No Poo Hairwashing for Hard Water

No Poo baking soda hair recipe for hard water via
Photo courtesy of Shira Gal

I’ve been meaning to post about my No Poo experiment for a LONG TIME now, but honestly the road to shampoo-less hair has been a bumpy one, and there were a variety of issues to troubleshoot and overcome, the most daunting of which was the hard water in my apartment.

I’ll assume most of you are familiar with the term “No Poo”, which is a method of washing your hair using baking soda and vinegar instead of shampoo or conditioner. And let me tell you, it IS pretty awesome, now that I’ve gotten the hang of it. Of course, getting the hang of it took me about 2 months of trial and error and frustration, but since I’ve already gone through all that, I’m happy to give you the cliff notes.

Transition Phase

When you use shampoo, the soap strips your hair and scalp of the natural oils your body produces. Regular use of shampoo (especially DAILY use, which I was guilty of before I switched to No Poo) can cause the oil glands in your scalp to over-produce oil because those oils are being constantly stripped away. Thus, when you stop using shampoo, you have allow time for your scalp to readjust and return to normal oil production. This transition can take a few weeks to several months.

For me, the No Poo transition took about a month. During that month, my hair felt greasy and flat at the roots, but it didn’t really look dirty or even that greasy. Here are a few photos of my hair during the transition.


On my greasiest looking days, I wore my hair up in a bun, a ponytail, or a clip and no one was the wiser, but I had good enough days to wear my hair down also.


For the first 3 weeks I was going strong, but around week 4 or 5, I started to hit road blocks.

Frustration and Realization

Around week 4 or 5, my baking soda hair washing method stopped working as well as it had been, and I wasn’t sure why. The hair on my scalp felt thick, heavy, and oddly…malleable. I was NOT happy. I fell off the wagon a bit, and in a fit of desperation, I used dime-sized amounts of shampoo in my hair instead of the baking soda solution I’d been using. I scoured the interwebz for a way to fix my hair issues.

Eventually, I read enough reviews and comments to realize that hard water has a significant effect on the traditional No Poo recipe that I was using (1 cup water, 1 tablespoon baking soda).

No Poo Recipe for Hard Water

  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1.5 cups BOILED water

Bring your 1.5 cups water to a rolling boil and then turn off the heat. While the water is still hot, add your 2 tablespoons baking soda. The soda will fizz and bubble when it hits the water–this is good since the baking soda is dissolving into the water. Take a spoon and stir in any leftover baking soda that stays solid on the bottom of your pot. Let the water cool, and then transfer it into whatever container you keep your solution in.

I keep my baking soda solution in a yellow squeezy bottle I bought from Walmart that was meant for mustard.

I also boil the water for the vinegar solution I use as conditioner.

Vinegar Recipe

  • 1 cup BOILED water
  • 2.5 tablespoons white* vinegar

You can use either Apple Cider vinegar or white vinegar to condition your hair. I started with ACV and then switched to white later, since I felt that the ACV made the ends of my hair look a bit greasy.

I keep my vinegar solution in a spray bottle, and I only spray the hair from my earlobes down to the ends. I also try to rinse this out with cold water before I step out of the shower, but that usually depends on how cold my bathroom is! :)

That “Slippery” Feeling

I started my No Poo experiment around my birthday in February, and this is the post on Pinterest that spurred me to try No Poo again. (I tried once before several years ago, but was trying to “co-wash” with conditioner instead of shampoo….NOT a good look for me!)

It’s a really great post for No Poo beginners, and if you’re just starting to figure out your No Poo routine, I recommend reading it. HOWEVER, one of the things that is under explained is a phenomenon that post’s author calls “that Slippery feeling.”

When you’re using your No Poo baking soda solution on your hair, if the baking soda to water ratio is correct, the solution should feel VERY DIFFERENT from just putting plain old water on your hair. The baking soda-laced water will feel, as the other post’s author described, “slippery.”

Unfortunately for me, when I first started No Poo, I would pour the solution on my head and think, “Water is wet and slippery, and this solution feels like water. Success!”

NO NO NO NO NO! I was totally wrong. The No Poo solution feels VERY DIFFERENT from regular water. I wouldn’t call it slippery so much as slimey, but not in a gross way. The slippery, slimey feeling of the solution is actually something I look forward to feeling when I wash my hair (in the same way I looked forward to the lathery feeling of bubbles when I used shampoo). The sensation makes me feel like my hair is really getting clean.

The importance of the slippery, slimey feeling is KEY because it lets you know that you’ve reached the right ratio of water to baking soda in your solution. When I used the original No Poo recipe (1 Tablespoon baking soda to 1 cup water), I never achieved the slippery feeling because the minerals in hard water affect the way the baking soda solution combines.

