Best Non-Toxic Homemade Laundry Detergent

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Are you hoping to make your own Homemade Laundry Detergent to save money and have control over the ingredients? This recipe is so great, it very well could be the formula for the Best Non-toxic and Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent out there since it works great and it’s so easy to make too. 

You’ll also love how you’ll now be able to avoid exposing yourself to all the intense fumes of synthetic chemicals in the laundry aisle at the store!

homemade laundry detergent in glass jar with metal measuring cup
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Why Should I Make My Own Detergent?

If you’re like me, you care about your budget, your family’s health, and the environment. When thinking about healthy living, it’s easy to focus heavily on diet, but it’s crucial to think about your home as well.

Because things that come into contact with the outside of your body are just as important to healthy living as the things that you put inside your body.

And think about it–you wear clothes 24/7–so what you wash them in matters!

I’ve tried out all kinds of homemade laundry detergent formulas over the years but was never really happy with them. In fact, you can read in this post about Why I Stopped Making Laundry Detergent.

Literally, I stopped trying and switched to a natural brand I liked, and also used soap nuts, but unfortunately, the brand was discontinued, and my son and I seemed to develop a rare allergy to soap nuts so……

back to the drawing board of formulating a DIY Laundry Soap I went.

There just HAD to be a way.

So I looked at all of the recipes out there, pulled the best of all of them together, and now I think we have a winner! We’ve been using it for months now, and I’m really quite happy with it.

castile soap pieces in food processor for making homemade laundry soap


This recipe makes a powder detergent, which I prefer over the possible mess of liquid laundry detergent. Plus I’m not sure that a liquid version is very sanitary as the water in the liquid detergent could easily lead to bacteria buildup.

Here are the ingredients in this formula and the role they all play in creating a safe and effective detergent.

castile soap pieces in food processor for making homemade laundry detergent

Castile Bar Soap

Castile soap is made with fruit or vegetable fats (usually coconut or olive oils) and is helpful with removes dirt and stains from clothes. Because it’s not made with animal fats, it’s safe to use with HE washers or washers that drain into a septic system.


This recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of borax (a.k.a. sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate), which is a natural mineral compound that converts some water molecules into hydrogen peroxide, giving it the ability to clean and bleach.

Best used in hot water, the boron, salt, and oxygen give Borax the ability to disinfect.

Washing Soda

You’ll also need 1 3/4 cups of washing soda).  Washing soda (aka sodium carbonate or soda ash) is an effective stain lifter that doesn’t stain (or “bleach”) clothes.

Since it’s highly alkaline, it’s also effective it helps treat hard water, allowing the detergent to work properly so that clothes get clean and don’t build up residue during washing.

Baking Soda

Baking soda works to dissolve dirt and grease and soften clothing thanks to its mild alkaline qualities. And it’s a great deodorizer, working to remove odors, fabric softener, and cleaning agent that won’t bleach your clothes.

Oxi Clean Free / or Pure Sodium Percarbonate

OxiClean is an oxygen-based, chlorine-free, and color-safe stain remover. It can be safely used safely on any machine-washable fabric.

This post has been edited in 2022 to add that you can use pure percarbonate instead to make your homemade detergent even more pure.

Essential Oils for Mold Prevention (optional)

Mold is a problem in washing machines so this is one way to address it.

Plants contain varying levels of anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Essential oils are plant-based, making them a perfect ingredient for any mold-killing laundry detergent.

I like to add about 45 drops of essential oils to this detergent recipeTea tree oil, thymeeucalyptus, and/or lemon oil are all great options, since they are all proven to address mold growth.

Of course, adding essential oils to this detergent will add some nice scents to it as well. You could also add lavender oil to the mix. While it doesn’t address mold that well, it does have some anti-bacterial qualities that are helpful.

Powdered castile soap bar in white ramekin with soap bar in background
Finely processed Castile Bar Soap


  1. Use a cheese grater to grate the castile soap bar to avoid putting large chunks into a food processor and potentially damaging it.
  2. Put the grated soap pieces in the food processor bowl. Pulse until only large crumbs remain.
  3. Add baking soda to the food processor and pulse until the ingredients are in powder form and combined (about 1 minute)
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse until well combined.
  5. Store in an airtight container.
adding ingredients to a glass jar to make homemade laundry soap

How to Use

To use this detergent, simply add about 2 tablespoons directly into your washer bin with your clothes (you might want to only use 1 tablespoon for HE front loaders. Easy peasy. Add more, if desired, for larger or more heavily stained loads.


If you’ve never made a laundry detergent recipe before, you’re likely to have a few questions.

Here are the most common questions (and their answers) regarding making DIY laundry detergent and their answers.

What’s the best bar soap to use for this detergent?

While many detergent recipes recommend using fels naptha soap, I personally don’t recommend it since it has some ingredients (like artificial fragrances) that I don’t want on my clothes. 

Castile soap works great for this recipe, but you could also use any other natural, non-toxic bar soap.

Can you use this homemade detergent in an HE (high efficiency) washing machine?

Yes, because there isn’t a sudsing agent in this recipe, you can use it in front loading HE machines.

Will this homemade detergent irritate sensitive skin?

