How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

This quick and easy homemade Laundry Detergent recipe makes a half gallon of homemade laundry powder. Simple ingredients that can be used in top loading and front loading washing machines.

This natural DIY, laundry soap recipe requires a few ingredients that clean just as efficiently as commercial detergent. It is also very cost-effective for our large family who does loads of laundry.

I have found that this laundry detergent is safe for standard, front loader, and high-efficiency washing machines, as it is a low-sudsing formula.

However, as with all DIY recipes, I suggest doing your own research and following the recommendations and guidelines for your washing machine.

In this post, I am sharing the best homemade laundry detergent recipe that our family loves and uses.

Why Switch to DIY Laundry Detergent Powder?

Switching over to this homemade laundry powder has many benefits. Conventional laundry detergents contain harsh chemicals, fragrances, additives, and artificial colors and can leave a chemical residue on clothing.

Toxic chemicals have been known to cause health problems such as skin and eye irritation and rashes, especially for sensitive skin or allergies.

Some studies have even linked the chemicals to hormone-disrupting and cancer-causing chemicals.

For our family, switching to a more all natural laundry detergent recipe means using products that are free of dyes and harsh toxic chemicals.

Our skin is our largest, most absorbent organ, and for 24 hours a day, our skin is in constant contact with some fabric.

It is essential that I take the most excellent care of my family, and part of doing so is ensuring that our natural laundry care routine is healthy for us.

What Can I Use To Make My Own Laundry Detergent?

To make homemade laundry detergent, you will need these ingredients, which can be found on the laundry aisle in many grocery stores:

  • Washing soda is sodium carbonate, which is a naturally occurring mineral. It is an ancient laundry aid and is very effective at deep cleaning clothes and removing grease and tough stains. It is used in many commercial laundry detergents to treat hard water and remove stubborn stains.
  • Borax is an excellent laundry aid and booster. It is gentle, cleans, deodorizes, helps remove stains, and boosts the cleaning ability of mild detergents.
  • Baking soda is made up of sodium bicarbonate. It is used to neutralize odor-causing acids and is a stain remover. It also helps soften the water to help the detergent work more effectively.
  • Essential Oils – excellent at deodorizing and are antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial. They add a great all-natural scent without the worry of harsh toxic chemicals.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Here are the step-by-step instructions for making homemade laundry detergent:

  • Grate the Bar Soap – Grate the soap bar using a cheese grater. Add the grated soap to an airtight container.
  • Mix the Ingredients – Add washing soda, baking soda, and borax in a container. If using essential oils, add 2-30 drops.
  • Shake – Place the lid on the container and shake the ingredients to mix thoroughly.
  • Store – Store the homemade laundry soap in an airtight container.

Tip – If you have a food processor, add the grated bar soap, washing soda, baking soda, and borax and grind into a fine powder. Add the mixture to an airtight container.

How to Use Homemade Laundry Detergent

Use 2-3 level tablespoons of homemade laundry soap per load of laundry. Use one tablespoon if you have a high-efficiency washing machine.

Start by using the recommended amount of detergent based on this recipe. Then, observe the cleanliness and freshness of your laundry after each wash.

If your clothes are not getting clean enough, you can increase the detergent slightly and see if it makes a difference.

If you notice residue or a soapy buildup on your clothes, you may be using too much detergent, and you can decrease the amount accordingly.

By making small adjustments, you’ll be able to find the perfect amount of laundry powder that suits your water quality and washing machine capacity.

Frequently asked questions about homemade laundry soap

Why Did My Laundry Detergent Turn Hard?

Most likely, it was exposed to moisture. A container with an airtight seal can help to prevent this issue.

What Does Homemade Laundry Soap Smell Like?

That will depend on what soap is used to make your laundry detergent. Choose a fragrance that you will enjoy.

Does the Fragrance Stay on the Clothes?

No, but the laundry smells fresh and clean. Those lingering smells that remain on the laundry after it has gone through the wash are not suitable for you.

Do I Have to Use Essential Oils in This Recipe?

No, essential oils are optional. However, I love how the laundry detergent smells when I open the jar and scoop out the amount needed for a load of wash.