Boiling your hard water can get rid of some of the minerals, and I also believe that putting your baking soda in hot water helps it dissolve more quickly and efficiently, which helps you achieve that slimey, slippery effect.

My Hair, Final Thoughts, and Tips

This is a picture of my hair taken recently.

nopoorecentIn my opinion, my hair has a lot more natural curl than it did before I started No Poo (especially considering the length of my hair–I don’t have layers right now). It’s also great to not have to wash my hair EVERY SINGLE DAY. I usually wait 3 or 4 days in between washes, although by the fourth day my hair starts to look a little iffy.

A few tips:

  • I put the baking soda solution on my hair BEFORE I get it wet in the shower. This helps me discern which areas of my scalp I haven’t touched with the solution yet
  • RINSE A LOT! The baking soda solution can make your scalp look a bit funky if you don’t rinse it out enough
  • I put a drop of lavender essential oil in my vinegar solution to cut the vinegar smell down
  • I alternate between using the vinegar solution and L’Oreal sulfate-free conditioner to condition my hair

That’s everything I can think of for the moment. I would love to hear other people’s stories, strategies, and techniques concerning No Poo.

If you’re considering switching from shampoo and conditioner to No Poo, my number 1 piece of advice for you is to BE PATIENT. The transition phase is frustrating and makes you feel kind of gross and ugly, but it will pass. Keep experimenting with your No Poo reciple and don’t give up!

64 thoughts on “No Poo Hairwashing for Hard Water

  1. Do you ever double or triple the recipe? I generally shower in the morning (and I have an infant daughter who’s not so patient with the letting me boil things), so having my solutions ready to go in advance would be ideal.

    1. I’m sure you could double or triple the recipe if you wanted to, but honestly, I’ve found that my recipe lasts for about 3 or 4 washings. I boil it up, put it in a squeeze bottle in my shower, and use it until it’s empty. And, as you can tell from the pictures, I have extremely long hair. (Although the length shouldn’t really make a difference when you’re just cleaning your scalp.)

      But as long as you keep the ratio the same, doubling it shouldn’t change it at all.

  2. I loved the way my hair felt the first time I tried ‘no poo’. And the next few times I used yogurt and honey as a hair mask and then washed with baking soda, rinsed with ACV. Great results, and that was without boiling the water. But I stopped using the yogurt mask and after awhile ran into issues because of the hard water we have. I’ve tried several hard water solutions and none really worked. With yukky hair yesterday using no poo, I decided tonight to try the yogurt mask again before using baking soda and ACV (leftover from yesterday). Absolute perfect results. So while distilled water, boiled water, RO/DI water boiled – none of that worked, for me at least something about the yogurt and/or honey seems to break down any baking soda residue and leaves my hair thick, soft and shiny. Just thought I’d share.

    1. How do you do the yogurt and honey? I’m looking for none oil masks the oil for me if it’s on my scalp will come off with baking soda but if I put it on my ends it’s a mess, greasy n yucky. Also do I put it on just the ends? My scalp is oily so that’s what I’m probably guna have to do to make these mask work lol

    2. Hey all, I’m so excited to find a group to ask questions too. So here’s my story I’m a beautian. So I love to color my hair,got a year of working as a beautian and I’m trying to go no poo was low for a while and my hair is a bit fried in the ends so the ACV works some. At this point I have a 6 oz bottle with 1 oz of ACV to the other five water is that too much? Also I have hard water and I have been using filtered wate yet I’m since using like 4 tbsp of BS to a 8 or so oz bottle(97 cent bottle from walmart) I have heard that’s too much but I can’t seem to get that slip everyone talks about. And also since I color how should I be washing it out? I colored my hair twice in the past month( didn’t get roots well first time) and used kiss my face shampoo. And I start my challenge aug 26 and I have tried using coconut oil but it will not wash out with bs so any help welcome sorry so long

  3. hi just read your blog. i have been no poo for about amonth now. at first i started out with aloe vera and coconut milk shampoo. the problem with that is that it leaves my hair super oily. so i decided to try out the BS and ACV. well that was a fail. when my hair was wet it would untangle easyly but when it dried it felt horrible. it had a residue feeling to it around the scalp area and my ends felt dry and extremly tangled. so i did some research and boiled my water next time but i still had the same results. what can i do now? i really dont wanna have to go out and buy shampoo but thinking it over it sounds like a great idea. i just want my hair to feel managable light and tangle free. any ideas? thanks in advance. norRie.

    1. Hey norRie!

      I’m sorry the noo poo isn’t working great for you at the moment. It sounds like you might be using TOO MUCH baking soda in your solution. How much have you been putting in with your water? Also, are you adding the baking soda right after you boil your water? I’ve found that adding the baking soda while the water is still extremely hot helps it dissolve faster.

      How much vinegar are you using in your solution, also? If you find that your hair is very dry around the ends, adding more vinegar into your vinegar solution might help with that.

