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Homemade Natural Washing Powder / UK Recipe Laundry Powder

Please note: I originally wrote this post back in 2014 – but it has now been updated with 2018 prices!

We do a lot of washing in our house. About 20-25 loads a week roughly, sometimes more.  This is something that all households have to do but it does make it hard when one of your kids has very allergic skin.  We have a lot of problems with various washing powders and fabric conditioners as they contain so many harsh chemicals that I might as well just roll my youngest through a patch of nettles!

So we decided to make our own homemade washing powder, four years on and we haven’t looked back since!  There are many recipes out there but most are US based and contain borax (nasty chemical stuff and banned in the UK and the rest of Europe!). Our recipe is the UK version and is fantastic.  With this mix you will NOT NEED fabric conditioner, Calgon or other limescale preventer tablets or any stain removers such as OxyClean or Vanish.  It is a 4 in 1 mix! The savings are astronomical as well as being much better for you.  But you have to remember one thing.  This mix does not create any soap suds. SUDS OR FANCY SMELLS DO NOT MEAN CLEAN!!! This is a hard concept to get your head around at first but just trust me 😉 Suds really do not mean clean and it is in actual fact the soap suds that can cause machines to break down as they cause problems with residue.  If you live in a particularly hard water area, watch out for our very cheap fabric conditioner recipe coming up next week if you do find you need a little conditioner.

It really is the way to go if you want to watch what you are using on your skin.

So are you ready to be all natural and save a wodge load of cash in the process? Yes? Then on we go!


We shop at Natural Selection for our natural alternatives for our home cleaning, links below for the items you need.

= 6.5kg approx of 4 in 1 washing powder (plus in built conditioner, water softener and stain removal) for £16.86


  1. Grate the soap into a large bowl and once all grated, run your hands through the soap mix so that it starts to fall apart into really small pieces.
  2. Mix everything else in and really mix well.
  3. If using essential oil for aroma, add at the end and break up lumps that this will cause in the mix, stir and mix thoroughly. Please note that this will give you a very SUBTLE aroma. We want clean, not something that just smells nice…
  4. This recipe above makes approx 6.5kg of laundry powder.

To Use

Simply add 1 and a half egg cups of powder (approx 80g) to the washing powder tray in your washing machine and use on any heat of washing maching from 30 degrees +.

The mix should wash about 82 washes, but remember you will not need fabric conditioner, limescale preventers such as Calgon or any stain removal powder or liquid such as Vanish or OxyClean with this mix.

So price wise this is how it works out:

Homemade laundry powder mix for 82 washes = £16.86


Full price items, not sale prices as these change too frequently…

Ariel Powder 65 washes + Ariel Powder 22 washes (this is as close as I could get so this makes 5 more washes, just 5…) = £17.00
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/282048443 = £12.00 + https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/282026901 =  £5.00

Comfort Fabric Conditioner 85 washes (gives 3 more washes) = £6.50

Calgon Tablets 90 tabs (gives 8 more washes) = £24.00
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/261697247 = £12.00 x 2 = £24.00

Vanish Stain Remover 1kg
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/260288065 = £10.00

= £57.50  – take off the extra £3.32 to allow for over washes of  powder, conditioner and tabs and lets round it up to £54.18

Homemade = £16.86  vs  Commercial Chemical Brands = £54.18

That is a saving of £37.32 every 82 washes! And you know exactly what’s in it!

The bigger bulk you make the cheaper the ingredients get – I made a batch for 800 washes worth for £49! Just scout around for bulk prices!

Go on, give it a try and remember SUDS & FANCY SMELLS DO NOT MEAN CLEAN! 😉

Share the magic…

40 Responses

  1. Hello,

    I tried your recipe recently (in a smaller batch) and I have to say….When i took the clothes out and checked them for stains etc it seemed amazing…

    but there was no ‘fresh, clean’ smell to them, it’s almost like they just smelled neutral or of damp….

    I added around 10 drops of essential oil to the next load and it was the same. It seems strange as the powder itself is so fragrant!

    do you find the same thing? have you any suggestions?


    1. It’s good stuff isn’t it! How odd about the smell though, we use sweet orange essential oil here and everything smells like a spanish villa after we do the washing lol the clothes smell lovely too. Which oil are you using?

