Barcelona DIY

DIY Laundry Detergent

One of the most expensive items on a weekly grocery-shopping list is laundry detergent, especially if you want to avoid ingredients that are harmful and toxic for your skin and/or the environment and rather choose a more eco-friendly product like ecover or seventh generation. In that case you still have another problem because these products come in large hard plastic bottles and especially when you’re a household with kids this means a lot of extra plastic waste every month.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

You may have heard about other alternatives like Indian soap nuts. The problem here is that they 1) need to be used with rather hot water in order to produce soap which wastes a lot of energy and 2) are not very local (if you don’t live in India of course) and therefore have a pretty high Co2 impact.

So you might find it interesting that it’s the easiest thing in the world to make your own eco-detergent without any harmful substances. It’s very simple, it’s highly effective and it’s super cheap! 3 ingredients plus 1 optional for scenting it and you’re good to go.

I’ve been making my eco-friendly laundry detergent for years now with this recipe by Smarticular and it works extremely well. What I love about it is that, with just a few drops of your favourite essential oil, you can give it whatever scent you prefer and it’s so easy and quick to make (and, again, amazingly cheap!).

This is the recipe for 2 litres, if you want you can obviously double the ingredients and use a bigger pot. You can store it in any kind of bottle you already have in your household, glass bottles work great, too. I always use 2-3 dosing caps of an old detergent bottle for each load (about 150-200 ml or 2/3 to 1 cup).


  • 2 L / 8,5 cups of water
  • 30 gr/1 ounce of castile soap (you can sometimes find it already grated in drugstores)
  • 4 table spoons of washing soda (sodium carbonate)
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil to your liking (lemon and lavender are super nice, but you can use whatever scent you prefer)


1) Grate the soap with a kitchen grater if you didn’t find pre-grated soap.

2) Put all ingredients except the essential oil into a big pot and stir with a whisk until the ingredients dissolve and bring to a boil.

3) Turn off the heat and let it sit for a few hours, it will turn from very liquid to a rather jelly-like consistence. (I normally prepare it in the evening and leave it until the next morning)

4) Heat the mix once more and stir again with the whisk. You can skip this step but I’d recommend it because the components blend together better.

5) Once your detergent is cooled down completely, add the essential oil and fill it in your bottle with a funnel. You should shake the bottle before every use.

For whites you can add 2 teaspoons of baking soda with every wash load to improve cleaning. As a natural softener I use basic white vinegar (don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like it).

Have you made our own detergent? Let me know what you think and share your experience with us!

VERA // Barcelona

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