We haven’t had any problems at all (and we have had issues with sensitive skin). The ingredients included are natural and usually safe for all skin types. However, everyone is different, so I recommend trying a small batch to test before committing to this larger batch size.

If you prefer, you can use this gentle laundry detergent for babies and sensitive skin.

Where can you buy ingredients for this homemade detergent?

I’ve included Amazon links to help you find everything you need. You can also find these ingredients at Walmart, Target, and some grocery stores. I buy my baking soda in large bulk bags at Costco since we use it for all sorts of things.

Do you need to use a fabric softener with this homemade laundry detergent?

You shouldn’t need to since the alkaline properties of baking soda and washing soda soften fabric. However, if you want to soften more, you can use plain distilled vinegar as a natural fabric softener – and the smell washes out so you won’t smell it at all!

How much DIY laundry detergent does this recipe make?

This recipe makes approximately 7 cups of detergent, which works out to about 56 loads. Could you double or triple that if you wanted to? Sure!

However, this recipe makes a good amount so that you don’t have to make it once a month and yet it doesn’t take up too much storage space.

How do you keep homemade laundry detergent from clumping?

If you live in a humid area, your DIY detergent may clump sometimes. Here are some tricks to help you prevent (or break up) clumping:

  • store your detergent in an air-tight container.
  • place a dessicant in with your detergent.
  • pop your detergent back into the food processor if you find it’s clumping up.

What’s a good OxiClean alternative?

OxiClean is basically sodium percarbonate with additives so you can just purchase straight sodium percarbonate and use less of it. You would want to use about 1/4 the amount of the percarbonate, so for this recipe that’s 5 Tablespoons.

Since you are therefore reducing the amount of bulk of the entire recipe you might want to use less in each load, but it’s basically just reducing the amount by about 1/24, so I wouldn’t bother trying to figure that out.

Is homemade laundry detergent safe for washing machines?

Some people make the claim that homemade laundry detergent isn’t safe for washing machines, and can void the warranty and cause all kinds of issues.

Let’s clear that up.

Some people on the internet claim that using Dawn or Castile Bar Soap or Borax, etc., will mess up your washing machine and void your warranty.

I looked into this and found that there are reports of people using these products for many years with no issues. It seems that the problem isn’t using these products, but using too much of them. Instead of throwing out the laundry soap with the bathwater, just use less–starting with 1 tablespoon of detergent per load.

What can you use instead of borax in homemade laundry detergent?

I am totally fine using borax and though I have a post about borax safety that states otherwise, I plan to rewrite that post. We use borax all the time and I’m totally convinced that it’s fine to use.

However, if you aren’t convinced and/or you just don’t have borax in your home, you can use more baking soda in its place. I haven’t tried this, but it should work out fine since baking soda has similar properties to borax of softening water, deodorizing, and boosting laundry detergent.

Why don’t my clothes smell clean after washing them?

First of all, your clothes shouldn’t smell perfumey clean, BUT they shouldn’t smell janky either.

Did you know that MOST of the time, your laundry smells bad because your MACHINE is moldy and gross?

It’s true.

There are ways to clean your washing machine (more on that later) but one thing I use it HOCl and one of ways to make it is with the Force Of Nature machine.

multipurpose cleaner in spray bottle

I’ll share more about this later, but I spray the inside of the machine just about every other load, and I even spray laundry when it’s been in a place that we suspect mold has been.

Mostly we use this device, however, since it’s much cheaper, or you can buy ready-made HOCl here. If you choose to go the Naturechlor route, use code wholenewmom to get a discount and an extended warranty.

HIGHLY recommend.

How can you prevent buildup from homemade detergent in a washing machine?

Some people (especially those in cloth diapering groups) have reported that washing your clothes in a homemade detergent that has soap in it will leave deposits / residue on your clothing. Others say that this isn’t a problem.

I noticed it for a short time, but I was using too much “detergent” for my washing machine (the white streaks didn’t look great on my black top–not the best fashion statement). Once I stopped that, the problem stopped.

One way to address this by adding in about 1/4 cup borax to your load. Borax has other benefits, such as addressing mold, so it’s great to do this anyhow.

You can also occasionally run an empty, large laundry load with 2 – 4 cups of white vinegar added (depending on the size of your machine.

Also, make sure to only use the recommended amounts to each load.

homemade laundry detergent in glass jar with metal measuring cup

Other Healthy Home Helps

This Homemade Laundry Detergent will save you money and is a great way to reduce toxins in the home. Here are some other great ways to clean and green up your home:

Making your own laundry powder is fast, easy, inexpensive, helps keep toxins out of your home and the environment, and gives you total control over the ingredients!

collage of detergent in jar with text about homemade laundry detergent.
homemade laundry detergent in glass jar with metal measuring cup

Best Non-Toxic Homemade Laundry Detergent

This recipe very well could be the formula for the Best Non-Toxic Homemade Laundry Detergent out there. It's very gentle but also very effective.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Makes: 80 loads


  • Airtight container like small bucket, large mason jar, or other glass jar


Optional Essential Oils for Mold Prevention


  • Grate the castile soap with a grater.
  • Put the grated castile soap pieces in a food processor bowl. Pulse until only large crumbs (no chunks) remain.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the food processor and alternate pulsing and blending until well combined.
  • Store detergent in an air-tight container to help avoid clumping.
  • Simply add about 2 tablespoons directly into your washer bin with your clothes (you might want to only use 1 tablespoon for HE front loaders. Add more, if desired, for larger or more heavily stained loads.


