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4 min read / 21 May 2024 / yasmin sharp

How to Make a Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent with Essential Oils

Learn how to make homemade natural laundry detergent with essential oils to save money, reduce environmental impact, and avoid harsh chemicals.

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Store-bought washing powders are not for everyone, especially if you have sensitive skin or want to avoid coming into contact with certain chemicals.

Making your own natural laundry detergent can be a safer option, whilst also potentially saving you money in the long run and reducing your impact on the environment.

And the formulation process is simpler than you may think – all you need are a few simple ingredients, and you can keep your clothes clean and fresh all year round.

Why make a homemade laundry detergent?

You may be wondering why you should make a natural laundry detergent using essential oils, especially when there are so many to choose from at the local supermarket.

Making a homemade laundry powder has its benefits, including:

  • It’s a cost-efficient option: If you have a large family or tend to get through multiple washes every week, then you may be able to save money by making your own washing powder.
  • Less impact on the environment: A natural washing machine detergent is an eco-friendlier option as it should reduce the amount of plastic you have in your home, which also means there is less to dispose of.
  • Fewer harsh, unknown chemicals: If you have sensitive skin, you will have more control over the detergent formula, making it easier to avoid synthetic ingredients that can sometimes cause unexpected irritations or allergies.

Is homemade laundry detergent suitable for all types of clothes?

Whilst using a homemade clothes soap is usually suitable for most clothes, it is probably safer to use a store-bought detergent for certain types of materials.

If you are unsure about washing certain specific fabrics like silk, using a store-bought detergent will probably give you more protection.

Does natural laundry detergent remove stains?

Natural washing machine detergent tends to be better at removing everyday dirt from clothes, although it may not be as effective at cleaning stains.

This is because the recipe does not include any active enzymes that can break apart certain types of stains, which will then remove them from the fibres of the fabric.

If you want to remove stains from clothes, using an all-purpose stain remover can be a good alternative, as it allows you to treat the fabric before adding it to the wash load.

How to make homemade natural laundry detergent

Before you start to make your homemade clothes washing detergent, make sure you have the following:

  • 2 Castile soap bars
  • 3 cups washing soda
  • 3 cups borax (sodium borate)
  • 3 cups of baking soda
  • 4-litre bucket/container
  • 30-40 drops of your chosen essential oil

Instructions on how to make a homemade laundry detergent

  1. Use a food processor or grater to break down the Castile soap and when finished add this to the bucket.
  2. Measure three cups of borax, three cups of washing soda and three cups of baking soda and then add these to the bucket.
  3. When you have all of the dry ingredients inside the bucket, add the essential oil to the mixture. You can add 30-40 drops of one essential oil, or use a combination to create your own scent.
  4. Slowly blend the ingredients until the essential oil has been fully mixed in.
  5. If you are using a bucket, carefully pour your new homemade clothes soap into a storage jar and label it.

How to use natural washing machine powder

Use the following to help you get the most out of your homemade clothes soap:

  • Shake the container well before use, as some of the elements may separate after sitting in the storage container for a while.
  • Add 100ml or ½ cup of the detergent to your washing machine. It should work just as well in cold temperatures, so you won’t need to go higher than usual.
  • If the powder forms hard clumps after too much exposure to moisture it is a good idea to dispose of it, as it may not dissolve in the wash and could mark your clothes.

How long do natural laundry products last?

If you use essential oils for laundry as part of the recipe, you can expect the powder to last for anywhere between 6-12 months.

When you make your own laundry detergent it should have a long shelf life because the essential oils, baking soda and borax do not tend to expire quickly.

Storage is key, so you should always keep the detergent in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry dark area away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

How often should I make homemade laundry detergent?

How often you make your laundry detergent depends on how frequently you wash your clothes.

Larger households will naturally get through more wash cycles every week, whilst individuals and couples will require less.

Either way, making a larger batch will be less labour intensive in the long run, although it will have to be stored properly to avoid the powder clumping together.

Final thoughts

Making your own homemade laundry detergent shouldn’t take more than 30-45 minutes of your time and it can make all the difference to the way you wash your clothes.

Adding essential oils to the recipe can give your clothes a wonderful, refreshing fragrance that smells even better than a traditional washing powder.

If you haven’t used the essential oils before, it is advisable to complete a patch test to ensure they are suitable for your skin.

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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