This easy tutorial for natural homemade laundry detergent makes 320 loads of non-toxic laundry detergent for $20.75 ($0.06 per load) and rates an A on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Healthy Cleaning scale. It’s a win-win for natural cleaning and frugal living.
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Seeking Healthier Laundry Detergent
Are you a Pinterest lover? If you do much poking around on the site you’ll soon discover that DIY laundry detergents are all the rage. (Yep, I’m at the point in my life where laundry detergent can be a rage…. but I digress.)
Homemade laundry detergent is often suggested as a way to save money, but I wanted to make my own laundry detergent for another reason -> to produce an effective all-natural detergent that eliminated dangerous chemicals and additives.
My goal was to create a detergent recipe that scored well on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Healthy Cleaning scale and was still cost-effective.
Not-So-Natural Laundry Detergent
For years I used Arm & Hammer Free Liquid Detergent and thought I was making a good choice for my family’s health. It did a great job, was fragrance-free, and it was cost-effective ($.10 a load). I felt good about using it in our home UNTIL…
… I discovered the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning. It’s a database that analyzes household cleaners and give them a grade (A-F) based on ingredients.
Did you know that cleaning product manufacturers can use almost any ingredient and the US government doesn’t review the safety of products before they’re sold? SCARY!
I began looking up all the cleaning/household products we used and learned that my trusty detergent had scored a D for problems such as cancer and respiratory effects. BIG FAT FAIL! I no longer felt good about using it for my family!
All Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent
Store-bought laundry detergents that score an A on the EWG scale are a bit pricey. They range from $14.00 for 42 loads ($0.33 a load) to $15.00 for 70 loads ($0.21 a load). Triple my original laundry detergent cost!
It was time to develop my own all-natural homemade laundry detergent!
Making Natural Homemade Detergent
I started with a basic cost saving detergent recipe from Happy Money Saver and replaced the ingredients that scored high in toxicity. The original laundry detergent recipe made 18 lbs (288 oz.) for $20.27 or 504 loads at $0.04 per load.
|Original Recipe Laundry Detergent Recipe||Cost per batch||EWG Rating|
|Super Washing Soda||$3.24||A|
|Cost Per Load||$0.04|
The Natural Replacements
My natural homemade laundry detergent uses natural Castile soap instead of Fels-Naptha and eliminates Borax.
Borax use is somewhat controversial in green circles; it is a naturally occurring mineral, but it is also toxic. Read more about the controversy at Crunchy Betty or MNN.
The new all-natural recipe makes 11.43 lbs (183 oz.) for $20.75 or 320 loads at $0.06 per load!
You can also add Epsom salt to the mix for a built-in laundry softener (the original recipe uses Purex Crystals). The Epsom salt version makes 13.19 lbs. (211 oz.) for $20.75 or 368 loads at $0.07 per load.
(Please note: I do not use the Epsom salt, instead I use Natural Homemade Fabric Softener in the dryer.
|My Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent Recipe||Cost per batch||EWG Rating|
|1 box Super Washing Soda, 3 lb. 7 oz (I use this kind.)||$3.24||A|
|1 box Baking Soda, 4 lb. (I use this kind.)||$2.36||A|
|4 bars Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap, Fragrance Free, 4 oz. ea.||$5.16||A (or 0)|
|1 container OxiClean Baby or OxiClean Free, 3 lbs||$9.99||A|
|Eliminated Purex Crystals (or use Epsom Salt, 28 oz >> I do not use)||$5.25||A|
|Cost Per Load (1 Tbsp)||$0.06|
I have been using this detergent for nearly 4 years and there is no looking back!
- The natural laundry detergent is significantly less expensive than the store-bought nontoxic detergents AND cheaper than my former poorly rated commercial detergent.
- The recipe rates an “A” on the EWG scale so I feel good using it in our home.
- This homemade natural laundry detergent cleans great! I can honestly tell no difference between my recipe and store-bought laundry detergent.
Another big plus, this laundry detergent is naturally low foaming.. This means it can be used in both standard and HE machines.
Bonus tip: Fill the washer’s fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar for safe and effective laundry softening. If the washing machine does not have a fabric softener dispenser (or you do not want to fill it with vinegar) use a Downy Ball filled with white vinegar. It automatically releases the vinegar during the rinse cycle. (You can also make Natural Homemade Fabric Softener.)
Laundry Detergent Questions
This homemade laundry detergent recipe is so popular that I’ve written about it in two more posts:
- Does Homemade Laundry Detergent Really Work? Learn more about the ingredients and how they work.
- All-Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent Question and Answer – Get the answers to tons of common questions.
How to Make Natural Laundry Detergent
- 4 – 4 oz bars Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap Fragrance Free (16 ounces total)
- 4 lbs Baking Soda
- 3. 7 lbs Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (1 box)
- 3 lbs OxiClean Baby (1 container)
- 28 oz Epsom Salt (optional, I do not use)
- Grate Castile soap into very small bits. (I use my food processor to grate the soap with a grater attachment.)
- To turn the grated soap into smaller bits I pulse it with the food processor blade. I found that processing one bar at a time and adding 1/4-1/2 cup baking soda to soap during the pulsing stage helped the soap separate into smaller bits. *
- Mix all ingredients in a large container and stir. (Do not breathe in the dust.)
- How to use the laundry detergent: Measure 1 or 2 Tablespoons onto the laundry per load. (There are no fillers in this detergent so it takes less than commercial laundry detergent.) It can be used in regular and HE machines.
- Warning: Use your food processor at your own risk! I was willing to try because Castile soap is very pure and non-scented. The soap has not injured my food processor at all. It washes out easily and does not leave a scent. (A friend who grated Fels-Naptha in her food processor said it left a strong scent.)
- If you want to make any substitutions to the recipe look them up in the EWG guides to make sure they rate well.
More Natural Laundry Solutions
If you’re concerned about chemicals in your home check out some of my other green laundry tutorials:
- DIY Laundry Detergent Liquid (Two borax-free liquid detergent recipes that make small batches of laundry detergent with no grating)
- Natural Homemade Fabric Softener (it can be used in the washer or dryer)
- All-Natural Stain Sauce for Laundry (It’s a great stain pre-treater)
- All-Purpose Cleanser (it’s great for all-purpose household cleaning and laundry stains)
- How to Natural Clean Smelly Towels (Learn how to get towels clean and fresh, naturally)
- Fresh Lemon Dishwasher Detergent (cause dishes get dirty too!)
Questions? I get hundreds of questions about making All Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent! Read this detailed Question and Answer section for TONS of additional information. Check it out or read the comments below for quick answers to your most pressing questions!
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Hi! Thank you so much for the recipe and explaining everythig with such detail!
I need to try this! But here’s my problem. I live in a desertic area of Argentinian Patagonia where all water comes form a single river. I use the washing grey water to water my vegetable garden. Is this safe to use in plants? I’m a bit worried about the Ph…
Jules, the detergent is safe for a septic system, but I do not have experience using it in a greywater system that goes directly to a garden. I would probably just use a concentrate such as Sal’s Suds (2-3 Tbsp. (30-45 mL) for a large load in a traditional washer. Half this amount for a HE washer.) Optional: For extra brightening, add ½ c. (120 mL) baking soda to wash cycle and/or 1 c. (240 mL) vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Would it make sense to add some citric acid to boost the cleaning of the detergent and to soften the water?
I’ve never tried adding citric acid so I am not sure how it would work. I try not to mix acid and bases in one cleaner as they cancel each other out instead of fighting the soils on the laundry. I would stick to using an acid in the rinse water. I love using white vinegar as my fabric softener.
Could this be made and be just as effective for cleaning laundry without the bar soap added? I have no food processor and in the past when I’ve tried grating bar soap there is still residue left on clothing.
There needs to be a soap or detergent in the mixture to get clothes clean.
can I use any soap flakes instead of shredding the bars ? I have the PURE ones from amazon.
You should be able to sub soap flakes. I would test a tiny batch to make sure you like the results.
Hi Bren, thank you so much for sharing. These recipes are just what I´ve been looking for! I only have questions, as you have kindly gone into so much detail and already answered all of my other queries about homemade natural laundry detergents. My first quesion is, in the Natural homemade laundry detergent, is the oxyclean baby essential, and if absolutely necessary can I use sodium percarbonate instead, as I already have some. Mysecond question is, in the laundry detergent liquid recipe with castile soap, is their a way to use a bar of castille soap instead of liquid, as I already have a bar, and can´t find liquid…and I don´t buy from amazon. Thanks a million for your ideas!
Angela, I have not used pure sodium percarbonate in the dry recipe. If you want to try I would start by adding just half the amount of oxyclean listed because Oxyclean is not pure sodium percarbonate. I also recommend making a tiny batch to test for reactions before making a huge amount. I have also not tested the liquid version with bar soap, I am afraid it would get a slimy texture. You can get Castile soap at Whole Foods, Target, and most natural grocery stores in the US. Good luck! Let me know if you test any new versions!
