Homemade Laundry Liquid

Yesterday I did something I've been putting off for so long now. I finally got around to making some homemade laundry liquid! After originally reading about it over at Rhonda's and then sighting the recipe again in last month's issue of The Australian Women's Weekly (which I bought for a selfish reason - I was mentioned in the frugal living article that featured Rhonda!), and then seeing it again recently on her blog, I knew it was time I got off my backside and made some myself!

First up I gathered my supplies (which I'm ashamed to say had been sitting in the laundry for some months now!). The only item that needed to be purchased was borax which I found in the cleaning aisle of Coles supermarket.

The recipe looked fairly straightforward and not too time consuming. I had even saved up enough empty milk cartons to hold the liquid cleaner...

(For complete recipe and instructions, see bottom of page)

Below are the soap flakes being added to the water in a pot...

...which are then stirred over a low heat until the soap flakes are dissolved. 

Washing soda and borax are then measured out...

...and added to the dissolved soapy water. It is stirred until it thickens and then removed from the heat.

Here it is being poured into a regular household bucket (9 litres). 

And below, after being topped up with tap water and stirred thoroughly. 

It is then ladled through a funnel into the empty milk bottles...

...leaving a couple of inches free at the top so the liquid can be shaken before use. This is necessary as apparently the solution separates upon sitting.  My solution was a little on the lumpy side which I think could be rectified next time by stirring more thoroughly while the mixture was heating, perhaps adding warm water to the heated soap solution? (instead of say, trying to take sequential blog photos!)

Homemade laundry liquid, total time: 20 minutes approx. Yield:  9 litres
Remember to label the containers. Very important! We don't want people not clued in mistaking it for something refreshing to drink!

I've never been so eager to do a load of washing! I had a small load of whites and a small load of darks and tried both with the new liquid. About half a cup for our greedy top loader was put in. I would estimate using 3/4 to 1 cup for a full load. It performed no better and virtually no worse than my current Aldi brand of powder.  The only noticeable disappointment was that some of my white socks that had been worn while doing gardening jobs still were a bit grubby...perhaps they needed a soak? Or a scoop of oxy-napiwash in the machine as a booster or Sard's soap instead of lux flakes? Either way, I'm quite satisfied with today's results although I think a more informed decision will be made over several months.

I could probably see myself adding a portion of eucalyptus oil to the odd wash too. After bringing in the two loads of laundry and folding them, my thoughts are that I will be happy to keep trying the liquid. Everything except the grubby socks came out just like it had been washed with my previous powder, with the up-side being that there was none of that nasty 'fragrance' smell and the icky feeling on my hands after folding (do you experience this?). This is a HUGE plus for me! The clothes smelled clean and of nothing else except fresh air and sunshine!. Can detergent companies find a way to capture this smell without having to resort to frightening chemicals? I don't think so.

I'm really looking forward to having my family and myself wear clothes that haven't been treated in cripes knows what just to get clean and I'll be interested to see if it improves my daughter's and my sensitive skin (which homemade soap has already made a positive impact on).

Whites in the sun and darks in the shade

What are your experiences with homemade laundry soap? 

Click here and here for Rhonda's posts on homemade laundry liquid and for quantities and method. 


  1. You did the same as me, it wasn't till the recipe was in the woman's weekly that I got around to making it ! I just love it. One thing I did , because my daughter wears a pure white shirt to school and my husband gets his king gee's almost black with grease..... was instead of the lux flakes , I used grated sard wonder soap. It still works out cheaply but it is really good on the stains.
    I have a front loader and have found it works really well in it. I would never go back to buying it now. For what may be 30 mins work initially, for lots of laundry liquid, it is well worth doing .

  2. I had the same results as you and think maybe soaking the whites socks might help.

  3. I've been meaning to make it for a long while. Boight all the ingredients & still haven't done it. I've been inspired now by you to get in this weekend & make my own.

  4. Well done! I didn't know you could make laundry detergent at home! Is there anything you can't make, Christine? :)

  5. Hehe seems like we've all been thinking of making this. I was wondering how well the liquid would work, considering how little soap is actually in it. I make laundry powder with my homemade soap and it works really well. I even make a soap just for clothes washing with extra eucalyptus oil in. Still have to soak and scrub the OH's work clothes though :(

  6. I love that smell of sunshine and clean air in your laundry...errr, my laundry. (I haven't smelt your laundry. Oh you know what I mean.)
    I hate having to smell other peoples laundry detergent on their clothes just because I am within 5 metres of them.

  7. I've been using Rhonda's recipe for her laundry powder for quite some time and I love it. I am about to make the liquid form this week.

  8. I have been meaning to do the same. I have all the ingredients in the cupboard ready to go - so you have inspired me for this weekend.

    You have also given me a great idea for a funnel. I'm so silly and was thinking of buying one! But a cut drink bottle is so much better!

  9. I have been using Rhonda's recipe since I read it in the WW ..I went out and made it up the very next day! Good results so far, but I think I will make a special stainbuster mix with the sard's wonder soap and eucalyptus oil to try soon.

  10. I am still thinking about doing it..... Having grown up in South Africa with sunlight soap I would be tempted to try that. You would have to grate it, but I do find that rubbing stains with it before regular washing works well.

