DIY Natural Laundry Liquid

 

This mixture will keep you going for ages, it works just as well in cold or hot water, and can be used in front loaders as it doesn’t foam. It’s easy and relatively fast to make although it can be a bit gluggy, this will dissipate in the wash. For a budget version you can use good old Sunlight soap (as long as you’re not allergic to fragrance) instead of Dr Bronners Castile soap, you’ll still be doing a lot less harm to the environment than using commercial laundry detergents that contain an array of pollutants and allergens.

Adding eucalyptus essential oil to the recipe will give you a liquid that’s wonderful on woollens, merinos and delicates, just make sure you wash them on the most gentle cycle to keep the fibers in good shape. For babies clothes and anyone with super sensitive skin leave out the essential oil. If you’d like to add a softener the most natural effective option is to add 1/2 cup Wendyl’s Premium Baking Soda to your wash.

DIY Natural Laundry Liquid

ยฝ bar (60g) gratedย Dr Bronners Baby Mild Castile Soap (Unscented) or Sunlight soap (if you or family do not have skin allergies)
1.5 litres of distilled water or cooled boiled rain water
ยฝ cup Wendyl’s Premium Soda Ash (washing soda)
50g ย Wendyl’s Premium Borax

1 litre hot distilled water or boiled rain water

Place soap in a saucepan with the first quantity of water and heat on low until soap is dissolved. Stir in washing soda and borax. Stir for a few minutes until thickened and remove from heat. (If you’re using Castile or vegetable-based soap it won’t thicken straight away, but don’t worry, it will overnight in the bottles).

Add 1 litre of hot water to a bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well. Fill bucket with another 5 litres of hot water and mix well. Pour into old milk bottles or other containers and set aside for 24 hours or until mixture thickens. Use 1/3 cup of liquid per load.

For a scented laundry liquid add about 20 drops lavender oil at the end before pouring into the bottles, or try eucalyptus oil, which is great for woollens.

 

Comments 91

  1. Hi, this looks easy enough to do…thanks for the recipe! Just one question though, would this need a preservative to keep it from going bad? Am new to this whole DIY thing so really curious about whether this needs a preservative or not. Thanks!

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      Author

      Hi there, the small amount of borax acts as a preservative as well as a cleaner. And this recipe makes a whole bucketful so it will last you for ages.

  2. Hello, I am just about to make the liquid laundry detergent and just wanted to know if this is suitable for a front loader machine. Does the mixture have any adverse effects on modern day washing machines.
    Many thanks

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      Hi Diane, it doesn’t bubble so is absolutely fine for front loaders. And very gentle so will not harm your washing machine.

  3. Hiya

    Just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with this recipe. I’ve been using a home made powdered mix for a bit and find it a bit hard to dissolve, but this mix works like a dream.
    The laundry liquid has had a really tough trial this month as I am hand rearing 5 tiny kittens for a local shelter. It is amazing how much utterly filthy laundry can be generated by such tiny creatures! The laundry liquid is handling it all with ease. For particularly stained items I also chuck 1c hydrogen peroxide into the wash and I always use white vinegar in the final rinse.

    Cheers
    Jen

  4. I’ve just made our second batch from your recipe – I used another recipe before that had more borax in it, and it tended to separate more so there was quite a lot of liquid as well as the gel. I prefer the consistency of this one. We use it in our front loader and it works great ๐Ÿ™‚ I make my own soap too so this is a good way of using up the soap scraps!

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  5. I’ve just put the pan on the stove with the water and soap to dissolve AND then went to pull out the recipe – a fairly old pull out from a magazine years ago – to find it missing! Just Googled Green Goddess and I’m saved!
    I just love this detergent and I’ve noticed our clothes are getting softer and softer.

  6. I thought I had read about options for stain removers somewhere in one of your books, but can’t seem to find the recipe anywhere! Have finally finished my Earthwise stain remover and have an empty bottle awaiting refill: what should I fill it with? (With two small people on the loose at kindy, I need a good stain remover in my life!)
    Many thanks, Lesley

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      Hi Lesley, The best stain remover is my WendylSan – you mix it to a paste, put it on the stain and leave to dry. Then wash. You can make it by mixing 2 cups soda ash with 1 cup oxygen bleach (sodium percarbonate). Or for whites just use oxygen bleach. Hope this helps.