Is there an alternative to the oxyclean baby stain remover? I’ve had an incredibly hard time finding it locally, and don’t want to have to turn to Amazon all the time lol
I have only tested the recie with Oxiclean but any oxygen bleach cleaner should work. I would test a tiny batch with a substitute before making the whole recipe to make sure there are no negative reactions.
Angel, Did you find an alternative to Baby Oxiclean that worked? I too can’t get it shipped to California and not available in stores after 5 years of using this recipe.
Have you tried Oxiclean Free?
Try Ecos Oxo Brite. You can purchase it from Vitacost and it gets a great EWG rating. That’s what I’m going to try as a sub.
Let me know if you like the results!
Is there a way to make this into laundry pods?
I have not tried making laundry pods.
Is the OxiClean Baby required for this recipe or is it optional as well?
You need the oxygen bleach to get the cleaning power, only the Epsom salt is optional I do not use it.
Hi! I have been using the laundry detergent for over a year now and like it. I was wondering what you do about static on the clothing after the dryer. In the winter it is really bad. I have the wool dryer balls, I put essential oils on them and I pin a safety pins to the balls in hopes to eliminate the static but it doesn’t work. Any suggestions?
Patti, I use wool dryer balls and try to separate natural/synthetic fabric from one another in the dryer. I find that over drying synthetics makes the whole load full of static.
I’m very interested in making this powdered version laundry detergent. Thank you so kindly for sharing.
Could you please suggest what type of container to store this in once all the ingredients are put together? Curious just in case I decide to make the full version. Thanks in advance!
I store mine in a big glass jr or an old plastic pretzel container! I’m not too fashionable! 😉
What is the size of the jar do you use to store the detergent?
I store mine in a huge plistic 2-gallon container for long-term storage (it used to hold pretzles or some type of snack food) and fill a smaller glass jar for daily dispensing from my laundry shelf. You can read more in my Homemade Laundry Detergent Q & A.
i’m making this detergent for the first time today. should i grind the soap as finely as possible? i’ll be using kirk’s coconut oil castile bar soap.
Kirk’s soap is not fragrance free.
This post is not accurate.
Kirk’s have 2 versions: one with fragrance, one without. Look for the fragrance-free version or substitute another fragrance free bar..
I have been using this laundry powder a couple of years. I switched from another one not as pure. But my point is my best friend uses a commercial brand had to replace her washing machine because of the mold. She said they dry it out after finishing washing. I have done everything she had done and only thing different is this Homemade Laundry Powder. Homemade Laundry is better for your health and the health of your washing machine!
Wow, Tonie! Thanks for the great endorsement!
I’m impressed that you’re still answering questions on this recipe! Thank you!
Also, thank you for the recipe! We’ve been using it 3-4 years now. The two things that I’ve replaced were soap (just used a generic soap bar – half a year ago I switched to Dove Sensitive soap bar as it is what they recommended safe for baby skin at the hospital – looking up the ingredients it’s probably a good thing that it’s not in the EWG database) and another brand of Epsom salt. The other three ingredients were even the same brands what you’ve recommended. However, I couldn’t get my hands on the A&H Super Washing soda for quite a while now, so for the most recent batch I’ve ordered Simply Clean washing soda – which also claims to be 100% sodium carbonate. I’ve made a batch (half your suggested size) and started using it – and unlike any other time, the washing powder became a brittle cake. Even when I put it in warm water to dissolve it I have to manually break up the lumps. Any idea what could be going wrong? Could this be due to the changes related to Oxiclean? My first guess was the washing soda – but on it’s own it’s dissolve fine – and, if it is 100% sodium bicarbonate it should exactly match what we get in an A&H Super Washing Soda package… All the other ingredients, as per above I have used previously with no issues/residues. Now I’m a little worried about breaking our washing machine. I’d greatly appreciate any insight you may have what could have caused the trouble and if you have any ideas how to salvage the washing powder (tried to look back on comments both here and on the FAQ page but didn’t quite found a similar case.)
Also, somebody (I believe on the FAQ page) was asking about cloth diapers – for us, the previous batches worked perfectly, they removed stains & smell as well.
Tibor, that a mystery! It’s had to know what the cause it exactly. It could be ingredients or moisture. If I have clumps I regrate the detergent with my food processor or hand grater then store in an airtight container with a little mesh bag of dried rice or a few packets of silica gel (unopened) from a shoebox. If you live in a particularly humid location I recommend the silica gel packets. Hope this helps! -Bren
My son has SUPER sensitive skin, so I’m trying to make things myself to be safer. Can I use this on whites and colors, I saw it had bleach so I just wanted to be sure before I ruin clothes😬 thank you!!
Amanda, the “bleach” in this recipe is oxygen bleach which is safe on colors and whites. Be sure to separate loads!
So today I made the “sample” batch and I can’t wait to try it. I also tried out the microwave method I keep seeing online in place of grating. Well either I did it too long or it doesn’t work with Kirk’s brand. It came out brown and possibly burnt?? Eek. Do you think it will affect the end result? I started to throw it out and then hated to waste it so I made the mix with it anyways. I guess we’ll see!
This looks amazing thank you for sharing! As I step towards being greener (not totally there yet) I still have a number of non-cotton fabrics in my wardrobe. I’m wondering which fabrics (wool, cotton, acrylic, nylon, etc.) this can be used on?
Thank you again! Can’t wait to make it.
Kate, I use it on all my machine washables. However, if you are concerned about a particular item/fabric I would spot test to be sure.
Hi Bren, love your recipes, I do the liquid detergent with Sal’s Suds (as I don’t have the appliances to make this cheaper powder detergent) and I love it ! I was wondering though, what are your favorite commercial powders/the A-graded powder you mention here at 21c/load? I would like to compare the prices with what the homemade liquid one costs (I’m in Canada, I feel like the prices of your ingredients and mine sometimes vary wildly) or just have a backup in case I didn’t have time to make homemade in advance and have urgent laundry to do. Thank you !
Hubert, my favorites right now are biokleen liquid, ecover zero liquid and grab green pods.
Is it ok to leave out the oxygen bleach powders but add in hydrogen peroxide instead for brightening and disinfectanting the clothes during wash? Thank you.
I’ve never made the detergent this way. Let me know if you try!
Baby Oxiclean is no longer rated A on EWG. I’m not sure why. I just wanted to let you know case you wanted to make an update. I really loved this laundry detergent, btw!!
Thanks Kasey! Time to start looking for alternated oxygen bleach powders!
Have you found an alternarive to the Oxiclean baby? I’m curious if you have replaced or eliminated this product, or if you are still utilizing it. I’m excited to try this recipe as my first step to cleaner alternative s!
Rachel, I have been using Molly’s Suds Oxygen Brightener in my laundry but I have not yet used it in a batch of detergent. Let me know if you try it!
OxiClean Free and Baby are now a B per EWG. I think the post should be updated for accuracy. I’m still going to make this though, thank you!
Is it possible to use Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap (or liquid castile soap) instead of grating the solid version?
Thanks for sharing!
Ann, you cannot use liquid castile soap in this recipe. You can use it in my liquid detergent recipe.
Hi, I really appreciate your recipe, but in making my own detergent rather than buying a more expensive brand of natural detergent, I find there is a lot of plastic packaging involved in your ingredients.
It may not be possible, but I would like to see you tackle the task of making natural detergent without involving a lot of plastic waste. What do you think?
Lynda, I’m always trying to eliminate more plastics! I’ll let you know if I find new tips for this mix. My favorite tip right now: try buying your ingredients at a natural store where you can buy in bulk and refill your own containers.
Hi, I’m so excited to have found this recipe and can’t wait to try it. My question is this: I don’t have a scale to weigh the ingredients. Is it okay to approximate the amounts? Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, but I think i could reasonably eyeball it based on the total weight in the package…? Thanks!!
Julie, I’m definately guilty of “Eyeballing” the recipe at times I don’t want to wash measuring cups! It has worked fine for me!
Can I ask what the salt does exactly? I want to make this but not sure if I should try it with the salt or not.
Question about the soap. We can’t use anything coconut based due to allergies in my kids. Do you know if a good, natural soap that doesn’t contain coconut and would work in this recipe? (Yes being natural and coconut free is a nightmare)
Sabrin, I have use olive oil soap (Kiss My Face) successfully in the powdered detergent. Also have you seen my liquid version? Good luck!
I made this and it didn’t dissolve. I even tried putting it in a cup of water first and it still had grainy material at the bottom. Now I have 3 huge jars of this and its a total waste. What did I do wrong? Any thoughts on how to fix it? The only sub I made was not buying oxy-clean and getting the molly suds instead. Help!
