I’ve been wanting to make a homemade laundry detergent for quite some time now because let’s face it, detergent is expensive and it contains a bunch of chemicals I’d rather not have on my clothes. Surprisingly, laundry detergent is pretty easy to make at home, and once you get all the ingredients, you can knock the cost down to only a few dollars per gallon.
While searching around online for a recipe, I found several different variations for laundry detergent that are either liquid, powdered, include borax, or leave it out. I decided to include a liquid and powder recipe for you to choose from, depending on your needs. I find that both the liquid and powdered versions work wonderfully, so it’s really up to you!
Why Switch To Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent?
Most conventional laundry detergents on the market contain harsh chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrances, parabens, and more. Some major brands also contain petroleum distillates, which have been linked to lung disease and cancer. Not only that, the majority of conventional laundry detergent is just downright expensive.
Making your own detergent at home couldn’t be easier, and with only 3-4 ingredients, you know what you’re making is safe for your health. Plus, it’s cost effective!
Note About Borax
Some of the recipes I’m posting in here contain the ingredient Borax, but there has been some debate on the safety of this ingredient. My opinion is that the small amount of this natural mineral is likely fine in natural household cleaners, but I personally choose not to add them to my recipes. Anything in excess could have the potential for harm, so it’s up to you to decide if it’s an ingredient you feel comfortable with including in your recipe.
If you choose to leave out the borax, you can safely substitute it with baking soda or washing soda. With all that said, let’s continue to the recipes!
Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe
- 3/4 cup Dr. Bronners Liquid Castille Soap – (I love the Lavender or Rose scented ones)
- 1/2 cup Super Washing Soda – (Not to be confused with baking soda, washing soda is slightly different)
- 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax – (You can make this borax-free by substituting with baking soda)
- Empty laundry detergent container or gallon jugs.
- 2 gallon bucket
- Immersion blender or hand mixer
- Pour hot water into your 2 gallon bucket about an inch high. This helps the dry ingredients dissolve quicker.
- Add the dry ingredients: Super Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Borax (optional).
- Add more water to cover all the dry ingredients if necessary. Blend with an immersion blender or hand mixer until smooth and no clumps remain.
- Fill the rest of the bucket almost to the top with tap water. Lukewarm is fine.
- Add the liquid castile soap and mix with a wooden spoon. This helps it to not foam up.
- Use a funnel to fill your gallon jugs or used detergent bottles.
The liquid recipe does take a little more time and resources to make, plus a bit more space is needed to store it. You can also add in essential oils if you would like a nice, natural smell to the soap. 1/3 of a cup should be sufficient for a load of laundry, and this recipe should also be perfectly safe for HE (high-efficiency) washers.
Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe
- 1 bar of any natural soap – (I personally use Dr. Bronners bar soap because of it’s purity and high quality).
- 1 cup Washing Soda
- 1 cup Borax – (substitute baking soda or washing soda to make borax-free)
- Essential oils – (optional)
- Glass jar or container with airtight lid
- Grate the bar of soap by hand or in a food processor until finely ground.
- In bowl, mix washing soda, grated soap, and borax (or baking soda if going borax-free). Use a spoon as it can cause drying on the skin.
- Optional: Add 20-30 drops of essential oil of choice. (I like lavender oil for a soft smell)
- Store in an airtight container. Quart sized Mason jars work great for this.
- Use 1/8 to 1/4 cup per load of laundry.
Don’t Feel Like Making Your Own?
Sometimes I don’t have the time to make my own laundry detergent at home, or I just want a quick alternative to my homemade version, so I found a few natural detergent brands that work great if you don’t want to make your own:
- Molly’s Suds Natural Laundry Powder – A little pricey, but it works really well and has great results.
- Eco-Me Laundry Detergent – Up to 62 loads for $12
- Planet Natural Detergent – Not as cost effective as Eco-Me, but it’s good for HE washers.
The best option is to make your own at home, but these are great options if you’re in a pinch. You’ll love the difference a natural laundry detergent makes in your life!
Do you make your own laundry detergent at home? What ingredients do you love to use?