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  7. Just a clarification on the washing soda. This is available in two forms. The most common form found in supermarkets etc is in a crystalline form. This has a large amount of water in it to form the crystals.

    The other form is a concentrated powdered form. This is at least twice as concentrated as the crystalline form. Thus half the quantity is required in the recipe.

    Most recipes online do not clarify this. Using too much washing soda doesn’t do any harm, just wasteful.

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      HI Fran,
      Thank you for this. I wouldn’t recommend halving the amount in my recipes though as I’ve tested them and you need the full amount of soda ash, which is the powdered form.

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      Hi Rebekah, should have put that on the recipe. Half a cup for average load, full cup for big or dirty load. It is quite gluggy so just squeeze it out of the bottle.

  8. I am very sensitive to scents and am wondering how scented this is? I am assuming the baking soda and borax are unscented, but which soap is my best bet? Thanks!

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      Diane, the best soap to use is Dr Bronner’s baby mild bar soap as it has no scent in it. It is really good for people with sensitivities.

  9. Hi – A couple of questions…
    In your mother’s little helper book you recommend the Dr Bronners mild baby soap if you are using it for baby or pregnancy which I will do. However I am interested in scent safety for baby. We are currently using the Ecostore laundry liquid which has eucalyptus in it, so is a bit of it safe for baby? Maybe half the amount you suggest above(10 drops instead of 20) I am so used to her laundry smelling lovely!
    Do you also know how good this recipe is in a hard water situation? We are on spring water which is high in calcium so I wanted to check this recipe would cope?

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      Hi Karen, I wouldn’t use any essential oils near a baby for the first three months. I recommend my baby mild laundry liquid or baby mild laundry powder or you can make your own substituting the soaps in the recipes for Dr Bronner’s baby mild bar soap or liquid soap. As far as I know this works well in hard water, I’ve heard nothing to the contrary and a lot of people who make this live in the country with bores etc.

  10. Hi Wendyl, I made the recipe as per instructions a couple of days ago. I’ve left it in the bucket as I don’t have any suitable bottles. It’s gone like cold custard, with big blobby ‘gel’ bits, a few strange curdlike things here and there and water has separated out to some extent. Is that normal?

    Secondly, I don’t get any suds during the wash cycle. Is that normal? I was putting half a cup in. I tried one cup to see if that created any suds, but there were still none.

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      Hi there, You won’t get any suds as there are no chemicals in the mix to do this, but it washes just as well. It is best to pour it into your bottles before it “sets” into the gluggy state, you can re-heat if you like to pour into bottles. It is quite normal to be like cold custard and you will get bits occasionally if you didn’t dissolve the soap properly. But it all works fine. You can just dip a cup into the bucket to get some out and throw it in the washing machine.

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      Hi Karyn, You really need to use a bar soap to make it “set”. If you want to use the liquid castile try making the laundry powder instead. All the best.

  11. Made it up, then put it to the test on farm clothes (i.e. Cow Poo, mud, really smelly dirty clothes from the cow shed). Wow can only say this is amazing!! Better than any commercial product! Thanks Wendyl

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      Thank you! And you’re not getting the chemicals left in the clothes as you do with commercial laundry powders. Well done!

  12. Hi just a comment re Jenny @ comment #14 – I did this as well (left it too long in the bucket) and I used my stick blender and whizzed it all – worked great and it didnt separate in the bottle later either. Was much easier than reheating it all ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Some feedback on my experiences with your liquid laundry mix. It is a fab product and I have managed to convert a few people to it, including excema inflicted step-daughter. Thought you might like to know that I buy the soaps from Trade Aid ($3 each) and use a whole one in my mix. They have some lovely scents, my faves being Clove or Sandalwood. I tried the sunlight and wasnโ€™t that fussed, and found this option saves a few more pennies.

