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homemade laundry detergent

homemade laundry detergent
I'm always on the hunt for ways to save money and cut harmful "stuff" out of our home. When I get both it's a huge win! We switched to making our own laundry detergent a year or two ago and haven't looked back. I started with the simplest recipe I could find, thinking it would add or change along the way, but all I changed was the ratio of ingredients. Now it takes 10 minutes to mix it all up and we get 2 months of clean clothes without harmful ingredients for well under $14. 
Here's how to make it (and keep reading for other things you need to know) 
  • 1 box Baking Soda (4 lb box) 
  • 1 box Washing Soda (3 lb box) 
  • 2 bars of Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap (I have used double lavender and 1 lavender + 1 Peppermint) 

How To: 

  1. Grate the soap: I use a food processor but you need a STRONG one. My Ninja works great but it was a little much for my old weaker one. You can use a box grater too. It just takes some time and elbow grease (NOTE: be sure to use the GRATER side not the shredder. You want fine flakes NOT stringy shreds) 
  1. Mix it up: If you have a really large bowl or bucket, you can throw it all in there and stir until it’s incorporated but I find it easier and more consistent to change my food processor attachment to the blade and work in small batches of all 3 ingredients to really mix it up good. I’ll then add it to my big jar and a quick stir gets it all incorporated. 
  2. Go Wash Some Clothes: Use about 1/8 cup in the detergent dispenser per load. If it’s a big or extra dirty load, go up to 1/4 cup but that’s all you need. This stuff is powerful! 

Read this before you get started... 

1. This is not a neat job. Powder will go everywhere. After each food processor batch, leave the top on for a minute or two to give it all a moment to settle. 

2. Pour Gently! Once again, powder can go EVERYWHERE



And that’s it! It takes me under 10 minutes to mix it all up, under $14 and it will last us 2 solid months (and I feel like we do way more laundry than most people so you may get much more use out of it.) 


A Few Extra Details:

  • This has been our go to detergent for over a year (maybe 2? I can’t even remember now!) It works great, has a nice pleasant smell that is not too strong.  
  • We store it in a huge glass Anchor canister from Target. (I also can’t remember if it’s the gallon or 2 gallon) There is no seal but it fits tightly enough to keep it fresh without clumps. Our Laundry Powder Canister is also perfect for this! 
  • We’ve only used this in High Efficiency, front loader washers and had no issues.  
  • There are lots of recipes out there that use Borax and other additives. I started with this recipe to keep it simple (and cheap). Other than altering the ratios to make it easier, I’ve never needed to change.  We tend to have sensitive skin so I like knowing what is going into our clothes is safe. (We used All Free and Clear before this and liked it, but just wnated something better and simpler) 
  • Add a splash of vinegar to the softener dispenser for extra cleaning and softening- the vinegar smell doesn’t stick around. Just be sure to add it to the separate compartment. If you mix them you’ll make a mini volcano and neutralize the cleaning power. 
  • About Pre-Treating: Big stains still require a little extra effort, just like with conventional detergent. I also use Oxi Clean on the white slip covers for extra brightening. 
  • About Dryer Sheets: Our house is split on this one. I don’t think they’re necessary. Clothes come out soft and smelling fresh but not strong. The other laundry do-er in the house still likes dryer sheets for static. I’ve tried dryer balls and homemade dryer sheets and nothing really kills the static like a conventional dryer sheet. I’ll keep trying though! 
  • When I make a fresh batch, I try to stock up on my ingredients the next trip to the grocery store. These are not items that are typically on sale so I stock up and I’m ready when we run out.  (Publix Dr. Bronner’s price usually beats even sales elsewhere!) 
  • I’ve always used double lavender on the soap for fear peppermint might be too harsh but this time I tried a mix and so far so good! The smell is just a little bit stronger but still soft and it cleans great! 
  • We were always liquid detergent users but have never looked back. I think it’s easier to not over pour with the powder so there’s a savings there too! 


One last thought... You might be wondering WHY make your own when it’s so easy to buy and there are countless options. I’ve got a lot of reasons. While we have a long way to go, we’ve really tried to clean up our eating and keep that as real as possible, so why not treat the things that go on our bodies the same? We all have a bit of sensitive skin. Tripp is probably the most severe with a case of eczema. We’ve thankfully controlled it with coconut oil and being very picky about his soaps and such (i.e. no dyes, scents or extras). It’s always good when the doctor says “keep doing what is working but let me know if it gets worse.” But it just made sense to take it a step further.  We switched to “Free and Clear” first then tested this out and her we are. 


It’s about saving time and money too. I’m not stalking the BOGOs and stocking up only to run out when it’s not on sale and pay way too much. 

We've been so happy with our homemade detergent and hope you find some inspiration to simplify the ingredients in your household too. 




Original Recipe from 



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