  11. I use rhonda's powder recipe rather than liquid - but the one with the oxi-bleach in it. It hands-down outperforms my bought powder (ecostore) - even gets collar grime out without any soaking or pretreatment

  12. I have been making my own for a long time now. I use a powdered form as I like the storage and ease of using it that way and it simply works. I use 1 heaped Tablespoon per load - never any more even on very dirty cloths. If the cloths are very dirty I use warm water. I have a front loader. I add bi carb soda to my mix and it is the thing that I have noticed gets whites white and I do not get the greying of cloths. As for the borax - i have found I can purchase this from my local feed store. They have bulk bins of food for stock and I am not sure what it is used for but they sell this so much more cheaply than a container in the shop. Also if I take my own container I am being even more environmentally friendly and not wasting packaging. Also when washing those dirty socks - any socks actually - just wet them and give them a quick scrub with some soap before putting them in the machine - this is great on dirty collars and under arms of shirts. It's what my Mum did and it works a treat. Cheers, Wendy

  13. YAY! what great testimonials. I think every one of these homemade cleaners needs to be tweaked a bit accommodate the various types of water and the way our machines wash. Overall though, I think these liquids and powers are wonderful. Well done Christine. BTW, that Women's Weekly moved around a lot in your photos ;- )

  14. I recently made some laundry liquid from Rhonda's recipe too. It worked great on my cloth nappies - got rid of that funky smell they've had for a while now. I might have to try some Sards for my husbands work clothes though, they just haven't come out as clean as I'd like. Might have to try Kims idea and make a batch using grated Sards. Thanks for that!

  15. I have been making up laundry powder for well over 12 months and will never go back to buying stinky, over priced supermarket powder! I do very similar to what Wendy (above comment) does, and also add 1 bar of grated sard wonder soap to my mix. I also use white vinegar as a fabric softner!
    I think you will stick to making your own now you have done it once Christine! :)

  16. I've being going to give it a try too for awhile, so its great to see another blogger giving it a go. Christine, I absolutely LOVE your blog (and Rhonda's too)Ive only just discovered them- youre both so inspiring and enthusiastic about what you do- thankyou!

  17. Oh Oh Oh, love your blog of loveliness. What a fantastic project, you've inspired me much :)

  18. Wasn't worth the effort. I did it trying to be more 'eco-friendly', BUT the soap contains palm oil and the other products came in plastic or other packaging anyways. I still have the utensils & some supplies in my laundry cupboard so perhaps could try again, using different soap and perhaps bulk-buy the other supplies from somewhere?

    I know the soap nuts I use now have been shipped from overseas, but I buy fairly traded ones, which perhaps balances out some of the negatives.

  19. I have been toying with the idea of my own washing powder as well recently, I have those exact ingredients sitting on my laundry bench, just looking at me, asking, why? and when? and how?
    I look back at them and say, why not, when ever I get a chance and with Rhonda's recipe...
    You've made it look easy so as soon as I can get around to making my Xmas soap, I'll get onto that washing powder!!! :)

  20. It's wonderful to see so many of you motivated and either using your own laundry soap already or planning to! There is something extremely satisfying about making these kind of items from scratch, not to mention the health benefits, money savings and lighter environmental impact. I really appreciate your tips and feedback, I'll definitely be giving the Sard's soap a go in the next batch ;)

  21. Think all those comments are converting me - will have to give this a go. I am tempted by the soap nuts too.

  22. I rarely walked down the supermarket cleaner isle now. About 2 years ago I switched to using Rhonda's recipes and find them great for getting dirt out of laundry. What I have noticed most is my sense of smell returning. I can now pick chemical smells a mile away and find them irritating and offensive. The sad thing is that people still reliant on commercial powders associate the smell of chemicals with clean. Heaven help them!

  23. Avoiding imported products for cleaning is near impossible. I believe that bicarb is imported from China. Most likely borax and vinegar are also.

  24. I have made and used Rhonda's recipe for a few years then I fell by the wayside. But I'm just finishing my bits and pieces then I'm going back to it.

    Along with the " no perfume smell" which is great as it just smells clean.The price is very right.
    Also how many of us really have to have Whiter than White clothes ? It is just some sales pitch that was thought up years ago to make people buy certains brands and it spread .

    How about we go for "Cleaner than Clean" which this soap mix will give you.

    Can I also ask one question - does anyone soak their really dirty clothes anymore? My hubby builds roads for a living - pretty dirty sweaty job - this soap mix works fine on his clothes with a rub of laundry soap on the really dirty patches and then a soak.

  25. I've been using homemade soap although in dry form for about a year. Same recipe but don't add water. I use 1-3 tablespoons per load depending on size. The only thing I am not happy with is that the white cottons, like undies, tend to go a bit gray. But since I'm the only one that sees them I haven't worried over it.

  26. The 'greying' of clothes after washing has more to do with water hardness/softness. If you have hard water there will be more minerals left on your clothes, making them grey. Try adding more washing soda or even baking soda to your mix to soften your water. If you don't know your water hardness/softness this chart gives you a rough idea of water hardness/softness in the capital cities:


    Hope this helps...


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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