Tuesday 17 June 2014

Home made Laundry Detergent versus Bought

I have to admit, straight out, that I am no home economics teacher. I read a lot, then I make up my own mind. People often comment they can't be bothered to make their own, or it doesn't work as well etc.

For us cost did partly come into it and yes, on occasions it doesn't clean as well. Have you any idea just what is inside those expensive (or sometimes) cheap wash powders and fabric conditions? No, well let me show you. Looking on-line, the contents of what is inside most wash powders/liquids, can be found here 

Most fabric conditions contain this little lot: 5% cationic surfactants, perfume, butylphenyl methylpropional, hexyl cinnamal, alpha-isomethyl ionone, benzisothiazolinone, sorbic acid, benzoic acis, benzyl alcohol.  If you can find the time, you could look up all these and see what they are!

I don't know about you, but we like to treat the environment we live in, as gentle as possible. We don't want the residue of all those chemicals, on our skin, down our drains into the rivers, sea etc.

For us, as each problem arises, we find a way through it, not giving in at the first hurdle. I suppose that is what living our particular simple life means, you may be living a different simple/frugal/other kind of life. Each to their own and I have no problems with whatever life you are living:)

The same goes for gardening organically. It can be hell to begin with, but does get better, see (This Norfolk Life under the Flower Garden tab). Not just because you learn how to garden but you learn (and eventually nature helps out more) how to tackle problems.

Here then, is a break down of costings (at least the best I can find looking on-line). We use Wilko own brand where possible and also now use pure soap flakes rather than grating a bar of soap (but do have bars of soap in cases of emergency!).

Home made works out at 5.1p per wash and rinse (using Tesco own brand vinegar as a rinse aid) or 3.8p per wash, (using Summer Naturals 5l container of white vinegar, including postage!). It took me a total of 15 minutes from measuring out, 'cooking' to bottling. 

White/clear vinegar (not malt vinegar) is a fantastic conditioner. There is no residual smell and clothes are fluffy. I do tumble dry my towels and cannot tell any difference except they don't stink of conditioner.

Aldi is next cheapest at 10.5 per wash and rinse. Bigger brands anywhere from 45p – 65p per wash and rinse.

What are the drawbacks, there must be some I hear you cry. Yes there are. 

We find that over time, whites do not stay as white, colours don't seem to alter much. That is because we are used to using washing powders/liquids that have optical brighteners in them. We don't have much white/pale washing but if it goes a little dingy, we add a scoop of Oxi Plus to the wash, an extra 5.5p - 9.5p per wash, depending on brand, (not Vanish or other products because of what they contain). 

We use the home made laundry liquid neat on stains, most come off. Under arm sweat smells can remain but if they do, we rub under each garment arm with neat laundry liquid or spray under each one with home made all purpose cleaner and disinfectant, (see frugal tutorials tab above on how to make both things).


  1. Great post as always. I'm trying shampoos as I'm allergic to one or more of the ingredients, I used to be fine with most baby shampoo but even those are causing problems now. Wash powder we use Aldi non bio but only half the amount x

    1. At the moment, I have to use E45, even then, I often have a snowstorm, due to a scalp condition. I do find that Rosemary or Lavender rinses help no end!

  2. Something I use to make my whites white again is bicarbonate of soda. About 1/2-1 cup of bicarbonate of soda to the wash cycle with your detergent. Works a treat.

    1. You must buy it in bulk to use that amount?

  3. Sorry but we are Persil non bio people its the only one we can use without itching. I buy enough for the year in January when its half price and I have a sainsb voucher, it works out quite reasonable then. I also wash thing inside out it gets into the seams and gets rid of any sweat smells or deodorant marks. Its good that you have found whats works for you. I like the sound of the lavender hair rinse.

    1. Persil non-bio was the only one we used to use. Don't get me wrong, if I wanted to go back to a well known name, that would be the one. We just find home made easy to make and use.

    2. A mixture of baking soda and peroxide will take out the yellow ans smell of the armpits on clothing. Use only 3% peroxide.


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