How To Use Essential Oils to Scent Laundry

Below are some great options for blending essential oils into your homemade laundry detergent. Castile Soap has various kinds: Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint, and Unscented.

I recommend using the soap that best pairs with the essential oil; for instance, use Citrus Orange Castile Soap with Wild Orange, Tangerine, and Bergamot essential oils.

Fresh Citrus

  • Lemon + Grapefruit + Orange + Tangerine + Mandarin + Spearmint
  • Wild Orange + Tangerine + Bergamont

Freshly Clean

  • Cedarwood + Lemongrass + Grapefruit
  • Rosemary + Orange
  • Peppermint + Orange
  • Rosemary + Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus + Spearmint – use
  • Lemon + Tea Tree
  • Rosemary + Peppermint + Lemon
  • Lavender + Rosemary
Homemade Laundry Detergent with Baking Soda

More Natural Laundry Care posts

Learn more about natural laundry care with these posts, including making your homemade laundry scent booster and correctly hanging clothes on the line.

Printable Homemade Laundry detergent Recipe

I hope this post inspires you to examine your laundry routine and what harsh chemicals may lurk in your laundry room. Making your laundry soap is a great way to naturally have fresh, clean laundry.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder

Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder

Yield: 42-64 loads
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This quick and easy Homemade Laundry Detergent recipe makes a half gallon of powdered laundry detergent. Simple ingredients that can be used in top loading and front loading washing machines.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 2 cups borax
  • 1 grated bar of Castile Soap or other all natural choice

Instructions

Step 1: Grate the Bar Soap

Using a cheese grater, grate the bar of soap. Add the grated soap to an airtight container.

Step 2: Mix the Ingredients

In the container, add 2 cups of washing soda, 2 cups baking soda, and 2 cups borax to create the laundry detergent. If using essential oils, add 2-30 drops. Place the lid on the container and shake ingredients to thoroughly mix.

If you have a food processor, add the grated bar soap, washing soda, baking soda, and borax and grind into a fine powder. Add mixture to an airtight container.

Step 3: Store

Store homemade laundry detergent in an airtight container.

Step 4: Use

Use 2-3 level tablespoons of homemade laundry detergent per a load of laundry. Use 1 tablespoon if you have a high-efficiency washing machine.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

About the Author
Sarah is the author behind Rocky Hedge Farm. With a passion for simple, healthy recipes, gardening, and remodeling her manufactured home, she shares her experiences and knowledge to inspire others. Go here to read her story, “Living a Life of Contentment and Joy: Simple Living at Rocky Hedge Farm.” If you want to message Sarah, visit her contact page here.

this post was originally published on April 26, 2020, but edited and updated on July 26, 2021

Thank you for sharing!

36 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe”

  1. What happened to the other Powdered Laundry Detergent that used Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Rock Salt, & Essential Oil? I pinned it a while back & have been using it for a couple of month & like it. But, today when I clicked on the pin to double check the measurements, I find that the recipe has changed. I liked the old recipe because it works & is so quick & easy to make. Could you please verify the measurements for me? If I remember correctly it was 4 1/2 c. each for the Washing Soda & Baking Soda & 20-30 drops Essential Oil. But I’m not sure of the amount of Rock Salt to use. (Possibly 1 1/2 c.?)
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Yes, I believe that was correct. After doing more research, there is some question about the effects that Rock Salt can have on a washer – although I have not had any issues. So, I have been using the new recipe with much success.

      Reply
    • I came here to find the same recipe! With the same exact question…how much rock salt to use lol. Thanks for asking, because I couldn’t find it anywhere on the internet and I was beginning to question if I had ever seen it in the first place ahahaha.

      I haven’t had any issues using the rock salt so far 😬 FC it is safe.

      Reply
      • rock salt is essentially sodium
        baking soda is sodium
        they are just in different forms, I think they will do the same thing…soften the water so the detergent works better

        Reply
  2. I love this detergent! It was easy to make and significantly cheaper than the liquid stuff at the store. Thank you! Thank you also for the advice on different heat settings. I also got the book you recommended. That sounds like an excellent resource for keeping a house.

