Laundry soap has been a staple in households for thousands of years. That’s right; even the ancient Egyptians used soap to clean their clothes. Originally laundry soaps were made from soda ash and animal fats.
It wasn’t until during the World War II era that we started to see commercial laundry detergents, like Tide and Arm & Hammer, hit the grocery store shelves. The cleansers you find in the laundry aisle at the store, like Oxiclean, are often full of chemicals that can be harmful to your health.
Making a homemade laundry detergent is an easy and budget-friendly way to avoid the hazardous chemicals that can damage your skin and ruin your clothes.
The Best Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes
Making laundry detergent is a great way to save money and keep your family safe from harmful chemicals. The ingredients that go into your laundry detergent are all natural and non-toxic, allowing you to reduce the concerns of skin rashes, allergy irritation, and even asthma.
Homemade soap will also cause less harm to the environment and create less pollution overall. Making your detergent also allows you to control the fragrance by using essential oils that are better for you and your four-legged friends. Save time and money with these easy homemade washing powder recipes.
1. Powder Laundry Detergent that Uses Four Ingredients
This DIY laundry detergent recipe only costs pennies per load and will get your clothes clean. With only four ingredients, this is one of the best budget-friendly hacks out there.
This recipe contains Borax laundry booster, which some might question as being safe, Fels Naptha Laundry Bar, and your choice of essential oil for an added fragrance.
Using a cheese grater, grate the Fels Naptha bar soap into a large bowl. Add the two cup Borax and the washing soda, and stir to combine. Add the essential oil to the homemade washing powder and store to distribute the oil.
Place the powder into a 2-quart mason jar, and secure the lid. You can use this detergent in both front loader and top loading washing machine. Just add a tablespoon of this laundry soap to every load of laundry.
2. Borax-Free Powder Laundry Detergent
This is a natural, non-toxic laundry detergent that you can make at home. By not using Borax in the recipe, it rates an A on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Healthy Cleaning scale.
The recipe makes enough detergent for 320 loads of laundry for just around $20, or $0.06 per load, making this an excellent choice for natural cleaning and frugal living.
Grate the Castile soap into pieces using a cheese grater or food processor. You can add in ½ cup of baking soda when grating the soap to help it better separate. Put all of the ingredients to a large container and mix well to combine.
Measure one to two tablespoons of the powder and add it to your laundry. The best part of this homemade detergent recipe is that you can use it in both regular and high-efficiency machines. The OxiClean will help get any grease out of clothes or other stains, and the Epsom salt will work as a natural fabric softener.
3. Chemical-Free Liquid Laundry Detergent
Many of the laundry detergents that you can buy in the store contain harsh chemicals that can cause developmental and reproductive issues and can cause skin irritations, allergies, and respiratory problems, to name a few.
This Borax-free liquid laundry detergent is free of chemicals and will get your laundry just as clean as the store bought cleaners, plus it will work great with any HE machine.
Pour the washing soda into the bucket. Add enough hot water to cover the washing soda. Use the spoon to stir the ingredients until the washing soda has dissolved.
Add the baking soda to the mix and stir until combined. Pour the rest of the hot water into the bucket. Next, add the castile soap to the bucket.
Then pour in the essential oil and stir to combine the ingredients. Finally, using a spoon, pour the liquid detergent into the glass containers and seal with the lid. To wash your clothes, pour 1/3 cup of the soap into your wash and launder as usual.
4. All-In-One Laundry Bombs
Why continue to haul your detergent, fabric softener, stain stick, and laundry to the washing machine when you can make your own laundry soap that does it all. You can pick up the essential ingredients for this all-in-one laundry bomb at your local grocery store for just a few dollars, making this homemade laundry detergent recipe extremely budget-friendly.
Start by grating the Castile soap into the mixing bowl, then add the washing soda and Epsom salt to the mix. The castile soap does a great job at attacking stains, as well as cleaning your laundry.
The all-natural washing soda will soften hard water while washing your clothes. And the Epsom salt works as a natural fabric softener and helps to cut down on the static.
Next add the hydrogen peroxide, which will naturally whiten your clothes and keep your colors fresh, which makes it the best detergent for dark clothes. Next, stir in the white vinegar and the essential oils. The mixture, at this point, should look like wet sand and should easily clump together when pressed.
Cover the pan with the parchment paper, and then use a rounded tablespoon to scoop up the mixture, making sure to press it against the inside of the bowl, then tap it onto the pan. Finish with a quick spray of equal parts cold water and vinegar, and then let sit for eight hours. Use one laundry bomb for smaller loads, and two when you have a lot of laundry in the washer.
