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How to: easy way to make DIY detergent

easy way to make DIY detergent

Is there an easy way to make DIY detergent? Yes… our guide and instructions will show you how to do it — and save money!

Find other great cleaning guides, tips and advice

To make liquid detergent yourself, you need core soap, washing soda, citric acid and optionally some essential oil.

The core soap is the cleansing component, washing soda is a salt of carbonic acid – sodium carbonate. Soda takes over the water softening. The added citric acid has a slightly bleaching effect. The oil gives your detergent a personal and individual fragrance.

You also need bottles to fill and store the finished detergent. Used plastic bottles of commercial detergentareared here. Other ingredients can be found at a drugstore near you.



  • three litres of water
  • 60g core soap
  • 75g washsoda
  • 15g pure citric acid in powder form
  • optional 10 drops of essential oil of your choice (caution: especially citrus oils are very aggressive and can leave bright spots!)

Step 1: Scrape the core soap into small pieces with a grater. The smaller the pieces, the better.

Step 2: Cook three litres of water in the kettle and put all the other ingredients in a saucepanat the same time. Slowly pour over the ingredients in the pot with the boiling water. The mass is now beginning to foam.

Step 3: Now place the pot on the stove, set it to the highest level and cook the mixture with constant stirring until a homogeneous liquid has been created (no more pieces to see). Depending on the type of core soap, this can take up to 15 minutes.

Step 4: Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature, stirring the mixture over and over again every five minutes. The detergent becomes milky white and viscous.

Step 5: Finally, you can bottle the finished DIY detergent.

Application of the DIY detergent

You can use the self-made detergent such as commercial liquid detergent. For normally dirty laundry, 100-175 ml per wash is sufficient.

With higher levels of contamination, you need a higher dosage of about 200-250 ml. Before each application, the detergent in the bottle must be shaken well. This means that the ingredients combine better if the detergent has settled during storage.

With white linen, you can also add 1-2 teaspoons of soda to the machine to preserve the white and prevent graying.

Caution: You have to be aware of this!

The DIY detergent is based on soda. Therefore, you can’t useit for wool or fine linen because it makes the fibers swell.

An equally environmentally friendly alternative is to use soda spirit (organic ethanol from the DIY store or simply high-percentage alcohol from the pharmacy) instead of soda. Here, 50-100 ml of DIY liquid detergent per wash cycle are sufficient.

Differences to commercial detergents:

Commercially available differ in one respect from self-made detergent:

Industrially manufactured detergents contain high-quality surfactantsinstead of core soap, i.e. wash-active substances. They are designed to enclose dirt and remove dirt from clothing even with little effort and temperature.

Core soap also removes the dirt, but soap residues are harder to remove from the laundry.

Therefore, it can happen with the DIY detergent that the clothes become stiffer over time and there are mineral deposits on the textiles (grey veil!). The soap can also be deposited in the washing machine and cause damage.

To counteract this problem, add a dash of table vinegar to the laundry and clean the washing machine regularly.

Author: Genevieve Dumas is a food, fashion and beauty stylist from New York, who has worked for a range of major magazines.

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