Making 10 litres (up to 100 washes) of liquid laundry detergent for less than £5

Not knowing what tomorrow brings, infact not knowing right now what next week or next month brings, I am using this time to ensure I am preparing for the worst-case scenario which is being utterly and completely broke and without a job! I’m investing my time and energy into money-saving projects that will help me get over the next several months financially but also ensure I have food and household supplies should our supply chain begin to suffer in the UK due to our global pandemic problem.

It’s great to see that there is no longer any panic buying in the shops and that the amount of in-store purchases are rationed making it fairer for all, BUT I do admit to being a little concerned that we are still seeing a LOT of empty shelves and delays with the distribution. While these things may rectify themselves over the coming months I am also a realist. I like to observe, look at the facts, look at the situation and deal with it accordingly. For me, that involves taking ‘some’ responsibility for my own supply so I’m working on making my own detergents, soaps, cleaning products, food preservation and hopefully growing some of my own food too. Should there be any further deterioration in the supply chain over the next few months then I hope that I will have a few of the essentials which may well make life a little easier.

Here is the recipe for the liquid laundry detergent, I’m very happy with it. I’m in a hard water area using a front loading machine. There are very few suds so I always pre-treat stubborn stains and dirty areas but I am finding it works very well. The liquid does separate when you store it so always ensure that you give it a good hard shake immediately before using it!

I do have a HOME CRAFTS & SELF-SUFFICIENCY list on my Amazon page where you can find washing soda, borax substitute and household soap as well as essential oils should you need them to make this recipe. I always think it’s good to keep these basic ingredients at home so you can always make detergent when you need it. CLICK HERE





  1. Grate 1 x 125g (4 to 5 oz ish )bar of traditional household soap.
  2. Heat up 1 litre of water in a large saucepan until it reaches hot. Add in the grated soap and stir.
  3. You will need to keep the water at a very low simmer and stir for about 10 minutes until all the soap pieces dissolve into the water. Do not leave it, if it boils over you’ll be left with a big mess!
  4. When this is now smooth and the soap flakes dissolved add in 1 cup of borax substitute and 1 cup of washing soda. On low heat continue stirring for a few minutes until all the powders are dissolved. (remember to do this in a well-ventilated room and don’t breathe in the powders!)
  5. When all three products are now incorporated into a smooth liquid add these into a large bucket or extra-large saucepan with a lid.
  6. Add in 4 litres of hot water to make it up to around 5 litres.
  7. Stir thoroughly for about 5 minutes adding in any essential oils. I enjoy adding lavender and will normally add 50-80 drops at this stage. It will smell quite strong (again make sure to have a window open while mixing) but you will be adding another 5 litres of water later.
  8. Once fully mixed you need to leave the bucket overnight for the liquid detergent to thicken. It typically sets into a gloopy type of gel.
  9. In the morning you’ll need to mix up the gel thoroughly adding some more warm water slowly until you have added another 5 litres and now you have about 10 litres of detergent.
  10. Use a measuring jug to remove the detergent and pour it into plastic bottles of your choice.
  11. NOTE: the liquid does separate so make sure you leave head-room in your storage containers so you have room to shake up the liquid thoroughly right before you use it. I store mine in 2 x 5-litre containers and decant a litre out into a 2-litre bottle leaving plenty of room to shake!
  12. A small load will use 100 ml and a large load 200 ml. I would pre-treat any dirty areas or stubborn stains with some of the detergent or the homemade soap powder.

The cost of the liquid works out to be roughly 5p a small load. The liquid is great for economy/cooler washes (as well as hot).

**As with any food or household recipe, please be careful with hot liquids and breathing in fumes. Always be safe and make sure room is well ventilated.

5 minute washing powder to save you money!

While it is always a good thing to be optimistic about the future (and I am) I think it is always prudent to forward plan for a ‘rainy day’. Right now it is becoming somewhat of a rainy day (or at least a shower) for many of us, whether we are jobless, on furlough, on benefits or our circumstances have recently changed. Coping with a downpour without an umbrella is difficult so before it rains harder there is nothing wrong with making some changes now…

At the moment in my household, we are working on making some changes. Many of these changes are small, seemingly insignificant, but one thing I know is that every small drop of water or crumb, collectively over time, becomes a vast ocean or a basketful of bread! Drying my clothes outside on a sunny day instead of using the tumble dryer saves 50p, growing food and preserving it saves a little money too (and provides a store of available food during difficult times), baking bread from scratch saves 50p a pop, using a cool short eco wash for laundry saves on power and water, and the list goes on.

I recently saw a friend of mine on social media making a batch of liquid laundry detergent and thought what a great idea! I immediately researched it, watched several videos and decided that it would indeed save me money, quite a bit!

