Liquid Laundry Detergent

Have you tried to make homemade laundry soap before and been disappointed that your clothes weren’t really getting clean?

I have.

 

I used to make a homemade laundry soap from Castile soap, washing soda, baking soda, and OxiClean free.  At first, that sounds like a good idea, but it turns out, it doesn’t really get your clothes clean.

In fact, it actually traps dirt in your clothes.

My family’s clothes looked clean, but they weren’t.  They were hiding loads of dirt and debris in their fibers.

 

How did I find out?  I saw someone talking about it on Facebook.  Someone had shared a photo of all the dirt and gunk that came out in her family’s laundry when using a proper detergent after she had been using a homemade laundry soap similar to the one I had been using.

So I tried the test on my family’s clothes, and sure enough, the rinse water of my “clean” clothes was not clear sparkling water like you would expect, but rather the rinse water from my “clean” clothes was a dirty brown sludge.

Yuck!

 

So much for that homemade laundry soap.  I was off to find something that really works.

What I discovered was that I needed a detergent, not a soap.  A detergent not only cleans, it also rinses clean.  And rinsing clean means that the clothes are really, truly clean!

 

So I share with you my homemade laundry detergent recipe.  I hope your family loves it as much as mine does!

You might also like this other post with favorite natural laundry recipes.  Find it here:   11 Best Essential Oil Recipes for Laundry

 

 

UPDATE:  After years of failed experiments, I finally figured out how to make a great natural powder laundry soap.  It’s free of harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances, and dyes.  And best of all, it actually gets clothes clean.  So if you’re looking for a powder laundry detergent, check out my new recipe.  I’m so excited to share it with you!

 

 

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. doTERRA, Young Living, essential oil laundry detergent, essential oil cleaning recipes, essential oil DIY

 

 

Top reasons why you’ll want to make this homemade liquid laundry detergent:

  1. natural
  2. non-toxic
  3. easy to make
  4. one batch makes enough for 64 loads (so if you do 2 loads of laundry a day, it makes enough for an entire month)
  5. smells great!
  6. works in high efficiency (HE) front-loading washing machines as well as regular top-loading washers
  7. uses the cleaning power of essential oils
  8. removes odors
  9. no residue on washer or on clothes
  10. actually gets clothes clean!

 

 

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What do you need to make this homemade liquid laundry detergent?

This website contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission. The price is exactly the same for you as it would be without the affiliate link. 

salt (find in spice aisle of your grocery store or find online here)-  Salt softens the water, which allows the detergent to work more effectively.

super washing soda (find in laundry aisle at your favorite store or find online here)-  Many homemade laundry detergents use baking soda, but baking soda is weaker and doesn’t do as good of job cleaning clothes.  So I use super washing soda instead, and save the baking soda for washing delicates.

filtered or distilled water (find in bottled water aisle of grocery store) –  This dilutes and stretches a batch of laundry detergent so that one batch makes enough for 64 loads of laundry.

Sal Suds (find it online here) –  Organic and plant-based cleaning concentrate that not only makes this laundry detergent, it also makes a great dish soap (recipe here), floor cleaner, and more.  It doesn’t have any artificial dyes, fragrances, or preservatives.  Best of all- it works!  It cleans clothes, getting rid of dirt and odors.  And it rinses clean (even in cold water)!

essential oil –  I use a combination of lavender and lemon, but you can customize your detergent with your favorite essential oils.

gallon glass drink dispenser (like this) or four quart-sized glass jars (like this)

free printable label for your detergent jar (get it here)

long-handled wooden spoon (like this)

 

 

How to make homemade laundry detergent with essential oils

step 1: bring 4 cups of filtered or distilled water to a boil.

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step 2:  While the water is still boiling on the stove, add 1 cup salt to the boiling water.   Mix well until the salt is completely dissolved.

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step 3: take the water and salt mixture off the heat and add  1.5 cups of super washing soda to boiling water

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step 4:  mix the really hot water, super washing soda, and salt until it is dissolved.  If you have one, it really helps to use an immersion blender for this.  You want to be sure to break up any clumps.  If not mixed thoroughly, you can have little hard “rocks” in your detergent.

