We first read about substituting Borax soap for many cleaning purposes in Dr. Hulda Clark's book, A Cure For All Diseases . It's just one way to eliminate some of the chemicals from our daily routines.
Borax is a natural occurring element (mined in California's Death Valley National Park for years) and is sold along side detergents in most supermarkets. The only brand I've ever encountered is "Twenty Mule Team" and their old fashioned logo and picture on the box suits the name and image, which seems unchanged for more than a century.
Randy and I have been washing our hair with Borax liquid soap (which you make up yourself from the powder) followed by a citric acid rinse ever since we first discovered this, more than 12 years ago. I find that it leaves my hair as healthy, shining, and manageable as any shampoo and conditioner combination I've ever used.
When we're on the road, the added convenience of knowing I can wash my hair outdoors (it's safe for the environment) and with less water (there are no suds) means a lot when we're boondocking.
It's no less convenient than shampoo because we make it up in advance - a one liter batch lasts about 2 months. (based on 2 to 4 hair washes per week).
Here are the simple instructions direct from Dr. Clark:
Empty 1 gallon jug
1/8 cup borax powder
Funnel the powder into the jug, fill with cold tap water. Shake a few times. Let settle. In a few minutes you can pour off the clear part into dispenser bottles. This is the soap! Easier way: use any bottle, pour borax powder to a depth of a ½ inch or so. Add water. Shake. When you have used it down to the undissolved granules, add more water and shake again. Add more powder when the undissolved granules get low.
Keep a dispenser by the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and shower. It does not contain aluminum as regular detergents and soaps do, and which probably contribute to Alzheimers disease. It does not contain PCBs as many commercial and health food varieties do. It does not contain cobalt (the blue or green granules) which causes heart disease and draws cancer parasites to the skin. Commercial detergents and non-soaps are simply not safe. Switch to homemade bar soap and borax for all your tasks! Borax inhibits the bacterial enzyme urease and is therefore antibacterial. It may even clear your skin of blemishes and stop your scalp from itching.
Once you've made up the Borax liquid soap, it's ready to use as shampoo, too. It does not lather but goes right to work removing sweat and soil without stripping your color or natural oils. It inhibits scalp bacteria and stops flaking and itching. Hair gets squeaky clean so quickly (just a few squirts does it) that you might think nothing has happened! You will soon be accustomed to non-lathery soap. Rinse very thoroughly because you should leave your scalp slightly acidic.
Take a pint container to the shower with you. Put ¼ tsp. citric (not ascorbic) acid crystals (see Sources) in it. For long hair use a quart of rinse. Only citric acid is strong enough to get the soap out, lemon juice and vinegar are not. After shampooing, fill the container with water and rinse.
Rinse your whole body, too, since citric acid is also anti-bacterial. All hair shampoo penetrates the eye lids and gets into the eyes although you do not feel it. It is important to use this natural rinse to neutralize the shampoo in your eyes. (Some people have stated that citric acid makes their hair curlier or reddens it. If this is undesirable, use only half as much citric acid.) Citric acid also conditions and gives body and sheen to hair.
Yes, you should rinse your hair well but we find it doesn't take as much water to rinse as shampoo and conditioner does.
As Dr. Hulda Clark suggests - use it for all kinds of cleaning, eliminating the need for a dozen different chemical cleaners in your small RV space, and keep yourself healthier while you're at it.
So there you have it - The Borax shampoo alternative.
Bet you haven't found that on any other boondocking web site!