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How to go green - make your own laundry detergent and dish soap from scratch

Updated on March 25, 2011

How to make your own laundry detergent

One way to adopt a green lifestyle, and to save money, is to make your own laundry products. You can make most of the products you need around your home from scratch and laundry detergent is no exception. By making your own laundry products, you know exactly what the ingredients are and you can avoid chemicals that may make you sick. Unlike food, cleaning products don’t have to mention their ingredients on the label.

Making your own laundry detergent is very easy. To make powdered laundry detergent you mix together 4 cups of soap flakes (soap flakes can be bought pre-packaged or you can grate a bar of soap, such as Ivory, which is one of the purest soaps available and it is inexpensive), 2 cups of washing soda and 2 cups of borax. Store it in a plastic container. ollinger ollinger

Making liquid laundry detergent is a little more complicated. It contains 1 cup of water, ¼ cup of soap flakes, 12 cups of hot tap water, 4 tablespoons of washing soda and 2 tablespoons of borax. You add water to a saucepan and heat it; next add soap flakes to the water and stir them until they melt. Next pour the hot tap water into a bucket, add the ingredients from the saucepan and stir. Next add the washing soda and stir, and then add the borax and stir. Pour into a plastic container for future use.

To make a natural fabric softener, add ¼ cup of baking soda to the wash cycle or add ¼ of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. In addition, you can add Epsom salts to the beginning of the wash cycle.

All of the ingredients to make your own laundry detergent are easily found in drug stores, discount stores and supermarkets. While most of the ingredients to make your own laundry detergent are natural, they are also not for human consumption. Caution must be exercised, the laundry detergent must not be taken internally and they should be kept away from children.

If you don’t feel inclined to make your own laundry detergent, there are many pre-made natural products available today. However, they tend to be a lot more expensive than the regular products. dollface-1 dollface-1

How to make your own dish soap

Everyone wants clean and sparkling dishes, whether they are washed by hand or in a dishwasher. The recipes for dishwashing liquid below are simple to make and contain natural ingredients. All of the ingredients can be purchased at drug stores, supermarkets or discount stores.

As with making your own laundry detergent, making your own dishwashing liquid will save you money and lessen the odds you will react unfavourable to any of the ingredients.

Dishwashing liquid detergent, hand wash

  • 2 cups of hot water
  • ¼ cup of soap flakes (can be purchased or a bar of soap can be grated)
  • ¼ cup glycerine
  • ½ teaspoon of any essential oil, lemon and tea tree oil are good choices

Mix the soap flakes with the hot water and stir until the soap flakes dissolve. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. When the water is lukewarm, add the glycerine and the essential oil. The mixture will gel as it cools down. After it has cooled completely, use a fork to break up the gel and pour it into an old dishwashing liquid bottle, or any other squeeze bottle. It does not foam up as much as commercial dishwashing liquid but it does clean the dishes. Do not use this mixture in a dishwasher.

Dishwashing detergent, dishwasher

  • ½ cup washing soda
  • ½ cup Borax

Mix the ingredients together and store in a plastic container. Use 2 tablespoons of the detergent in the soap compartment of the dishwasher. Citric acid can be added if your silverware does not clean well enough. Keep out of the reach of children.


Submit a Comment

  • Michelle Taylor profile image

    Michelle Taylor 

    6 years ago from New Jersey

    Really great information with easy to follow instructions. More people should increase their efforts to go green and this is a a perfect way to contribute. Voted up and sharing!

  • Thundermama profile image

    Catherine Taylor 

    6 years ago from Canada

    I can't believe I have paid so much for the items in the past when they are so easy to make on own. Great hub, simple instructions and now following.

  • princesswithapen profile image


    6 years ago

    When I read the title I was expecting long procedures and other complicated formulations. Contrarily, it seems quite easy. Like you have mentioned, this could be a great idea for someone living on a budget or going through tough times financially.