      A small amount of residue on your scalp is to be expected. When your scalp starts producing its natural oil (sebum), it does leave a small amount of residue on the skin of your scalp, which looks white and a tiny bit sticky on your comb or brush (especially a boar bristle brush). However, if you’re experiencing a LOT of build-up, it could be caused by a number of things. The hard water in your area could be causing things like calcium to build up in your scalp OR it could be that you’ve used too much baking soda or haven’t rinsed it completely out of your hair. Also, you do need to understand that it takes 2 to 3 MONTHS of oily hair for your scalp to adjust to doing no poo, and during that time your roots will be fairly oily. You just have to wait it out.

      If you’re feeling really frustrated with the whole No Poo process (which I can totally relate to), I would suggest going Low Poo instead. Buy a sulfate-free shampoo (L’Oreal makes a great sulfate-free shampoo for pretty cheap) and use a nickel or dime-sized amount to clean just your scalp every 2 or 3 days. You can buy corresponding conditioner, or you can keep using the ACV solution. Whatever works best for you!

      I hope that helps!

  4. Hi I have been going no poo for about two weeks now. I use ACV and baking soda. However I have tried multiple ratios of baking soda and have not been able to achieve the slippery feeling. After a few days my scalp feels itchy and after a shower my hair feels slighty crunchy . If I increase to two tablespoons my scalp is really itchy so I am not sure what to do. any suggestions? Thank you!

    1. It sounds like you might be A) using too much baking soda or B) not washing the baking soda completely out of your hair. I would scale it back and use one TBS of baking soda to one cup of (boiling) water and see if that works for you.
      Good luck!!!

  5. Hi there. I have been trying No Poo for about a week. Before that, I was using natural shampoo and only washing every other day or every three days, trying to transition. My water is well water, which I think is super high in minerals/calcium, etc., though I’m not sure. My hair feels icky and a bit like straw. (It’s normally soft and very manageable.) I can’t tell if I need MORE baking soda or less. The first wash I tried the 1tbsp to 1 cup ratio. Second time I tried 1 1/2 tbsp to 1 cup ratio and used reverse osmosis water in the bottle, but, of course, am still wetting, rinsing, etc. with the well water. First time I used the ACV conditioner all over, second time I used this natural spray that just has lemon and lime essential oils. Smells fantastic!

    Is No Poo even possible when you are using well water? Do you know?

    1. I don’t have any experience with well water, but I do know that no poo is possible with ANY kind of water. You just have to experiment and find the right ratio of baking soda to water. I’d like to point out that you’ve only been doing no poo for a week, since that’s pretty significant. It honestly takes MONTHS for your hair to transition when you’re doing no poo, so you may need to continue with one ratio for a few weeks before deciding whether or not it’s working.

      Here’s what I would suggest: for starters, just stick with the 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 cup of water ratio. Make sure that you boil the water!!! That’s the most important thing! Boiling the water evaporates a lot of the minerals and stuff in the water, and it helps the baking soda disintegrate completely! Also, make sure you’re rinsing the baking soda out of your hair completely.

      As for the ACV conditioner, only spray it on the length of your hair. Don’t spray it on your scalp or it will make your hair kind of oily.

      If you stick with the 1 cup to 1 TBS ratio for awhile and you’re still feeling discouraged, I would go ahead and try tweaking your ratio. I hope this helps!

    2. I have well water which is very very hard have you tried boiling the water like she said. I have done it twice and it seems a lot better! I had to used 4 tbsp to a cup in water before. I have oily scalp and I’m still washing ever 2 maybe 3 days(transition) but last nite i washed I put some castor oil on my roots ONLY it will not wash out if ur ends, and then used the ratio and method above. Besides my putting coconut oil on my end while it was wet(bad idea lol ) my hair is actually a bit dry and frizzy. So I will be putting the baking soda on after I wet my hair next time. I do acv but I’m going to try a coffee rinse next time :) hope something here helped I wasn’t sure what I could say would help lol

  6. Hey, I have been trying your method and ratios since August 1st and washing every other day, sometimes 3 days. My hair is clean, but it’s really waxy: This is my second time trying no poo, the first time was the original 1TBS of BS and 1TBS of white vinegar. That left my hair a total greasy mess, and this seems to work a lot better. I just don’t know what to do about the waxy feeling:( I’ve been researching this whole time, and my hair has improved with a double rinse…but it left it kinda greasy and stringy looking. It looks fine except some white flakes and grayish fuzzy looking stuff throughout my hair and all over my brush. I’m sorry this is so long winded, but I am desperate for some help:( If it helps, I have straight, fine, thin hair and used to wash it everyday when i was using commercial products, but it made my hair kinda dry and frizzy…unmanageable without conditioner. Do I just need to keep waiting it out and be more patient…do a deep conditioning…change my routine…? Also, the baking soda solution leaves a residue on my bottle and anything it comes in contact with unless i rinse it super well and rub it…but i am doing that with my hair with no avail:( I actually got the BS to lather when I used a circular scrubbing motion this morning…any advice? My hair has a different reaction everytime I wash it…I’m glad things are going great for your hair, and thanks for posting this on your blog!!! You’re my hair’s hero:)

