Aussies Living Simply

Homemade laundry detergent

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    I have two versions of this. One is a powder and one a liquid.

    This detergent will not make suds when you wash as it does not contain the chemicals that supermarket detergents add to make suds. You do not need suds to wash your clothes or for the detergent to be effective. The agitation of the washing machine does most of the washing. Additives loosen the dirt and grease.

    There are good and bad points in both these detergents. The powder is really easy to make and cleans very well, but the laundry liquid does everything the powder does, but can also be used as a general cleanser.

    PLEASE NOTE: If you are going to use your washing water on the vegetable garden, don’t add the borax to these recipes.


    4 cups grated laundry soap or soap flakes (Lux)

    2 cups borax

    2 cups washing soda

    Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid. Use 2 tablespoons per wash.

    This powder will not make suds and this is perfectly okay.


    Makes 10 litres

    You may add any essential oil of your choice to these homemade cleaners. Oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender or rose are ideal. They are not necessary to the recipe but do not detract from the effectiveness by adding them. Use essential oil and not a fragrant oil.


    1½ litres water

    1 bar Sunlight or generic laundry soap or any similar pure laundry soap, grated on a cheese grater OR 1 cup of Lux flakes

    1/2 cup washing soda – NOT baking or bicarb soda

    1/2 cup borax



    10 litre bucket

    Slotted spoon or wooden spoon for mixing

    Into a medium sized saucepan add 1½ litres of water and the soap. Over a medium heat, stir this until it is completely dissolved. Make sure the soap dissolves properly or the mixture will separate when cold.

    Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat.

    Pour this mixture into your 9-10 litre bucket then fill the bucket with hot water from the tap. Stir to combine all the ingredients. The laundry liquid will thicken up more as it cools. When cool, store in a plastic container. I use one of those 10 litre flat plastic box containers with a lid. Use 1/4 cup of mixture per load or monitor to see what works well for you. I keep a quarter cup measuring scoop in the box to measure the mixture into the washing machine.

    The equivalent amount of laundry liquid (10 litres) from a supermarket would cost around $43. To buy all these ingredients will cost you around $6.70, less if you buy generic laundry soap. This will give you enough materials to make this recipe twice, and you’ll have some ingredients left over.

    Give it a try. It really does work.


    Forest, your a bloody legend….. 😀 I have to give this a go, it seems fairly similar to GardenLens recipe for memory..

    I can’t believe the price of laundry detergent, it’s such a rip off….


    I haven’t seen Len’s version, but this is a recipe that’s been on the web for a while. I’ve used it for 2 years and it works well. in fact, I used up a half container of supermaket laundry liquid a few weeks ago (something we had lurking in the back of the cupboard) and the clothes felt like they had a waxy coating on them when they dried. When you use this, your clothes will feel really clean. My chef sons use this for their uniforms too and it works well getting out grease, garlic smells etc etc etc.


    ‘gredients are on the shopping list, thanks heaps forest! You’re a legend in your own (homemade) lunchbox!!



    I reckon between all of us we’ve got enough knowledge to save the planet. :sheep:


    If only they’de listen to us……. cow2 🙂


    Got my ‘gredients and I’m going to make it now!

    Will be right back with how it went….gotta hope we don’t have soapy tasting veges next time I cook :bigeek::bigeek::bigeek:


    Ok, that was easy peasy, I made two batches (20 litres) and for my next trick, the all purpose cleaner. Thanks heaps Forest!


    I heard from a farmer whilst driving his tractor on ABC radio yesterday a couple of handy hints with washing:

    Adding vinegar instead of fabric softener to your “softener holder” in the machine reduces soapy buildup, softens your clothes and stops them wrinkling. Far cheaper than softener!

    He also said that he used to put his “going out to the pub” moleskins and shirts in the freezer after washing which negated the use of ironing. He just took them out of the freezer and put them straight on when required. Very handy in a hot climate!! I don’t know whether this trick would reduce the life of your clothing though…..

    Edited…sorry forest…I just read your “best thing for the final rinse” posting, in which you recommended vinegar as well…apologies for the doubling up.


    I read this warning on another website:

    ‘Borax is toxic and may be an environmental contaminant. Avoid using detergents containing Borax.’

    I haven’t researched this claim but thought it was worth mentioning.


    Hey Viv and welcome..

    Just doing a little reeach now..

    Interesting facts about Borax, a natural occurring mineral compound.

    Borax was first discovered over 4000 years ago.

    Borax is generally found deeply embedded in the ground with other substances such as clay.

    We use Birax/Borates/Boron compounds throughout our everyday lives. Borax is used from laundry to a commonly used ingredient in products like cosmetics, medicines, ceramics and building materials.

    The glass industry is the largest industrial user of Borates, especially in producing fiberglass. It’s also an important ingredient in agricultural chemicals and fire retardants

    Borax is also a food additive in some countries (it is banned in the United States), with E number E285. Its use is similar to salt, and it appears notably in French and Iranian caviar. Such caviar plays a key part in the book “Murder at the British Embassy” by Margaret Truman. Despite its use as an insecticide and reputation as a toxin, the LD50 toxicity of borax is about the same as that of table salt (both are around 3000mg/kg body mass)!


    Hi baldcat,

    Ewww! No wonder caviar tastes so bad!!

    All I use to wash clothes is:

    1 tablespoon of bi carb soda

    1 tablespoon lectric soda

    1 tablespoon retail washing powder/liquid

    Rinse with white vinegar

    Cut these quanties down for small washing machines.

    I have a 4.5kg washer. I use 1/2 tablespoon powder and cut the rest back depending on how dirty the clothes are. You’ll find your washing machine will clean up as well as your clothes do.





    viv, borax is a naturally occuring mineral and is much less harmful than retail washing powders or liquids which contain petrochemcials and phosphates.

    Welcome to the site. 🙂


    with the recipe on our web page (not ours so no ownership claims) we use any left over bath soap pieces (grate thgem on the cheese grater) as well so you can increase quantity without using any more bought product ie.,. block soap. also we stopped with the essential oil and increase the eucalypt oil.

    my lovely is wrapped in it, it is so cheap to make and works in a wide range of applications.



    Hi Everyone,

    I’m just wondering if Lectric Soda is the same as washing soda. Our small town shop doesn’t seem to have something labelled as “washing soda”, but there is “lectric soda”. I thought that Lectric was quite possibly the brand name.



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