How-To GuidesNatural Living

Biodegradable Household Cleaning Agents

How to make your own simple, cheap and toxin-free cleaning products.

The average household cleaning agents, such as your dish soap, your laundry detergent, your toilet cleaning agents and even your body wash and shampoo often contain chemicals that are harmful to you and your environment. Although there is an increasing number of biodegradable and toxic-free choices, these usually still come in plastic containers that add to your trash and are often not very light on your wallet.

Luckily with a few very cheap and easily attainable ingredients you can make your own cleaning and body care products. After several months of trying out various recipes we will now share with you our favorite ones that are toxin-free and fully biodegradable.

A little tip: it is a lot cheaper to buy large quantities (1kg or more) of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), washing soda (sodium carbonate), citric acid and vegetable glycerin at a chemicals supplier or online than buying small quantities in the supermarket!

Dishwashing soap

Biodegradable Homemade Dishwashing SoapNote that the proportions of water and soap depend on the soap you’re using. You aim for a texture like liquid soap. Alternatively you could use natural liquid soap (additive-free) blended with some water.

You need

  • Approximately 1 liter boiling water
  • Around 200g soap bar (Aleppo, Castile, or any other natural soap)
  • 1-3 tbsp. washing soda (sodium carbonate)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable glycerin
  • 10-20 drops essential oil (try lemongrass, bergamot or lavender)


  1. Grate the soap bar into a bowl and stir in the boiling water. Wait until the soap has properly dissolved and resembles liquid soap (this may take a few hours!). You can stir the mixture from time to time with a whisk and add boiling water if the texture is to thick.
  2. Add the glycerin.
  3. Now add the washing soda (sodium carbonate), but be careful as this will thicken the mixture and if you add too much you will end up with a thick gel.
  4. Add the essential oil.
  5. Pour the liquid into empty dishwashing soap bottles or empty glass bottles.

Laundry detergent

(multi-purpose, except wool and silk)

IMG_0981.JPGYou need

  • 200g baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 300g washing soda (sodium carbonate)
  • 200g dishwashing salt (or any pure salt without iodine)
  • 200g Aleppo or Castile soap
  • Vinegar or citric acid ( for the fabric softener)


  1. Grind the soap bar and mix with the other ingredients.
  2. Pour into jars or any sealable container(s).

Use 1 flat tablespoon per machine. Do not use for wool and silk!

As a fabric softener you can pour either 1 tsp. of citric acid or the same amount of vinegar into the appropriate compartment of your washing machine.

Laundry detergent

(wool and silk)

You need

  • 500ml water
  • 200ml spirit of wine / ethyl alcohol
  • 100g grated Aleppo soap / Castile soap


  1. Bring water to boil and mix in the spirit of wine as well as the grated soap.
  2. Let the mixture cool down and store in a jar.

Use 2 tablespoons per machine.

Multipurpose cleaning agent #1

This is a very quick and simple cleaning agent for glass surfaces, mirrors, the shower, windows, the fridge and kitchen surfaces.

You need

  • 100ml vodka or ethanol
  • 200ml water
  • Aerosol bottle


  1. Pour the ingredients into the bottle
  2. Shake to mix
  3. Spray

Multipurpose cleaning agent #2

This is another simple cleaning agent, especially useful in kitchen and bathroom.

You need

  • Some vinegar concentrate (amount of vinegar will determine the amount of the cleaning agent)
  • Some water
  • Fresh peel of any citrus fruit, quartered
  • Aerosol bottle


  1. Mix vinegar concentrate and water at a 1:4 ratio, combine with the citrus fruit peel in a pot or jar, let it rest for two weeks.
  2. Run the liquid through a sieve and a funnel into the aerosol bottle. Ready to spray!

Scrubbing powder

Very useful powder to clean greasy surfaces such as your oven, cookplates, bathtub, sink or cooking grate.

You need

  • 50g soap
  • 250g baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 50g salt
  • Optional: 10-20 drops of essential oil


  1. Combine all ingredients and mix in a blender.
  2. Store in a tightly sealed jar.

To find out how to make your own biodegradable body hygiene products you can check out this post.


Where we found these recipes:

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