Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent

Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent recipe

The Hippy Home has a great recipe for liquid laundry detergent that has been shared in various forms all over the internet. However, to call it a detergent is a bit of a misnomer: in actuality, it’s a soap not a detergent. See, detergent means it is a blend of chemically or naturally derived surfactants. There are none of those in that recipe.

Still, while it’s a great recipe I had issues with the fact that the soap sometimes separates out. It just doesn’t work well with castile for me, and any number of factors could contribute to that (speaking as a seasoned soap maker). So when I remembered that Sal Suds exist, my brain sparked on a brilliant solution: why not use a detergent instead of the soap? Because that’s exactly what Sal Suds is, it’s a naturally-derived detergent. In this recipe it behaves perfectly and creates a beautiful liquid detergent that can be super concentrated and still work great with your HE washers. Detergents work best with this recipe because the molecules bond better with the washing soda and water solution than soap would.

The thing I love most about this recipe is that it only has three ingredients! And the only fragrance is a very VERY light pine-y fragrance from the Sal Suds. If you can’t get Sal Suds, I’ve achieved similar results with Method/Ecover brand dishwashing liquid, though I stopped using that because I didn’t like the added fragrances.

You need:

  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • approx. 3/4 cup Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds (or other detergent)
  • 2.5 liters distilled water, separated

 Heat some of the distilled water and add in the washing soda. Stir over heat until washing soda crystals are fully dissolved. Remove from heat and cool until warm to the touch. Add in Sal Suds and mix gently to combine. Add the mixture to the remaining water (it is crucial to avoid sudsing) and pour into two cleaned laundry detergent/fabric softener containers to store. Use 1 capful (about 30 ml or 1 ounce) per regular load, or two capfuls per large load.

Again, this recipe is completely safe for High Efficiency washers and normal washers alike. It gets your clothes truly clean, imparting no discernable fragrance to the fabric unless you add it in or use a dishwashing liquid as your detergent element. It uses none of the chemical whiteners and petroleum fragrances of commercial detergent. Most importantly, I can easily get 83 regular loads of laundry from this one batch and it saves me the €13.05 I would have spent on a less concentrated commercial liquid. The cost breakdown proves it:

  • Sal Suds 32 ounce bottle: €10.25 or $11.76 (purchased during our recent US trip)
  • Washing Soda 2 kg: €2.02 or $2.32 (purchased at the local supermarket)
  • Distilled Water 5 L: €0.79 or $0.91 (purchased at local supermarket) (buy two!)

All that makes FOUR batches of the detergent at €3.20 or $3.67 per batch! In total, that’s four batches at €12.84 or $14.73, and you’ll actually get eight batches out of the bag of washing soda so you don’t need to buy more for a while. That’s far less than the €26 price tag on Ecover detergent (which only has two batches!) I spend here. Pinch your pennies wisely folks!

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