Which homemade detergents do you know?

Making detergents yourself: how dangerous is the DIY mix really?

Our world is completely littered. For some years now, more and more people have devoted themselves to this important topic. The mission: a garbage-free and ecological future. Each and every one of us can contribute to this, for example by buying less plastic and producing less waste. Books such as "Without ifs and waste: How I escaped the packaging mania" by Milena Glimbovski give new food for thought and great tips.

Just like the idea of ​​no longer buying your detergent in the drugstore in the future, but instead simply making it yourself. Homemade detergents for the washing machine usually consist of only two main components: water softeners such as borax, washing soda or baking soda and the cleaning component, curd soap. With essential oils you can give the mixture a very personal fragrance.

But when do we reach our limits with homemade cleaning products? Can the "Zero Waste" trend really be implemented everywhere?

Also cool: This is how you can get your white sneakers clean again!

Video by Aischa Butt

Typical instructions for homemade liquid laundry detergent:


  • 2 tbsp washing soda
  • 2 tbsp grated curd soap
  • 1 liter of water
  • essential oils


1. Grate curd soap with a vegetable grater or chop finely with a knife.

​2. Heat a third of the water in a saucepan with washing soda and curd soap.

3. Stir vigorously with a whisk for a few minutes until everything has dissolved and mixed.

4. Let the mixture cool down and then add the second third of the water.

5. Let stand overnight, then add the last third of water and briefly bring to the boil again.

6. Stir in essential oils if desired.

7. Fill the finished detergent into a glass bottle and shake well before use.

But why you shouldn't use the DIY detergent

The problem with homemade detergents is the soap, the American Cleaning Institute has found. Why this is so becomes clear from the different properties of detergent and soap.

Surfactants are so-called washing-active substances. They are there for fat, for example, to dissolve in water. So you take care of the washing power. The surfactants in the detergent are designed in such a way that they trap dirt and remove it from clothing with little effort and temperature. Classic soap also dissolves dirt, but it is then no longer removed in the washing machine as well.

If you've washed your clothes by hand with soap, you'll know how often you have to rub and rinse with clean water until all the soap residue is rinsed out. The same problem arises when washing in the washing machine.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with using the DIY mixture for the next hand wash. You can find a matching wash tub with an integrated washboard here on Amazon. Homemade detergent is not suitable for washing in the washing machine.

Your laundry will be destroyed and will remain unclean

Thoroughly removing the curd soap from the fibers of your clothes is almost impossible in a washing machine. The soap residue includes bacteria, grease, and other dirt - other mineral deposits can build up over time. The result: your clothes stay dirty, unhygienic and become more and more rigid over time. After a few months, a visible gray haze should even have formed on the laundry.

Why does the laundry still look freshly washed?

If you consider that only two tablespoons of curd soap are used for one liter of the organic detergent, then it is almost a miracle that the laundry looks clean at all with such a small amount of soap per wash.

This is explained by the three components of cleaning - water, surfactants and movement. Even if hardly any soap is used, the water and movement in the washing machine still achieve a good level of cleanliness and freshness. Theoretically, you could save yourself the detergent and would have the same visual effect.

Deposits in the washing machine

Not only can soap stick to your clothes, but it can also stick to the entire washing machine. Emily, for example, reported on this experience with homemade detergent on the blog butterbeliever.com. The thin layer of soap can no longer be removed and can cause toxic mold to grow and unpleasant smells to develop. In the worst case, these residues completely paralyze your device and a new washing machine has to be found. Annoying!

A danger to children and pets?

A homemade detergent may be in an unsafe container or not properly labeled. "This could potentially result in poisoning in children or pets," warns the American Cleaning Institute. Homemade mixtures have not been tested for safety and can also cause skin irritation or other side effects.

Nevertheless, wash your laundry ecologically and environmentally friendly

The self-made detergent has many weaknesses and is not necessarily suitable for everyday use. Still, there are many other things you can do to make washing more environmentally friendly. There is for example ecological organic detergent to buy that allow a more environmentally friendly washing. Make sure that the product is possible free of chlorine, parabens and phosphates is. The shorter the list of ingredients, the better the detergent is for the environment.

Particularly popular on Amazon: the Ecover universal liquid detergent.

Ecolabels can also provide guidance when buying - above all the EU Ecolabel and the Blue Angel. Contains detergents marked with the seals no microplastics and either none or a minimum reduced fragrances. These are toxic to aquatic organisms and are very difficult to break down.

You should also do without fabric softener. This puts a strain on your wallet, wastewater and - if you are allergic - your own health. Alternatives like vinegar should also be used with caution, as rubber parts in your washing machine could suffer.

Additional tips for washing clothes

In general: Make maximum use of the washing machine's capacity. This saves you water and electricity. As a rule of thumb, fill in enough laundry that one hand can still fit upright in the top of the drum. The drum can be fully loaded in the normal cycle. It can be at least half full in the Minimum iron and Delicates cycle.

Pay attention to those correct washing temperature. The heating of the water causes the highest energy requirement during the washing process. Electricity consumption should drop by around 35 percent if the washing temperature is set from 60 ° C to 30 ° C or 40 ° C. With this method you produce less CO2 and also save money. A win-win strategy!

Other topics related to washing clothes:

7 Ingenious Household Hacks: Washing Clothes Has Never Been So Easy!

Mysterious symbols: this is what the symbols on clothes labels mean

How to wash jeans properly: you have to know these 8 tricks!