  2. Hi could you tell me the exact measurements for the soap etc as it just says grate the soap? how much soap etc. or do you just mix all the ingredients into one huge bowl and then store them in a plastic container im confused sorry :S

    1. Hi Callum,

      As it states in the recipe it is 3 bars of standard size soap and then just mix everything together 🙂 Hope this helps!

  3. Hi I will agree with Nancy above, I did a 5th of the batch measurements above, to try it out. The cleaning power is amazing no qualms there, but the sweet orange essential oil was fragrant in the powder but non existent after washing. And just like Nancy it smelled like ‘damp’ I don’t know if it accounts for living in a very hard water area, and if this makes any difference? Otherwise what brand essential oil do you use? Also I wash my colours on temp of 40 my delicates on 30 and my whites on 60. would this make any difference with you?

    1. I really am not sure, we live in a hard water area too and we have never had an issue with damp smelling clothes. We use Sweet Orange essential oil from The Pennine Collection. Maybe try another scent? x

  4. I forgot to say, THANK YOU for this recipe!! My youngest has always suffered with allergic reactions to washing powders/liquids and myself on occasion. (We are just both sensitive souls lol) Also, when do you think you will post a fabric conditioner recipe up? 🙂 anything that you ‘conjure’ up that has to go on our skin would be muchly appreciated!!

  5. Just a quick update on the scent trials. I just upped the dosage on the essential oil, and it works a treat 🙂

    1. Fantastic! I wonder if the oil I was using was just particularly strong? How many drops did you use and I will change the recipe for you 🙂 x

  6. I am keen to try this recipe. Can I ask what type of soap bars to use? A glycerine soap? I have some soap making kits and was wondering if that would be OK?

    1. I just used normal natural soap, I used one from Sainsburys that as natural 🙂 But you can use any soap 🙂

  7. Thanks so much- my washing came out great!
    I used lavender & tea tree oil – 10-15 drops each (as I already had them) and they worked a treat!
    It lasted about 2 and a bit months and saved us a fortune..thanks again!

  8. I have just found your recipe and am very excited! I’ve been making my own dishwashing powder for a few years now and am ready to try the laundry powder. I’ve just found the ‘Carbolic soap company’ and have ordered all the ingredients, (plus some white vinegar, as I Love it!) and that took me over the £40 free carriage. I have enough of some of the ingredients to make a few batches. I ordered soap flakes as I hate grating. I figured that as a bar of soap is 75g I could translate that weight into the flakes. Looking forward to the parcel arriving! I also have around ten loads a week with hubby and three teenage sons!

  9. Thank you for this recipe, it works great. The only issue is that it’s a bit of a pain that you have to get the borax subsitute online and you can’t just buy it in the supermarket. How essential is this ingredient? Can it be replaced with more soda crystals and sodium bicarbonate? Thanks

  10. Hi, I am trying to find a reasonably priced natural soap. What should it contain or not contain? There are so many pseudo natural products out there I am finding it difficult to know what to go for. Any suggestions of brands and where I can purchase them would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you 🙂

  11. I’m wondering if creme bars will work such as Asda original creme bars? I don’t want to use soap with non vegetarian ingredients or a lot of chemicals.

  12. Started making my own now, eventually found the large bars of carbolic soap in a fragrant candle shop, the results are very favourable for the small amount used per wash but the slightly stale smell of the dried washing is a bit of an issue, could this be the residue of the soda ?, we have a little tea tree oil so will incorporate some in the next wash

  13. Hi Bexz,
    I’m interested to try out this recipe. Could you please suggest if this can be used to wash cloth diapers?.

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UK Traditional witchcraft, intuitive witchcraft, British folk magic, homesteading, foraging & natural healing.

Welcome to The Lancashire Witch

I am a bare foot in the grass, foraging, natural living, homesteading, nature loving, folk magic practitioner & traditional witch and this is my little world on the web full of nature’s beauty and the gifts that it gives us. Born and raised as a traditional witch over 45 years ago, an urban homesteader, forager and qualified complementary therapist. I invite you to wander the long and winding path with me as I take you into my world. Read more about me here.

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