DIY Powder or Liquid Laundry Detergent For Naturally Clean Clothes

laundry room

Breathing in the fresh, clean scent of just-washed linens can make doing laundry feel like less of a chore. Unless you’re breathing in the petroleum-derived ingredients, phthalates, tricolsan and synthetic fragrances found in most conventional laundry detergents. Then, you’re lucky if you don’t have a coughing fit, or an asthma attack. Or worse.

The  in laundry detergents may make your bed sheets smell like they’ve been dried in a crisp mountain breeze, but that fragrance couldn’t be farther from anything resembling natural. From skin irritants to carcinogens to hormone disruptors, the chemicals in conventional laundry detergents are downright dangerous.

Have you ever noticed that distinct over-powering smell when you walk by the laundry detergent aisle? That’s actually a bunch of toxic chemicals off-gasing into the air. And, you can bet they’re polluting the air in your home every time you dump that conventional detergent into a load.

Why expose yourself and your family to those nasty chemicals? You can easily make your own laundry detergent at home. It’s cheaper and you’ll know exactly what goes into it. No unknown fragrances or confusing chemicals (1,4-dioxane??) to worry about. Go ahead. Give your laundry routine an eco-makeover with these do-it-yourself laundry detergent recipes.

Before You Get Started

When it comes to making your own laundry detergent, you can choose powder or liquid. Powder tends to be a bit easier to use, as homemade liquid detergents like to gel. Plus, you don’t have to use the stove to make them. But, if you like your liquid detergent then go that route!

Powder Laundry Detergent

Yield: 72 loads

The three simple ingredients in this recipe will make you wonder why you ever thought you needed the hundreds of ingredients in conventional laundry detergents to get your clothes clean.


4 cups baking soda
3 cups washing soda
2 cups castile soap flakes (Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps work well)
3-4 drops lavender or your favorite essential oil


1. Grate the castile soap into a bowl using a kitchen grater. This will take a little elbow grease.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir the mixture together. Place the powder in an airtight container, like a mason jar. That’s it!

Scoop up about two tablespoons per load of laundry.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

Yield: 168 loads

Even though this recipe doesn’t create all of those soapy suds like conventional laundry detergent, it does get your clothes clean. If you’re worried though, you could also add a few drops of tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties. You know, for those loads of stinky socks.


4 cups water (boiling)
2 cups castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
2 cups washing soda
2 cups baking soda
2 additional gallons of water


1. Yes, you have to grate the soap for this recipe too. Add your grated soap flakes to the boiling water. This will dissolve the soap.

2. Keep the mixture on low heat until the soap melts completely.

3. Let the soap cool a bit and dump the mixture in to a large bucket.

4. Add the washing soda and baking soda. Stir well. Then, add the remaining 2 gallons of water. Stir until the soap is well mixed.

5. Keep the pail covered, or store it in an airtight container.

Use ¼ cup of soap per load.

Want to completely green your laundry routine? Check out these related articles:

Follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirsten_hudsonGoogle+ and Pinterest.

This article was originally published on, an organic living blog. View the original article. image: …love Maegan


6 thoughts on “DIY Powder or Liquid Laundry Detergent For Naturally Clean Clothes

  1. Hi Kirsten…I recently came across your page through an article I read. Making my own laundry detergent is something I have considered but had not researched how to…can you tell me what washing soda is and where I can find it?


    1. Hi Carissa,
      Washing soda is just a sodium salt. It’s similar to baking soda, but has extremely different uses. (Don’t eat it!) You can find it in the laundry detergent aisles of most stores. It’s usually Arm & Hammer brand packaged in a box (looks like a cereal box). I’ve also read that you can make your own washing soda by heating baking soda in the oven. Google it for more info. Hope that helps!

      1. thanks for the responses about the washing soda and castile soap…looking forward to trying this and some of your other tips!

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