Homemade Baby Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin

This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission. Learn more in our disclosure.

If you have sensitive skin, or you have a new little one in your home, you know how important it is to have a laundry detergent that isn’t harsh or irritating.

This Homemade Baby Laundry Detergent is perfect not only for babies, but it’s also a great homemade sensitive laundry detergent for those who have skin that needs a little extra TLC.

homemade baby laundry soap in jar and infant clothes with text overlay
Want to Save This Post?

Enter your email & I'll send it straight to your inbox. Plus, you'll get healthy living updates too.

Save Recipe

Our Sensitive Skin Experiences

I have had sensitive skin for most of my life. I have vivid memories of the time when my mother, sister, and I all had severe skin reactions to Bounce Dryer sheets (my mother even needed a steroid prescription to get rid of hers!) and I had a hard time finding skincare that didn’t cause acne for me. And at times, finding a laundry detergent that didn’t cause any issues for me was tough.

If this sounds familiar, you know what I mean.

Of course, babies have skin that is typically even more sensitive than kids or adults.

Our first child was born at home, but we had our second in the hospital and I regret that I wasn’t more diligent in what I allowed him to be bathed in. In fact, it’s partially due to the fact that our first was born at home that I wasn’t more on top of things–you don’t need to be when its a home birth, so I wasn’t prepared.

Right after our second son was born, the hospital staff whisked him away, and I didn’t even know why. But they bathed him in whatever hospital soap they used and he didn’t do well with it. When we got him home, his skin was terribly red, and he was clearly irritated by it. It took us hours of washing him down with a gentle cleanser and a wet washcloth to calm his skin down. Sigh.

Lesson learned–baby skin is sensitive, so you need to take care of it.

homemade baby laundry detergent ingredients

Why Babies’ Skin Is More Sensitive

There are a number of reasons why babies’ skin needs more TLC than adult skin.

One of them is that babies’ skin is thinner and has less natural moisturizer than that of adults. For this reason, it’s vital that you take steps to protect their skin. Babies’ skin also loses more water than mature skin does.

These concerns are intensified when dealing with premature babies–they have even more sensitive skin, since the barrier didn’t have time to develop as it normally would in a full-term infant.

Baby skin continues to develop through the first year of life, but needs special care as the maturation process takes place, and it is particularly susceptible to infection.

In summary, babies’ skin is finer and more sensitive, and hasn’t fully developed. The protective hydrolipidic film on their skin is still very thin, and this makes infant skin more vulnerable to harsh external factors such as wind, cold, heat, friction, irritating products, etc.). (1, 2)

homemade baby laundry detergent in food processor

Ingredients in Typical Store-Bought Baby Laundry Detergent

You can of course buy store-bought baby laundry soap, but you really have to be careful about what you are buying. Of course this goes for many personal care products on the market, but when you’re shopping for something to use on your baby’s skin, it’s even more important.

Even thought they’re marketed for babies, many baby laundry detergents on the market have ingredients that aren’t the best for baby’s (or any sensitive) skin.

Here are just some of the questionable ingredients in Dreft Baby Newborn Liquid Detergent, a brand that is often recommended by physicians:

Dreft Baby Newborn Laundry Detergent Ingredients

Propylene glycol
diethylene glycol
dtpa, fluorescent brightener–huh?
sodium hydroxide
diethylene glycol

Hmmmm…not sure I want all of these on my baby’s skin. In fact, I know that I do not.

homemade baby laundry detergent

Why Make Your Own Gentle Laundry Detergent

When thinking about what kind of laundry detergent would be best for baby’s skin, you want to be particularly careful.

This Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent is fine for the rest of us, but not necessarily for baby.

What you want to look for in a gentle non-toxic detergent is one without questionable additives like sodium laurel sulfate, artificial fragrances (see the dangers of fragrances here), or other possible irritants. Plus, making your own detergent is quick and cheap! Check out the recipe and tips below to make laundry day greener without much effort.

By the way, the following DIY Baby Laundry Detergent Recipe / Formula is from Wendyl of Wendyl’s Green Goddess of New Zealand. The formula was given sharing permission to a previous guest writer on this site.


You can also use 1/4 cup of a grated bar of castile soap for this recipe instead of the liquid, if you prefer. 

homemade baby laundry detergent with baby onesies

Homemade Baby Laundry Detergent

Print Pin Rate
Makes: 16 oz



  • Place washing soda in food processor and blend until fine.
  • Add baking soda and blend briefly to mix.
  • While the motor is running, drizzle liquid soap into food processor and process until evenly distributed and powdery.
  • Store in an airtight container.
  • Use 1 Tablespoon for regular loads or 2 Tablespoons for large loads.


You could also use 1/4 cup of a grated bar of castile soap for this recipe instead of the liquid, if you prefer. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

Don’t Want to Make Your Own Detergent?

While I love DIYing just about anything (including Homemade Shower Cleaner, Moisturizing Homemade Foaming Soap, and Homemade Rice Milk, for example), I know how it goes. Sometimes you just don’t have time to do it or you just want to purchase something quick.

If you feel like you just don’t want to make your own baby laundry detergent for whatever reason, here are a few good options for you. Assuming that the companies are being honest about their ingredients (I have found that many are not), I would recommend Molly Suds as one good option.

Another good option is Pure Detergent. It’s made only with soap berries and aloe vera so it should work for almost anyone’s skin.

You can also check out this Ozone Washing Machine Attachment. Get the purifying power of ozone to clean your clothes (AND your machine!) No detergent needed at all! If you’d like a discount on that, reach out to adrienne@wholenewmom.com.

pureWash Pro X2 washing machine attachment

Other Non-Toxic Household Cleaners

Try these other DIY projects for a healthier home.

DIY Cleaning Paste
Homemade Shower Cleaner
DIY Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Please share your thoughts on this detergent once you try it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating



  1. For the baby/sensitive skin diy detergent recipe, can the castile soap be bar soap instead of liquid?

    1. Hi Janet! Yes, that should work! I just updated the post with that option. Thanks for reading and I hope it works well for you.

    1. Hi Amy – thanks for the heads up! Not sure how that happened but sometimes products change on Amazon’s end — or we make a mistake. Thanks again!

    1. Hi there. I’ve used it a number of times and had no problems. Are you concerned about something in particular? I hope to have another recipe coming soon!

    1. Hello Adrienne, thanks for this recipe. Qe just had a baby and i have been thinking to make my own detergent for a while so i am going to try today. A quick question: can i add some essential oil to this mix? If so at what stage and which one would be ebst? Thanks a lot.

      1. Hi there – You can for sure. I would do it before mixing it all together. Really whatever you like but I would go with gentler ones like lavender. There is so little used it shouldn’t be a problem but some oils aren’t the best for little kids if you are going to be using it for that.