DIY Laundry Detergent

A few years ago, I went through a major DIY craze, especially with regards to any sort of cleaning or toiletry product. Some of my efforts were failures from the get-go (mascara that attached large chunks of charcoal to some of my eyelashes and left others bare), and others took a little longer to go by the wayside (anything involving baking soda, which my skin apparently hates– my armpits turned dark brown!). But one or two of them stuck around and have since saved me piles of money and allowed me a more chemical-free lifestyle.

This laundry detergent is one of the winners.

Once you get the hang of it, it takes about as long to make as boiling a pot of water. And I’m still using the supplies I bought three years ago for a couple pounds.


There are a million different recipes out there, and probably lots of science behind why each ingredient is important, but I keep it simple. I use washing soda (available at your local grocery store), soap flakes (available online, or buy the simplest bar of soap you can and grate it up), and whatever essential oils take my fancy on that particular day. Lately it’s been tea tree and jasmine, but that’s just because I ran out of pine.

Rye Humour -- DIY Laundry Detergent

Here’s how it goes: you bring some water almost to a boil, you whisk in the soap flakes and washing soda, you stir in the essential oils, and then you let it cool and pour it into whatever container you’re using (I save our old milk cartons and use those).

Rye Humour -- DIY Laundry Detergent

Just give it a little shake before using to make sure it’s not too clumpy. I use between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup for each load of laundry, depending on whether it’s tea towels or Geoff’s work clothes.

DIY Laundry Detergent
Makes 2 litres

1/4 cup washing soda
1/4 cup soap flakes
1 tsp essential oils (use one, or a mix)
2 litres water

  1. Bring water nearly to a boil.
  2. Whisk in washing soda and soap flakes until dissolved.
  3. Stir in essential oils.
  4. Leave to cool. Transfer to container for storage.
  5. Shake well before using. Add a little hot water if mixture is too thick.

Bonus: dab laundry detergent directly on stains before washing. I’ve gotten blackberry sauce stains out of cream-coloured wool cardigans with this stuff!


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