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Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Published on September 10th 2014 by under DIY

Making your own liquid laundry detergent at home is, undoubtedly, a healthy alternative. With people opting gradually for natural, eco-friendly products for everyday use, learning how to make homemade liquid detergent from scratch wouldn’t be a bad idea! This would not merely cut down your laundry expenses to half, but also help your clothes last longer.

Why use Homemade Detergents

Commercial laundry detergents available in the market are commonly made of chemicals like phenols, sulfates, and even petroleum distillates, which are often associated with various cancers and lung diseases. The fragrances added to these detergents may also contain harmful chemicals.

How to make Liquid Laundry Soap with Borax


  1. Borax (e.g.: 20 Mule Team Borax) – 1 cup
  2. Washing Soda (like, Arm and Hammer Brand) – 1 cup
  3. Castile Bar Soap (e.g. Dr. Bronner’s, Ivory; you can also use bar laundry soaps like Zote or Fels-Naptha)

Fels-Naptha is known to be good especially for sensitive skin and has often been used as a home remedy to many skin conditions.

Liquid Laundry Soap with Borax

Liquid Laundry Soap with Borax

Apparatus required:

  1. Cheese grater/Food processor
  2. Large pan and lid
  3. Large spoon
  4. Bucket (capacity of 5-gallon)


  • Use the cheese grater or food processor to grate a Castile soap bar.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Pictures

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Pictures

  • Take a pan and pour ½ gallon of water, along with the grated soap before heating it gradually. Keep stirring continuously with a large spoon, until the soap dissolves completely.
  • Next, take 4.5 gallons of hot water in a 5 gallon bucket.
  • Add washing soda and borax to the water and keep stirring until both the ingredients dissolve completely.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Images

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Images

  • Add the previously-made soap mixture from the pan directly into the bucket. Stir and mix evenly. If you feel it is too thick, you can easily add some more hot water to it.
  • When done, cover the mixture and leave it aside overnight.
  • Stir or shake it well to make it smooth, and then store this liquid in containers of your choice.

How to use: Just use ½ a cup to 1 cup per load of clothes.

Normally, a batch of 5-gallon of concentrated homemade liquid laundry soap would cost you around $4.30 and you can get at least 80 loads of washes. This means, this easy liquid laundry detergent recipe would cost you as cheap as $0.05 per load! It is also safe for your septic system.

HouseLogic.com had conducted an experiment by smearing mustard on two cloth strips, washing one with homemade liquid laundry detergent, while the other one with commercial detergent. The images in the site clearly show how the homemade detergent won over the commercial one.


  1. For a detergent without borax, you can replace it with a cup of baking soda or Oxiclean. But if you use Oxiclean, you cannot use the detergent for your woolens.
  2. You can use 1/3rd to ½ a cup of salt while adding the grated soap. Salt has the property to soften water, and this is recommended for those fighting with hard water.
  3. To avoid the effort of grating your Castile soap bar, you might as well want to replace it with liquid Castile. Add one and a half cup of liquid Castile soap in place of the grated bar soap.
  4. A cup of Dawn dish soap can also be used to replace the Castile bar/liquid.
  5. For a scented detergent, add a few drops of essential oil (rose, lavender, etc), or Purex crystals.

DIY Soap Nut Liquid Detergent

This simple recipe would give you about 2.5 cups of concentrated liquid laundry detergent, enough to wash about 40 loads in HE washer machines, and approximately 20 in standard ones.


  • Soap nut berries – 1 cup
  • Vinegar – ½ a cup (as a preservative)
  • Water – 4 cups

Apparatus required:

  • A large pot and a lid
  • A slotted spoon
  • A glass bowl
  • A mesh strainer
  • A water-tight storage jar
Soap Nut Liquid Detergent

Soap Nut Liquid Detergent


  • Pour the berries, water and the vinegar into the pot.
  • Place it over a low flame, and bring to boil.
  • Now, put the flame to medium-low and simmer-boil with the lid on, for half an hour. Use your slotted spoon to stir occasionally and keep mashing the berries as they get tender.
  • Later, allow it to simmer for yet another 30 minutes, but this time without the lid. This would remove the excess water. Keep stirring from time to time.
  • Your detergent is ready. Just strain the liquid in a glass bowl, and keep aside to cool.
  • When done, store it in a water-tight jar.

How to use:

For each load of your HE washer, take 1 tbsp, while for a regular load, take 2. However, if your clothes are heavily dirty, you can add more, as per your requirement. Soap nut detergent is a safe option for washing cloth diapers as well.


  • As a preservative, you can also use 1 tsp salt or citric acid instead of vinegar.

Other ideas for chemical free laundry detergent

  1. For softening your fabrics, you can add a spoon or two of vinegar in the water while washing. Additionally, vinegar has the property to dissolve any possible salt deposits on your clothes.
  2. Although a rather expensive alternative, shampoo alone can be used as a laundry detergent. However, it does not work well for heavily-soiled clothes.

Video: Recipe for your own liquid laundry detergent

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