Most people pick up laundry detergent at their local supermarket when doing the food shop. It’s common enough to do, but have you ever considered making your own instead?
More and more people are considering this option as it’s a great way to help the environment and save some much-needed pennies.
DIY laundry detergent may not be as convenient as the bottles you can grab at the supermarket, but with a few simple ingredients, it can be straightforward to make.
In this article, we explain how to make a homemade laundry detergent using easy-to-source ingredients and why we think DIY laundry detergent is worth a try.
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
These DIY laundry detergents are a great option for anyone who wants a more natural way to wash their clothes.
Just choose the recipe that best suits your preferences, follow our simple step-by-step instructions, and see the amazing results for yourself!
Liquid laundry detergent recipe
This first recipe is for a simple liquid detergent that will last in your cupboard for ages! Unlike many similar recipes, it also uses liquid soap, which makes it one of the quickest homemade detergents you can whip up. Here is a closer look at how:
- 200g soda crystals
- 50g bicarbonate of soda
- 120 ml liquid soap
- 2 litres of boiling water
- 10 drops of essential oils (optional)
- A bottle for storage
- A large bowl
- A whisk
- Pour the soda crystals into your bowl and slowly add 500 ml of boiling water
- Stir the mixture until all the crystals have dissolved
- Whilst stirring, add in the bicarbonate of soda a little at a time
- Add the liquid soap, the rest of the boiling water, and the essential oils (if using)
- Stir until well distributed and then leave to cool
- Whisk the detergent until it is smooth and then pour it into your storage container
Once you’ve bottled up your DIY liquid detergent, store it in a cool place with no direct sunlight.
The detergent will separate when left alone, so give it a good shake before adding it to the washing machine. We recommend using two tablespoons of detergent per load for best results.
To use the DIY liquid detergent, just put it in the washing machine drawer like you would with regular liquid laundry detergent.
Washing powder recipe
This DIY powder detergent is based on a fail-proof recipe that was in The Guardian a few years ago. The original recipe uses borax, but this is not available to buy in the UK as it is a potentially hazardous substance. We decided to double the amount of soda crystals instead, but substituting the borax for bicarbonate of soda would also be effective.
- 500 ml soda crystals
- 1 bar of soap
- Essential oil (optional)
- Grater or food processor
- A large bowl
- Airtight container
- Grate the bar of soap (or use the equivalent weight in soap shavings) into a bowl, either by hand or using the grater attachment on a food processor
- Add the soda crystals and mix well and store in your airtight container
- If you want to use essential oils, add a few drops to the powder as you put it in the washing machine
To use this homemade detergent, you need to add two tablespoons of the powder into the washing machine drum whenever you do a load of washing.
Bear in mind that for your laundry detergent to work, you need to buy soap that doesn’t contain added glycerine, as this could damage your washing machine and make your clothes come out stiff.
Does DIY Laundry Detergent Work?
One thing that stops people from trying out a DIY laundry detergent is the fear that it won’t actually clean their clothes. We are here to tell you that this is false news!
As long as you make your detergent according to our instructions and follow a few rules, we guarantee you your clothes will come out of the wash sparkling clean!
These rules are as follows:
- If possible, wash your laundry using soft water. Hard water contains certain minerals that can interfere with cleaning, leaving your clothes slightly less fresh than you’d like
- When using a powder detergent, wash your load at a slightly higher temperature to ensure the detergent dissolves properly
- Put each of your loads through an extra rinse cycle to make sure all traces of soap and grime are gone
- Like with any laundry detergent, use a stain remover for extra help when it comes to stubborn marks and stains
There is also a hack going around that suggests using Epsom salts and essential oils as a scent booster in your washing. However, we do not recommend this!
Epsom salts contain high amounts of magnesium, the same mineral found in hard water. Including them in your laundry will stop your detergent from working as well. Stick with our recipes, and we’re confident you’ll be happy with the results.
Why Should You Make Your Own Laundry Detergent?
Although it’s more convenient to pick up a bottle of laundry detergent from the shop, there are several advantages to making your own that we think are worth the extra time.
1. Reduces your plastic usage
DIY detergents are much more environmentally friendly than the shop-bought kind.
Plastic is incredibly damaging to the environment, and the number of plastic bottles you get through when buying detergent quickly adds up.
By making your own laundry detergent, you can reuse your container and considerably reduce how much plastic you use.
2. You control the ingredients
When you make your own detergent, you know precisely what is going into it! This is great for people with sensitive skin as it allows you to choose which ingredients you’re exposed to.
You can also choose to have a fragrance-free detergent if the scent gives you a headache or you don’t like artificial smells.
3. Can be cheaper
Homemade detergents may take up more time, but they also save you money. Store-bought brands of detergent can be expensive, and at the moment, it helps to save pennies wherever you can.
Although you’ll need to bulk buy some of the ingredients initially, DIY detergents are cheaper in the long run.
If you still don’t feel homemade laundry detergent is right for you after reading this, don’t worry! There are plenty of other alternatives to store-bought detergents that you can try, such as an ecoegg or soap nuts, that also have these advantages.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.