Alternative to Grating Soap: You can also simply chop up the castile soap bar instead of grating it, but grating will help the food processor work better without the concern of damaging the blades.
Clumping Prevention: If you live in a humid climate, your laundry detergent can have a tendency to clump up. To help avoid that, you might wish to keep a dessicant in with your detergent.
Borax Substitute: If you aren’t comfortable using it, or just don’t have borax in your home, you can use more baking soda in its place. I haven’t tried it, but it should work out fine since baking soda has similar properties to borax of softening water, deodorizing, and boosting laundry detergent
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

Don’t Feel Like DIYing?

When I first published this post, I was trying out the EcoEgg and loved it. However, it stopped working well and even got MOLD in it! YUCK!

So I no longer recommend this.

Can’t wait to hear what how this laundry detergent works for you!

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Recipe Rating



  1. As usual, Adrienne, you are so thorough with your explaining. I haven’t yet tried making laundry soap but you’ve encouraged me to try once I use up all the Truly Free pouches on hand. As for fears of Borax: do you know many of us are low in boron (which detoxes fluoride!), and I found a “recipe” to make it using Borax in a very weak solution with water from a reliable follower of Weston A. Price. You are so good to share what you’ve learned by trying – and this old girl learns a lot from you. Thanks for your work and time.

    1. Hi there! Awww you are too kind. I worry that people want short posts so it’s hard to know what to do. I think you’ll like this but I’m also working on one that doesn’t have soap. How does the Truly Free smell to you? It was very very strong when it started and I couldn’t use it. I found out at the time that they had aldehydes in there but I’m pretty sure they removed them. I have heard about borax and that issue. Is there a reason to dissolve it and not just take a pinch which would be much simpler.

      1. I always bought the unscented laundry soap from Truly Free until it seemed no longer an option. Now it’s very lightly scented with lavender which I don’t actually notice, though a houseguest (a man) asked what I washed my sheets with. He loved the scent. As for the DIY boron, my source is VERY detail-oriented and as a WAP member is specific about measurements: “To make the solution, dissolve one teaspoon borax in one quart of filtered water. The 20 mule team brand from the supermarket is fine as all borax is food grade.Take one teaspoon per day of this concentrated solution diluted in a glass of water. This provides 3 mg of supplemental boron. This is a very safe amount, fully in line with the study of boron in humans (citation). Continue this for a minimum of three weeks or up to three months if you have severe fluorosis (with one week off a month in line with the scientific study).”

        1. Hi again! I can send you an email about this I guess. I have seen boron supplements in a number of places is all that I was referring to – and they aren’t requiring that you make water with them.

  2. I was thinking about purchasing a precision scale to measure out the essential oils. Do you have a link for one?

        1. Hi again – I just updated the post with some information about that that should be helpful for you – hope it works well for you!

          1. Thanks I ended up finding a box of borax and just made the recipe how it was intended.

            Do you have any good dishwasher soap recipes?

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe works great for my laundry! I’ve been using this about a year and half I think, and have made it two or three times in that timeframe (double batch one time). It lasts awhile which is nice. I use about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the powder mixture and a little less than 1/4 cup of my homemade liquid Castile soap. I do like to put the power mixture in a measuring cup and mix it with hot water to make sure it dissolves before adding to machine, especially using cold water. I don’t put the essential oils in the powder mixture, but I like to put a few drops of essential oils in the washer before adding the clothes. I like using cloves, cinnamon, scotch pine in addition to the essential oils listed in the recipe. The clothes come out clean and smells nice! I don’t use fabric softener or fabric sheets, just wool dryer balls.

    1. Hi Rachel! I’m so glad to hear this! Thanks for taking the time to share and so interesting you’re adding castile soap too – can you tell me why you are doing that? I think that’s a great idea about dissolving it first. I have some other things I want to share about laundry soon so stay tuned! If you aren’t subscribed you can do so here if you’d like – Thanks again!

  4. I have been making my own coconut oil bar soap and homemade laundry detergent for over a year now. The soap I make for the laundry is a cleaning bar with no superfats, meaning there are no extra fats left after saponification (chemical reaction that make fats and lye into soap). My recipe uses 4 – 5 oz grated soap and 2 cups washing soda processed until soap is very fine (helps to dissolve better in cold water). We use about 1 – 2 Tbsp each load. This has been the best laundry detergent I’ve made for our large family. It gets out my older kids smelly sweat smell great. The cleaning bar soap also can be used as a strain pretreatment.
    I used to use salt and vinegar only, which worked great as well, but my husband told me I couldn’t use salt in my new washers with stainless steel tubs because they would rust.

    1. Great comment yet again. I haven’t heard that about stainless tubs…..I guess something else to consider. That was regular salt?
      What do you think about others saying that it might take longer but eventually you will have buildup of the soap?

    I came across your blog post for homemade laundry powder as I’m looking for a foul proof do-it-all recipe that is great for all temperatures and all washer types. I wanted to know if you ever added sea or epsom salt to your recipe(s) and do you have any thoughts on that? I have been reading on the benefits of adding this to homemade powder. Also, will any castile soap work? I have been using Nels but recently switched to Dr. Bronners only because I cannot find Kirks’ FF locally and I wanted to make a make a batch. You mentioned an issue w/company; can you share what that is?

