How to make laundry detergent – a recipe for eco-friendly washing powder

Author Jen Chillingsworth shows how easy making your own laundry detergent at home is – and you can add essential oils to create a fragrance unique to you

Washing powder
(Image credit: Quadrille/Jen Chillingsworth)

Did you know you can make laundry detergent yourself at home? Doing so doesn't just cut down on trips to the store and unnecessary packaging, it also allows you to ensure that what's in your washing powder is eco-friendly and fragranced to your personal taste, enhancing your laundry room ideas.

'The recipe makes enough washing powder to fill a 750ml glass storage jar,' says author Jen Chillingsworth, who has provided this recipe. 'This amount of powder makes approximately 38 washes, using just over 1 tablespoon of powder per laundry load.'

Green Living: A Sustainable Guide To A More Intentional Life
Jen Chillingsworth

Jen Chillingsworth is the author of Green Living: A Sustainable Guide to a More Intentional Life. Green Living is follow up to her best-selling book Live Green. Her second book is a practical guide to living life more thoughtfully, and includes a collection of changes you can make to your home and lifestyle over the course of a year, from making your own cleaning products to giving up plastic.

How to make laundry detergent

This simple recipe for making laundry detergent can be personalized with fragrance.

'If you prefer laundry with a fragrance, you can simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mix. For washing baby clothes, delicate fabrics or woollens, launder with just the Savon de Marseille soap or soap flakes,' says Jen Chillingsworth.

You will need

1. Combine the ingredients 

Add the soda crystals and the baking soda to the glass mixing bowl.

2. Grate the soap

Using a hand-held grater, finely grate the Savon de Marseille soap. It is important to grate it finely otherwise you may end up with clumpy bits left in the dispenser drawer as the soap will not dissolve properly. Alternatively, use the soap flakes.

3. Combine and seal the powder

Add the soap to the mixing bowl. If using, add the essential oils. Mix well with the spoon. Pour all of the ingredients into the storage jar. Seal and label.

How long does homemade laundry detergent last?

Homemade laundry detergent usually lasts around two months, so you can calculate how much your family might use for six to eight weeks and make enough in batches.

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.