Catherine, I did a little research and it looks like Molly’s Suds contains “Sodium percarbonate, sodium carbonate, citric acid and pure lemon essential oil” while Oxiclean Free contains “sodium carbonate peroxide, sodium carbonate, silicic acid, polyacrylic acid, and alcohol ethoxylates.” I am guessing the citric acid might be causing the problem, it tends to be grainy and very hard to dissolve. You can try using the detergent with a vinegar rinse and see how it works for you.
Thanks so much! I really hate for it to go to waste! When I do the vinegar does it happen after the wash or at the start?
Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have been using it for three years now and I love it.
Hi I’m from the uk, what is the arm and hammer wash soap? Also can you recommend an oxy cleaner to add from uk? Thanks
Washing soda is another name for sodium carbonate, read more about it here. Oxiclean is mostly sodium percarbonate look for an “Oxygen Whitener” that contains sodium percarbonate. You can also read more in the Laundry Deergent Q&A. Good Luck!
I have a question…It seems neither OxiClean Free or OxiClean Baby’s new formulations get A ratings from the EWG anymore. But…LAs Totally Awesome Oxygen Cleaner gets an A rating and seems to be basically the same product…
The only difference I can tell between LAs Totally Awesome and OxiClean Baby is that OxiClean Baby contains a couple extra ingredients, and these are the ingredients ruining the A rating:
– ALCOHOL ETHOXYLATES (C12-15)
– POLYACRYLIC ACID
So my question is…do you know if those two ingredients are extra, unneeded junk or “This is why it works!” stuff? Would you recommend using LAs Totally Awesome in place of OxiClean Baby to keep with the A rating?
Thanks for your advice! I got most of the stuff I need and am hoping to make a batch this weekend or next! 🙂 Stoked to see how it turns out! I’ll be skipping the Epsom Salts, but using your jarred fabric softener recipe. I also got some white vinegar and a Downy Ball to deal with soap scum. So…1 TB + Downy Ball in the wash, fabric softener cloth in the dryer – that’s the plan! 🙂
I would try substituting Biokleen Oxygen Bleach or Molly’s Suds Oxygen Whitener. Make sure to use an amount equal to the Oxiclean in the recipe. Good luck!
Oxiclean recently updated their formulas and are no longer safe ingredients 🙁 they use ingredients that rate an F or D. Do you have an alternative?
I would try substituting Biokleen Oxygen Bleach or Molly’s Suds Oxygen Whitener if you do not want to use Oxiclean. Make sure to use an amount equal to the Oxiclean in the recipe. Also, it’s important to look at the overall rating for products as well as each individual ingredient. The EWG does an amazing job of pulling a ton of information together into a searchable database that includes both individual ingredient and overall product use information. The overall score is for the intended use of the product so an ingredient can rate poorly overall (for all found uses) but still rate okay in a particular use. Hope this makes sense!
I will be making this as soon as the Castille bar of soap comes in today (got everything else yesterday). So this will probably last me a year as it says it makes over 300 worth of loads. Will the ingredients not expire until that long? And thanks for the recipe. I’m looking forward to using it!
Maiko, the detergent does not contain any ingredients that should go bad. I have had no problems storing it for long periods of time in an airtight container. Good luck!
i had one problem when making this detergent. i used kirk’s coco castile soap. first i grated it in a food processor. then i put the grated soap in my vitamix and ground it as much as possible. this though, made it dusty. as careful as i am every time i open the container with the detergent in it and scoop a spoonful i get dust up my nose or in my throat. did i grind the soap too much?
Awesome….laundry detergent….I used the Himalayan pink Epsom salt….and the other ingredients….clothes have an incredibly naturally fresh scent….have been using for about 6 months….I am pleased that it is natural and more environmentally friendly 🤗
I don’t use Oxyclean with dark colors as I heard it will weaken the color. Have you seen this happen with your mix?
I have not had a problem.
Hi I’m faithfully using your recipes for laundry detergent, fabric softener and bathroom cleaner. They work fantastically well and I’m so glad to have found your site! I’m up in Canada and we measure using metric, I’m horrible with conversion so any chance you can convert the measurements into metric for less savvy math Canucks like myself?
I’ll try to get around to it!
Hi there! I’m excited to try your natural laundry detergent(s) (haven’t decided yet if I want to do powder or liquid). I’m curious though about the epsom salt, since it’s listed as an optional ingredient, what is it’s purpose exactly? does it lose any benefit if omitted? does it add benefit if used?
Some people think it softens the laundry better. I could tell no difference so I do not use.
We are on a well and I am about to make your dry soap adding Epsom salt since I line dry most of the time. I’m going to make your spot cleaner as well. I’ll also be adding vinegar in the softener section.
Have you had any feedback on adding the Epsom salt? And if my water needs additional softening, what should I add more of and in what increments until I get it right for my well water?
Thanks so much!
I would use extra baking soda (just add the the machine as needed) to help soften the water and skip the Epsom salt. The vinegar rinse will also help. Good luck.
I made your soap with epsom salt prior to seeing your response. 🥺 Have you ever heard of anyone getting dry or itchy skin after using it? I’m trying to eliminate different possibilities. Thx so much!
I have a few questions:
What brand is your food processor? The one I have doesn’t seem to be strong enough to shred the soap.
Also how large is your glass container for your detergent? I bought a 1 gal mason jar, but I am wondering if I need a bigger one?
I’ve used a few food processors on this recipe (Ninja, kitchen aid). I’m not sure the exact size but I usually buy a medium one. I would use a hand box grater if your machine is struggling… no need to kill an appliance! 😉 I store in a 2 gallon glass jar or 2 1-gallon jars. Good luck!
We are on a well and our water is hard. I also line dry everything unless weather is bad. Would adding the Epsom salt help with that? Or how would you adjust your recipe for well water and still get an A grade?
I would eliminate the Epsom salt from the recipe, make as instructed and add an extra scoop of baking soda to soften the water if necessary when adding the laundry to the machine. I would use vinegar to rinse. Good luck!
Thank you so much! 😊
What size container do you store this mixture in? Seems like a big load!
..can’t wait to try!
I store in 2 1-gallon glass jars.
Can you use any brand of essential oils for this?
As long as they are 100% pure, not artificial fragrance oils. Just look on the bottle!
Well, I thought I read on another one of your posts about natural detergent that you should not add essential oil, as the fragrance will be removed with the rinse cycle (and will also not hold up in a dryer). Did I miss something about how/when to add essential oil? I would love to add a nice pure lavender scent, but don’t want to waste essential oil. Thanks.
The essential oils are a catch 22, people LOVE their laundry to smell and ask about it all the time. However, most are looking for the huge burst of scent that dangerous chemicals give laundry. Essential oils can add scent to your laundry process/ laundry room and faintly scent laundry but will mostly rinse out with the water and are never going to give the huge scent of man-made chemicals. I use some in my fabric softener to mask the scent of vinegar and make the laundry process more pleasurable. I do not use them in the detergent as it smells fresh and clean already. Hope this helps! Bren
Hello, I’ve been using this for 6 months and I did not add Epsom salt in the first batch but I wondered if adding the Epsom salt would give it a boost since I live in an area with hard water?
I would leave out the Epsom salt if you have hard water. You can add a scoop of washing soda or baking soda to the washer drum if needed.
Can i use this recipe on a cold rinse wash?? Im worried it will clog my machine. Do you wash on cold?
I wash on warm or cold. If you are concerned about dissolving you can dissolve the detergent in a small glass of warm water then pour over the clothes.
Thank you so much for your posts! I’m a high school biology teacher, and my colleagues and I are having students design their own natural laundry detergent as an engineering task to explain what they’ve learned about the science of cleaning (chemistry review). I’ve used your idea of evaluating EWG ratings and costs as part of their criteria for formula design. This was a fantastic idea! In terms of determining “cost per load,” how did you determine how many tablespoons were in each batch? Since students will have some freedom of choice and this is our first “unit” together, I want to try and make cost calculations as easy as possible. Plus, they will not be making a full batch. Too expensive for 100 groups of students! Thank your for your time.
Corin, I measured the batch into cups (US dry measuring cups) then calculated the number of tbsp (based on 16 tbsp per cup). You could have your students measure the number of tablespoons in a cup manually then measure how many total cups of detergent. Hope they enjoy the project!
What is the purpose of the epsom salts and why did you choose not to use them?
The Epsom salts are supposed to help soften, but I found they did not make a difference and can make hard water worse so I leave them out.
Thank you so much for all your hard work and putting these recipes out there for the rest of us! I really appreciate that you explain why you use certain ingredients and why you leave out others.
I’ve been using your powder laundry detergent recipe and it works very well. Just one question… is there a way to turn these into tablets?
Jodi, I’ve never made tablets. I’m not sure they would dissolve properly. Sorry!
This is the best homemade laundry detergent! My husband’s laundry has never come out of the washer smelling fresh or just no smell. (He’s a plumber.) This recipe makes his work clothes smell like nothing. I will NEVER use any other detergent again! I got my mom and mother in law using it as well. We all swear by it!