    1. Hi there!
      I have never done that…what benefits were you reading about? I just did a little research but wasn’t sure what to think.
      You should be fine with any castile. I read a few things about Dr. Bronner’s that upset me. Mandating certain things and taking stands on cultural issues that I found quite distasteful. I can’t avoid these types of things in all arenas of my life, but in this case, it’s an easy switch so I made the decision to avoid. Hope that helps and hope the detergent works out for you!

      1. Last night I was reading more on added salts ..sea is good, natural softener but Epsom, not so good (something about magnesium and hard water so I’ll forgo this as precaution.) I just ordered a bulk qty so will need to use as body scrubs instead. Good to know about Bronners, I understand what you mean! Sigh…one more company off my list.

        1. I read that about epsom too – there were mixed reviews / sets of information on it. You can use epsom for LOTS of things: 😉

          Yes, Bronners got a lot of heat for some of the stuff including very odd things written on their labels about some of it. Take care and again I hope the recipe works well for you!

        2. This is very similar to my homemade laundry soap that I’ve made for many years and recently stated selling. The soap I use is my own pure coconut oil soap. It works great! I usually only use 1 T. per load.

  6. 5 stars
    I have made something very similar to this for many years now (almost 10!) and it has worked wonders for us. I make a very large amount that fits into a very large glass container. It will last me almost a year or more!! I bought a 2 pk. of coffee scoops at the Dollar tree and they are perfect for 2 Tbsp. of detergent or 1Tbsp. if need be. I have an HE front load machine and most of the time use a 2 Tbsp. amount as my husband “attracts” dirt when he’s working! 😉 So it works great. I also have one of those “downy balls” and put my vinegar in that so it dispenses at the proper time. I also make my own “stain remover” by taking a spray bottle and adding 3/4 of it with hydrogen peroxide and close to 1/4 of DAWN Blue dish soap. Be careful with it though as it will suds!! It turns blue due to the dish soap but will go clear after a little while. My 96 yr. old father “tinkles” in his underwear and I spritz them with this and throw in the washer with the detergent and they come out like new!! LOVE using natural things to wash with!!

    1. So glad it is working well for you! I love it too. The stain remover idea is very interesting!! The vinegar too – what are you using the vinegar for in the washing machine? I want to do a DIY stain remover soon!! I love more natural things too…though Dawn isn’t really natural so I would like to find an alternative for that part :). Thanks for reading and commenting!

      1. Adrienne,
        I have a plastic “Downy Ball” dispenser that I bought at Walmart. It has a stopper in the top. There are a few lines on the side. Here is a link to the downy ball dispenser at Walmart: (Link deleted by Whole New Mom due to it not working anymore). I put my vinegar in there, seal it up, and throw into the washer when it starts. I understand that the Dawn isn’t really natural, BUT it mixed with the peroxide gets stains out very well. I can’t use store bought stuff as the smells are so overpowering to me, that they give me migraines. Hope this helps!

        1. Interesting! So is the vinegar a fabric softener for you?
          I have heard about the Dawn working well for that – I haven’t bought it yet however b/c I can’t stand thinking about buying that, but that’s just me! The scents are simply toxic–good for you for not buying them!
          Here’s more info for you on that…. (so toxic!)

          1. Hi Adrienne,
            I simply can’t do fragrances anymore. Perfume just sends my nose into a tizzy!! I have an over sensitive nose that even my husband had me to come outside one time to see if I could smell any natural gas under our house! He says, who needs a bloodhound with my nose!!

            1. Hahahaha. Yes, I am kind of that way. The fragrances are really bad. I have been trying to wake people up about it b/c they are just so toxic. I’ll remember who to call if we need additional help, however LOL!

      2. I accidentally found a wonderful stain remover! I purchased authentic African Black soap (liquid). I had been reading about it and wanted to try it out. It is an all in one product, and wanted to try it as a shampoo. I didn’t like it as such, so was using it as a dishwashing soap. I do not buy white shirts!!! I ALWAYS seem to drip oil on them or stain them in some way. BUT I found these bamboo tank/camisoles and just HAD to have them, of course they are white! they were supposed to go under my other tops as another layer as I don’t have heat in my house. I do use space heaters and one day was a bit warmer than usual, so I took my top off and of course immediately spilled oil on my white camisole. I put a blob of the African Black soap on it and used a scrubber to rub it in, washed it and….VOILA! no stain….I mean NO STAIN. I will be buying more of this as a stain remover. (it happened again a day later, and worked, again…) Sorry this is so long, but wanted to give details…this works

          1. I was extremely surprised when it got the stains completely out. I really don’t know if it will work on other types . I have heard that oils will remove oils from fabric (kind of weird, I know), and this soap has a lot of shea butter and palm kernel oil in it. My guess is it will remove a lot of stains…as oil/grease are the worst! Even if it doesn’t, you can still use it as body wash, shampoo (you may like it) or dish soap!!!
            I got it at Natural Grocers, if you have one near you.
            Good luck!