  7. I’ve been no poo for about 5 months now, and hit the same road block that you did!! I cannot explain how relieved and excited I was that it was not just me, I’ve been scouring no poo blogs for HOURS to try to find a solution! I will most definitely try boiling the water first, thanks. The part about putting it in your hair before you wet it to know which parts you have and have not gotten yet? Genius. I’ve NEVER thought of that, and have had issues with that since the beginning. I’ve never actually tried a no poo conditioner though, like the vinegar or ACV ones, do you think that might be part of it? I either don’t condition (gasp) or use the tiniest amount on the tips of my hair. Personally, my hair is thin, flat, limp, and greasy, ANYTHING weighs it down. It might sound silly and I never really comment on blogs before I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for this post, even something as petty as hair, this feels like a lifesaver. THANK YOU <3

    1. Hi Brittany!!!

      First, let me just say that I am THRILLED that I was able to help! :-) I was actually in the same position as you when I hit my road block, and I scouring No Poo blogs and comments is incredibly time consuming–just one of the reasons I decided to write my own No Poo post.

      I doubt that not using the No Poo conditioner (or any conditioner) is what’s affecting your hair. Boiling the water made a huge difference with my hair washing, so hopefully it will do the same for you! I am a HUGE fan of using white vinegar and boiled water in a spray bottle as conditioner, but only you know what’s best for your hair. If your hair isn’t dry, then you may not need to use anything. My hair is wavy/curly, dry, and prone to frizz and breakage if I don’t condition it LIKE CRAZY. Like seriously, SO MUCH CONDITIONER. But I digress.

      I’m glad you commented, and I hope you’ll come back and followup once you’ve tried the water boiling thing. I hope it helps! :-)

      1. This ratio was magically magicful magicness I can’t stop touching my hair you genius <3 Even the way I had been no poo before, my hair got greasy by the end of the 2nd day, this is the first time EVER I've been three days without needing a wash, and it still has the "freshly washed" feel, I've needed absolutely no dry shampoo. I am soooo happy with the results and I can't thank you enough, I'm in your debt forever, and you've got yourself a new blog follower! <3

      2. My hair is colored a abut fried on the ends (long story) anywho I want to only use natural mask or even food masks on my ends any ideas? And I have super hard well water and I’m hoping this works thanks for writing this!

  8. Hi! I started no poo yesterday…my scalp feels like wax, mainly at the scalp. It does not “appear” greasy or even feel greasy, just SUPER waxy!! I want the super soft, amazing first day no poo hair I keep reading about. :(. Here is what I did yesterday: 1 heaping TBS BS into a 12 oz squeeze bottle and added warm tap h2o. In another 12 oz bottle, 1+ TBS ACV with warm water. In shower, I applied BS to scalp only, rubbed in, waited a minute or so and rinsed really well. I will note, 1. I never got the”slippery” feeling, but rather the way it has stayed “waxy”…even when wet. Is that possible? 2. How long must you rinse? It is hard to know when it is all out, especially when rinsing what feels like the plastic hair wig from the Devo video “Whip It”. Anyway, I then applied the ACV mixture to only the tips, some made it to scalp, due to short hair (bottom of earlobes, at best). Still Devo plastic wig. Rinsed well, again, I think. Got out, dried (with towel) and combed, with moderate success, but
    wax-tastic, STILL??? Ok, so I modified it today, I used “bottled” room temp water (added minerals, it says) and measured accurately, 1 TBS BS and 1 C bottled water. I did not change ACV, as I only noticed wax problem with BS. So, I am still a waxy mess, not greasy, just physically I feel waxy and not my usual swingy silky hair. :(. I did find out that our town has moderate hard water. Also, prior to this attempt at no poo, I used Aveda only poo, conditioner and styling products, with exception of a tiny amount of Biosilk for added shine. So, I know this was long winded, but the basic questions I have are: 1. Should I try boil water method and up the BS amount? 2. Should I wait it out with my wax hair for a few days, or can I try again today? I am dedicated to this and want to see it through, but I cannot just put up in a bun and it makes me feel gross all over to have waxy, non moving hair :'(. PLEASE help me!

