No ‘Poo – Cheaper, More Satisfying and Much More Effective than Baking Soda

This post was most recently updated on November 25th, 2019

I have been no ‘poo for over a year now. I will never go back to commercial products now that I have found a way to get clean hair without shampoo.

Please read: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

This post contains affiliate links, this means at no extra cost to you, we make a commission from sales. Please read our Disclosure Statement

To read my journey and reasons for going without shampoo you can read my post Without Shampoo – Why I prefer no-poo.

Basically what it boils down to is I don’t like being held ransom to buying a product that humans have survived without for millennia. I like the basic, cheaper options. 

I don’t like being sold to, especially when using the product means that you also then have to another product to counter the dryness that the first one causes (but don;t worry, they can sell that to you as well!)

Most people that go ‘no poo’ use baking soda to help remove that greasy scalp feeling, but it doesn’t work for everyone.

Washing your hair with baking soda is totally great if it does work for you, don’t get me wrong. But I have found something even better.

What is Better than Baking Soda for Washing your Hair without Shampoo?

Baking soda does work, but I don’t like the gritty feeling, and I miss the silky massage-your-head feeling when you rub in shampoo.

But that all changed two weeks ago.

We had run out of baking soda! I neeeeeded to wash my hair.

I walked into the craft room where the now empty sack of baking soda lives. The washing soda caught my eye… I wondered if washing soda would work. I figured I have nothing to lose but my greasy hair, so I gave it a shot.

Guess what? It does work, it really really does! Better than baking soda even.

What is Washing Soda?

Washing soda aka sodium carbonate (or soda ash), is a natural cleaner and a powerful water softener. It is baking soda’s bigger, stronger (and cheaper!) sister.

Washing soda is not the same as baking soda. It is not edible, and it is very alkaline – with a pH of 11 rather than baking soda’s pH of 9.

A pH difference of two might not seem like much, but you have to understand that the pH scale is not a straight line, it is exponential. Every 1 unit up the pH scale is 10 times the strength of the unit before.

So this actually means that washing soda is 100 times stronger than baking soda.

However, do not panic. The Environmental Working Group still gives it an “A” on their scale, meaning that it is safe and non-toxic.

Where Can You Get Washing Soda?

Washing soda is freely available in the laundry section of most big box stores. I prefer the powder (looks like baking soda) over the crystals as it dissolves much faster.

You can also buy it in boxes or in bulk online. I bought a massive 20kg sack of it to make my own laundry detergent.

You can also make your own washing soda from baking soda. Because it is about 100 times stronger in its pH, you get more bang for your cleaning buck converting baking soda to washing soda.

How do you Wash your Hair with Washing Soda?

I use washing soda in much the same way that I was using baking soda, with one slight, but incredibly important change.

You only need 1/4 – 1/3 of a teaspoon to get super clean hair.

I put my little dash of washing soda in a cup and add about 1 cup of warm water from the shower. The washing soda dissolves instantly and then I pour it on my head and rub it in.

The washing soda is by far a much nicer feel than the baking soda when I use it in my hair. It is ‘slimy’ but in a good way. Like soft and swishy, not grippy and gritty like I found the baking soda.

Once I have massaged it in, I rinse it out again and follow with a vinegar and water mixture. 1/4 C of vinegar made up to around a cup of shower water.

1/4 C of vinegar made up to around a cup of shower water. Pour this through your hair and rinse out.

The vinegar smell dissipates as it dries, so your won’t be left smelling like a can of pickles.

Please don’t get this in your eyes. The same goes for baking soda or vinegar.

It hurts.

To remedy this, run plenty of water over your eye to flush it out. Luckily you are in the shower with warm (hopefully!) running water when it happens.

If you like tips on frugal living and consuming less, sign up to our newsletter below, I would LOVE to have you!

Have you tried going no ‘poo? What method do you use? Let me know in the comments below!

Please Pin and Share with your Friends!

Have you tried washing your hair without shampoo? Did you find the no poo method with baking soda a bit of a let down? You should try this instead, I have found it much nicer to use. Pop on over and have a read! #nopoo #natural #bakingsoda #homesteading


Do you need more delicious goodness fresh from the farm?


Sign up for our weekly Fresh From the Farm Newsletter

All goodness, no spam.

Get exclusive content, discounts and updates.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

21 thoughts on “No ‘Poo – Cheaper, More Satisfying and Much More Effective than Baking Soda”

  1. My Mr 17 uses the baking soda no poo (with lemongrass EO) and rinses with lemon infused vinegar/water a couple of times a week. After 6 weeks his hair is looking amazing – no longer lank and greasy, (he has very thick hair) and he loves it! We keep a squirty bottle of each in the shower and top up every couple of weeks. Previously I have had trouble finding a shampoo that suits him – this is the best by far!
    Mr 15 has surfer dude hair, very fine and he also uses it – looks great (no great change for him as he doesn’t have greasy issues) and I have fine curly hair – works great for me too. We’re sold!

  2. Just tried the washing soda but i have akreadt washed my hair twice this morning with a shampoo bar and it just got mire waxy with each wash so triwd the soda…it fekt vwry tangly still so i may have to add mire than u suggested as my water us quite hard. I did use acv mix after but dusnt seem to help. Hair us a right state right niw. Have just washed again with soapnut liquid and waitung for it to dry. My poor hair lol

    • It sounds like you have well and truly stripped your hair of all its oils! You can use up to a teaspoon of washing soda without issue, just watch you don’t get it in your eyes. I think maybe picking one method and stick to it for a month – 6 weeks and let your hair adjust, rather than trying all of them in one day haha.

