Sustainability made simple

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent in 6 Steps

make your own laundry detergent
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / stevepb

Making your own laundry detergent is an easy way to make household cleaning greener. We’ll explain how to make your own laundry soap using gentle ingredients.

Getting rid of unnecessary chemicals and toxins in your home is a great way to limit your impact on the environment, as well as to ensure healthy living conditions for yourself and your loved ones. Besides the sustainability factor, one of the main reasons people choose to switch to homemade laundry soap is the cost savings. Conventional detergents can be quite expensive and those costs add up throughout the year. That being said, DIY laundry detergent does have its disadvantages, so it’s worth making a trial batch to see if it works for you.

Make Your Own Laundry Soap: DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe

Be careful when handling borax as it can irritate your skin.
Be careful when handling borax as it can irritate your skin.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Monfocus)

DIY laundry detergent is actually much simpler that you might think, though you will have to head out to the shops to stock up on some ingredients. We’ll share a recipe for a tester batch, so you can make sure you like it before making a larger amount. 

Ingredients and Materials

  • 4 cups water, divided 
  • ¼ cup borax 
  • ¼ cup washing soda
  • 1.5 liter container or jar 
  • ¼ cup liquid Castile soap 
  • 10 drops organic, fair trade essential oils (optional)

How to Make Laundry Detergent:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil either in a kettle or on the stove. 
  2. Add the borax and washing soda to a 1.5 liter container.
  3. Next, pour in the liquid Castile soap followed by the 2 cups of boiling water.
  4. Give the mixture a stir/shake. Once the ingredients have fully dissolved, add the final 2 cups of water and mix it. 
  5. Add some essential oils if you want to—about 10 drops should do the trick. 
  6. Let it sit at room temperature, and watch it thicken. 

    Use ¼ cup of laundry detergent for each load and enjoy your environmentally-friendly clean clothes.

    If you really love this DIY laundry detergent, you can make a larger batch by multiplying the given amounts by four.

    Note: Borax is a natural product made from the mineral sodium tetraborate. However, it can still be dangerous as it can cause skin rashes, irritation and nausea, if ingested—so be careful! 

    Store-Bought vs. Homemade Laundry Detergent

    When kept in airtight containers, ingredients for homemade laundry detergent can last for ages!
    When kept in airtight containers, ingredients for homemade laundry detergent can last for ages!
    (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / SeaReeds)

    Trying to decide whether or not to make your own laundry soap? Here are some of the advantages of making it yourself. 

    • Family & environmentally friendly: No toxins and chemicals that can cause skin problems, no added perfumes, and a significant reduction in packaging waste. 
    • Easy to make: You only need to combine a few simple ingredients to make your homemade laundry detergent. 
    • Inexpensive: A batch will cost much less than store-bought detergent, and you’ll be able to use it for months on end. 
    • Customizable: You choose exactly what ingredients you want to go into it. 

    The majority of conventional store-bought laundry detergents are jam-packed with harsh chemicals and additives, artificial fragrances and colors. However, if you find that making your own laundry detergent isn’t for you, there are still store-bought options that are better for the environment, like Dropps laundry pods (available on Amazon**).

    As with any cleaning supplies, homemade laundry soap is best kept out of the reach of children and pets—just because this DIY detergent doesn’t have the same chemicals as its conventional counterpart, doesn’t mean you want your children and pets snacking away on it. 

    Laundry Tips & Tricks for your Homemade Laundry Detergent

    If you prefer store-bought detergent, look for ones with plant-based ingredients and low-waste packaging.
    If you prefer store-bought detergent, look for ones with plant-based ingredients and low-waste packaging.
    (Foto: CC0 / Unsplash / Julianna Arjes )

    As with any DIY swap, there are a few things you’ll have to get used to. These aren’t necessarily disadvantages, they’re just things to keep in mind:

    • Check whether the warranty of your laundry machine will still be valid before making your own laundry detergent. Some warranties are invalidated if you use homemade laundry detergent.
    • Homemade laundry detergent takes a lot of trial and error, and just because a recipe works for one person, doesn’t mean it’ll work for the next. 
    • It does clean, but it doesn’t whiten whites and lift stains the way conventional laundry detergents do. However, there are natural alternatives for this, too. Wash clothes with vinegar to whiten whites, brighten colors, and soften fabric. You can hang your laundry outdoors to dry and let the sun work its bleaching magic. Try spot treating with a stain remover bar, like Ethique’s Flash bar (available on Amazon**).
    • Check if you live in a hard water area. Soap scum build-up can occur on both the machine and clothes if the water is hard.
    • Regularly clean your washing machine for best results (approximately every 50 loads).

    Read on: 

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