5. Make Your Own Detergent Laundry Pods
You can make your own laundry pods that are safe to use in all washing machines but are inexpensive. These safe and non-toxic laundry pods use cheap everyday ingredients to create an effective homemade laundry detergent.
Grate the soap into a large bowl. Add the washing soda and borax to the dish. Then add the OxiClean and stir to combine the ingredients.
Spray the powder with vinegar until it starts to clump. When the mixture begins to stick together, then you can add it to the mold, or ice cube trays. Allow drying for eight hours.
Remove the laundry pods and store them in an airtight container until you are ready to use. After you sort clothes, add one pod for each load of laundry. You can use these pods in top and front loading machines or your HE washer.
6. DIY Laundry Detergent for High-Efficiency Washers
This homemade laundry detergent for HE washers is extremely useful in eliminating the chemical build-up that often happens with commercial laundry detergents while keeping colors looking bright. Plus, you can use it in your HE machine without worry that it’s going to damage it.
You can make this recipe two ways; there is the powder version and the liquid version. The powder is easier to make and requires less room for storage, while the liquid is useful for treating stains, and works better if you have hard water.
Grate the bar soap with a grater or food processor until finely ground. In a large bowl mix the washing soda, Borax, and grated soap.
Place in a closed storage container, like a half gallon mason jar. Use two tablespoons of the detergent in every load of laundry.
7. DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent for High-Efficiency Machines
The following recipe is the liquid version of the homemade laundry detergent explicitly designed for HE machines. The liquid version is just as easy to make as the powdered version and will clean your clothes just as well and won’t damage your washer.
Grate the soap with a food processor or cheese grater. Put the grated soap in a pot with two quarts water. Gradually heat the liquid, continually stirring until you dissolve the soap.
Pour 4.5 gallons hot tap water into the bucket. Add the washing soap and the borax to the bucket, stirring until completely dissolved. Pour the soap mixture into the bucket and stir well.
Cover the bucket and let it sit overnight. The next morning, stir the detergent until smooth and pour into gallon containers. Use ½ to one cup per load.
8. Easy DIY Laundry Detergent with Zote
Zote soap is considered the Holy Grail of cleansers. Not only is it non-toxic, but it has a clean, citrusy, sweet scent that is perfect for homemade laundry detergent. It’s explicitly designed for laundry and is relatively inexpensive to buy, making this homemade laundry soap budget-friendly.
Grate the Zote soap using a food processor or cheese grater. In a large container, add the borax, washing soda, and soap and mix thoroughly — store in a sealed container. You can use two tablespoons, or up to ¼ cup in each load, depending on how dirty your laundry is.
9. No-Grate Liquid Laundry Detergent
If you don’t have the time to sit and grate a bar of soap for your homemade laundry detergent, here’s a recipe that skips the bar of soap. This no-grate liquid laundry soap takes less time to make but still delivers the cleaning power.
In a large container, add the washing soda, Borax, and dish soap. Pour the water into the bottle to dissolve the ingredients. Use cold water to fill the container the rest of the way.
When you’re ready to use, give the bottle a good shake to ensure the ingredients mix, then use ¼ cup for a regular load of laundry, and 1/3 cup for large or heavily-soiled clothes.
10. Homemade Liquid Soap Nuts Detergent
If you have never heard of soap nuts, they are the dried shells of the soapberry, and they contain a cleaning agent known as saponin, which works like detergent and soap but without all the chemicals. You can use soap nuts, placed in a muslin bag, in your laundry with nothing else and your clothing will get just as clean.
However, if you like the ease and convenience of liquid laundry detergent, here’s a recipe that uses soap nuts for a non-toxic way to do laundry.
Pour the ingredients into a large pot and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Occasionally mash the berries and stir the liquid with a slotted spoon.
Take off the lid and continue to simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat. Using a mesh strainer, strain the liquid into a glass bowl.
Allow cooling and pour the liquid into a jar for storage. If you have a HE machine, use one tablespoon for every load, otherwise, use two tablespoons for a regular washer.
11. Vinegar and Borax Laundry Soap
Adding vinegar to your homemade laundry detergent will go a long way. White vinegar has been proven to be great at removing stains, softening fabrics, and removing odor from your clothes.
In a large bowl, combine the Borax and baking soda. Mix the dish soap and vinegar in a measuring cup. Slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients.
Then add the orange oil and stir. Store in an airtight container and use a generous 1/3 cup of the detergent for every load of laundry.
12. Lavender DIY Laundry Soap
Adding lavender essential oil to your homemade laundry soap will infuse your clean clothes with the soothing scent of lavender.
Using a cheese grater, shave the bar of soap. If you want to make the process go a bit quicker, you can use your food processor to get the same effect. In a glass bowl, combine the shaved soap, Borax, washing soap, and lavender essential oil.
