DIY Laundry Detergent |

DIY Laundry Detergent

beth April 5, 2013

By Jill York, Contributing Writer

The typical store-bought laundry detergent may leave your clothes smelling clean and fresh, but most of them also leave a toxic residue that can contribute to serious health problems.  

 Let”s look at some of the ingredients and their side effects in common laundry detergents.

  • Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates {LAS} – skin and eye irritant
  • Petroleum distillates (also called naphthas) – linked to cancer and lung damage
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate – hormone disruptor
  • Quaternium-15 – releases formaldehyde, which is a known cancer-causing chemical.  This chemical also causes rashes and inflammation
  • Diethanolamine – can cause liver and kidney tumors, irritates the skin and eyes, and linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity
  • Artificial fragrances – irritates the skin and eyes, and many fragrances are linked to possible cancer
With cancer and many other health problems on the rise, it”s important to remove as many toxic chemicals from our lives that we can.  One way we can do this is by making our own laundry soaps!  The recipe I use costs me about $2 a month to make.  I prefer to use the liquid because the powdered detergent can have a hard dissolving in cold water washes.  I have included instructions for the powdered version also.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent:


1 Bar of Fels Naptha Soap {or a handmade soap}
1 Cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda :))
1/2 Cup of Borax
Hot Water


  1. Place at least 4 cups of hot water in a sauce pan and grate the bar of soap into it.
  2. Stir over medium high heat until the soap dissolves.
  3. Fill a 5-gallon bucket half full with hot water.
  4. Add melted soap mixture, washing soda and borax.
  5. Stir well until powder is dissolved.
  6. Fill to the top with hot water.  Let it sit overnight to thicken.
  7. I use 1 cup of liquid soap for an extra large load.  Washers hold different capacities, so experiment and adjust the amount for your washer.

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent


1 Cup Fels Naptha Grated Soap or handmade soap
1 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax


  1. Combine all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
  2. For each load of laundry use 1 TBS to the water.  If clothes are extremely dirty you can add a second TBS.

If you are not a DIY person, there are safer buying options you can purchase.  You can find these online or at a local health food store.

Method – plant-based laundry products

Seventh Generation – non-toxic, biodegradable

GreenShield  – certified organic

Eco Nuts – organic soap nuts

Do You Make Your Own Cleaning Products?

Mother Living Earth

This is the writings of:

  1. I’ve been hearing lately that Borax actually does pretty poorly according to the database thing that rates stuff like that (skin deep? environmental working group? – you know…..the database….thing…..). I know it’s a traditional laundry booster, but is _it_ safe?


  2. Can this be used on cloth diapers?


  3. Does this work with hard water? I’ve got major repelling issues with my cloth diapers, and I’ve read that its because the hard water doesn’t allow the detergent to rinse clean. I’m looking for calgon to add to the water but I live in a remote area and haven’t found it. Any suggestions?


  4. Have you used these for cloth diapers, have you experienced any build up or wear of elastic?


  5. […] Laundry Detergent — I like my soap nuts a lot,  so I see no reason to do something new!  Since everyone's water is different, homemade detergent may be a good option for you. […]


  6. […] DIY Laundry Detergent […]


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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