I’m glad it’s working well for you, Hannah!
Sorry, I didn’t know where to comment, but can I add essential oils to the mix or will it ruin anything already in the recipe??
You can add them but the clothes will not smell once the wash is done. Read more here.
I have a question regarding the ratio of the soap to the other ingredients. I use metric measurements and used an online calculator. So for 455g of soap it’s 1810g of baking soda and 1720 of washing soda. Is that correct? I found other recipes where the soap to soda ratio was more like 2:1 or 1:2. So more soap then soda. Is there a reason why your recipe uses way less soap?
2:1 or 1:1 I meant.
I prefer to use less soap since too much soap in laundry detergent can create too many suds, leading to a buildup in the washer and on clothes over time.
This recipe looks great and I’m very intrigued to try it! But I follow plenty of naturalists online and it’s now coming out that almost all soap based DIY laundry powders can’t be fully rinsed out in a washing machine and end up leaving soap grime on your clothes. Something about them not having a surfactant that rinses your clothes clean. EVERYONE is now saying this, so I’m concerned about making the switch. Can you speak into this issue? I don’t want to make a large batch and potentially end up ruining my clothes.
Kaylee, I wrote an article about the topic her: Do Homemade Laundry Detergents Really Work? If you are hesitant you might want to try my liquid detergent which makes a small batch and can be made with your choice of soap or detergent.
Good morning Bren.
I made my first batch of Laundry Detergent (Powder) and I am very happy with the results. There is no going back.
When I was going to add my fourth load, I saw a little lump of detergent in the washing machine. Apparently, it doesn’t dissolve completely.
I made it with a Castile soap that I bought locally. For my surprise, it has some ingredients that I can’t pronounce: Titanium . . ., Disodium . . ., etc. I read the label too late. Could this be the reason?
My next batch will include the Castile soap you recommend. I already ordered it following your link.
Rosita, I’m sorry you had dissolving problems! It may be from the additives. I haven’t used that soap so I can’t be sure. I would try adding the detergent to the tub before you add the laundry or mix it with a cup of warm water to make sure it dissolves before adding it to the laundry.
Thanks. I followed your suggestion and it works. I also made the All Purpose Cleaner, the Orange Vinegar, the Hand foaming Soap and the Fabric Softener.
Love the idea of making my own laundry soap. What is the volume of This recipe? Not sure what I should store it in.
I store it in a 2 gallon glass container or several smaller glass jars.
Thank you for the recipe and info. I’m wanting to make a liquid laundry detergent, as I mainly wash with cold water. I did read your article on liquid detergent, but I’m wondering if I could keep the same ingredients in this powder recipe by simply melting the Castile soap bar and adding the dry ingredients to hot water. I know you were concerned about making big batches, but I will be washing cloth diapers on almost a daily basis.
Could I melt the Castile soap bar and use the washing soda, baking soda, and oxiclean baby with water?
I’m also more of a fan of this recipe as it’s less expensive.
Unfortunately you can’t premake it as a liquid detergent. The Oxiclean will react and loose it’s cleaning power. I think your best bet is to make the detergent an dissolve in a small cup of warm water each time you do laundry or make the liquid detergent.
Okay, I understand. Thank you!
I can’t seem to find Oxiclean Baby anywhere in my city and amazon won’t ship to me.
I found a Dr. Axe homemade laundry soap recipe that uses the same ingredients except the oxiclean. https://draxe.com/homemade-laundry-soap/
I think I’m going to try yours or his recipe without the oxiclean and hope it’s just as effective.
Love all the information you have on this website! Using this recipe, how much do you use in a regular load in an HE machine? (Is it different than the amount used in a regular washing machine?)
I use 1-2 tbsp in a HE or regular machine depending on load size.
How long have you been using this? Has it hurt your machine in any way? That’s what I keep seeing. We have been using your recipe for almost a year now though and love it!
Tonya, I’ve been using the detergent for about 5 years. I also use my homemade liquid laundry detergent and store bought natural detergent if I am too busy to make my own. I always use a vinegar rinse and have had no trouble with my machine.
I love your site! Thanks for all that you share. I love that you’re not obsessed with vinegar and EOs in your ingredients (even if they’re good). I’m sensitive to fragrances, even natural ones, and it’s really difficult (and expensive) to find unscented products in store.
I can’t find OxiClean on this side of the world. I think I’ve found three alternatives, and I would really appreciate it if you could help me choose one, or at least give insights since you’re better at these things and it can be overwhelming.
Here they are with the ingredients:
Brand A (Ecostore)
– sodium bicarbonate
– sodium carbonate peroxide
– sodium citrate
– sodium sulphate
– tetraacetyl ethalinediamine (TAED)
– sodium coco sulphate
– helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil
Brand B (Kao)
– sodium carbonate
Brand C (Vanish)
– sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (sodium percarbonate)
– oxygen based bleaching agent (30%)
– anionic surfactants (5%)
– non-ionic surfactants
I’m guessing Brand A is the most transparent with its ingredients. Brand B is the cheapest. Brand C is the more popular brand.
Thank you so much! 🙂
Kate, I would pick the one closest to Oxiclean Baby or Oxiclean Free to make sure it will work in this detergent recipe. You can see the ingredients of each in the EWG guide here: Oxiclean Baby and Oxiclean Free. Hope this helps!
Hello! I tried the liquid detergent using Castille Soap and twice now my detergent has turned into gel. I’m almost positive I followed all the directions and when I’m finished it seems to look like your pictures but once the mixture has been cooling from about 5 hours it turns into a white gel. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Have you had that happen before or do you have any tips for me? Thanks!
The white gel is not uncommon. The difference in appearance/thickness can be caused by the hardness of water in your area and/or the products you used. You can thin the liquid laundry detergent and dish washing soap with water to the consistency you desire. Add a bit more per load to make up for the extra water. Good luck!
how much of your detergent should be used?
I read 1 tbsp.. it’s much less than premade detergent!!!!
Is it enough?
I am using it with quite hard water, using Citric acid solution instead of white vinegar as softener (it doesn’t pour in the washing machine at the beginning, so it doesn’t mess with basic ingredients
Talia, the amount depends on your load size, washer size, and type of laundry. I recommend starting with 1 or 2 tablespoons and working your way up if needed. I’m not sure how the citric acid solution will work, I’ve only used white vinegar as a rinse. Good luck!
Ok I’ll try and maybe provide feedback.. I think u should try citric acid.. It’s cheaper than vinegar and it’s as natural as it is..
Talia, I’ll have to check it out! is your solution just water and citric acid?
i use a 10% solution (100g citric acid and 1L distilled water)…
I use the water from the dryer.. so it cost me +/- 50 cent/bottle…
Let me know if U like it..
Someone commented on citric acid as being “natural.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It is synthetically derived from mold. I wont buy food products with it, nor do I want to rub it on my skin from my clothes.
Kiesha, citric acid exists in many different fruits and vegetables, and is especially concentrated in lemons and limes. Lab-made citric acid is fermented using mold and there is some debate about whether it is good or bad to consume. You can read more about the debate here: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/citric-acid#safety
Hi! How big is the container you store the full batch in?
Shannon, I mix my detergent in a HUGE 50-ounce plastic container (it once held a Costco amount of pretzels). It’s about 2/3 full with a full batch of detergent. I store some in that container and some in a 2-quart glass swing top jar that looks pretty on my laundry room shelf (When I’m lazy it all stays in the plastic container!) 😉
I’m only seeing 7oz NOT LB boxes of super washing soda. They are 3lb. Is this the same as one box?
I use a box that is 55 ounces (which is that same as 3 lbs 7 ounces). You can use any size box as long as the total weight of super washing soda equals 55 ounces.
I am such a newbie at this DIY laundry detergent. Ok so I “modified” your recipe and didn’t have the Oxi clean and prefer to use Clorox to clean whites.
I called myself halfling your ingredients but not sure if this will work. Easy enough and not afraid to use this mixture for other cleaning if it’s a fail. Thanks so much for your suggestions and hard work. I have been looking at other comments to get ideas. Ok so this is what I did LOL!
2 grated bars of 8 oz. Castile soap
32 ozs or 2 lb. Baking soda
16 oz of Epsom salt
1 box of washing soda..Lord help me!!
So I will let you know how it goes. Thanks again!!
Thanks for commenting, Chrystal. It will be interesting to see if it cleans without the Oxiclean.
Is there anything you could put in the detergent to make it smell good that would be safe?
I have a BIG discussion about adding scent in my laundry detergent Q&A: https://brendid.com/natural-homemade-laundry-detergent-question-and-answer/. Please check it out and let me know if you still have questions! 😉
Hi there! I’m spending this year making my home as chemical-free as possible so homemade recipes are my go-to. I’m hesitant to use any premade store-bought detergents like OxiClean, but I saw that it is A-rated. I would, however, still like to see an ingredients list for it and I cannot locate one online. Would it be possible for you to share the ingredients in the OxiClean Baby or maybe a photo of it?