    1. Hi Leslie!!

      No Poo is a weird process, and it’s pretty different for everyone. However, the first thing I would do is make sure that you’re using the right ratios of water to BS–either 1 TBS to 1 cup or my hard water version. Since you seem to be getting weird results with the regular ratio, I would suggest trying mine and seeing if that helps. Make sure to look for that “slippery” feeling. I know it sort of sounds like a magical, impossible unicorn, but with a little trial and error, you can find the right ratio, and you’ll feel the difference right away. I would also try boiling the water as opposed to using bottled water. I tried using distilled water on my hair (in lieu of boiling the water, because I’m lazy) and it didn’t work nearly as well as the plain old boiled water did. I think the heat helps the baking soda dissolve better, but don’t quote me on that. I’m an English major, not a chemist. :-)

      I do want to reiterate that the No Poo process takes awhile, and sometimes your hair will feel waxy, greasy, and malleable (aka you can mold it into weird shapes and it will just kind of stay. It’s weird.). However, right after your BS wash, your hair should be feeling clean and soft, so you were definitely right to question your results.

      Try boiling the water with the 2 TBS BS to 1.5 cup water. If that seems like to much BS, try the boiled water version of the 1 TBS to 1 cup. It also helps to take notes of how your hair looks/feels and what ratio you used. Then you can use your notes + intuition to tweak the ratio until it’s perfect for you.

      Please let me know if this helps!!!

      1. Great! Thanks! I just remade the mixture with boiling water and I will try that. As for the other question, do you think I can/should try this again today with new mixture or wait it out?

        Thanks again!

      2. I was under the impression you need to clarify your hair just before transitioning to get rid of all the nasty silicons and such that coat your hair, as that is what causes the waxy, wet, sticky feeling. But that might be old news to you, I don’t know. :) I’m just starting out with no poo (my second attempt) I’m hoping this hard water remedy will help. Thank you! <3

  9. I just wanted to add. I opted NOT to do BS wash again today with new mixture, mainly out of fear my hair would melt off. I did some research and it was suggested that old products containing silicones can cause this waxy reaction if you do not properly clarify before starting no poo. And to go ahead and clarify if you didn’t at first. I went ahead and did a clarifying shampoo of 1/4 C Dr Bronner’s Almond Castile soap and 1 C boiled tap H2O mixed together. Ahhhh, lather…I remember you! I washed all of my hair twice with this, but the after washing out felt so squeaky…I assumed this was good, still do. I then I followed up with the ACV mixture (your recipe) only to roots. I did this rinse twice, after I soaked my hair with ACV, I squeezed a quarter size of honey into my hand and just applied to roots with the ACV on it, too. The second time, just ACV mixture. I felt like it seemed softer, more pliable during rinsing. HOWEVER, after…my ENTIRE head of hair is now a waxy wonder. I could probably shape it into anything I wanted…Eiffel Tower, Mohawk, etc. I am so discouraged. Trying to comb it (large tooth comb) is what I image adding a classroom sized jar of paste to it first and attempting a successful comb out. WOW is all I can say. I don’t know what to do. I am gonna scare my family and drive my husband to divorce me with this hair! ;). Any thoughts? Do you think ACV isn’t what I need? Maybe I need white vinegar??

    1. I admire your enthusiasm, but I honestly think you might be doing too many things for your hair to handle. Doing No Poo can throw your hair for a loop, as the oil glands in your scalp re-adjust to the fact that you’re not washing your hair daily. Clarifying shampoo, however, strips EVERYTHING out of your hair (including oil), so it’s pretty much the opposite of No Poo. Honey is a moisturizer. I’ve used it on my face plenty of times, but never in my hair. And the ACV also acts as a conditioner/moisturizer.

      You said in your first comment that you had just started No Poo the other day. So here’s what I suggest: leave your hair alone for a few days. Even if it’s waxy and weird. Just let it be for a little bit. Maybe 2 days sans washing. Then mix up the BS solution with boiled water and scrub your scalp with it. Rinse it out well, and then spray your hair with the ACV solution. I would suggest against a full-on ACV rinse. Just mix 2 tablespoons of ACV with 1 cup of water, put it in a spray bottle (this is key–you don’t want to over-saturate your hair with vinegar), and just spray the ends of your hair. Try not to get too much near your scalp and roots. Then rinse it all out and see how you feel. Then wait another 2 days, and do it again, adjusting the recipe if you think you need to.

      I think your waxy hair is just the result of too many changes and your hair isn’t ready for all that product. Just give it some time to adjust.

      1. Thank you so so very much! You’re right! I am a little over zealous! When I decide on something I want those instant results and don’t wanna wait the particular obligatory time! What is that called?? Oh yeah, impatience! LOL. I will leave my mess alone for a few days, maybe rock the Eiffel Tower, who knows. To look at it is so much different than to feel it. It looks pretty darn good, won’t blow an inch in the breeze, but it looks good. So, I will look but not touch for several days!
        Thanks again for being so responsive and an great no poo mentor! :).