    Reply
  3. I’ve been using this for years. We are very senstive to fragrances so I don’t use any. But recently I had a load that turned sour from sitting too long in the washer. Can I add baking soda to the detergent to help with that?

    Reply
    • Raising 4 kids on my own I had quit a few forgotten loads that turned sour…wash the load with Borax only and it takes the smell out!

      Reply
  4. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I’m going to give it a try, even though I use a dye free, fragrance free detergent I looked up some of the ing. today and was really shocked that they would even think about putting these toxic ing. in calling it healthy and natural. Five of the ing. all cause cancer and hormone disruption are classified as toxic to humans…. AHHHH what???? So once again thank you, I’m a very healthy minded, natural ing. person I make all of my own skin care products that everyone loves, but I have never tried to make laundry detergent.
    Thank You
    Christine Santana
    Honey Bee Maison Couture

    Reply
  5. How big is the bar soap your using? Ours ate 4 Oz but that doesn’t feel like enough compared to the rest of the ingredients?

    Reply
  6. So excited to try this! Going to do a test batch… I bought Amazon Castile hemp almond scented bar soap. I’m hoping this is good? What ratios would you recommend for a test run??

    Reply
  7. Do you put this directly into the drum of a front loading washer or into the detergent tray?
    If directly in the drum before or after you put in the clothes. Thank you

    Reply
  8. Weird question…If I wanted to mix this up with water to make a liquid detergent, how much water to how much powder (ratio), and how hot would the water need to be to fully dissolve the powder? Thanks!

    Reply
    • I have made liquid detergent.
      -1 & 1/2 gallons tepid water in a 2 gallon jar
      -boil 3 cups of water and add 1 & 1/2 cups zote soap flakes, stir to melt completely
      -turn off heat and add 1 & 1/2 cups washing soda, stir
      -add 1 & 1/2 cups borax, stir
      -add that mixture to the tepid water jar, stir
      -add 10-12 drops of your favorite essential oils if desired.
      This detergent does need stirring before each use.
      I use 2/3 cup in the detergent dispenser per large load along with white vinegar in the softener dispenser.

      Reply
      • Kristy, did I get it right that the 3 cups of water to boil do not come out of the 1 & 1/2 gallons of tepid water, but are in addition to? Going to try this detergent liquid. Thanks for sharing.

        Reply
    • It is a matter of preference and what you feel is best. However, in our home, I do not use fabric softeners as I avoid as many chemicals as possible.

      Reply
  9. What about water temperature. I usually wash in cold and the previous recipe I used, basically the same as this one, did not do well in cold water.

    Reply
  10. Excited to try this! For a front loader machine, would I add the detergent straight in with the clothes? Or the pull out where I usually put liquid detergent? Thank you!

    Reply
  11. This sounds delightful and I also love the creative content photos you took… it gives such a cozy and holistic vibe.

    My question is whether you would use this recipe for powdered dishwashing soap or adjust it in some way (maybe you even have a separate blog post for that)… I will be on a seven week roadtrip and am hoping to DIY a powdered detergent for clothes and dishes, so if they could be interchangeable rather than separate containers, it would be so helpful. I would so appreciate your advice! Thanks!!

    Reply
    • I wish I had an answer to this, but I don’t. I have never tried it for powdered dishwashing soap. Although, it might be an interesting experiment to see what happened.

      Reply
  12. I’m always searching for homemade laundry detergent recipes and I have a lot of one that I thought was non toxic but in doing more research discovered that Borax is quite bad. EWG says that one of the ingredients (sodium borate) is rated F as it is of high concern for developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects. Ugh…even though it’s natural appears I will have to come up with another concoction. I’m thinking Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Aleva laundry bar soap grated, Ecos Oxobrite, and essential oil. That would give the laundry soap an A rating for toxicity. I always thought borax was fine. Too bad it can be used as a pesticide. Nothing seems safe anymore.

    Reply
  13. I made it and used it for the first time. However i placed the mixture in the liquid laundry dispenser, the mixture didn’t melt. Was I suppose to place it directly for the front load washer?

    Reply

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