I just took a trip to Walmart (I know, I know, but that's the only place that carries large boxes of baking soda, which they were out of, ugh, and affordable tea tree oil).
I was being a total nerd and looking through all the chemical ingredients for standard cleaning products, including OxiClean.
OxiClean, as a lot of internet sites say, is Sodium Percarbonate and Sodium Carbonate. Sodium Carbonate is just washing soda and sodium percarbonate, when mixed with water, forms hydrogen bubbles. Hydrogen is unstable, so it kind of blasts stains off of things.
I have read that hydrogen, because it's unstable, isn't good for skincare like they thought it was years ago, because over time, the instability (or free radicals) can harm your skin and wrinkle it. But for our purposes here, I think hydrogen peroxide based cleaning is okay.
Again, I would strongly caution for everybody to use gloves when handling borax or washing soda. Both are highly basic in pH. It should work very well for cleaning for that reason - you need either a high base or acid for things to get super clean
As for other products I saw -- dishwashing powder has sodium silicates and sodium carbonate (washing soda). Sodium silicate I saw again in Drano and it was explained on there that it's an anti-corrosive agent (so it doesn't wreck your pipes). That makes perfect sense because washing powder AND Drano has a pH of 11, which can corrode a lot of stuff. This is why gloves are a must - think of what such a high pH can do to your skin!
I held a box of washing powder and one of borax ones, and just the residue of the box (since it's in plain cardboard like baking soda is) made my hands feel super dry.
Anyway, washing soda seems to be the common element in dishwashing and for laundry (at least if you're talking about OxiClean or SUN Oxy cleaner type products). Based on the little kid's research (link posted earlier), she found that OxiClean lifts stains better than other detergents.
My deduction? Washing soda can be used for all kinds of cleaning. HOWEVER, baking soda is so much more readily available and the pH is lower. It's environmentally friendly and - dingdingding - it's NON TOXIC.
Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda)http://www.explainthis.info/ba/baking-soda.html
Sodium Carbonate (washing soda)http://www.explainthis.info/so/sodium-carbonate.html
ALSO: Because Washing soda is so high in pH, it can wear the fibers of your clothes out over time (especially cloth diapers and elastics). I wouldn't use it on floors because it takes the wax off of flooring. Baking soda may irritate your eyes or if you inhale it but washing soda is very toxic if inhaled over time (because it's stronger): http://www.cutofcloth.com/article_bakingsoda.asphttp://www.cutofcloth.com/article_bakingsoda.asp
Perhaps the baking soda will not pack the punch of washing soda but they're similar enough that I think baking soda is probably a safer version of washing soda. But I think it's a good thing to try out. Perhaps we can all use the baking soda for our dishwashers and laundry unless we have something SUPER DUPER soiled and then we have to use regular detergent or washing soda. Washing soda removes lipstick and grease from garage floors, for pete's sake. Most of us don't need that much grease cutting power in EVERY wash.
Here's somebody who used washing soda in their dishwasher, results were positive, posted on the bottom of the page: http://www.thenewhomemaker.com/node/10148
More recipes: http://www.checnet.org/healthehouse/...sp?Main_ID=564