Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

So have you heard that making your own everything is a thing now?

Thanks to the whole green/DIY movements, a growing mistrust of commercial products, Pinterest and blogging, we've entered a reversion to revere for all things homemade. 

Five years ago, when my son was born and I was getting started in cloth diapering, I begin learning about the adverse effects the chemicals, dyes and fragrances in standard detergents have on the diapers. That got me thinking - about those chemicals, dyes and fragrances. I decided we could do without them. 

I used to buy Charlie's Soap, which I think is a great product and company (once I got used to swallowing the price tag.) After a few years, I tried my hand at making my own safer detergent. 

Okay, so I know we're all busy and not looking for more ways to add to our domestic workload. But once you get into the routine of something, the extra few minutes becomes normal and can have benefits well-worth the time.

The benefits of making your own laundry detergent include both saving money and saving yourselves from exposure to chemicals that are in conventional detergent.

You can make a powder or a liquid version. Here's how to do both:
  For a powder version:
Mix equal parts:
You can also add some Baking Soda or grated Fels Naptha if you have particularly soiled laundry.
Use approximately 2 heaping tablespoons per load.

That's it! Shredding the soap is the only time-consuming step.

  For an (easy, no-boil) liquid version:
Mix together the Borax and washing soda. Pour into 1 gallon jug. Add 1/4 Cup liquid soap of your choice. Then, add 4 cups boiling water and shake well.  Fill to the top with cold water. It will bubble up and be runny.

Use 1/2 cup-1 cup per load depending on how large and how soiled the load is.

Once or twice a year I drag myself to Wal-Mart for the Borax and Washing Soda, as they can be difficult to find elsewhere and are more expensive online than off the store shelf. You can find Dr. Bronner's soap most anyway these days, (Trader Joe's, Target, Costco...).

Helpers are welcome:


Another perk, once you have these supplies on-hand, you can make other household cleaners out of them. Check out some instructions on making spray cleaner or wipes here at my pal's site.

And now, go forth and clean something.


  1. Food processor grater saves LOADS of time!

    1. What a great idea, thank you! I've never tried that but definitely will next time.

  2. Do you feel like your clothes are just as clean? -Jessica B.

  3. Hi Jess,
    Yes, I do think they get just as clean. They don't have a fragrance to them, the way standard detergents leave nice, seemingly-"clean" scents, but they're just as clean - or rather, more clean for it. I do pre-treat heavily soiled stuff - ie. kid's play clothes and sometimes throw in extra baking or washing soda.

  4. Interesting. I may have to give this one a whirl! Thanks! -Jessica B