Homemade Laundry Detergent (with recipe!)

DiY Laundry Detergent ingredients

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making our own laundry detergent for a while so when Simeon texted me the other day saying we were all out, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass by without giving it a shot.

Why DIY?

We’ve been using eco-friendly, natural detergent products of various kinds for years and years, so why would I want to try DIY-ing my own? A few reasons: First, despite the “natural” quality of many commercial offerings, there are lots of added ingredients that are ultimately unnecessary for the purpose of cleaning clothes. I like that this project has just three main ingredients, with an optional fourth.

As we effort to make more frugal choices while we prepare to pay down our school debts and save for a family, I loved that making my own laundry soap would save us a lot of dollars in the store. Natural detergents aren’t cheap and usually we end up using a ton over a short period of time because Simeon’s chef coats and other kitchen gear need be washed more frequently than our regular loads.

I’ve already made my own natural deodorant (I’ll write a post on it soon!) with great results so I was hopeful that this homemade detergent would live up to my relatively high (and hopeful) expectations. I followed this recipe from one of my favorite blogs and gave it a few tweaks using what we had on hand.


  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 1 bar soap
  • 30 drops essential oils. I used rosemary since I found that in our cupboard first, though I’m sure lavender would have been a lovely choice too. Maybe I’ll try that one next time.

I followed the instructions from Natalie’s blog post and it was the simplest thing ever. Basically, chop up the bar of soap into small pieces and blend them until the soap forms small beads. Add the borax and mix, then add the washing soda and mix. Finally, add the essential oils (optional) and mix. That’s it. We have about a million bell jars so I transferred the detergent to a large jar for safe keeping and then immediately put my new detergent to work on the waiting loads of laundry. All you need is one tablespoon of this fine concoction per load. This jar is going to last us a long time!

So, how did it work?

Great! I’m really happy with end result — especially that there was no heavy “clean” smell afterward, which I often get when using commercial products. In case you’re curious, I could hardly smell the rosemary after it came out of the dryer. Not sure if I needed more drops or if my oil is too old to be potent enough.

This was a fun and easy project to tackle and I’m looking forward to creating more homemade, natural cleaning products to add to our arsenal.

DIY Laundry Detergent

Thumbs up for DIY detergent. Think you’ll give it a try?

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