Mix well to combine. Store the product in an airtight container until you’re ready to use. You only need about two tablespoons of this soap per load to get your clothes clean and smelling fresh.
13. Homemade Powder Detergent without Borax
While Borax is a naturally occurring product, it can be toxic if ingested. It is used in many handmade cleaning products, including laundry detergent. If you prefer not to risk using Borax in your homemade laundry detergent, here’s a recipe that skips the Borax, but will still get your laundry incredibly clean.
Start by grating the soap. Then, using a food processor, combine the rest of the ingredients with the soap.
When the ingredients are well combined, store the powder in an airtight container until you are ready to use. To use in your laundry, add one to two tablespoons to every load.
14. Blissful Homemade Laundry Detergent
This laundry detergent uses the dual power of Borax and baking soda to create a powerful soap to get even your dirtiest clothes clean.
Grate the Zote soap, then, in a large bucket, combine all of the ingredients. Store the detergent in a large container until you’re ready to use. When you’re prepared to do your laundry, add two to four tablespoons per load, depending on the amount of wash.
15. Homemade Super Laundry Soap
This laundry soap only takes seven minutes to make, with no mess and no cooking. The recipe makes enough Heavy Duty Detergent to clean 128 loads of your dirtiest laundry and costs less than $2 to make.
Cut the bar of soap in half and slice one half into pea-sized chunks. Place the pieces of soap into one of the Mason jars.
Cut up the other half of the soap and place those pea-sized chunks into the other mason jar. Boil the water, then add 1 ½ cups to each of the mason jars. Cover and let sit overnight.
The next day, open the jar and use a butter knife to cut cross patterns to loosen the gel from the pot. Add ½ cup of Borax and ½ cup washing soda to each of the jars. Add the essential oil.
Then add enough hot water to bring the liquid level up to the shoulder of the jar. Use an immersion blender to whip up the contents of each jar until it has the consistency of creamy mayonnaise. Add one tablespoon of the detergent to each load of laundry.
16. Homemade Lemon and Lavender HE Laundry Soap
This handmade soap is great if you have hard water and is safe to use in your HE washer. The all-natural ingredients in this recipe will leave your whites bright, your towels fluffy and super absorbent, and eliminate odors, plus its completely safe for the environment.
Cut up the Zote soap into chunks that will fit into a food processor chute. Add to the food processor and grate. Once the soap is grated, remove it from the food processor, and replace the grating wheel with the fine processing blade.
Return about 1/3 of the soap and a small scoop of the washing soda to the food processor. Pulse until you have a fine powder. Continue to add the grated soap until it has all been processed.
Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix with a spoon. Pour the powder into a large glass jar for storage. Scoop out one to two tablespoons to every load of laundry.
17. Homemade Baby Laundry Detergent
Protecting your baby’s skin is essential. Make a laundry detergent from the most basic ingredients. The following recipe contains all natural ingredients that will be gentle on your baby’s skin.
Grate the soap with a grater or food processor. Mix the grated soap with the washing soda and store in an airtight container. Use one to two tablespoons for each load of laundry.
18. Homemade Laundry Soap Tabs
Making homemade laundry soap tabs is much easier than you might think. With just a few ingredients and some inexpensive supplies, you can clean your laundry for about seven cents a load.
Grate the castile soap using a fine grader. Then add the Epsom salt and washing soda. Next, slowly add the vinegar until the powder becomes the consistency of wet sand.
Then add the essential oils, stirring well. Pack the mixture into the molds. Then, combine equal parts water and vinegar to a spray bottle, and drench the pods.
Allow them to sit overnight until they are dry. Pop the tabs out of the mold and store them in your airtight container.
19. Homemade Fabric Softener
To cut back on using household products with chemicals, then you’ll want to ditch the store-bought fabric softener, that contains toxic chemicals, for this all-natural, easy to make homemade fabric softener.
Combine the Epsom salt and essential oil in a medium bowl. Stir the salt to make sure the essential oil disperses well. Add the baking soda to the mixture. Stir well.
Add the powder to the airtight container to store until ready to use. Toss two to three tablespoons of the fabric softener into your laundry during the rinse cycle.
Commercial laundry detergents can get extremely expensive, and even those that claim to be environmentally friendly, still contain harsh chemicals that can leave your skin feeling irritated.
These homemade laundry detergents are non-toxic and inexpensive to make, and clean your clothes just as well as the commercial laundry detergents. Experiment with the different recipes to find the one that works best for you and your family.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how to make your own homemade laundry detergent from non-toxic and inexpensive ingredients.
If you found these homemade laundry recipes useful, please feel free to share these DIY detergent recipes with your family and friends.