Do you want to save money on laundry detergent? Are you concerned about what’s in your laundry detergent and want to be sure you’re using something natural?
I have a DIY homemade liquid laundry detergent that is easy to make and you can customize it just how you like it. It uses optional essential oil for fragrance too.
Like so many other things, it just seems like laundry detergent costs just keep going up and up. I have used Arm & Hammer Free & Clear liquid detergent for years and for a long time it was $7-8 for a standard size jug (140 loads), but now it’s over $12. I like that it’s effective but unscented, and it uses baking soda, which is natural and effective. But it also uses a lot of chemicals I can’t even pronounce, like “sodium C10-16 alkylbenzenesulfonate” and “disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate.” What the heck are those?
Then I realized that you can make your own detergent that’s comparable in appearance and effectiveness, but has only a few ingredients, and you can pronounce all of them!
For example, this recipe starts with distilled water.
Why distilled water?
Distilled water is better for cleaning, as distilled water is the purest form of water possible. It’s been boiled and evaporated, then the vapor is condensed back into a liquid without the minerals. Distilled water is simply better for cleaning.
Where to find distilled water?
You can find distilled water in your local grocery store or home supply store.
In addition, this recipe uses common ingredients like laundry soda and baking soda. They look similar, but have different functions. Plus, you can’t consume laundry soda, but you can consume baking soda.
Laundry soda is also called sodium carbonate. It’s harsher than baking soda, but that means it is more abrasive and cleans well. It’s made of larger white granules than baking soda, and is more alkaline than baking soda, with a pH level of 11. The high alkalinity helps remove grease and stains, but too much of it can damage fabric and surfaces, and fade colors.
Baking soda is also called sodium bicarbonate. It dissolves easily in water and has a more neutral pH level of 8. It neutralizes odors by causing acids to break down proteins and stains, and it softens water which enhances the effectiveness of a detergent.
Household water has a pH range of 7 to 8.5. The best pH for laundry is around 10. Using both laundry soda and baking soda combined helps to raise the pH level of household water.
Baking soda and laundry soda should never be mixed with acidic cleaning ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar. That’s because the alkalinity of baking soda and laundry soda is needed to attack acidic soils in laundry in order to work well. Using something acidic like lemon juice or vinegar makes baking soda and laundry soda less effective.
Castile soap is a multi-purpose cleaner that’s made from vegetable oils like olive oil. Its name comes from the Castile region of Spain where it originated hundreds of years ago, and was a hub for soap production. It’s soap in its basic element without any synthetic ingredients, and it therefore biodegradable. It’s also highly concentrated, so it uses less waste. And because it has no animal fat, it’s vegan-friendly.
Though it’s gentle and natural, castile soap is also a highly effective cleanser. It has a pH level of 9-11.
You can often find castile soap already scented. There are many varieties including scented and unscented.
Essential oils are aromatic substances derived from plants. There are many to choose from uplifting to calming.
Wondering what essential oil to use?
I recommend tea tree oil, but you can use anything you like. Here are some ideas:
Lavender: Calming, promotes relaxation and better sleep.
Lemon: Refreshing and uplifting, can remove stains and brighten whites, antibacterial.
Bergamot: Uplifting and antibacterial.
Tea Tree: Antifungal and antimicrobial.
Is there an essential oil you love to use in laundry detergent? Share in the comments!
Ingredients – where to buy:
You can see why these ingredients work well together to create an effective, natural liquid laundry detergent. Now, where to find them?
Amazon is my first choice, since I’m a Prime member and can get most of these with free shipping.
DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe
Here’s the recipe:
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yields: 1 gallon
- 1 gallon of water, distilled
- 1/4 cup laundry soda
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/3 cup Castile soap
- 20 drops of essential oils (optional)
Bring the gallon of distilled water to a boil in a 6-quart stock pot.
Once boiling, remove from the heat and gently mix all the ingredients until dissolved.
Then transfer to jars for storage.
There are many jars that can be used – here are some choices online.
Laundry soap in a jar makes a great gift, too!
Print the recipe:
DIY Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe
- 1 6-quart stock pot
- Jars for storage
- 1 gallon distilled water
- 1/4 cup laundry soda
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/3 cup castile soap
- 20 drops essential oils (optional)
- Bring the gallon of distilled water to a boil in a 6-quart stock pot.
- Once boiling, remove from the heat and gently mix all the ingredients until dissolved.
- Let cool.
- Transfer to jars for storage.
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More Cleaning Resources
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