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      Thank you Karen – for posting this on here so that others can try out the soaps. I have used Trade Aid shops in my laundry liquid before too and they are great in other recipes like hand wash.

  14. Great recipe – just totally freaking out about the safety advice in the borax…obviously I’m not going to drink the laundry liquid!! I’m just concerned about the prep and handling of it. I just whipped it all up in a pan on the stove – which I’ve now run through the dishwasher. I hate the thought of any kind of dangerous chemical in the house. Any words of advice to quell my nerves!?

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      HI Meg, this is a very small amount in the recipe and it is a natural substance. The only concern about borax is in high doses. If you are worried then my advice it to make the laundry powder which doesn’t use it.

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  15. hiya
    just made up my latest batch of laundry liquid and just reading th comments to see if anyone else had the same idea as me and it seems Nicole has!
    Last time I made it, bottled it then after it set just thought I wld try blending it so that time I did it bottle by bottle but this time I’m going to do what nicole did and whizz it up in th bucket. I found that it doesn’t separate at all and is just like the commercial ones
    consistancey-wise
    And now I’m living in OZ outback we buy our water cos tap tastes like chlorine so i have loads of empty 10l containers with taps so will put my whole batch in there and just pour out what i need
    awesome recipe, thanks

  16. Thank goodness for this site! I am away with Baby and Hubby, accompanying him on a business trip, having brought cloth nappies and a small bottle of this laundry detergent I make and use all the time. Yay, a washing machine in our kitchen, but no, it’s a front loader and I have no experience with these other than a vague notion they need different washing powders or amounts or something. Help! What can I do? Log on to the Internet and check out the recipe… And the lovely Q &A above, that perfectly answered my question and solved my dilemma! I’m just off to wash some nappies now, thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      Hi Nancy, I don’t think that will work but you are welcome to have a go. The best use for lux flakes is to dissolve in warm water then add to your wash.

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      Hi Sandra, absolutely not. It has a lot of chemicals in it you don’t want in this. Sunlight has some fragrance and a few other minor things but it works the best – and is cheaper I think. You can use soap from Trade Aid or genuine castile soap – made from oils as well.

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      Hi Julia,
      The chemist sells it – you can get it in two strengths 3% or 6% – I tend to use 6% for cleaning.

  17. Hi there, I was just wondering if this would be suitable to use on modern cloth nappies? I know there are lots of rules about what you can use to wash them with as enzymes can break down the fibres of the material, and also some detergents can leave a residue that can affect their absorbency. Do you know if this recipe is ok to use? Thanks!

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      Hi Misha, this is absolutely fine, all natural, nothing to worry about. I’ve had lots of mums use it for cloth nappies.

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  18. Hi Wendyl,
    I have been using this recipe for the last 2yrs, and am really proud to be making my own laundry detergent. ๐Ÿ™‚ However, unfortunately I have found that it doesn’t remove marks on clothes in the same way a commercial detergent does. I’ve read so many other people’s reviews who rave about its effectiveness & I can’t understand why it doesn’t work as well on my clothes! Any thoughts or pearls of wisdom as to why it might not be working so well for me?! I have a toddler & a 6mth old so don’t have time to treat every little stain (although I do tend to the bigger/harsher ones), yet I’ve read that others on farms & the lady rearing kittens find it really good! What an earth could I be doing wrong?! I follow the recipe & use 1/2 – 1 cup per load. Please help!
    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚
    Deb

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      HI Deb, are you putting the borax in? This is quite important and are you using Sunlight soap or another soap. Also try rubbing a bit on the stain and leaving for half an hour before washing (or longer). Well done you making your own laundry liquid.

  19. Hi Wendyl,
    I have a huge box of baby clothes which my daughter has been lent, they have been washed in something which is giving off a dreadful smell which is making the room smell as well. I suspect it may be some cold water powder that has been used as even the wool garments smell of it. I have washed some articles twice, once using your laundry liquid and also a second wash using lux flakes. What do you suggest to get rid of the scent? I have more than 100 items to wash.