I decided to order in the three ingredients needed and make a batch of:

  1. Washing powder for hot washes and whites.
  2. Liquid laundry detergent for most daily washes using the eco cool setting. (more economical – recipe tomorrow!)

I would also test each of these out for effectiveness and economy as well as the process of making and storing.

Today I made the dry washing powder for longer hot washes and whites. I found this REALLY quick and easy to make. It made enough for up to 40 loads using a tablespoon per load (you may need more for large or dirtier loads.) Based on using 1 cup of borax substitute, 1 cup of washing soda and 1 x 4 or 5 oz bar of household soap it cost me less than £2.50 to make enough powder to wash 40 loads. This would save you about 50% on the cost of a regular powder. I worked this out as roughly £30 per year.

The clothes came out really clean, suds were very low in the machine (I have very hard water). If you love the strong artificial perfumes used in modern laundry detergents and like that your clothes smell strongly of the perfumes in the detergent when the clothes are dry then you may be disappointed. The clothes smelled lovely and clean but didn’t really smell of any fragrance. I didn’t add any essential oils as it was a dry powder (for the liquid detergent I will though).

The powder seems ideal to use on a long hot wash to get lighter clothes bright and clean.

Warning: Obviously with any chemicals please protect your hands and eyes and do not inhale.


  • 1 cup of borax substitute
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1 x 4 or 5 oz bar of household soap (grated)



  1. Mix the borax and washing soda together in a bowl with the grated household soap.
  2. Ideally add the mixture into a blender and pulse until the grated soap and powders are well blended into smaller particles. (**Please ensure that you do not inhale the powder so wait until the dust has settled before opening the lid of the blender)
  3. Place powder in a glass jar.
  4. Use 1 flat tablespoon max. per load.

Zero Waste Recipes – No 2. Toilet Bombs

These are so easy to make and frugal too. No harsh chemicals, easy to store and keep dry in glass, natural fragrance from essential oils and are great for cleaning the toilet! You simply drop one or two in, put the lid down, leave to fizz, give a quick scrub with a brush and it’s done!


  • 1 1/4 cup sodium bicarbonate
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • Small amount of water (maybe 50 mls or so) in a spray bottle to which you add the essential oils (about 30 drops)
  • Silicone mould
  • Bowl, spoon, fork or masher


  1. Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and stir together.
  2. Spritz lightly (2 or 3 times) with the spray bottle with water and essential oils in.
  3. Mix with fork or masher and keep repeating until the mixture slightly begins to clump together. (if you add too much water then the mixture will start to froth which means its too wet)
  4. Press into silicone molds.
  5. Leave to dry overnight.
  6. Remove the next day and store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid until ready to use.

Essential Oils
The essential oils eliminate odours naturally. I like to use lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, tea tree and peppermint! A mixture of two oils I find smells best!

C xxxxx

Zero Waste Recipes – No 1. Toothpaste & Mouthwash

We see excess discarded packaging everywhere. It’s heartbreaking to see the effect it can have on the environment. I’m not sure how one begins to deal with this overwhelming situation and the only thing I can think of is to try and take some personal responsibility and try and make some changes in my own habitat.

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”… Cloud Atlas

My Mum used to tell me how she never had toothpaste as a young child and often would use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) on her finger to rub her teeth clean. Sodium bicarbonate was an ingredient used in making Irish Soda Bread and presume many households probably had this in their larder in Ireland if not for the bread then other types of baking.

So I did a bit of Googling and snooping around and thought about a homemade toothpaste using baking soda that I could make and store in a re-useable jar. I found a recipe using baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils and decided to give it a go. The toothpaste actually works really well but i will be honest with you, it tastes awful! Baking soda is a salt (and you musn’t ingest it so rinse your mouth thoroughly after using it) so even mixed with twice as much coconut oil and a generous amount of peppermint essential oils it isn’t a particularly pleasant experience.

I’ve made it now and I’ll use it but meanwhile I will look at creating a more palatable toothpaste.

Zero Waste Toothpaste Ingredients
4 heaped tablespoons of coconut oil
1-2 level tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
Peppermint essential oil to taste (about 10-20 drops)

Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon until smooth and creamy and spoon into a glass jar.
Dip clean toothbrush into mixture and with a pea sized amount brush teeth thoroughly.
Rinse mouth thoroughly afterwards, do not ingest.

Makes enough for a couple of months.

At the same time I found a very simple mouthwash recipe and I was wondering what to do with a beautiful turquoise coloured bottle I was gifted by my daughter a few years ago so this seemed perfect!

How did the mouthwash compare with the toothpaste? I’ll be honest again, not great but definitely better than the toothpaste! Once again I will use it but seek out a different recipe next time!

Zero Waste Mouthwash Ingredients
Water 500 ml
1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
Peppermint essential oil to taste (20-30 drops)

Simply add all ingredients together in the bottle and shake!

C xxxx