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

step 5:  Let the salt, washing soda, and water mixture cool a little bit, then add 100 drops of essential oil (this is 1 tsp of essential oil).

I used 50 drops lavender essential oil and 50 drops lemon essential oil.

But lots of other essential oils and EO combinations would also be great.  Here are a few others to try:

  • 100 lemon
  • 70 lemon and 30 tea tree
  • 40 lemongrass, 30 lavender, and 30 eucalyptus
  • 40 lavender, 30 lime, and 30 spearmint
  • 40 grapefruit, 30 orange, and 30 lemon
  • 30 spruce, 30 tea tree, and 40 cypress

 

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

step 6: add 2.5 cups Sal Suds

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step 7: gently stir everything together.  You want it mixed well, but you don’t want to agitate the Sal Suds, because if you do it will bubble up.

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

step 8: pour the detergent concentrate into your gallon jar (or four quart-sized jars)

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

step 9:  fill jar with distilled water

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

step 10:  gently stir to mix well (again, don’t stir too briskly or you’ll cause it to bubble up)

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

step 11:  add this free printable label (get it here)

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

How to use

  • use 1/4 cup for HE (high efficiency) front-loading washing machines or 1/2 cup for traditional top-loading machines
  • yields: 64 loads in HE machines, 32 loads in top-loading machines
  • You may want to keep a long-handled wooden spoon by your detergent.  Over time, the washing soda and salt may settle to the bottom of the container and you’ll need to stir (or shake) the container to remix.

 

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

 

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

 

Where to get supplies?

This website contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission. The price is exactly the same for you as it would be without the affiliate link. 

salt (find in spice aisle of your grocery store or find online here)

super washing soda (find in laundry aisle at your favorite store or find online here)

filtered or distilled water (find in bottled water aisle of grocery store)

Sal Suds (find it online here)

gallon glass drink dispenser (like this) or four quart-sized glass jars (like this)

immersion blender (find it here)

long-handled wooden spoon (like this)

free printable label for your detergent jar (get it here)

 

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #essentialoils #essentialoilrecipes #essentialoilcleaning #naturalDIY #naturalcleaning #essentialoilDIY #laundry #DIYcleaning #homemadecleaners

 

homemade HE liquid laundry detergent recipe with essential oils. natural, non-toxic, & it really works! Removes odors, cleans clothes, rinses clean. #doterra #youngliving #DIY #essentialoils essential oil recipes, natural cleaning, DIY cleaning
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4.6 from 5 votes

Liquid Laundry Detergent

Easy-to-make homemade laundry detergent that actually gets your clothes clean!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 gallon

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Bring 4 cups of filtered or distilled water to a boil.
  • While the water is still boiling on the stove, add 1 cup salt to the boiling water.   Mix well until the salt is completely dissolved.
  • Take the water and salt mixture off the heat and add  1.5 cups of super washing soda to boiling water
  • Mix the really hot water, super washing soda, and salt until it is dissolved.  If you have one, it really helps to use an immersion blender for this.  You want to be sure to break up any clumps.  If not mixed thoroughly, you can have little hard "rocks" in your detergent.
  • Let the salt, washing soda, and water mixture cool a little bit, then add 100 drops of essential oil (this is 1 tsp of essential oil).
    I used 50 drops lavender essential oil and 50 drops lemon essential oil.
    But lots of other essential oils and EO combinations would also be great.  Here are a few others to try:
    100 lemon70 lemon and 30 tea tree40 lemongrass, 30 lavender, and 30 eucalyptus40 lavender, 30 lime, and 30 spearmint40 grapefruit, 30 orange, and 30 lemon30 spruce, 30 tea tree, and 40 cypress
  • Add 2.5 cups Sal Suds
  • Gently stir everything together.  You want it mixed well, but you don't want to agitate the Sal Suds, because if you do it will bubble up.
  • Pour the detergent concentrate into your gallon jar (or four quart-sized jars)
  • Fill jar with distilled water (about 7 cups)
  • Gently stir to mix well (again, don't stir too briskly or you'll cause it to bubble up)
  • Add this free printable label (get it here)

Notes

How to use

  • use 1/4 cup for HE (high efficiency) front-loading washing machines or 1/2 cup for traditional top-loading machines
  • yields: 64 loads in HE machines, 32 loads in top-loading machines
  • You may want to keep a long-handled wooden spoon by your detergent.  Over time, the washing soda and salt may settle to the bottom of the container and you'll need to stir (or shake) the container to remix.