PS-I look forward to using this recipe regardless as it seems to be the most nontoxic I have found, thank you!
It is hard to get the exact ingredients of most US products because they are not required by law to be listed on the container. You can see the Oxiclean material data safety sheet here. The EWG guide gives Oxiclean Baby and Oxiclean Free ratings of A and B . Hope this helps.
I wondered if you have ratios for a smaller amount of the Non-toxic Homemade Laundry Detergent? I have made detergent before I didn’t care for and, although this sounds really great, I would like to try it before I commit to such a large amount.
Readers have made a “sample” batch with these measurements:
1/2 bar Kirk’s Castile
1/2 c. Baking soda
1 c. Washing soda
3/4 c. Oxiclean Baby
Read more in Homemade Laundry Detergent Q&A
Can I add essential oil? If so, how much? I do not have a food processor so do I just grate it like cheese? I’ m excited to try this and hopefully make some Christmas gifts.
Yes, grate with a fine grater. Yes, you can add essential oils, but I find it to be a waste. Read more in my Homemade Detergent Q & A.
Nearly all the ingredients are ready made. People who doesn’t live in the US(like me) may not able to find the products you suggested. Is there a way to replace these ready-made products? May be there are brands that have the same or at least similar quality but is it possible to make all the ingredients at home?
I’m sorry, I am not familiar with all the products available to my readers outside of the United States so I can’t make any suggestions.
I have been using this laundry detergent for a year now and have found it to be the most economical and the best detergent I have ever used. I have very sensitive skin and have not had any reactions. Great detergent! Thank You for the recipe, I have passed it on.
Great recipe! I just want to ask whether it will damage my colored clothes or not?
Pablo, I have been using this detergent for several years and have not had any problems.
I made this last September and am just now about to run out! We started the year as a family of 4 and are now 5 so it lasts a long time. I have been really pleased with how it works except I’ve noticed that it doesn’t get out oil like regular detergents. Specifically, breastmilk leaves marks on my clothes. Do you know of anything safe that could be added to be a degreaser?
Kelli, I make this stain sauce or this easy all-purpose cleaner to treat grease stains. You can also spray on a little dishsoap diluted with water onto the spot before washing (1 tsp soap to 1 cup water). Hope this helps! Glad you like the detergent.
I’m trying to ‘green-up’ my life as I have cancer and have found your website invaluable. However, on reading the ahprofessional.com link above, I can’t see how Oxyclean, or any version of sodium percarbonate, can be considered an A on EWG. If serious eye irritation and aquatic toxicity, plus the usual skin and inhalation irritation count as an A, what on earth counts as F?! With mixing up powders of these , we must be exposing ourselves to the ingredients. I’m begining to feel as if there is no really safe way of effectively and easily cleaning! Didn’t that data sheet worry you? I assume hydrogen peroxide’s data sheet would look pretty scary too! But maybe so does humble vinegar/acetic acid. I feel so confused!
Your recipes do seem to be as green as they get though, and I love the science and explanations behind everything. Thank you!
On a side note, it would be super helpful if you could mark the recipes where you have since discovered that the ingredient combination neutralise themselves please.
Helen, it is overwhelming to start a more natural cleaning routine and to start reading all the data, ingredients, and conflicting information. If you want a 100% natural detergent you will have to use something like soap nuts. Otherwise I just try to make an educated decision about where, how and how much of the product is being used. Hope this helps! As fas as ingredient combination neutralizing themselves… you can read more here. My recipes do not include those combinations.
Thanks so much for the great recipes and natural concoctions. Can you please share where you found OxiClean Baby for $9.99?
I’ve been using Oxiclean Free from Target for $8.49. They stopped carrying Oxiclean Baby. You can get Oxiclean Baby
at Walmart for $7.04.
Can you use this with having a water softener ?
I have not used it with a water softener but it should not change anything about the detergent. Good luck!
Hi Bren! I’ve really been enjoying your site and getting some great recipes and tips to make my home more naturally clean! I opened my Citrus-infused Vinegar last night and it smells AMAZING! Can’t wait to incorporate it with some cleaners. OK the reason I’m commenting on this post is I found a neat trick to breaking down those bars of soap before we all get Carpal Tunnel. Since I don’t have a heavy duty food processor and grating that much soap is out for me , I found this!
Thanks for the tip, Amanda. Let me know if you try it with Castille soap! 😉
Ignore my previous question about clumping – I saw your response to a previous question!!
I plan on making this soon, but have a question. Have you found the detergent to get “stuck together” or clumpy? (make sense?)
I’ve made other homemade detergents (laundry and dishwasher) but they clumped together and I resorted to using a knife to break apart and ultimately threw it out. Basically, the concoction dried up and was like a brick.
I’m glad I found this! I have a small child, and have been looking for a natural detergent to use! I will be trying this out soon. Do you still use this recipe often?
Yes, it’s my favorite homemade detergent recipe!
I made this recipe yesterday and I am so amazed how clean my laundry is with just 2 tablespoons of detergent. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this amazing borax free laundry detergent recipe.
Thanks Jessica! I’m thrilled it is working well for you.
Hi, I just made my second batch of this detergent. I liked the way it cleansed the odors from my clothes, but noticed oily looking spots on almost every item after washing. I read that this could be because we have hard water, so the powdered detergent isnt dissolving completely. How can I turn this powdered recipe into a liquid detergent? ( Do you think that would solve my problem?) Thank you!
Sabrina, if you want to try a liquid detergent try this recipe. You can also dissolve the detergent in a little warm water before pouring it over the laundry.
I know this is an older post, but thank you so much for this recipe! My 4yo son has sensitive skin, and regular detergent would cause his skin to get red and itchy. I tried three different types of “gentle” detergent and still had the same problem. I made this a month ago and no more redness. I line dry our clothes, and they come off the line soft without any additional dryer time with laundry balls or anything! I love this recipe (although I only had a hand grater so it took me some time!), and since trying it my son and I have also made your foaming hand soap, room spray, and all purpose cleaner. I love that my son can help me make and use all the products without me worrying about the chemicals he might come in contact with that would cause a reaction.
I’m so glad that the products are working well for you son, Stephanie!
I’m thinking of making my own Oxiclean generic. Basically it is sodium carbonate peroxide & sodium carbonate. Since the Arm & Hammer is sodium carbonate couldn’t I just use pure sodium carbonate peroxide and sodium carbonate and leave out the Arm & Hammer washing soda? Would appreciate your thoughts and suggestion on ratios of the 2 ingredients.
Hi Donna. I am not sure what ratio you would use. Here is the ingredient breakdown for Oxiclean, you might find it helpful: https://churchdwight.com/ingredient-disclosure/laundry-fabric-care/40002383-oxi-versatile-stain-remover-fragrance-free.aspx If you check out this material data sheet you can see the percent of each used by weight: https://www.ahprofessional.com/_downloads/sds/SDS%20OxiClean%20Versatile%20Stain%20Remover.pdf
Are the measurements still the same if I don’t use the oxiclean?
I’ve never made it without Oxiclean so I’m not sure how it would work.
Thank you so much for this!!! I spent a day on EWG, checking out our products. Ours weren’t on there and I’m tired of membership fees. I grew up on shaklee and use it in my own home. My mother wouldn’t even let us in the detergent isle as kids. As a one income family with lots of laundry we have been looking for an economical option, and my husband needs scented detergent. This is perfect and we are going to do this for our weekend project! P.S. I had to drop some unfortunate news to my sisters about their new found favorite products- melaleuca. ALL F’s.
I’m glad to be of service, Ginger. Hope you like the detergent!
I am hoping it was just a fluke or maybe I did it wrong? I tried using this last night for the first time and for the most part I love the result! The only problem I did have so far was that the clothes on top (that the detergent got poured onto) still had detergent on them, It didn’t dissolve from them… I did wash them on cold, but I noticed on another comment you said it would dissolve in cold water. Any ideas what might have gone wrong?
Kaydee, it really depends on the temperature of your cold water. When using super cold water I recommend dissolving it in warm water (I have also allowed a bit of warm water to run into the machine over the detergent and then switched to cold). Good luck!
When I use powder detergent I put it in first in my machine then the clothes, because doing it in reverse I had the same problem. Hope that helps.
I am wondering if this soap dissolves well when washing with cold water?
Yes, it dissolves in cold water. If you have extremely cold water (like well water) you can pre-dissolve it in a small cup of warm water or try my liquid laundry detergent. Good luck!
Hi Bren, thanks for all of your efforts and your willingness to share your knowledge! My personal idea of “The Holy Grail of Laundry Detergent” adds one additional criteria – which is none of the ingredients are purchased from companies that test on animals. That takes Oxiclean and Arm & Hammer baking soda off the list. I can get baking soda from other sources but Oxiclean poses more of a challenge. I was wondering if using sodium carbonate peroxide (which gets an A from EWG) is something you may have tried or if you have thoughts around whether this ingredient would perform similarly? Thanks!
