Easy Homemade Washing Powder and Fabric Conditioner

socks on washing line

Barely a day goes by when we don’t reach for the laundry detergent and fabric conditioner, dose up our trusty washing machine, and stuff in an assortment of grubby clothing to be cleaned to our satisfaction. It emerges fresh, clean and sweet-smelling. But is it really?

What’s in that bottle?

Do we ever give much thought to the ingredients of these daily helpers? All we’re interested in is that the whole dreary, repetitive process is as quick and painless as possible, right?

A glance at the ingredients may not reveal much, since the unpronounceable chemical names and numbers mean nothing to most of us. The shocking fact is that our indispensable ‘friends’ contain dozens of potentially harmful ingredients, including carcinogens and petrochemicals. These can linger on your clothing long after washing and can cause skin irritation.

A haven for mould and bacteria

It also turns out that many fabric conditioners contain animal fats. When the fat content in the fabric conditioner is exposed to moisture and air, it’s party time for any bacteria and mould as the gunk makes a perfect breeding ground inside your machine. Think of it – you’re putting your dirty clothes in and expecting to take perfectly clean, fresh clothes out. Is that really what you’re getting? You can also imagine that this fatty build-up isn’t great for preserving the life of your trusty and indispensable washing machine.

And don’t even get us started on the single-use plastic bottles!

Make your own washing powder and fabric conditioner?

If making our own homemade washing powder and fabric conditioner, fragranced with our own choice of essential oils, is easy, quick and pocket friendly (and it really is!), then why exactly are we lining the pockets of large brands?

With homemade products, we know that only natural ingredients are going in and therefore truly clean, fresh and fragrant clothing is coming out. Good for the planet and great for your skin. What’s not to love? Here are some recipes to get you started…

Freshskin lavender oil with home made kit

Homemade washing powder recipe

This homemade washing powder recipe is incredibly simple and brings amazing results.


  • 500ml washing soda crystals (available from supermarkets usually on the bottom shelf of the laundry aisle)
  • 1 bar soap (preferably natural – coconut oil based soaps work well)
  • Lemon essential oil for fragrance

How to make it:

  1. Grate the soap in a food processor with a grater attachment. If you don’t have one, then it’ll take a while longer by hand but it’ll be so worth the effort.
  2. Add the grated soap to the washing soda crystals and mix well.
  3. Store in a sealable container.
  4. Use one to two tablespoons per load. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil to each dose if you’d like to boost the fragrance.

Homemade fabric conditioner recipe

Vinegar does a great job at cutting through the residue of soap on your clothes and it even cleans your washing machine at the same time – so much for so little!

Don’t worry about any vinegary taint to your clothes – even if you can detect a whiff when they’re wet, it’ll have vanished by the time they’re dry.


  • 500ml white vinegar
  • 30 drops essential oil (lemon and sweet orange are perfect but go crazy and use whatever you fancy)
  • 500ml sealable jar/bottle

How to make it:

  1. Fill your bottle or jar with vinegar and then add about 30 drops of whatever essential oil you choose.
  2. Shake well before pouring into the fabric conditioner compartment up to the fill level. If you’re only doing a half load, then halve the dose.