Laundry detergent is a household essential. But do we really need heavily scented synthetic detergents filled with nasty chemicals? No, we don’t. These detergents cost a small fortune and really aren’t great for your health. So, instead, why not make your own natural DIY laundry detergent? It smells fabulous, contains no synthetic chemicals, is really effective at cleaning your laundry, it’s quick and easy to make, and it costs very little.
Now, you’ll see this natural DIY laundry detergent recipe calls for soap, but it’s of the natural variety. There’s no point in trying to make a natural product if you’re throwing chemicals into the mixture. Sure, you can pop it in a mason jar, tie it with a ribbon, and call it handmade – but it’s still not natural.
We’ve also included information on natural stain removers, rinse agents, wash boosters, and brighteners below the main recipe, so your armed with all the information you need to get your clothes sparkly clean, naturally. Making your own detergent is a fabulously easy step to take on the journey to a greener home and a lower carbon footprint. It’ll also help you on your way to a Zero Waste home.
As an added bonus, because the recipe creates fewer suds than a lot of synthetic detergents, it’s suitable for high-efficiency washers, too.
- 6 cups of washing soda (also known as soda ash)
- 3 4.5-5 ounce bars of natural soap (preferably coconut oil or tallow based))
- 5 drops of essential oil of your choice per load
This recipe yields around 190 ounces of natural homemade laundry detergent, which equates to 190-380 loads of washing.
Based on the average cost of the ingredients, whether you purchase natural bar soap or make your own, the cost per wash is around $0.05 – which is an incredible saving over the $0.21 average cost per wash of standard synthetic laundry detergents.
Now, lots of these recipes tell you to grate the soap bars – but if you don’t achieve a really fine grate, you’ll find that it doesn’t dissolve well in the washer. Therefore, cut your soap bars into small chunks and place in a blender along with the washing soda. Blitz until you achieve a fine powder. Then simply store in an airtight container like a mason jar.
While you can add your essential oil and mix to combine, you risk getting clumpy detergent without an even fragrance dispersal, so we recommend keeping your bottle of essential oil beside your detergent container and simply adding around five drops to every load.
A note on selecting essential oils
Use 1 tablespoon for smaller loads with general soiling. For large loads and heavier soiling, go for 2 to 3 tablespoons.
For brightening your whites, add half a cup of peroxide or a scoop of Oxiclean to your load.
Add half a cup of vinegar to a felted wool dryer ball or to the fabric softener compartment on your washer. This acts as fabric softener and neutralizes the pH of your clothing, making it softer and kinder to your skin. After all, you don’t want to make your fabulously frugal natural DIY laundry detergent, then load your machine with chemical-laden fabric softener. So use vinegar instead – it only costs a few pennies, and it isn’t full of synthetic nasties.