                1. I was looking at that one as well as a few others – thank you!
                  Here’s my affiliate link in case anyone else wants to try it. Amazon has severely decreased our commissions but every penny or two helps ;).

      1. 5 stars
        Lee, I used 3 bars of Fels Naptha soap. Cut I chunks and then put in a food processor to powdered form. I added a box of 20 Mule Team Borax and a box of Arm and Hammer Washing soda. I think it was Arm and Hammer. Anyway, mix it all together and use 1 Tablespoon for a large load of laundry. I use about a quarter to a half a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle.

    1. I have never tried this with a liquid soap. I think it would of course be a very different consistency. Side note, I personally avoid Bronner’s now due to a number of their policies. It’s not possible to avoid everything but in this case it’s easy to find another option without sacrificing quality. Super easy fix!

  7. 5 stars
    My go to now! Works great. I like to add a splash of white vinegar (as added softener) after I toss the detergent directly in the frontloader. Makes clothes clean and keeps the washer fresh. Thanks for sharing!

  8. 5 stars
    Ok, I am back again to give a well deserved 5 star review. I am almost done with my first batch of detergent and planning on making my second batch. So far it has worked great! I was concerned about how little detergent is used, especially when we are used to dumping a big scooper full from the boxed brands. I saved one of those scoopers and measured out the suggested amount for an extra large load and marked it on the scooper with a Sharpie marker. So we still have the convenience of the plastic scooper, but we can easily see how much we need. Everything comes out so clean! Even though it was kind of a hassle finding all of the ingredients….once you have them they make many batches and I probably will have laundry soap for the rest of the year! Love it, highly recommend!

  9. I finally gathered all of the ingredients needed and made my first batch today. I didn’t have any clothes laundry for my initial wash with BUT…. I had some dog beds! I thought, well……if it can get dog funk out, then we are good. I just pulled them out of the dryer and stuck my face into them and I smelled…….NOTHING! So, that is a good start! I look forward to washing some clothes. I can certainly see how this would reduce the detergent budget and easy to have these things on hand for store shortages too. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. Wow no way! That’s amazing!!! Nothing is exactly what we want and not a bunch of fake fragrances!!! You are so welcome! If you are so inclined, and would like to do so, leaving a 5 star review helps others find good “recipes” and helps us too. I am soooo happy to hear how well this worked for you! And on dog beds. Really wow again! Take care!

    1. Hi there! I just edited the post and got a less expensive option. Thanks for the heads up. I don’t know how strong it is — I have used another one that’s original but not sure if it’s the same. I prefer to do fragrance free going forward so that’s why I linked to it. Now it’s a better deal for 6 bars……hope that helps!

  10. OxyClean free has other ingredients. I prefer to just buy sodium perchlorate, the base for oxy products, which is the pure form of it. No fillers or additives.
    Great recipe I’ll have to make more. I’ve been using washing soda and a bit of liquid Castile soap (or in some cases, “Bastile”) It does work too, but I think this one is a bit better…..

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve used basically the same recipe, but use Fels Naptha, Zote and even Ivory soap bars. It cleans like nothing else. The rest was the same. I sometimes add the scent beads. I use plain white vinegar in the rinse cycle.

    1. Hi Deborah! Yes, the recipes are similar but I tried to do a proportion that seemed to be the best. I know that Fels works well, but it has additives that I don’t like. I’m so glad that you have found success! What kind of scent beads? Are they natural? I just put lavender oil on dryer balls and it works great!

      1. No, they are aren’t natural, but I stopped using them and use the essential oils on the wool dryer balls. Yummy.

        I have some allergies, but not to the ingredients I use in my s laundry soap. Thank goodness. I have made laundry soap with Dawn dish soap as well.

        1. I love the essential oils too!! I am mostly just trying to keep toxins out of my home and the environment, but I actually am sensitive to artificial fragrances and so is my youngest.

    2. I forgot to add that I’ve been using this for a while now. And it is cheaper than store bought laundry detergent. And it cleans much better, and no fillers.

      1. I LOVE not having fillers! That’s so interesting that you think it cleans so much better. I didn’t like the first one I made, but that was a liquid. I’m still playing around with things as I can, but I haven’t used store bought in many years.

        1. I learned about fillers in powered store bought laundry detergent many years ago. I went to an Amway party. They sold detergent at the time. They had two glasses, put a teaspoon of each detergent in each glass of water and stirred. Nothing settled in the bottom of the Amway glass, but a lot settled in the bottom of the store bought. That was filler, something like cardboard in the bottom of the glass.

          1. Yuck. I think Amway still has detergent…..I never bought any of their products, however. Well, the only “filler” in this would be if something fell in or a piece of the box came off into the product ;).

            1. 5 stars
              I agree. I love it. I’ll be using Castile Soap next time instead of Fels Naptha, or Zote. I do use my small food processor. So, so easy!

              1. I need a small food processor… you use yours only for soap? I don’t think soap flavored hummus would be that good!

                1. LOL. No I wash it really well before using on food. I also rice in vinegar water. I got mine at Amazon. It’s a KitchenAid I believe. I also add some washing soda or borax to the soap when shredding it up.

                  1. I’ll have to try it. Our processor broke so I need to get a new one – it has a crack in the base and so things leak. Thanks for the tip!