  • tammyswallow profile image


    6 years ago from North Carolina

    In the past few months everyone I know has started doing this. With your explanation I can see why. Thanks for these awesome tips. I am seriously going to give it try. Thanks!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I love the idea of making my own dish soap. I can't wait to give it a try I very nice use it

    Commercial Dishwasher

  • Ruth Benjamin profile image

    Ruth Benjamin 

    7 years ago from Georgia

    I love the idea of making my own dish soap. I can't wait to give it a try.

  • NCBIer profile image


    8 years ago

    Good hub! I've been using a variety of the commercial green products, but they are rather expensive and I'm not entirely certain of their "greenness." It is far better to know all the components of a product. Thank you for the useful ideas here. I will be giving several of them a try.

  • MarieAlice profile image

    Maria Alicia Cardenas 

    8 years ago from Spain

    Love the idea of making my own soap!!! great hub!!

  • midnightbliss profile image

    Haydee Anderson 

    8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

    its always exciting to try new things, like homemade products. health wise, you know what's in the things that you are using everyday.

  • Granny's House profile image

    Granny's House 

    8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

    Great hub. Thank you for the recipes.

  • profile image

    Rebecca Smith 

    8 years ago

    I have made my own laundry soap for a very long time. It is awesome. Saves money, the planet, and my daughters skin. I use my own handmade soap and it costs about 7 cents a load. I started selling the laundry soap because my friends and family loved it so much.

  • profile image

    Cyndi B. 

    8 years ago

    My hands are always dry and cracked from washing dishes (I have 4 kids and babysit). I am hopefull this will soften them. Also, we believe the bleach in dishwasher detergent makes glasses and dishes brittle. So this will be a great alternative. Try vinegar in place of rinse-aid for the dishwasher.

  • Pro1Review profile image


    8 years ago

    Really like this. (Linking to it from one of my own hubs!)

  • Boomer60 profile image


    8 years ago

    I have been looking for this exact stuff. Now to find the ingredients.

  • Cloggirl1 profile image


    8 years ago from Florida

    I really love the green living ideas. These are easy and very inexpensive to make. Thank you for giving us these great ideas. I look forward to trying them myself!

  • profile image

    Christy Zutautas 

    8 years ago

    Interesting hub, my son is allergic to most soaps and detergents so I might give this a try to see to see if it works for him. :)

  • Springboard profile image


    8 years ago from Wisconsin

    This is a fantastic hub! I love stuff like this being that I'm very interested all of the time (almost to a fault) with cost, and I tend to hold the belief, especially when it comes to food, that if it can be put in a box it can be made in a kitchen. I may just have to give this laundry soap thing a try.

  • Uva profile image

    Uva Be Dolezal 

    8 years ago from Washington State, searching for home town.

    interesting :) something to think about seeing if these ingredients are sold in bulk on the web. My hubby seem to be in the same boat as Georzetta, everything with perfume makes him sneeze.

    nice helpful hub, thanks

  • Organic Thoughts profile image

    Organic Thoughts 

    8 years ago from North Carolina

    very interesting hub... have necer tried making it at home... but feel like trying after reading your article.

  • prettydarkhorse profile image


    8 years ago from US

    I have tried doing this, but yours is with glycerine, Thanks UW, I will try this one next weekend, Maita

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 

    8 years ago from East Coast, United States

    I love this! Gonna try some soon. I make my own soap so it already has glycerine in it, so good for the dish soap. I wonder if it would be okay for the clothes. Hmmm.

  • Georzetta profile image

    Georzetta Ratcliffe 

    8 years ago from Pennsylvania

    I'm going to try this. I hate the smells of modern laundry detergents and soaps. I can't get down the aisle at the grocery store without sneezing. Thanks.

  • kartika damon profile image

    kartika damon 

    8 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

    I love this hub and am actually printing it out to use these recipes - I love products like this!

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Didn't know how to make these Idems,heard about them from my grandmother...she used to make all her own when she was a live.

    thanks for the great information

  • Brandon E Newman profile image

    Brandon E Newman 

    9 years ago from North Texas

    Makes me think of stories from Great Grandma, about hog rendering, and making lye soap. Never made any myself.


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