  10. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do witrh a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog.
    An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  11. Thank you for this article!!!! I have hard water and I think that’s why I’m having such trouble. So you do you baking soda before you get in the shower? But doesn’t getting in the shower after to rinse still put the minerals in your hair?

  12. OMG, thank you so much for these recipes. I have recently moved and since then my hair has been acting really strange, and I thought it was because of stress or something. But a couple of days ago, I was just googling around and found your blog, and I checked the water quality and it turned out that I had moved from a city with “soft water” (I’m from Sweden, so I have no idea what you guys call it) to a city with hard water. And after following these recipes, my hair is back to normal, so thanks again!

  13. Hi! I just wanted to say how much I love your post and how useful it was for me; I’ve been trying “no ‘poo” for a few months and because I have hard water in my area it was getting really hard and frustratin!

    Anyway, I started with the “no ‘poo” method on august 22th and my hair has improved so much! I have (or had lol) thin hair and I practically looked baldish! As you can see here my hair got thicker and looks less greasy, I’m never going back to shampoo and conditioner!

  14. Thank you for this post! I don’t actually know if we have hard water, but I think my problem was definitely in how I was mixing the BS into the water. I have been doing the ‘no poo’ thing for about three months and was seriously going to throw in the towel. My hair never felt even remotely clean after doing my wash routine and I had this horrible waxy feeling patch on the back of my head near my scalp. It resisted drying even!

    Anyway, yesterday after reading your post, I grabbed some anti-residue shampoo and rubbed it into that one waxy spot and then washed it out. Then as I was too impatient to watch water boil on the stove, I used my glass pyrex measuring cup to microwave just over a cup of water for about 3 minutes until it was boiling. Then I measured one tsp of BS and poured it in – fizzled just like you said – and then stirred it like crazy to make sure it was all mixed in. After it cooled down enough, I hit the shower and VOILA! That slippery feeling you were talking about! Before it was definitely just like a crusty/gritty feeling so I know the mix wasn’t good. Having it dissolved in like this was GREAT! When I got out the shower and let my hair dry, I ACTUALLY WANTED TO TOUCH IT! It looks and feels un-gross, actually touchable and I didn’t want to just put it up in a bun so that I didn’t have to look at it. It’s been down ever since and happily I’m happy with it! I think you may have saved me from turning back to shampoo! yay! And like I said, I don’t even think we have hard water, but dissolving the BS was definitely the key in my routine!

  15. SUCCESS! Omg! It worked!! I have been reading blogs for days and trying to learn about the exact combination I needed in order to achieve the correct results. I have extremely thin, fine,long hair and was super nervous about my hair falling out even more than it does now. I have very hard water, so that is why I was attracted to the way you boiled your water for both the baking soda and vinegar solution. I only used 1 tbsp of baking soda and 1 tbsp of vinegar for each solution, both with only 1 cup of filtered, boiled water. I couldn’t wait for the water to cool down, so after 5 minus of staring at it I threw them in their containers and went for it. I poured the baking soda solution on my head first and then turned on the water. I still can’t believe the results! I was using a natural shampoo for the last 2 weeks and had to wear my hair up everyday because it was so greasy, waxy, stringy, and a nasty mess, but I am SO excited to have found a solution!! Thank you!!

  16. I live in Belgium (Europe) and we have very hard water around here. Mixing the BS with boiling water definitely makes a difference – thanks for reminding me about this (I used it a while ago, then I travel a bit to places with normal water and forgot all about it when I came back, hehe). One practical question, though: do you wait for the mixture to entirely cool down before you use it to wash your hair (in which case you should prepare it the night before, for instance, if washing your hair in the morning) or do you add in a bit of tap water to make the mixture usable straight away?

    1. I wait until the mixture cools, definitely! I try not to throw off the ratio by adding colder water. I just make my mixture (usually on the weekends) when I have some extra time to spare, and then leave it in my shower until I need it.

      1. Many thanks for the quick response, highly appreciated! I’m definitely trying out your method next time I was my hair. Thanks also for the great tips – I particularly like your description of the slimey (in a good way!) feeling about the mixture – now I know how to know whether I’ve got the right ration. I have been consistent with BS + ACV wash for almost 2 months now (including my travelling) – it seems that my hair is slowly but surely adjusting to it and that makes me very happy :-) At times I can go without washing my hair for an entire week, which was unthinkable back in the time when I was using regular shampoo and washing every other day (sigh).