                2. The great thing about soap is that it rinses out clean. You can’t taste anything after cleaning the processor and can still use it for food. I have been making my own bar soap, grating it and processing it with washing soda for laundry detergent. I’ve never had funny tastes or smells after cleaning the processor. I’ve been making it for over a year now.

      2. It’s not clear on how much to use in a HE washed. I am assuming 1/2 cup to a 1 cup? Just made some and excited to try it out on my sons filthy baseball pants.

        1. So sorry for the delay! I just added that info to the recipe card. It was in another place in the post. Hope it works for you!

  12. Just wanted to say that there are “trolls” like Barry who just want to argue. You were polite to the extreme in posting and then responding to his tirade. I’m sorry great bloggers like you have to deal with them. Even if i disagree with a blogger I’m reading, most of the time i just read and forget it, only responding politely with information I have that they might not be aware of. You forget his rude words and continue sharing with those of us who admire you for what you do.

    1. Thanks so much, Carol. It really was too much. I mean, if you are that bent on not making something yourself, then why come here and rant about it…and then not acknowledge it when you give wrong information twice? It’s a shame. Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. Good question. Thanks! I originally had more exact weight measurements also mentioned in the post for those 2 ingredients, but I decided to remove them and missed removing the asterisks. Thanks for asking!

  13. I’m flabbergasted that anyone would recommend Molly’s laundry detergent. I purchased it once. I think plain water would get my clothes cleaner than that particular brand of detergent. I like either Biokleen or Charlie’s. I’ve also heard that homemade laundry “detergent” voids the manufacturer’s warranty. It seems that using bar soap causes buildup. The use of soap can also oversuds, which can destroy the electronics of the machine. Talk about penny wise and pound foolish…

    1. Hello Doug.

      So this is a really interesting comment to me. I actually could really use your help on this as I haven’t used a lot of non-toxic detergents. I used to use All Free and Clear – but wanted to move to something more “green”–I did a Liquid Homemade Detergent for awhile but I really didn’t like it. Then we used soap nuts and I got allergic to them (which is very rare). I had heard really good things about Molly’s and their reviews are good – in fact the reviews seem to be the same as w/ Biokleen and Charlie’s–is it really that bad?

      As for your concern about bar soap and the machine, I have done some reading into that and seems that it’s a non issue here and might depend on the type of soap you use. I will add some more information to the post about it but I’m really glad you brought that up!

      Yes, that would be a bad thing! I have a (very much needing to be rewritten) post on DIY Dishwasher Rinse Aid that has the same conundrum involved……you can see, if you read the comments, that the concerns about it are inconclusive.

      Look forward to hearing your thoughts on Molly’s. I am totally fine swapping out links for that! Thanks again!

    2. Doug, I don’t use enough soap to have too many suds. It cleans well as is. And as for build up, use vinegar in the rinse water.

  14. Thank you! I recently retired from nursing & am getting back to being the person I used to be, but a bit more slowly, now that I have time and covid is keeping me at home. I do appreciate your recipes.
    My quest is to find an easier way to grate the soap & I do not have a food processor. I’ve tried my blender but it’s just ok.

    1. Some say that using baking soda should work well. I think another idea would be to do a combination of the ingredients that you can use.

        1. You are so welcome! I am working on some more laundry things as well….including an option that saves way more money. Putting some more tips / info in this post today as well. Thanks for reading!

      1. Adrienne: I have used this recipe for some time, but decided that an easier way is to just use washing soda and liquid soap adding the generic oxy clean only on my whites. The only problem with my recipe is I have to put the washing soda in hot water and use a blender, because it will clump in the machine (especially on a front load) as the water comes in too slowly. I’m not sure I even need the liquid soap, but I feel better with a FEW suds!!
        I buy the washing soda in 6 gallon buckets (spendy, but worth it, in my opinion) and the liquid “Castile” soap in gallon jugs. There are several brands and some are way cheaper that Bronners. (I put the ” around Castile, as most are NOT Castile but rather “Bastile” as they do not use only olive oil, which is what Castile is: a soap made with only olive oil). I’m not sure what the cost breakdown is, as that is not my main priority (although it is certainly a desire for an inexpensive option!) I do believe it is less expensive than most ‘good’ detergents out there…(meaning the healthier and greener options…which always to me seem to have at least ONE ingredient that I find undesirable).
        Again, this is a good recipe, one I used for several years.
        I did see one comment regarding the use of bar soap and it ‘gumming’ up things…if you use white vinegar in every rinse that will remove any remaining soap residue from clothing as well as your machine…
        I do appreciate all the work and effort and research you do to give us wonderful recipes that are healthy and inexpensive! Thank you!

        1. Hi there – what a ton of info – thanks! Interesting about the bastille – hasn’t heard of that but looks like it’s a made up term. Still interesting.

          So you think that the washing soda does enough washing for you? That would be an interesting way to go!

          How are you using the vinegar in the rinse? Don’t you need to put it in midway? Not sure putting it in the rinse area is a good idea. I’m working on this!

    2. I use homemade soap and washing soda only. You don’t have to use the Borax. You can use a little bit less detergent without the extra bulk, if you want.

