Laundry detergent is one of the more expensive household cleaners and contains many ingredients that are harsh to the skin and to the environment. Busy families can use the washing machine several times a day and before you know it you can be spending several hundred dollars a year on laundry detergent.
Harsh commercial detergents can contain artificial fragrances and ingredients that can irritate skin and even cause allergic reactions. While there are many brands that claim to be gentle on skin, they can still be harmful to the environment. With a few simple ingredients you can create your own detergent at home that will clean your clothes, be gentle on skin and that is safe for the environment. For just pennies on the dollar you can make enough detergent to last for a month or more.
Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe:
Makes two liters / half a gallon of detergent (this recipe can easily be doubled):
- 4 tablespoons of washing soda (sodium carbonate is a salt of carbonic acid)
- 30 grams / 1 ounce of hard soap, like castile soap
- 10-15 drops of essential oil *
- two liters / 8.5 cups of of boiling hot water
- Cans or bottles for storage
* You can use any essential oil you like for a nice fragrance like lavender, geranium or lemon grass. Adding eucalyptus oil will add cleaning power and a nice clean scent to your clothes.
Directions to prepare your DIY Detergent:
- Grate the soap with a small kitchen grater and mix it together with the soda in 700 ml / 3 cups of hot water in a big pot, until everything has dissolved.
- Let stand for about one hour, then add 700 ml / 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Stir with a whisk and add the essential oil to it.
- Let the mixture sit for 6-24 hours. Bring to a boil again and add the rest of the water. Allow the detergent to cool completely before storing in a pail or old laundry detergent bottle. Shake or stir before using. If after cooling the detergent is too thick, just add more water.
This homemade laundry detergent is very effective and environmentally friendly. Use it just like other liquid detergents, or a normal load use 150-200 ml / 2/3-1 cup of detergent. For extra bright whites add 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda to improve cleaning and prevent graying.
While you should be able to find the ingredients in the cleaning section of your supermarket you can also buy the ingredients needed online, we recommend these products:
Bonus tip: when making this detergent economies of scale work wonders. Making larger amounts take almost the same amount of time and supply lasts you for weeks.
Which cleaners and other household essentials do you make yourself? Tell us in the comments section below.