  17. I’ve been no poo for almost 2 months, my hair is fuller ! I had trouble with dry ends.. when I started to brush my hair from scalp to ends , section by section… I noticed my ends becoming more moisturized. I have weird hair, its wavy, thick in parts, frizzy in parts, and a thin hairline… I have hated my for a long time, especially in the southern summer.. my hair looks horrible in humidity. So this summer I will have been no poo for 5 months, this will be the true test. I have noticed my hair is growing faster than when I was using shampoo. I use less baking soda then they say… a teaspoon per cup of water, and more acv .. about 3 tablespoons pur cup of water. I can go a week between washes, I love trying natural hair treatments, I wet my hair from the ears down the other night and rubbed coconut oil through my ends, then braided it, wrapped my head .. bs washed it in the morning, acv rinse… very nice, full and soft. Have fun with it, if you run into a problem keep reading blogs to solve it. Happy hair everyone !!

  18. Hi – I’m a little late to the party, as I just found this wonderful post now! One question: Do you rinse with regular hard water from your shower or do you boil a batch of rinse water too?


  19. New no-poo’ers: if you’re having a lot of waxy, gunky, nasty hair in the first few days or weeks AND you use a lot of hair product you may need to clarify your hair. Shampoos, conditioners, gels, sprays and other products can build up on your hair, and you need to strip your hair of these products. The BS will do it, but it will take a long time. If you’re a DIY’er you can look up recipes for clarifying shampoo, but watch out for recipes that include castile soap since it will also react badly to hard water.
    The first day I went no-poo I stripped my hair with a castile-based clarifying shampoo and then immediately used a deep conditioning mask, followed by a BS wash and ACV rinse. My transition period was basically non-existent, but I think this had a lot to do with the fact that even on regular shampoo/conditioner I only washed my hair every 3-4 days and used little to no products in my hair. (Better safe than sorry.)
    Good luck!

    1. I started no poo 2 or 3 weeks ago with castile soap. The first day was amazing but then it quickly turned into a nightmare, so so so much oil grease. I have changed to BS and can’t get the slip. I’m wondering if it’s still from the castile soap. Any suggestions

  20. I’m curious to why this works, but it works for me too. The slippery feeling is so wonderful! But boiling water doesn’t remove minerals at all, it actually concentrates them more. I think it’s just that baking soda reacts with the water (it doesn’t dissolve, it reacts) much better in hot water. I use distilled, boiled water for my baking soda mixture now, and for my vinegar rinse as well. It’s working pretty well.

    1. Boiling the water actually will cause the minerals to precipitate out of the water. To achieve this, boil your water for about 10 minutes. Let it sit and you should see the minerals at the bottom of the pot. Pour your “softer” water off and add your BS or ACV. I also used this softened water to wash and rinse my hair.

  21. I am so glad I came across your post! I’m about two or three weeks into no poo, and have had really waxy hair since stopping shampoo (plus grease on the days between washings). I’m quite sure my hard water isn’t helping. So, I tried your boiling method, and holy cow what a difference! No more grease, no more waxiness, I just want to let my hair down and touch it all day! It looked and felt clean enough that I felt comfortable leaving it down for photos today. (BTW, I did rinse it with diluted, herb-infused ACV, and that probably helped too.)
    I’m sure I’m still transitioning, but the fact that this worked even just a few weeks in makes me so happy!
    Thank you so much for posting this! :)

  22. I am having problems with the no poo method due to hard water, and I absolutely love that I found a blog addressing this issue! I do have a question. In the Pinterest blog you referenced, the author states to use distilled, not boiled, water. And you state that you use boiled water. Could you clarify which is OK to use? And what about filtered water?

  23. Hi!! I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time and posting about this!! I almost gave up (after 6 weeks), but finding your post is what did the trick! I have hard water but I didn’t know I needed to boil it first. HUUUUUUGE difference. I just thought my transition phase was taking a lot longer. ;) So thank you!!

  24. I’m seeing a lot of articles where people are using apple cider vinegar, and since you changed to white, did you switch up any of the ratios?
    I think getting the mixture down pat is the hardest part since every person is unique.

  25. Finally got a Bs/acv recipe that works!! And now I understand what they mean by ” slippery feeling”!!! After 1 try my hair looks human again ( I have been doing no ‘poo for about 3 weeks and was just getting worse and worse)

  26. from India here.. hie today for the first time i tried mixing baking soda with water .. but it didnt dissolve it was like the soda rested at the bottom n no matter how much i shake but it wont dissolve… so i thought this might be because of the hard water … i boiled some water afterwards and n i took out the soda from the mixture before because it wasnt dissolved at all, n i had got only one sachet of baking soda and had no more left so i put it in the boiled water.. but again it is not dissolved it rests at the bottom,, i mean i dont get the paste everyone is talking about and the one i see in pictures m not sure if the baking soda that i used is pure or not yes i would like to mention that it was REFINED COOKING SODA. please looking for help desperately.
    thank you all

  27. I have been doing no poo off and on for four years. I just moved somewhere with rock hard mineral water and I’m dying! My hair is so waxy. I’m waiting for my mixture to cool. I was trying distilled water, but that wasn’t working too well. I’m going to try this boiling water thing. *fingers crossed*

  28. Just have to tell you, you are totally right about the boiling water, it works!! I’ve been no poo for 3-4 months now, so have mostly transitioned but nothing made my hair soft and the days it felt clean were rare and were after scrubbing with African black soap, good but really drying. Castile soap and shampoo bars not working! I only have moderately hard water in Colorado, but could not make no poo work til your post, totally thrilled and now my daughter can go no poo without all the problems I’ve had, she’s tried it too and loves it. For the rinse we boiled water, added white vinegar (acv did not work for me either, although I love it) and a squirt of commercial conditioner shaken up in spray bottle, no vinegar smell at all, which my daughter likes much better. Thank you!!

