How to Make Inexpensive Natural Washing Detergent That Works

How to Make Inexpensive Natural Washing Detergent That Works

How to Make Inexpensive Natural Washing Detergent That Works

In France, when we think Savon de Marseille, we think immediately of laundry and image of grandmothers cleaning the household linen. There is a perfect reason why they used Savon de Marseille - it's inexpensive, and it works! Savon de Marseille is effective both when used cold or hot.

Here I will share with you two ancient recipes for making your own efficient and inexpensive washing liquid.


Savon de Marseille Laundry Detergent With Soda Crystals

For 2 litres of laundry detergent, you need :

  • 2 litres of water
  • 50g of white Savon de Marseille, grated or in shavings
  • 1 teacup of crystals of soda
  • 1 teaspoon of essential oil (lavender, orange, tea tree, etc.) optional


Six easy steps:

  1. Melt the soap shavings in a large pan with 1 litre of hot water (not boiling). Mix on a low heat until completely dissolved.
  2. When there are no lumps, incorporate the soda crystals. Take off the heat and leave it to cool down.
  3. If you wish, add essential oil at this point and leave it to rest overnight.
  4. The soap will be thick at this point, so add a litre of warm water and mix through until you have an even consistency.
  5. Pour it in an old washing detergent bottle, thoroughly rinsed to avoid the risk of mixing with the industrial detergent. 
  6. Shake the bottle well. Use around 100ml for each laundry in the washing machine.


Did you know? The soda crystals raise the water pH, so the more calcium in your water, the more you need to increase the dose of crystals.


When going cold, the soap gets thicker. So, before every use, you need to shake the bottle and even add 3 to 4 tablespoons of hot water to help it liquefy again.


The Savon de Marseille Laundry Detergent With Bicarbonate Of Soda

For a litre and a half of laundry detergent, you need :

  • 35 to 40g of white Savon de Marseille, grated or in flakes
  • 3 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 2 litres of water
  • 10 drops of essential oil (lemon, lavender, tea tree...)


Five Easy Steps:

  1. Mix the soap flakes, bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar into a litre of hot water in a large pan.
  2. When there are no lumps, take off the heat and leave it to cool for 2 hours. 
  3. As above, the soap will be very thick, so mix in an additional litre of warm water. 
  4. With the help of a funnel, pour everything into an old washing detergent bottle that you have rinsed before use. 
  5. Perfume with the drops of essential oil (optional).


Bicarbonate of soda helps preserve the colours of your laundry. Your washing machine will also be descaled thanks to the white vinegar, and your laundry will be clean thanks to Savon de Marseille.



For a quick wash, pour 100ml of washing detergent into a ball at the centre of your laundry. To whiten the laundry, add 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate soda, and you can add half a glass of white vinegar in the softener tray for extra softness.


Et Vous?

Do you use natural washing detergent? Tell us your recipe and what works for you in the comments below. If you enjoyed the above and find it useful, why not encourage your friends and family to go Au Naturel by liking and sharing this article. We always appreciate it when you do :)

22 October 2020  |  9:19

Thank you for your laundry soap methods. Can I use this for wool and silk, too?

Ken Shaw
22 October 2020  |  19:49

Yes, you can Charlotte. It is very kind to all fabrics :)

Fiona Parker
30 July 2021  |  15:51

Hi. If using this from one of the recipes, in a ball in the machine, does this product froth up alot more, so should i use less, in case i get bubbles/froth bubbling out of washing machine?

Ken Shaw
11 August 2021  |  16:54

Bonjour Fiona,
No need to worry about bubbles taking over your house - although that sounds like fun :)
Bubbles are often created by chemical frothing agents added to soap, and there are none of those present here.

Sophie C
03 August 2021  |  9:54

I know from experience of hand washing with Marseille soap that colours tend to leak out of the fabrics. This soap is great for whites, but how can I be sure the liquid detergent made from soap flakes won't discolour my clothes? You write that bicarbonate of soda helps to preserve colours, but then that adding more bicarbonate of soda whitens the laundry. Which is correct?

Ken Shaw
11 August 2021  |  16:57

Bonjour Sophie,
I'm surprised to hear that colours are leaking out of your fabrics, as traditional Savon de Marseille soaps are very gentle. We have never experienced discolouring, in fact, quite the opposite.
The bicarbonate helps with this. That's why colours look crisper and whites look brighter as there is no discolouring. - That sounds like a TV advert :)