 

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Please note: Products mentioned in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information on this page are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website is not a substitute for professional care.  Always consult your medical doctor regarding your medical care. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Sarah Lewis

A little thing about me: I 💙 essential oils. I also love using my background in research to help people learn more about essential oils and all the wonderful ways they can be used. I share DIY recipes for natural cleaners that really work, non-toxic beauty solutions, and holistic wellness. My essential oil recipes, info, and tips have been viewed more than 20 million times. I've been featured on MindBodyGreen, Health & Natural Living, All Natural Ideas, This Natural Home, Natural Living Ideas, and Passion for Savings.

Blog Comments

Sarah,

If I wanted to make a 5 gallon bucket, do I multiply the ingredients by 5? If not what is the ratio?

Thank you.

Yes, that’s correct. To make 5 gallons multiply everything by 5.

Be sure your water is boiling in the first step so that the salt and washing powder will dissolve completely. I would hate for you to make 5 gallons and not have it properly mixed.

I downloaded the liquid detergent recipe and am anxious to try it. I am a little disappointed that I did not get the free label for this recipe. I have been subscribed to your email newsletter for a long time.

Hi Linda,

Recently I’ve been trying out a new way for folks to get a printable version of the recipe. It’s like the way you get printable versions of cooking and baking recipes. The advantage of this for readers is that they don’t have to enter their email to get the printable But the downside is I can’t include the printable label.

So to get the printable label, you need to enter your email and get a pdf of the printable label (just like you do for all of my older printables).

There are a few links to the printable label throughout the recipe, but I can see how they would be easily missed.

I’m sorry for the confusion. I’m sending you an email with the printable label.

Sarah

What can we replace sal suds with if I can’t find it in my country? Would really appreciate help!

I don’t have a direct replacement for it that works as well. Instead, I would suggest making the powder laundry soap. That works great when washing in hot water. If you do loads in cold or warm water, you can turn the powder laundry soap into a liquid by dissolving the soap in hot water before adding it to the washer.
https://oneessentialcommunity.com/homemade-laundry-soap/https://oneessentialcommunity.com/homemade-laundry-soap/https://oneessentialcommunity.com/homemade-laundry-soap/

Hi Sarah! I would love to try this recipe. You mentioned the traditional top-loading machines, but can this detergent be used in a top loading HE washing machine? Thank you!

Yes, definitely. It works for top loading HE machines, too. Just follow the amounts for the HE washing machines.
Sorry for the confusion,
Sarah

I just made this this morning, and have already used it on 2 loads. I love it!! Thanks for your recipes! I LOVE them 🙂

Hi Jennifer,
You’re welcome.
So glad you love it, too!
Thanks for the kind note!
Sarah

Doesn’t salt fade your clothes?

No, it hasn’t faded ours. In fact, our colorful and dark clothes seem to stay brighter with this homemade detergent than back when we were using store-bought detergent.

I love love love this liquid laundry soap!! Thank you so much for sharing it!! I too made the laundry soap with the bar soap and after a while my clothes were actually stinky. At first I thought it was because we have well water but then I read either the same article you did or a different one about how soap is not a detergent and dirt clings to it! A light went off!! Thank you again!

Hi Sarah, I’m so excited to try this. Does it have to be kept in a glass jar? Or can I reuse an old plastic laundry detergent container? Thanks.

Hi Frieda,

It can be kept in plastic #1 (PET) or plastic #2 (HDPE) plastic containers. Just check the bottom of the old laundry detergent container to see if it’s #1 or #2. If it is, then yes, definitely it can be reused for this.

Sarah

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