Thanks for commenting, Lori. Oxiclean is mostly sodium percarbonate so some reader have tried using Sodium Percarbonate as a substitute. If you want to experiment with Sodium Percarbonate I would use only 1/2- 3/4 of the Oxiclean amount since the pure Sodium Percarbonate has no fillers. You could also search for other Oxygen bleaches that are animal friendly, I found this one on Amazon: Ecos Oxi Brite
How did you determine that 183 oz would give you 320 loads? How many tablespoons does 183 equal? Also were you going by using 1 or 2 tablespoons per load?
One dry ounce equals approximately 2.38 tablespoons so 183 ounces is approximately 435 tablespoons (these are rough measurements). Using 1 Tablespoon per load you should get at least 400 loads. If you use 2 tbsp for every single load you will get approximately 217 loads. I tend to get at least 320 loads per batch using 1 tablespoon for smaller loads and 2 for large or extra dirty loads.
Thank you! I just made up a batch but had to use “normal” Kirk’s and slightly different Oxiclean. I’m excited to try it! Can I post information about this on my own blog? I would link to this post. I like to share “thrifty” finds.
Thanks for posting, Virginia. You can definitely post about the laundry detergent on your blog. However please send your readers here for the ingredients/instructions.
I left a comment on one of these laundry detergent recipe pages and I don’t see it here. But, since you are responding to comments made in January 2018 here, I’ll ask my question again.
I am being told in no uncertain terms that using soap in any DIY detergent recipe is going to create a build up on my clothes and in my washing machine. I have read as much of what you have written on your blog about your experiences with the recipe and you do say, you’ve had no problem with cleanliness of the clothes or having a problem with your machine. But – you did make a statement at the end of your ‘Do Homemade Laundry Detergents Really Work?’ page, that made me wonder. You said…
“THE FINAL DECISION HOMEMADE OR STORE BOUGHT?
I would rather deal with a few disadvantages to using soap for laundry than expose my family to unnecessary man-made chemicals. You should decide what is right for your family.”
That to me would indicate there are a few disadvantages, but what are they? All I saw you say, was that you were happy with using it and there were no disadvantages. So I’d really be happy to know what the trade offs are. If my laundry is not going to be as clean, or have a scent, or I have to do a little more to get whites, white, I can live with that. But if my clothes and the washing machine are going to develop a build up of residue after a few months, that is a different matter. Especially if the machine is going to end up with a build up. If it’s the clothes, well, no harm no foul. I could switch back to a different detergent and that would be the end, but if the machine was affected, that might not be so easy to solve. So, I’d really appreciate a specific answer about whether or not you have experienced any buildup or soap scum in your machine over time and if so, if you had to do something to address that? Also you seem to indicate you moved around some, so I find myself with the question of whether you were using the same machine long enough to determine that no, there was no build up. Thanks so much. 🙂
Liz, I reread her article and I interpreted the disadvantage as having to take the time and make the laundry soap. It is safer for the family but it does take time.
I have tried homemade recipes in the past and have not been happy with them. I just started using this and the jury is still out 🙂.
To save time, I cut up the soap and put it in the microwave. This puffed it up and then I put it in the food processor. Easier on my processor.
Interesting technique, Bonnie. I’ve seen the microwave soap experiment done with kids. I wonder if it affects the cleaning power of the soap?
I don’t think so! I’ve tried other recipes and just wasn’t happy with the cleaning ability. I also discovered I hated grating soap 🙂
My test subject was my sons work clothes which come home caked in mud. It was taking 2 washing’s with my commercial detergent. 2 tablespoons and the clothes came out spotless! I was so amazed!!
I did find that I had not made the soap fine enough because I was getting residual soap on my clothes at first. So I put it back through my food processor and made the mixture finer in texture. No soap residue and a fantastic cleaning job! Thank you Bren!!
I was skeptical to make my own laundry soap because I heard blames that “they don’t work” and “it doesn’t remove odor from clothes”. Well I’m here to say that this stuff works! Not to mention, I had an accident if the female sorts today, and did not pretreat my undergarment. I just threw it in there and hoped for the best. To my surprise it got the stain out! My clothes are completely odorless and feel nice and clean. I used the home made dryer sheet recipe in addition to my wool dryer balls as well. My clothes feel so soft. Next time I will leave out the essential oil because I really can’t notice that it left a scent. But that’s not a concern of mine. Clean clothes are. And this stuff is legit. So glad I stumbled upon this recipe. It makes a ton! I made my friend sample bottles of each!
I’m so glad the laundry detergent is working great for you, Haleigh! I had out samples to my friends too! 😉
i know it’s been a couple of years since this post and Kirks could’ve changed their recipe since then, but I scanned the soap into the “think dirty” app and they rated it at 9 for the fragrance. What soap are you currently using or would you replace this with?!
Jordan, I use the non-scented version of Kirks in the recipe but any CAstille soap will work. Just use the same number of ounces. I also love Dr Woods and Dr Bronner soaps. Good luck!
I’m sorry if this is a duplicate question, I had trouble reading ALL of the feedback on your post!! I have made my own laundry detergent using Borax, Washing Soda and Castille bar soap. I have since read an enormous amount of information that says soap does not actually get into the fibers of clothing and will instead build up over time on clothes, and that DETERGENT is necessary to actually clean clothes well. And that many ingredients found in home made laundry recipes are water softeners that do not actually contribute to the cleaning process of clothes. Are any of the ingredients in your recipe considered DETERGENTS rather then soap? Thoughts?..I specifically read a womens blog who used home made powder for months. She then stripped a load of “clean” clothes that she had been using her DIY recipe on and the water from that load was GROSS! Ugh..so confusing
Brina, I actaully wrote a whole post about this question. You can read it here: Do Homemade Laundry Detergents Really Work?
What is your opinion on this powder or your other liquid formula?
Are you asking which I prefer? I think both work equally well but I generally use this homemade powdered detergent because it makes 300 loads and is easy to store.
I purchased Dr. Bonner castile soap bar but they are 5oz each. Should I use 3, 15oz or 4, 20oz? Thanks!
You should use 16 ounces of soap to make the recipe. Save the leftover soap from the last bar for your next batch or use it in the shower. It’s great body soap.
Do you also use your food processor on food after the soap? Is 1-2 tbsp enough for a load of laundry? Will all the ingredients fit in that 1-2 tbsp?
Yes, I use my food processor for food after grating soap. As I mention in the post “The soap has not injure my food processor at all. It washes out easily and does not leave a scent.” Yes, I use 2 Tablespoons per load for my large HE machine.
I was just looking at my Borax version because I’m needing to buy more ingredients. Thanks for the post and for doing all the homework for us. Definitely plan to try this healthier laundry detergent instead. 🙂
Thanks, Becca. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
My roommate wants a borax free homemade laundry detergent. But I don’t have a good processor. Do I still need to put the castile soap in the food processor? Can I still use Purex Crystals?
Patricia, I would check out my liquid laundry detergent recipes if you want a borax free recipe and don’t want to grate soap. I do not use Purex Crystals in any of my recipes because they contain artificial fragrance and rate a C on the EWG Healthy Cleaning Guide.
I LOVE THIS!!! Finally got around to making this and all I can say is ‘WOW’!!! I use 1 tb for regular laundry and 2 tb for my dog potty pads. They come out clean and WHITE. Amazing!
I have also been using straight white vinegar, for the rinse, and my laundry has NEVER been so soft. Works great with dryer or line dry. I am a convert and have been converting friends to a more chemical free life.
Thank you SO much for posting all you do!
Thanks Sheila! I’m so glad it works for you!
So this is a natural recipe? I would really like to know, its for a science project and it has to be “Earth-friendly”.
Margret, EWG ratings are meant to protect both human health and the environment. Hope this answers your question!
So this recipe is Earth-friendly or is it just non-toxic? It would be really great if it was both.
Adrienne, the EWG ratings are meant to protect both human health and the environment. Hope this answers your question!
thank you so much Bren!!
I am so excited to make this detergent 🙂 but i have a small problem. In Europe we don’t use this measurements. We weight things into grams and kilograms. Could somebody help me to convert this recipe into grams and kilograms. I want to do the right way. Thank you
Could I add hydrogen peroxide instead of oxi clean? Maybe separately in each load?
Sorry, I’ve never tried it with hydrogen peroxide. You would not want to add it to the dry mix.
I’m excited to try out this recipe! Do you happen to know how much this yields? Thank you
Alicia, the recipe makes about 20 cups (320 loads at one tablespoon per load).
I tried the recipe cut in half, used dr bronner lavender scent soap bar, and also used the vinegar rinse. My whites do not come out white a bit on the dingy sid, any help?