  29. Hi, I have a question. I started with no-poo almost one month ago, but I don`t understand what “hard water” minds . I use mineral water, because I think its better, but maybe its not aproppiate. Or hard water is just wather with BS? thanks and sorry for my english

  30. No one has posted for a long time, but I thought I would add a comment anyway. I have oily skin and scalp, fine medium length hair. The first time I tried baking soda cleanser (about one month ago) I loved the result. My hair never looked better or felt thicker. However, with each repetition of this every 3-4 days, my hair and scalp were worse until I couldn’t stand the gunk on my hair and scalp. Chrissy mentioned way back in October of 2013 that she had good results using a yogurt and honey mask to clean her hair prior to using the baking soda and water to cleanse her scalp. Kombucha tea is like yogurt and honey in that it is tart (acidic) and contains sugar so I tried it this morning. I used half a cup of my homemade kombucha green tea to saturate my hair, covered with a cap and let it sit for 30 minutes. I rinsed this out and did the standard baking soda routine plus a weak solution of ACV on the ends (maybe 1-2 tsp ACV per cup of water), then rinsed with plain water again. My hair came out pretty incredible! All the build up on my hair was gone, my scalp felt clean and my hair felt thick and it was bouncy and shiny like it never was with commercial shampoo. Kombucha tea is cheap to make so this is economical as well as natural. I hope this helps someone else.

  31. UPDATE: Since I wrote the above I have to make an amendment. It isn’t certain to me now that the kombucha tea made ALL the difference in how beautifully my hair turned out. I washed my hair again 4 days later without the kombucha and without boiling the water for the BS. It turned out okay, but not as great as before. Today I washed again using the kombucha presoak for 30 minutes then the BS dissolved in warm tap water followed by the usual weak ACV solution, then dried and styled my hair. There was a little sticky film remaining on my hair and also on my hands. I wet and washed my hair again with BS—dissolved in boiling water—followed by ACV. The film was removed. There is more experimenting that needs to be done to know if using boiled water alone caused the good result or the combination of kombucha mask and boiled water. It is possible that a yogurt or kombucha mask soften the film making it easier for BS to clean the hair. Boiled water also seems to be important, even though I don’t have particularly hard water here.

  32. DO NOT USE BAKING SODA. It is actually terrible for your hair in the long run. For the first year or so, it will make your hair shine and healthy, but eventually it weakens your hair AT THE ROOTS and will literally cause your hair to fall out and break off all over your scalp. This is because baking soda is much too chemically basic for your slightly acidic scalp. There are many alternatives to baking soda, such as a homemade honey shampoo. Do some research before you begin the no ‘poo method, there are a lot of helpful sights out there for those of you that have experienced this or are considering trying this method.

  33. Hi everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this site, and article is actually fruitful in favor of me, keep up
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  34. Natalie is right. The boiling does not remove the minerals. Whatever is precipitating at the bottom is just part of the m inerals sticking to the vessel. Kinda like the minerals that build up in your hot water heater and eventually cause it to fail. Probably things are dissolving better in the boiling water.

  35. I’d like to start off by saying that I’ve been no poo for about three years, now & I love it!
    However, for you comment scrollers, out there:

    Boiling water does not soften it.

    While your success is undoubted, boiling hard water does not evaporate the minerals. It actually makes the water harder by evaporating the water and leaving the minerals behind. Sort of like when you thicken soup, it thickens because the water has evaporated.
    This is, however, half of the process of distilling water. To distill water, you capture the evaporating water vapor and channel it it not a separate container. The water collected will be mineral-free.

  36. I believe this is one of the such a lot vital info for me.

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  37. Hi, I was wondering whether anyone has tried water-only washing (no other products) in a hard water area? I’m trying this right now, but after a wash my hair is sort of waxy/stringy with dry tips. However, I’m still in the transition phase (2.5 weeks in) so am not sure whether this is (partly) due to hard water or normal to be expected in this phase.
    I don’t really want to start using BS or other stuff apart from just water, unless I absolutely have to.
    Did anyone try and succeed in water-only in a hard water area? And what were your experiences in the transition phase?
    Thanks very much!

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