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.