You can add a bit more washing soda to boost the whitening power. Make sure you are washing on warm too. Good luck!
I washed my whites in Hot water, towels still came out dingy
Can you please let me know what labels you bought to print out the free labels for the Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener? Also, do you have a label for the Stain Sauce?
Thank you so much for the recipes and all the information. I have been gathering all the ingredients and have been to at least 6 stores. The last of the stuff I had to order online.
I am so excited to get started.
I print the lables on Avery full sheet labels (affiliate link) then cut them out with scissors. I have not made I label for the stain sauce… I will try to get on that soon! I hope you enjoy the cleaners. -Bren
I love this recipe for laundry detergent. I made my first batch 5 months ago, and just yesterday made a second batch. Cleans so well and lasts so long. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks, Danielle. I am so happy the detergent is working well for you!
Was curious to know where you bought a 4 pk of castilles soap for $5.16?
amazon is selling an 8 pk for $17.00 +.
How big of a container do you use to store it?
I store it in a plastic container that holds 2 gallons.
Hi! I’m not sure if this was previously addressed in the comments but I saw that some people asked about using Zote flakes instead of Castile Soap. I just wanted to mention that Zote Flakes received a ‘C’ rating from the EWG so I don’t think this is a great alternative to use especially if you are concerned with the environment! Sorry if this had already been addressed!
Thanks for commenting, Joanna. You are correct, Zote does not rate great. I do not use it in my home. You can read more in the Natural Laundry Detergent Q & A.
I am super interested in trying out this recipe. As I was browsing the web today for recipes, I came across some articles that said that using homemade laundry detergent is actually not good for your clothes as the soap and things can create a film on your clothes. Then this film actually traps dirt and gunk in your clothes. Have you had any problems with this? I don’t want to clean my clothes for them to turn out not actually being clean. Thanks!
Thanks for commenting, Tristan. It depends what ingredeints you are using, some homemade recipes use the wrong ingredients. I am happy to report that my recipe works great. If you want to learn more I wrote a whole post about how homemade detergent works and another detailed q & a about homemade laundry detergent. Let me know if you have more questions! -Bren
Hi, I was wondering why it said cook time 10 minutes. I did not see in the instructions a need for any cooking. Thanks! Looking forward to trying this recipe.
Nancy “cook time” is just the recipe card telling you how long it takes to make… no cooking necessary!
I am so excited to make this – but castile soap where I am is very expensive…
Could I use the Ivory pure and simple soap bars? I can buy a bulk pack of that very cheap.
It has a pretty good rating on EWG … do you know if it will work okay?
Trisha, check out my homemade laundry detergent question & answer. It discusses all the possibilities! Good luck.
Made this today. Haven’t tried it in laundry yet. I was using Norwex powder detergent and liked it but it was pricey.
The prices on you list are way low to current price. I got all on Amazon and cost about $35.
Hi Sharon, I hope you enjoy the detergent. Amazon, while very convenient, is more expesive that buying the ingredients at a local store. You can read my local prices ( $20.75 ) in the comments or Laundry Detergent Question and Answer. Cheers!
I’m extremely pleased with how easy this was to make. I live in an intentional community where electric is limited and I was able to grate the castile soap with a fine cheese grater very easily. The ingredients were easy to find and were even a little cheaper than your listing prices. The ingredients cost less than 20 dollars and will last a long time. I can’t wait to use it! I’m using a large, bpa free cereal storage container to hold it and this makes somewhere near 10 freakin’ pounds of detergent! I’m blown away. I will share this blog post and my satisfaction 🙂 thank you for your hard work! I almost did the liquid detergent but decided on the dry for cost effectiveness, mess reducer and quantity of product. It’s really nice to be able to easily cross reference your recipes and opinions/experiences 🙂
Thanks, Holly! I like the dry detergent best. It last a LONG time and is very cost effective. I hope it works well for you. -Bren
I have used a few homemade luadry soaps but so far none have stood up to my two dogs and their smell. Do you have animals or have a problem getting that particular smell out of your wash? Also would this recipe work for cloth diapers?
I have a huge German Shepherd and wash his bed with this soap. It works great. Use a vinegar rinse or pre-wash with vinegar if you have really stinky dogs. You can my HUGE Q & A about this detergent here and more about homemade detergent in general here.
Where are you purchasing all of your ingredients for this recipe? The links to amazon you have above show much more expensive products. Or are your price calculations outdated? For example, you have the box of baking soda as $2.36 but that Amazon link shows it at $5.95 which is quite a bit different.
Paige, the links are to show the brands I use. If you check out my Homemade Laundry Detergent Question and Answer. I break down where I buy everything.
I’m so glad I ran across your recipe! I was buying natural laundry soap from a lady near me that made it and sold to but she has recently stopped. I have the list of ingredients, just not how much of each. This is the closest recipe I have found so far! The only thing missing is “wet” ingredients. Is there a need for any of these — water? Vegetable glycerin? Coconut oil? It also has essential oils added to some for scent but I read above you said, it was kind of a waste due to its washing of during the wash. Thank you for your opinion.
Thanks for stopping by, Kara! You do not want to add water to this recipe because it will react with Oxiclean in the mix and lose it’s effectiveness. Oxiclean is powdered hydrogen peroxide (Sodium Percarbonate), its cleaning power is released when it hits water so you do not want it to touch liquid before it is in the washer. Coconut oil would just make your laundry more dirty, I am not sure why that was added. Vegetable glycerin does work as a stain remover, but since it is a liquid it would react with the Oxiclean if added to the mix. I would recommend keeping a bottle of vegetable glycerin as a stain treater instead. The essential oils do wash out, but if you prefer nice smelling detergent feel free to use some to make laundry time more fun (I support anything that makes laundry more enjoyable!). If you want a liquid detergent recipe you should check out my recipe here. I also have a LONG laundry detergent question and answer here. Good luck! Let me know if you have more questions and how you like the detergent. -Bren
I from Brasil, just found your blog. There is just One thingh I dont understand about your receipt: why use the OxyClean? It is not just made of “Sodium Percarbonate and Sodium Carbonate”? You just put already the same component using the washing soda ?
Love this blog
Oxiclean is mostly sodium percarbonate (a dry granulated form of hydrogen peroxide) which helps remove stains in laundry. Washing soda is pure sodium carbonate. If you skip the Oxiclean you are skipping the granulated hydrogen peroxide. You don’t have to use Oxiclean, I use it because it is a common brand in the United States and is easy to find. You can use any powdered sodium percarbonate. Hope this answers your question, thanks for commenting! -Bren
Just wondering if using a cheese grater for the bar soap will work? I do not have a food processor
Yes, you can use a grater as long as it has small holes. You want the soap to be in small enough pieces to easily dissolve.
Hi Bren, tested out your recipe in 1/4 part and I love it! It’s the best out of the 3 I have tried. But the catch here is that I can’t get Oxiclean in Singapore, (damn, I can’t get lots of things here) but I have managed to find pure Sodium Percarbonate from Japan. The catch here is 3lb of that cost a whooping of USD22.
So, is there a way I can reduce the amount of Sodium Percarbonate?
I’m so glad you like the recipe, Amy! I have never made it with less Oxiclean, but you could try making a a batch with 1/4 the normal amount and see how it washes then work you way up to what you think works best. All you would have to do is stir in a bit more. Hope this helps!
What quantities of Castile soap snd Epsom salt would you recommend if I leave out the oxy clean?
I’ve never made it without Oxiclean so I can’t give you any good advice, sorry!
Hi Bren, this is a great recipe, however, I am concerned about what I have read online about using soap instead of true detergent to clean clothes, that it will ruin my washer, that it’ll clog pipes or create a film and that it won’t truly clean clothes. What are your thoughts of using soap vs a real detergent?
I use soap, I have been using it for 3 years in my HE machine and have not had a single problem. It’s important to note that soap has been used for cleaning much longer than detergent. I wrote a long response about soap vs detergent on my FB page (you can see it here). You should do whatever you are comfortable doing with your appliances. Be aware that soap and detergent can both build up if you are 1) using too much detergent or 2) overloading your machine so clothes cannot rinse properly. You may get a bit of soap residue (soap scum) or mineral build up if you have hard water, but a but of vinegar in the rinse will get rid of this problem. You can also run an occasional empty load with vinegar to really clean things out (this should be done if you are using soap or detergent, most manufacturer’s recommend a cleaning with their own cleaning tabs). I have personally seen no difference in build up when using detergent or soap. If you want a true detergent you should check out my Liquid Laundry Detergent recipe.
I read that if you mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda together, it’s the same as oxyclean,and less expensive. I can’t remember the amounts to mix together, would this work in your laundry detergent recipe. If so, How much should I use? Thanks for your help.
People mix hydrogen peroxide, water and baking soda or washing soda to make homemade “Oxyclean.” ou can not add this mixture to the dry laundry detergent mix, the liquid will react with the mix and lose it’s effectiveness.
