DIY: Homemade laundry detergent - easy and cheap

When you’re trying to eliminate chemicals from your home, eventually you have to face the facts. That heavenly smell from freshly washed laundry, isn’t that natural. It also isn’t that good for you. Numerous toxins that stay behind in your clothes and sheets (yes, they stay behind, or why else is that heavenly smell not washed out?), letting your skin absorb them all day and all night.

Labeling on bottles of laundry detergent is often very vague. On my previously used bottle, some ingredients are mentioned, and then it says: “Anionic and nonionic surfactants. Other ingredients: Colorings. Bleaching agents.” And so on. So, basically, they can put anything they want in it, and you wouldn’t even know what. Another trick a lot of companies use (not only in laundry detergent, but in everything), is list the ingredient “Perfume” or “Fragrance”. Anything can hide under those names. And that anything isn’t pretty. Take a look at one of many articles addressing this issue here, or here.

Hmm, that doesn’t sound that fresh and clean anymore to me. Not that heavenly either. The warnings on the bottle about keeping it out of reach of children and immediately call a doctor after swallowing or getting it in your eye, don’t make me that happy either. Sure, you’re not going to drink it, but it does say a lot about the health-factor of these products. And I can’t even think about the toxic load on the environment. It’s so bad for the ecosystem! I don’t want to contribute to that anymore. If you agree, here’s a way to make your own laundry detergent. All natural, of course. And so very cheap. Who knew I could even save money going green?

I first read about this on a Dutch blog. I went searching online and A LOT of people are making this themselves. So, I decided to give it a go. And I don’t regret it at all!

What do you need?

- An empty bottle. (I bought myself a retro milk bottle, made in glass. To avoid plastic, and just because it made me happy looking at it.)

"Absolutely pure milk"  Yeah well :-)

- A cheese grinder

- Original Marseille Soap (If you can’t find it, I think another all natural soap will work too. But haven’t tried it myself). Be careful, I found a lot of “Marseille” soaps, but not originals, as they were loaded with chemical ingredients. The original Marseille soap is made only from vegetable oils (palm, copra, olive).  Nice and pure!

How to make it?

There are some varieties on this, but here’s the way I made it. By the way, most people make five liters of detergent at once, but I made only one liter to start with, because I don’t have the place to store five bottles in our apartment. If you want to make five liters, use 80g of soap on 5 liters water.  

First, boil 1 liter water. You can do it in your normal cooking pan, as we are using nothing toxic.

I made the pictures, he grated soap. 

While the water is heating, grate 16g of soap. (We might have used 20, and that worked too J)

Throw the flakes of soap into the boiling water. You can turn the heat off now. Stir until the soap is dissolved in the water. Now, leave it for 24 hours. Then, you can pour it in your bottle. Ready to use! So simple, it almost didn’t take any work.

The result!

The test

We’ve done laundry with this about five or six times now, and it does a great job. It’s not that different from before, actually. You do want to use more soap than you were used to, if you, like me, had one of those super-concentrated detergents. Our laundry comes out fresh and clean. It doesn’t smell like flowers or any other artificial aroma’s, but it’s just fresh. The really persistent stains are not gone, but our previous washing detergent didn’t got that job done either. I’m going to experiment with that later.

For fabric softener, you can use plain vinegar. It may sound strange to some, you may not like the idea. My boyfriend didn’t either. He was afraid our clothes would smell all vinegary. If you put in as much as he -overenthusiastic- did, then yes: it smells a bit like vinegar. But just put in a little squeeze in the bottle, in the fabric softener compartment, and it will make your laundry more soft. Plus, it will degrease your machine. I promise, you won’t smell vinegar at all. Boyfriend confirmed that.
I have to say, the first time I did this, my laundry and my washing machine didn’t smell that good. I think it’s because there were soap leftovers in the machine, who came loose and made it smell kind of musty. This was also still in combination with our old washing detergent, so maybe the two just didn’t combine that well. Luckily, I tried it first with some towels. After this, I did a wash on ninety degrees, again with vinegar, and that fixed it completely, and everything smelled superfresh. Never had the problem again. (Even without vinegar, it’s good for your machine to do a ninety degree wash from time to time.)


If you want to go natural in washing laundry, and prices from eco-washing detergents scare you, this is perfect! This homemade detergent does its job, costs so little and is very easy to make. It’s 100% biodegradable, all natural and not harmful for you or your family. We are never returning to our old chemical routine! 


  1. Love, love, love this! You're right, looking at the back of those laundry bottles provides some scary ingredients! I used to do the same thing re: soap grating, then I ran out and used some Dr Bronners Liquid Soap instead, along with some tea tree oil. Been doing that ever since, sometimes use lemon for a change of smell. Seems to do the job anyway :) x

    1. Nice to hear you love this, thanks :)
      I read it on bottles of my castile too, it's suitable for washing your clothes. But I'll keep using this method because it's much cheaper! But I can imagine the smell of yours being better, as this smells just neutral.

    2. Yes, definitely agree its cheaper with the bar soap! How long does this last you? You could probably add e/o's to this too x

    3. One liter, so 16 grams of soap, lasts me about two-three weeks.
      I thought about that too, adding oils, but when I was in the store looking for them, I read on the bottle: "can stain fabric" so I put it back... Haven't got any experience with them so didn't want to take the risk :) x

  2. I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information? cheap e juice

  3. It's a very useful post, I liked it and enjoyed reading it, Thanks for sharing this information with us.
    office cleaning products in chennai


Thanks for stopping by! I'm always curious to hear what you think...

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.