If you’re looking for a natural way to clean your clothing, consider making your own laundry detergent using natural ingredients and essential oils. In this blog post, you learn a simple DIY Recipe for making your own laundry detergent at home!
Updated on October 26, 2022, for accuracy and relevance.
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Nearly every product I use to clean my home I make myself, even my laundry detergent.
I have been making this amazing powder laundry soap for years because it is simple to make, inexpensive, all-natural and it really gets my clothes clean! I’m happy to share the recipe below. If you have young kids, consider letting them help you make it and explain why homemade laundry soap is better than commercial brands.
All Natural Laundry Detergent Recipes – Easy, Inexpensive and Makes a Lot!
- Borax – 6.5 cups
- Baking Soda – 6.5 cups
- Washing Soda – 2 cups
- Organic Soap Flakes 1 lb
- Organic Essential Oil of Lemon – 60 drops
- Organic Essential Oil of Lavender – 30 drops
Directions for Mixing the Ingredients
Mix the ingredients together in a large container, slowly pouring in a few cups at a time. This makes it easier to blend the ingredients and you’re less likely to get a nose full of powder. Add the essential oils last, or just mix in 10 drops of essential oil just before adding to the machine. You can even use this powder without essential oils. Remember to store the mix in a sealed container to keep it dry.
How Much Does it Make (Yield)?
- 250 loads in a high-efficiency, front-loading washing machine
- 125 loads in a top-loading washing machine
Amount of Laundry Detergent to Use in Your Washing Machine
- Front Loading: 1 Tablespoon
- Top Loading: 2 Tablespoons
Learn to Make All-Natural Lemon Soft Scrub in Aromatic Wisdom Podcast Episode 59!
It’s always great to hear about products for “green” cleaning. I make all of my own, as well, and had the same question about using this recipe in HE washers. With regards to liquid versus powder detergents, either can be used in a HE machine. Looking forward to hearing any further info about this!
I have a similar dry recipe I’ve been using for almost two months and a HE washer. I have had no problems with my machine and with every use I put white vinegar in the rinse cycle/fabric softner.
I also use white vinegar to rinse my dishes and with both machines I do not have the vinegar smell in them or on my clothes or dishes.
Ally, that is wonderful to hear! This is is what I was looking for; people who have been using HE machines with homemade detergent. Your testimonial will hopefully enlighten many! Thanks for stopping by and sharing this information.
Thanks for the great idea. I am going to try this out. I am learning to go green.
Very interesting. Sounds like a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing.
Great information. Thanks. 🙂
Great idea, I’ve never used it myself, but with your great advice I think it is quite simple to do! Thank you! 🙂
I would love to try this, but can I do it so it doesn’t end up scenting my clothes? Will the oils leave a scent? I have an asthmatic who doesn’t do well–and I don’t do so well with any laundry detergent that leaves a strong scent behind.
Leslie, just leave the essential oils out of the recipe. They add a tiny bit of aroma but it shouldn’t be enough to bother an asthamtic. However, it will be just as effective without the essential oils.
Liz, this is such an awesome idea! I’m going to make this for sure. Have you experimented with other EO combinations?
Lisa, I haven’t because it makes so much that it will take me forever to use up! I’m thinking that a heavier “note” of essential oil will last longer – something like Patchouli. However, you’d better like the smell because it will be in everything! You could also make this without the essential oils.
What a wonderful post. I love to learn how to do things for ourselves.
It’s an awesome idea! I have been using some I made in January and it’s great! My clothes look and smell good and oh my at the savings!!!
Great idea and it should smell yummy too
I’ll have to pass this tip on to a Women’s Shelter I work with. We have lots of bar soap that is donated from hotels. I’m sure they would appreciated knowing they can do something besides wash their hands with it.
Denise! What a brilliant idea! Heck make it a group project with at the shelter. See if you can get supermarkets to donate the Borax and Baking Soda. Love it! Thanks for sharing this.
If you have a HE front loading washer do you put the detergent directly into the drum and then add your clothing?
Great question Adrian! Just add this laundry soap mix to the washer as you would anything else you have used, as as the machine directions suggest. Thanks for asking, Liz
I will have to try this! I have a lot of friends here that do this Does it get stains out as well as store- bought detergent?
Hi Mandy! So far it cleans as well as any commercial soap I’ve ever used. The only difference is there is no fragrant aroma the way store-bought soaps leave. Trust me, this is a good thing! I haven’t tried spot-treating anything yet, but when that day comes (with 2 sons and a grandson, I’m sure it will be soon!), I will squirt a mixture of liquid castile and hydrogen peroxide onto the spot. Thanks for stopping by!
If you have a particularly hard stain (tomato sause, etc.) or dryed stain. I wet the stain and the end of my Fels Naphtha bar, rub together and that’s it! You may want it to sit for a few minutes as the bar wrapper instructs. So far chocolate, blood and sause stains are no match for the laundry detergent.
P.S. if clothes ever feel “weird” or “heavy” rinse with white vinegar, it dissolves the soap that can be left on clothes
Love this Liz! I have only 1 question – what is washing soda and can I just use borax and baking soda along with the castile soap and essential oils?
Washing soda is also known as soda ash – helps to remove stains 🙂
I am impassioned about reducing environmental toxins where possible. This year, we have a new baby in the family (our first grandson!!) and I was extra happy that I was able to wash his clothes so easily, as I use a homemade dry detergent similar to Liz’s. I have an HE washer, and have had great success with it. I also use white vinegar in the rinse container. I find that not only do clothes wash well, but, towels fluff up so high without the film that fabric softeners leave they will no longer fit in one staqk on the linen closet shelf!! In addition, sometimes HE washers get a bit of a “skunky” smell….which mine does not. I attribute this to the clean rinsing of the detergent and the vinegar rinse. Green up where possible!! What a great recipe!! And, I’m not sure anyone mentioned how much more affordable this laundry soap is…..
Amanda, That’s a great idea and one that has been suggested to me before. I’ve heard it does work. Seems you’d need a dedicated food processor, doesn’t it?
Hi, Thanks for this. I have made liquid laundry detergent before. I liked it at first but then after a while I noticed a “film” on my clothes. It didn’t work as well as I had hoped and I gave up on it 🙂
Can this recipe be used in the high efficiency washers? If so do you know how much should be used per load? Have you tried it yet and what do you think of it?
Hi Angela! I have used this twice now and so far I like it. I haven’t noticed a “film” but I know what you mean. I’ve seen that happen on drinking glasses when I use pure castile soap to clean them. Maybe try to add a different soap like Fels Naptha or even Ivory Soap? It won’t be as “green” as using castile but would still be less toxic than most commercial laundry powders. I don’t have a high efficiency washer but my understanding is that only liquid soaps should be used with them. Is this true?
I am wondering the same about H.E. washing machines. My understanding is that the H.E. detergent doesn’t sud up and that is a no-no for H.E. machines. I’m not sure on this though.
I’ve had many people tell me this recipe is fine for their H.E. washing machines.
Can I use this in my HE washer?