A Natural Wash

Making Your Own Washing Liquid

 I have been experimenting with making my own washing liquid, dishwashing liquid and dishwasher tabs for a few weeks now with varying levels of success. The washing liquid was the last of these that I tried but by far the easiest so it seems only right that I share this recipe first.

I stumbled across the recipe online when I was searching for something that would allow me to use liquid castile soap rather then grating a solid bar. The recipe comes courtesy of Live Simply and is not only easy to make but also cost effective when compared with supermarket equivalents.

One element of the recipe that I wanted to research before I got started was the use of Borax as it has been banned in the UK as a food additive but there is a product available called Borax Substitute. Borax Substitute is chemically different to Borax and is reported to be a biodegradable and natural mineral compound which is free of phosphates and safe and effective to use as a cleaning agent.  Following my research I have decided that I am happy to use Borax Substitute as an ingredient but you will need to form your own conclusions. The recent articles by Wellness Mama and Frugal in Norfolk may help you in this.


I made a couple of changes to the original recipe – I switched Borax for Borax Substitute and also used distilled water instead of tap water to reduce the risk of bacteria in the washing liquid.  The only other change I would recommend is to half the recipe, unless you do a lot of washing!  I found when I used the quantities below it made twice as much laundry liquid as I would normally buy.



  • 1 cup Borax Substitute (ordered online)
  • 1 cup Soda Crystals (purchased from Wilkos)
  • 1 cup Liquid Castile Soap (ordered online)
  • 17 cups distilled water (or cooled, boiled water)
  • 10-15 drops essential oil (I used lavender)
  • A container to store your washing liquid

Anyone who reads my blog will know that I get very confused when it comes to the use of ‘cups’ to measure ingredients. So, for this recipe I just used a pink, plastic, polar bear cup!


I was very ‘lucky’ to have a little helper to make my first batch of washing liquid proving the point that it must be easy to make as the first batch turned out alright!

Here’s how we did it:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to boil. As it begins to boil turn off the heat and add the Borax Substitute and the Soda Crystals, stirring the mix until they are completely dissolved;
  2. In a large bucket (I used a mop bucket) combine the remaining 11 cups of water with the liquid castile soap;
  3. At this point add 10-15 drops of Essential Oil to the bucket if you want a scented wash;
  4. Add the mix from the saucepan into the bucket;
  5. Stir the mixture together;
  6. Once stirred, pour your mixture into your storage container(s). I used an old laundry liquid container which I had and some other reused bottles.

When the washing liquid is left to sit the liquid and gel components separate out but they are easily combined again with a quick shake of the bottle prior to use.

The original recipe says to use 1/8-1/4 a cup of washing liquid per load of washing and to rub a small amount direct on to stains prior to putting the item into the washing machine

I have continued to use the old measuring cap from my previous washing liquid which seems to be working well.

The wash didn’t really have a scent when it came out so if you like scented laundry I would recommend adding more essential oil to the mix.

Time to Put it to the Test

So, now for the moment of truth – can this homemade washing liquid remove a concentrate Ribena stain from my daughter’s favourite cuddly.

Yes, it can!!


Now, I realise that making your own cleaning products isn’t for everyone so for those of you that have a million other things that you would rather be doing please don’t panic! You will be pleased to know that there are now a number of companies who specialise in making laundry products based on natural ingredients. And even better, a number of these brands, such as Method and Ecover, are available in the main supermarkets.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get washing without the nasty chemicals.

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