Are you looking for an easy and natural laundry detergent? If so, you’re in the right place! This DIY natural laundry detergent recipe is made with simple ingredients and ready to use in less than 5 minutes! All you need are 4 ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry or are inexpensive to buy. Add essential oils like lemon oil for a cleaning boost and whitening power!
Many household laundry detergents typically contain several ingredients that pose developmental and reproductive (hormone disrupting) toxicity, can cause respiratory issues and, of course, are incredibly harmful if a small child accidentally ingested them!
Learn how to make an all-natural, environmentally friendly laundry detergent! It’s easy to use and as an added bonus, can save lots of money, too! Ours works out to about $.08 per load. The least expensive laundry detergent we found on the store shelves came to $.14/load, while most pods start at $.31/load.
Need help with cleaning? Check out The Sleep Deprived Mom’s Guide to Cleaning in Her Sleep
Why Make Natural Laundry Detergent At Home?
There are several reasons why making natural laundry detergent at home is a good idea. For one thing, you control what goes into your product. If you have kids or pets, that’s important because many commercial detergents contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to humans and animals.
Making it yourself allows you to use safe ingredients like washing soda (sodium carbonate) instead of sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), which is classified as a moderate human health hazard.
Another reason to make your own laundry detergent at home is that doing so is often a much cheaper option. Breaking down the cost, our homemade natural laundry detergent comes in at half the cost of the LEAST expensive detergent we found on the store shelves and 1/4 the cost of laundry pods! That’s a big difference!
700 million plastic jugs of laundry detergent are consumed and thrown away each year in the United States. And about 70% of those end up in landfills, while the EPA estimates that only 30% are recycled.lochtree
Simple and Safe Ingredients for Homemade Natural Laundry Powder
Use simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry! This recipe calls for Sea Salt, Baking Soda, Washing Soda (aka soda ash), and Epsom Salt. Avoid ingredients that are both toxic and/or expensive like premade detergents.
Baking Soda – Use 1.5 cups of baking soda as it is a natural softener.
Washing Soda (which is NOT baking soda) – Use 1.5 cups of washing soda. Here is a recipe for making washing soda out of baking soda, though I find it easier to just order it on Amazon!
Washing soda, aka sodium carbonate (or soda ash), is a natural cleaner and a powerful water softener. It’s very basic with a pH of 11. The Environmental Working Group gives it an “A” on their scale, so it passes with flying colors, making it safe and non-toxic.nature’s nurture
Sea Salt – Use 1/4 C to soften.
Epsom Salt – Use 1/2 C to clean and freshen.
What Ingredients to AVOID in Natural Laundry Detergent
For one, most ingredients that you can’t pronounce should probably be avoided.
I highly recommend checking out the Environmental Working Group’s interactive database to check the safety of the household products you use and see how they rank! You may be surprised. In fact, a few of the typical ingredients used in homemade laundry detergents aren’t the safest!
Borax received a D. Though it is a naturally occurring ingredient, it received a D due to the high concern for developmental & reproductive toxicity.
Fels-Naptha, another very common ingredient in many DIY laundry detergents, received a C. This was mainly due to terpene hydrocarbons (can cause irritation, may cause cancer, and harm aquatic life). As well as tetrasodium etidronate (there’s evidence of biodegradation).
The ingredients we use – baking soda, washing soda, and Epsom salt – all earn an A!
Also make sure to save our DIY STREAK FREE Glass Cleaner & Stainless Steel Cleaner with Essential Oils recipe!
4) Add Essential Oils if Desired
Infuse homemade natural laundry detergent with essential oils for a natural boost to get clothes clean! And it adds a therapeutic scent. Lemon Oil is my favorite choice for its brightening power. But I don’t always stop there, many other oils work well too. Consider Eucalyptus Oil, Peppermint, Lavender, or even a mix of other citrus oils.
Another great essential oil option is Shield Oil, which contains Lemon Oil and a highly sanitizing mix of other essential oils for a purifying boost!
Again, you can choose whatever scent you want! Just add 25 drops of essential oils to your natural laundry detergent to keep clothes fresh!
Essential Oils Not Safe for Kids and Options Every Mom Needs to Know
3) The Soap
DIY Natural Laundry Detergent
A simple DIY natural laundry detergent made without using bar soap!
- 1/2 cup Epsom Salt
- 1 1/2 cups Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda)
- 1 1/2 cups Sodium Carbonate (washing soda)
- 1/4 cup Sea Salt
- 20-25 drops Essential Oils (optional)
- Simply mix all ingredients well, making sure to incorporate essential oils, if using, and blend in any clumps.
- Store in glass jar of choice with a lid.
- Use 1 heaping tablespoons per load (2 for extra soiled or extremely large loads).
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Love the smell every time I use it, however my husband’s gym towel and workout clothes still smell terrible. Plus our theme park clothes still smelled like sunscreen. Anything I can add to help with tough odors?
Tabitha Blue says
You could try adding OxyClean or another oxygen cleaner to the load, and also I would use vinegar as well! The vinegar smell doesn’t stay on clothing, but it does help to get rid of odors.
Thank you! I tried adding oxyclean and vinegar but they still smell plus make the whole load stink. I have to wash them 2x and add borax to get them not to stink.
I fell in love with the soap. Gifted many containers of it. But now it’s ruining my clothes. Why? They’re looking faded and have white patches
Tabitha Blue says
I’m so sorry to hear that! Are you adding essential oils? Lemon could be a natural whitener, I would reduce the amount of that or the amount of Epsom salt to test it.
Is it okay to add vinegar when washing?
Tabitha Blue says