      1. This is interesting to me. We were just having a very lively talk on Facebook about this and I’m researching it. Apparently some are saying that the soap will cause residue on clothing and the machine. Have you read about this? I’m going to have to do more digging……

        1. 5 stars
          Hello, I just happened to be checking emails and saw notice a new comment popped up. So I have read also about the residue issue after long-term use. As someone who’s been using a similar recipe for my own laundry soap for almost 15 years now, I never experienced any issues whatsoever. I’ve used homemade laundry powder in several different states that I lived, different washing machines, different water etc…never an issue. I think the combination of ingredients work together so well & does the opposite of leaving residue in my experience. It actually cleans better, not only washing machine but clothes. My machines never had any funky smells like some get. If anything, when I had new to me washers (in rental apt or former houses I moved into), homemade powder always without fail cleaned out any former smells or residue in the washer. I run hot wash no clothes with powder first and periodically. Of course others may have experienced differently. Many recipes out there, I experimented with ratios and always try out new ones…I think if any issues pop up, it’s in the ratios to play around with.

          1. So interesting. Well, I don’t know what to make of this, then. I guess I will have to see if I can come up with a non soap option and people can choose what they want to use :). Super helpful – thanks!

  15. Am I missing something here? Why would you take the time to buy and mix 5 separate products to make one “homemade” laundry detergent. I did the math, it is not cheaper by the oz., pound, or by wash load. If it’s to have alternative to turn to in case the shelves empty out of laundry detergent, then surely, the other 5 ingredients you use here will also be sold out.

    1. Hi Barry! So there are a number of reasons to make this.
      1) What detergent are you using?
      2) The cost savings will depend on what you buy and where you get it. I’m good at finding bargains ;).
      3) The main reason is to have control over the ingredients and ditch artificial fragrances, etc.
      4) Did I say that this is so that you have an alternative in case the shelves are empty? I don’t think so.
      5) Stock up on the ingredients and that won’t be a problem. PS You can make your own washing soda out of baking soda so there’s another option for you too.
      Does that help?

      1. Hi, Adrienne. Thanks for the reply. I use Seventh Generation Professional. All vegetable, no added synthetic fragrance, dies, or brighteners. I like to have control over what I buy by reading the labels on the containers and by reading users reviews online. SGP is 20 cents per load, available in many large stores. One bottle, premixed, no shopping for best deals on 5 different ingredients, no shipping or waiting for orders to arrive, it’s on the shelf. I’ve stocked up a year’s supply and rotate through them, replacing often. BTW, I said “if” you meant your mix to be an alternative if shelves are empty, it was not a definitive remark.

        1. Hi again, Barry. You’re welcome.

          As for Seventh Generation, I assume you are using the powder?

          Re: cost per load, please do let me know where you are buying this bc I checked and a lot of places say it’s out of stock, and at Office Depot, it’s 37 cents a load. Possibly it’s just hard for me to see buying options, but the 350 load container doesn’t seem to be available in that many places.

          I just did a cost calculation of my detergent (will add this to the post) and it’s 14 cents a load. Of course, for mine, you can buy the ingredients in bulk and stock up on a year (or more) of supplies as well. The added bonus is that the ingredients are usable for many other applications as well. So even if you decide you don’t want to make the detergent any longer, you aren’t stuck with things you won’t use.

          As for the part about no shipping / waiting for orders to arrive, that’s really not an accurate comparison b/c you could get the items I mentioned on the shelf in many stores as well–I have done it. The SGP availability will vary per location just as the availability of what I recommend will.

          I shop around for the best deals on things and then keep buying from there unless I notice a change in prices that’s enough to make me want to look elsewhere.

          I should add that for people who don’t wish to shop right now due to masks, etc., that’s an added bonus to my option ;).

          As for the “if”, thanks for the clarification. One can take that “if” either way….as meaning a possibility or it being a softer way to make a point.

          I would appreciate your not putting a 3 star review on something that you haven’t tried. I don’t think that’s really an honest way to write a review. I hope you would agree.

          Look forward to hearing back.

          1. Adrienne, I was buying the Seventh Generation Pro at Walmart, but looked it up for you. It’s also available from several sellers here on Amazon, with one selling for 11 cents per oz.
            My time is more important than shopping multiple products, buying, and mixing just to save a few pennies per wash. I’m familiar with your mixture and rated it accordingly. It’s been around for decades. I simply disagree with you. When you post something on the internet and allow responses, some readersd may not agree with you. Do try to not take it so personally. Wishing you the best. Barry

            1. Hello again. Thanks for the ongoing dialogue.

              At first, I did look into the liquid laundry detergent, but since mine is a recipe for a powder, I changed my approach and figured you were using the Professional powder. However, now that you have clarified things, I have other additional thoughts.

              Here is the Safety Data Sheet for that product.

              As you can see there are 2 preservatives listed there:


              The first is rated a 7 on EWG / Skin Deep, whereas the latter is rated 3-6 on the same site.

              METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE was cited in the class action lawsuit against Wen haircare as being a problem re: allergenicity. As such, I would recommend people think about avoiding that preservative. I plan to research it more, but I don’t like it for allergenic reasons. Thankfully neither are expected to bioaccumulate, but the plastic container will.

              Please note that what you linked to is an all purpose cleaner and not a detergent. I assume that was a mistake?