  3. Hi. My experience with no poo (over a number of years and many trials) is that every person is different, so what works for me won’t necessary work for the next person. I liked to do a BS wash every few months or so for a detox, but the PH is too high to use it more than once. I also tried many other things but what works for me is a simple ACV rinse. Sometimes I add honey and/or Almond oil. I use Sunlight soap for most other things, and so that also comes in handy occasionally for a good lathery wash for my hair. Sunlight soap is all my family of males use in their hair, and I can confirm my husbands hair is soft and shiny despite his thick Maori hair. My sons long straight black hair is also soft and shiny. (Their only complaint is that they like their hair to smell yummy lol so an essential oil spritzer is useful) So my advice is always to have the patience to trial different things until you find what works for you. Nga mihi x

  4. Hi, I read from another blogger( which I can no longer find) who’s nixed washing her hair completely. No shampoo, no baking soda, nothing except water while showering. She said the key is to BRUSH your hair with a good brush. I think she recommended a boars hair brush. She pointed out that your hair has natural oils and when we wash our hair, the shampoos strip it all away making hair dry and brittle, so we try combat that with conditioner…more chemicals. But the point is, is that none of that stuff works. We just keep buying it hoping that it does. Anyway, this blogger said that your hair has to go through a detox stage and it will look greasy and gross as she put it. But the key is to brush it. She said that’s why women spent time every night brushing their hair. There was no shampoo for them to use. In sections, start at the roots, and just brush. You’ll distribute the oils and eventually you’ll be left
    with healthy shiny hair. I tried the baking soda before, but realized I am allergic to it. I ended up with with dry patchy sores in my scalp. I can’t even brush my teeth with it. So, I stopped using anything and took the advice of brushing my hair and using only water and massaging my scalp while in the shower. Being black, I don’t need to wash our hair as often, because I need the natural oils. When I do want to “wash” my hair, I use a bit of coconut oil and a few drops of tea tree oil and massage that in while in the shower.
    I just think we as a society have become so indoctrinated with what the corporations tell us we need, we don’t think for ourselves. Like Dana said, people have gone millennia without shampoo…or anything else commercial for that matter. Know yourself, have your own mind, and enjoy life, and be free.

    • That is really interesting, thank you! With all the hard work, sweat and dust gets my hair pretty gross over the course of a week. I doubt a brush would sort that for me. My hubby usually just uses water these days, and if it is gross just uses a vinegar rinse to strip out the grossness. His hair is much shorter than mine though. We usually only wash our kids hair with water, I am hoping we can avoid getting them hooked on the the shampoo rollercoaster!

  5. I just started using baking soda and acv and, so far, my hair still looks and feels pretty yucky. However, I’m new to no-poo and I know there’s an adjustment period. In the meantime though, can you spray the acv onto your hair in the shower or is it better to pour the mixture? I have super hard water and am making my mixtures beforehand with distilled water, which is why I ask. I’m also in denmark and have literally never seen washing soda here. 🙁

    • Hi Lindsay – With hard water (that I presume you are wetting your head with and rinsing with) you may well need double the amount of baking soda to counter the hard water. I prefer to pour on the vinegar as I use 1/4 cup diluted to about 1 cup with warm water, so spraying that amount will tire out my hands! You need plenty of vinegar rinse to neutralise the baking or washing soda. Washing soda is also called soda ash or sodium carbonate. You can also make your own by baking baking soda in the oven.

  6. can this be made up before- like a whole jar of it and used as needed or does it have to be made at the time and used immediately? thanks

    • You can mix the washing soda with water and use it from a bottle if you like. The same with the vinegar and water. Just don’t mix the washing soda with the vinegar in the same bottle and they neutralize each other and it removes both of their cleaning powers 😀

  7. My only problem was with the ACV rinse. Yes, once dried, the smell was gone. But if it got damp (caught in the rain, sweated, etc) the smell came back. Now maybe it was only me who could smell it, I don’t know. But sitting in church after coming in from the rain, I was SURE the whole congregation was wondering who had opened pickles, lol!!! And given my inclination towards hot flashes, I sweat at least once a day regardless or the weather. Any tips on an ACV substitute or other means of fixing this prob? I loved how my hair did with this no ‘poo approach, and would love to do it again…without the fear of smelling!

    • Hi Candi – I am sure they really couldn’t smell it! I think the trick to to make sure you rinse it out again well. Also diluting your vinegar before pouring it on your head will ensure you don’t have any “strong” spots of vinegar anywhere. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the vinegar to help with the smell, try rosemary, lavender or lemon for a start. I hope that helps!

  8. Tried your method (washing soda, then ACV) Wow, my hair is so soft after just one time. Thank you! Do you do this every day or how often?

    • Hi Michele, I am glad you liked it! I do it every 2-3 days, you can do it daily if you need to but most hair doesn’t need washed daily once you stop using shampoo/conditioner, but it may take time for it to adjust to a change in schedule. Some people only wash it once a week, but my hair is too greasy to last that long!

  9. I tried the baking soda and ACV before and wasn’t to happy. I tried for a couple of weeks and then gave up. I know there is a curve you have to go through but it wasn’t getting better. I am going to try this though! The shampoo people know just what they are doing because I am horrified by the ingredients so they come out with “organic ” and “natural” products that will make you go broke just trying to wash your hair! Thanks so much

  10. I will have to try this next time. I have been using baking soda and it has worked great, but I have a giant box of washing soda that needs to be used anyway. Thank you for sharing!


Leave a comment