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  20. Hi.
    I see you recommend Dr Bronners, which seems very expensive to me. Does it still work out to be cheap using this? Seems hard to compare $10 for one block with $4 for four blocks of sunlight soap.

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  21. Oops was waiting to see a reply in my emails. Yes I’m definitely using all the ingredients incl. borax, sunlight soap… I bought borax penta from TradeMe, could it be the type of borax? It’s not just stains, it’s generally just the quality of the wash… I always wash in cold water. Would it work better in warm water maybe? Occasionally I have thought maybe I need to get my washing machine serviced but then it does wash well with commercial detergent. ๐Ÿ™ PS. The ‘reply’ button on your post didn’t work… ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Hi Wendyl
    I’ve just been fossicking through my pile of handwritten recipes and have found one which I thought was yours, but cant find it on your website, its for a Fabric Softner and a Clothes Rinse.
    Fabric Softner:
    1c Washing Soda
    1c Vinegar
    10 Drops Ess. Oil

    Clothes Rinse:
    1c B.S
    1c Vinegar
    2c Water
    1tsp Lemon Oil
    1tsp Eucalyptus Oil

    Are these yours?
    Thanks very much Kendra

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  23. Hello

    Im after your dishwashing liquid recipe please (for good ole washing dishes by hand), cant find in the recipe section ? thanks very much

  24. Hi Wendyl!

    I picked up a copy of your book, A Home Companion, during my time living in NZ and have absolutely loved it! I made my first batch of liquid laundry detergent tonight and can’t wait to use it!!! It was so quick and easy and I love how much one batch gives you.

    Thanks again and I’m really enjoying your book. I already purchased several items to make more of the recipes!

    God bless!

    Jessica ๐Ÿ™‚

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  25. Hi
    Re: Fabric softner recipe above, I’ve just made it, and for the life of me I cant get the washing soda dissolved in the vinegar, so maybe not such a great recipe after all ๐Ÿ™

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      Hi Kendra, it doesn’t dissolve in the jar, it dissolves when you add it to the wash. I should probably amend the recipe to explain that. Sorry for confusion.

  26. I am having the same problems as Deb describes in her email in May. Over time the washing has gotten grey and occasionally smelly. I tried using warmer water and this helped but the power bill went up accordingly so I have stopped this. I use the borax and sunlight soap and leave it overnight and use the blender to mix it the next day and this works really well. I’m not sure what else to do and don’t want to go back to using commercial products but don’t like my washing like this. Is there anything else I should try? I also had similar problems when I made your powder detergent but I think that the liquid one cleans better. I will try using more product and see if that improves the clean.

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      I’m sorry you are having problems, I’ve used it for years without any so am wondering if it is something to do with your water? I would suggest a cup of white vinegar in the final rinse as your water may be quite alkali which means the soap isn’t rinsing out properly. Let me know if that works.

  27. I’ve been using this recipe for over 2 years now and I’m so pleased with it. Thank you for your generosity in sharing the recipe. I can no longer abide the smell of commercial laundry detergents. With this detergent, the only smell I get is clean and sunshine ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. hi there– have been making for years and always using hot water at the end. Yesterday I used cold and for some reason it didn’t set (still liquid, no glug)– any idea what to do ?

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  29. We changed the machine’s first rinse from a spray to a deep rinse and this has worked really well. The clothes look brighter and smell fresher so it looks like the soap wasn’t being rinsed out properly as you suggest. We have a large 7.5kg machine and often the loads were full. We reduced the amount of clothes per wash and this may have helped as well – thank you!

  30. Hi Wendy,
    Have just made my first batch of your washing liquid and it has separated in the bucket and is not thick. I made it this morning how long does it take to go thick. I used castile soap. Can you use your recipe of castile soap or any of the other ones that are on the internet. I thought I would blend it before I bottled it. Thanks

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      Hi June, did you use solid cake soap or liquid? It will not go solid if you use liquid. But, the good news is it will still work as a laundry liquid so you haven’t wasted anything. Just give it a good shake before adding it.

