zealand.  The poor bloke in Otago who manufactures the stuff is run ragged and two weeks behind in his orders.  I gave him a call to see how he was faring and it’s all been a bit of a shock for him.  He’s tossing up whether to invest capital to cope with the burgeoning demand or just do the best he can and hope it all goes away soon.  I suggested he strongly consider the former option as I for one will not be buying laundry powder off the shelf any time soon.  The homemade stuff is just too good. I have personally sold over 1000 recipe pamphlets since July and the demand for them is growing every day. If those 1000 people each tell three friends then look out – better stock up on bulk washing soda.

‘We used to sell 25kgs of washing soda in two months,’ Kath from Bin Inn tells me. ‘Recently this has increased to 250kg a week!!

Kath and daughter Victoria have got to the point when they can recognise shoppers who have purchased my recipe sheet or been to one of my Tuesday night classes.  They have christened them ‘Lyn’s lot’.  ‘When people come in looking for washing soda, citric acid and white vinegar, we say you are obviously one of Lyn’s girls.  They have either been to a workshop or know someone that has. We can steer them in the right direction for baking soda, washing soap and glycerine as well. They are excited about the money they will save and about making effective cleaning products themselves at home.’

‘People love the environmental advantages of the MAKE household cleaning product range,’ continues Kath. ‘No chemical ingredients have seen people with sensitive skins and allergies coming back for more and more.  They can adapt the laundry powder recipe to utilise their own sensitive soaps and mixed with the washing soda the water is soft.’

It is not just people benefitting from the economical range.  Washing machines and dishwashers are being cleaned of residues just by using the powders and people are loving that as well. ‘As a new business owner who stocks all the core ingredient, the success of Lyn’s products has been massive,’ concludes Kath. ‘All the feedback is positive.  A lot of people read that column.’

Next Week;  What the kids really think

3 Comments

  1. there’s no bin inn in wellington region, do you know where we can purchase washing soda, borax etc?
    juli

  2. Try Moore Wilson, farm supplies stores and supermarket (Pak and Save has washing soda but it is packaged therefore more expensive.

  3. A NZ brand is “Soft and Safe” from Greenwoods in Palmerston outside Dunedin (03) 465-1954 or 027-430-5484.

    Washing Soda is available from your nearest Pool shop – it is sold as either Ph Increase or Soda Ash.

    Or you can make your own by baking Bicarbonate of Soda (baking soda) at 400 for as long as it takes to turn the powder into crystals. There are several web sites with instructions.

    I use it to eliminate smell from the grey water tank coming into our Motorhome via the sink/handbasin/shower drains. Dissolve a cupfull in a bucket of water and pour down the drains into a greywater tank that has some water in it. Go for a drive to swill it around. You can leave it for a while before emptying.

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