              As for your time, yes, you have to make the decision yourself. I have readers of all kinds…those who have more time than money, as well as the opposite. Some (many) are strapped for both and are making decisions as they go re: which is the bigger pressure at the moment. Some just like DIYing.

              As for your rating, no this exact mixture isn’t anywhere unless someone else did the same method that I did. I might change it in the future, but I spent a lot of time on it.

              So–you didn’t try the detergent (though I guess you are saying that you tried someone else’s formula) and you changed your rating from 4 to 3 and now back again. I’m not trying to have a big disagreement here, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to give something a bad review (which I would consider a 3 to be that) just b/c you don’t think it’s worth your time. It wouldn’t be appropriate for someone to do that for an entree that tasted good but someone felt that takeout of the same meal was a quicker option.

              If this is what you are using, then it’s 30 cents per load, and not 20 as you initially stated. And I sure hope you aren’t putting all purpose cleaner in your washing machine. It might invalidate the warranty ;). Just some added value that I hope to add to your life for spending your time on my blog. Hope that’s of help. (just wanted to add a little levity to the situation).

              I appreciate the well wishes and so hope that in the future something here (besides the all purpose cleaner warning) can enhance your life. Or perhaps if you one day you start reacting to the methylisothiozolinone, you might find this formula to be of help at that point. 🙂

              Finally, I’m trying something else out now that will save you even more time and money in the laundry room. It will save storage too. Stay tuned if you’d like…..

              1. The Borax you use is found to cause health issues. “The National Institute of Health has found that borax has been associated with several adverse health effects in humans. These include: irritation, hormone issues, toxicity and death.” The Oxi Clean you use is also labeled to cause health hazards. states: ” Oxi Clean Signal Word: Danger.
                Hazard Statement: Risk of serious damage to eyes. Harmful if swallowed.
                Precautionary Statements: Wear protective gloves, splash goggles, face shield, full suit, vapor respirator and boots. Do not breathe dust /mist. Wash thoroughly after handling.
                Eye Contact: Check for and remove any contact lenses. Immediately flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting the upper and lower eyelids. Get medical attention immediately. Skin Contact: In case of contact, immediately flush skin with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes. Wash clothing before reuse. Get medical attention if irritation persists. Inhalation: Move exposed person to fresh air. Flush mouth and nasal passages with water repeatedly. Get medical attention if symptoms persist. Ingestion: Wash out mouth with water. Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so by medical personnel. If affected person is conscious, give plenty of water to drink. Get medical attention immediately. Acute Effects Eyes: May cause severe eye irritation. Potential risk of serious damage to eyes. Skin: Prolonged skin contact may cause skin irritation.Inhalation: Inhalation of dust may cause irritation to gastro intestinal or respiratory tract. Ingestion: Harmful if swallowed. May cause burns to mouth, throat and stomach. After reading how truly dangerous the products you promote here are to our health I changed my rating to a one.

                1. Hi again! So funny you brought all of this up! I actually was thinking about writing a revision to this post about Borax that’s already on my blog, so you are showing how helpful it will truly be! I hope you’ll be back to read it.

                  In the meantime, I hope that you will check out this Safety Data Sheet on Borax where it’s given a “1”, which is the same as baking soda and salt. So perhaps you should rate my recipe / formula as a negative 1 since it’s truly unbelievably toxic ;). Methylisothiazolinone, by comparison, is an 8.

                  In case you are interested, here’s some safety information on the particular Oxi Clean that I included in the formula.

                  Of course all of this has to be taken into context. I’m sure you will find my article on borax to be interesting once it comes out. However, there are no options to put fraudulent reviews on posts–just on recipes–so maybe it won’t be of interest to you after all ;).

                  1. After dealing with your arrogance and pettiness, particularly in your accusing me of writing fraudulent reviews simply because I disagree with you, I’ll not be reading any of your further writings. Your responses are typical of one suffering from dissociative identity disorder and suggests a divergence of issues, all worthy of comment. Your inferiority complex is fully justified.

                    1. So Barry, first of all, you came to my blog to read a post about Homemade Laundry Detergent when clearly you had no intention of ever making it, based on your confidence in your selection of a detergent. So seems that your only purpose in coming here was to be a nasty critic.

                      Then you linked to the wrong product to show me what you were using.

                      Yes, I do think that reviewing something negatively when you haven’t tried it, and have no intention of trying it, is fraudulent. That’s why Amazon has things like “Verified Purchase” in their review section so people can’t as easily tear down a seller with negative reviews. If you don’t like the word “fraudulent” how about “unethical” and “mean-spirited”?

                      What’s really odd to me is that you mentioned how you don’t have time to mix up an easy DIY Laundry Detergent, but you do have time to harass bloggers, post lengthy criticisms about them, and then ignore your own failings.

                      It’s you who is the arrogant and petty one.

                      Good day.

    2. Mayne learn to live and let live. If you don’t want to, have the time to, whatever the reason to make your own then don’t. You are free to buy your own if that’s your preference. But you have zero right to harass people who do things differently than you. People do things differently and if they didn’t we wouldn’t have so many different options of laundry detergent including the option to make our own. Back off and maybe check your own arrogance! Seriously, narcissistic much?

    3. 5 stars
      Barry, we have “natural” laundry soap. Not Detergent. Big difference. As for price, it is our money. What do you care anyway?