  31. Hi Wendyl,
    I used a half cake of castile soap. I have made another batch and it still hasn’t gone thick but it didn’t separate. I know what I did wrong I took it of the heat and the borax and washing soda didn’t dissolve so I strained it, so I didn’t end up with enough of the soda or borax, the next time I did it I read the recipe properly. How thick should it go. I used the one that separated and it does a great job. I love using it.
    Thank you for giving people the recipes. I also love the cleaning paste, I haven’t seen anything that cleans like it before. Looking forward to making some of your other recipes.
    Thank you,
    June

  32. Hi
    Does the recipe work just as well if I use Dr Bronnerโ€™s liquid Castile soap?
    How many ml would you recommend?
    Thanks for all the recipes, easy and quick and they work!!

    cheers.

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      Please don’t use a liquid soap, it just won’t set. You need a cake soap. I have used Dr Bronner’s and Trade Aid soaps successfully.

  33. Hi Wendyl,

    Just a newbie question… my cloth nappies say they shouldn’t be washed in detergents that may be homemade as products such as Borax used on the cover will break down the PUL and the elastic. This is for the guarantee – I’m not worried about the guarantee but dont want to wreck them ๐Ÿ™‚ what do you think? many thanks

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      That’s interesting as commercial laundry products have much harsher chemicals in them. The borax is minimal in this recipe so shouldn’t be a problem but if you’re worried just leave it out. The borax is in there as an emulsifier and stain remover so might not work as well but will still work.

  34. Thanks so much for the sharing of your recipes.
    My order arrived yesterday, my first batch was made last night and the washing machine is currently testing it.
    It was easier than I thought to make and the Dr Bronners lavender scented soap has my whole laundry smelling lovely.
    Feeling a touch of mentionitis coming on.
    Regards
    Annette
    p.s: can the please prove you are human questions be a bit more forgiving early on a sunday morning when my brain doesn’t have any idea when seven x ? = 42

  35. Hi there,

    I am so excited to be making this – thanks for the response about cloth nappies. I got borax in a 1kg container and when i measured 1/4 cup out i knew i wouldnt be getting 20 portions out of the bag. Sure enough, 50g is only 1/8th of a cup. i triple checked! what one to use?!? 50g or 1/4 cup?

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      Author

      Thanks Emma for highlighting this mistake in my recipe! It should be 50g – or 1/8th of a cup. My mistake.

  36. Hi there, I just made my 2nd batch of the laundry detergent but I used Knights castile bar of soap this time instead of sunlight, is this ok? I couldn’t find Dr Bronners anywhere.. Also I bought a 20kg bag of borax from bunnings as my partner can use outdoors, cost around $70 but will last a long time. Is 50 grams 1/4 or 1/8 of a cup? Thanks

  37. Hi there i am about to make this for the first time but accidentally bought washing soda crystals. Should i use extra? Thank you for sharing these recipes!

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  38. In New Zealand, Sunlight Soap is the most recommended soap for people with skin allergies. It is the only soap that doesn’t give me hand dermatitis. Just FYI ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Dear Wendyl,

    Do you have this recipe using liquid castile soap instead of the soap bar, keeping the washing soda but using baking soda instead of borax? (I am not a big fan of borax).

    Would this new recipe for liquid laundry soap work with woollens?

    Thank you!

  40. Hi Triona,

    Thank you for your quick reply. I see that wendyls also sells a baby mild laundry liquid for woollens. I think I will give it a try ๐Ÿ˜Š.

  41. Hi, keen to try this but want to make up a small quantity first. What is the best way to adjust for this so I can intially just make about 1 litre?

    Canโ€™t wait to try. Also keen to see another posters comment about the use of Sunlight soap. I too live in NZ and find it great, but also have the Pental โ€œKnights Castileโ€ (original lanolin) too, so not sure which would be best. Any thoughts. Thanks

    1. Hi, if you cut all the quantities in half you’ll end up with just over one litre. Sunlight soap is ok for this recipe, or even better use a straight castile soap like Dr Bronners or Be Natural.

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