I’ve been using this for about a month, and I’m impressed! The only thing I do differently is use 3 or 4 tablespoons per load in my large capacity HE machine. It works great. I’m hooked!
Thanks Katie! I’m so glad you like the detergent!
Ok, I just started my first load! I have an he machine, should I put it in the detergent spot or just the bottom of the washer? My old stuff I put in the bottom but I’m not sure how well it was working, my hubby’s gym clothes came out still stinky. But it could have just been the detergent…
I have a HE washer and put the detergent right on top of the clothes. If your clothes come out stinky you might want to give the machine a cleaning and then try washing them again. Here’s the way I clean my machine. Good luck!
I’ll try that first. Thanks!
I tried 1 part baking soda, 1 part washing soda, 3/4 part sodium perborate and 1/4 part Kirk’s Castille unscented soap on whites, colors and towels. I add about 2 ounces of white vinegar in the wash as well.
The clothes smell and feel great! No fragrance, or perspiration smell.
Cleaning quality is good, but not great on stains, etc. (which was true of the previous version with Borax and Ivory soap).
I used sodium perborate as a bleach substitute on every load, no fading immediately noticeable, but need more time to test. If it works, this could be one homemade detergent for both whites and coloreds.
I’m glad the recipe is working well for you. I agree, some stains need extra treatment. I use homemade Stain Sauce for Laundry. or All Purpose Cleaner with a spray of hydrogen peroxide. Can’t wait to hear more! -Bren
I have used a mixture of 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Washing soda and 1/2 bar Ivory soap for nonbleach detergent (colors); and added 1 cup of sodium perborate for bleach detergent (whites) and had good results.
And, add about 2 ounces of 6% white vinegar to the wash also.
Now, I want to see if I can get the same or better result patterned after your recipe- 1 cup each Washing Soda, Baking Soda and Sodium Perborate, 1/4 cup Kirk’s Castille.
I’m not convinced Borax is hazardous, it has been used for generations, Also, while I like Ivory soap, it still does have an undisclosed fragrance in it, and so wish to avoid that. Regular Kirk’s Castille also has a fragrance so I’ll use the unscented version. I will try this new way and post how it works.
Interesting experiment Scott, hope it goes well.
Thank yoy for your recipe. I have been making my own detergent, but we are having a baby, so I am trying to find some recipe that will be good for the baby. I am glad I found this, I will try it. I have one question though. What is Epsom Salt for? I saw it is an optional.
Thank you very much.
The Epsom salt is used by some people as a softening agent. It is entirely optional, I do not use it when I make my own. You can read more in my Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent Question and Answer.
Would you use this on cloth diapers? I’ve been making the Borax/Felz Naphtha version for two years and I’ve often wondered if it’s effectively cleaning the diapers. I want something more natural but that still works for the diapers. Thanks!!
I use this detergent on everything from hand washables to fuel soaked uniforms. If you are concerned about fragrance, optical brighteners or enzymes this detergent contains none. If you are concerned about detergent buildup or detergent residue you should use the white vinegar rinse (although I do not have a build up problem with or without vinegar). If diaper odor is a concern I would use the vinegar rinse. Hope this helps!
Hey there! So excited to have run across this recipe. I am fairly new to the world of natural cleaners and would love to save myself the step of grating the soap. Baby steps, ya know?! 🙂 Do you have any suggestions on where to buy the pre-grated soap? I am located overseas (also military!), so big box stores are not an option. Thanks so much!
Stephanie, I have not been able to find a source for pre-grated soap that scores well on the EWG scale. 🙁 I grate mine in the food processor and then run the food processor bowl and grater through the dishwasher with my dishes. It comes out sparkling clean. The soap takes about 2 minutes to grate this way. I’ve been doing it for about 3 years with the same food processor. I’ll let you know if I ever find a pre-grated version. -Bren
I just found this recipe and was so happy to see in the comments you’ve also successfully made this with Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap. My son has terrible eczema and believe it or not, we think it’s coconut that’s doing it. We aren’t sure yet if it’s just a sensitivity or if it’s an actual allergy, or if it’s all in my head, but coconut is in EVERYTHING (soap, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent, baby wipes) so I’m trying hard to find alternatives for everything. I just bought the olive oil soap to use as his regular soap and now I need a laundry detergent recipe and now I’ve found one. When doing the vinegar rinse, you just put the white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser when you load the washer? How much do you use? Also, does the OxiClean Baby list it’s ingredients. I can’t find that online at all and I need to make sure no pesky coconut products have snuck their way in there. Thanks so much!
I love Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap, I buy it for showering. I use vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser or add it to a Downy Ball. You can use Oxiclean Free if you cannot find Oxiclean Baby (it’s getting harder and harder to find). Check out my Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent Question and Answer for tons of questions I have been asked about the recipe. It has lots of great info. I hope this helps your son’s eczema!
I am new to all this DIY cleaners and such. I’ve been really looking forward to green laundry detergent. Do you have suggestions for a liquid laundry detergent? Or do you know of someone who has made a liquid green version of a laundry detergent? I would appreciate it 🙂
I am working on a liquid version, my Stain Sauce will work but it is a bit of an effort to make. I do not have a liquid recipe that I have tested to recommend, sorry!
I’m looking forward to the liquid laundry detergent :). Thanks.
Just a FYI. A repairman told me you should never use salt in your washing machine. There are parts it could cause issues with, such as corrosion.
Epsom salt is magnesium, not table salt. You can leave it out and the recipe still works great.
Krystal Kalene Herbst
I was wondering if the soap dissolves well in cold water? We washing everything on cold per the husbands’ request.
I use it in cold water (I also wash everything in cold water), you can dissole it in a bit of warm water if you have problems. Read more in my post Homemade Laundry Detergent Q & A
Hello, I searched through old comments in hopes to answer my own question but I am not sure I found it. Would you mind telling me what size container I need to house this recipe once completed?
I store mine in a 2-gallon jar. It is about 3/4 full when I make detergent. You could use any 1.5-2 gallon container.
Thank you for your response!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I want to try it so badly. The thing is I use cloth diapers and I have hard water. I tried looking at all of the comments to see if these two things had been addressed and didn’t see much as far as actual experience using this recipe for these two things. Could you help me out and let me know if you know anything about how this detergent works for those two issues? Thank you so much!
I have very hard water and use this detergent exclusively. I have not washed diapers in it, but I have washed everything else…. Including fuel smelling uniforms…. with great success. Hope this helps!
You should also check out my Q & A, https://brendid.com/natural-homemade-laundry-detergent-question-and-answer/
I just made this but i used Grandma Lye Soap , because my son is allergic to coconut oil and i couldn’t find any castillo soaps without coconut. but it seems like the soap doesn’t completely melt in my HE washer, Do you have any suggestions on what to do?
Vanessa, I would fill a cup with 8 to 10 ounces of warm water and dissolve the detergent into it then pour into the washer directly on top of your clothes. I do this when washing in extremely cold water and it works great. You can also try Kiss My Face Bar Soap Pure Olive Oil Fragrance Free Soap in the detergent. Good luck.
Do you know if these ingredients are safe for septic systems? The key for septic systems is not to use stuff that will kill the bacteria required to break down rhe water and be biodegradable itself.
I would double check with a septic tank guide but they should all be safe for your septic tank.
I just made this tonight and am very excited to use it! I was wondering though, how do you keep from inhaling it? I know that sounds ridiculous .. But I used the exact ingredients listed and I feel it is very dusty, as in when I scoop a whiff of dust comes up with it. Any suggestions?
Kayla, I keep mine in a big jar that is only about half full so the dust stays inside. Also the dust seems to settle down and not be a problem after a few days.
I have been making a liquid laundry soap for a few years, but would like to try this. Could you please tell me how much to add to each load? I read the article a couple of times and stated to read comments, but do not have time to read them all. Thanks
No problem, Barb. It’s actually in the printable recipe. Use 1-2 Tbsp per load. I generally use 1 Tbsp.
sorry if this has already been asked – but do you mix in any sort of essential oils for a scent, or are they not necessary? Thanks!
I do not add essential oils to the detergent since they simply wash out leaving no scent. You can read my scenting ideas in my Homemade Laundry Detergent Question and Answer.
Hey Bren, such a great article. Thank you for sharing not only your opinion but the facts. So helpful! On another note, I’m wondering if I missed something. I clicked on all the links you said but prices are way higher for each product. For example, you said $3.24 for 1 box Super Washing Soda, 3 lb. 7 oz but on the link to amazon, the price is $9.89. I’m confused on the pricing breakdown, help?
Janie, the prices are based on the best I can get shopping stores in my area and/or online. The Amazon links are to show the products I buy, Amazon prices change all the time so I cannot guarantee they are lowest. I would check your local stores and online to see where you can get the best deal.
Thank you so much for the recipe to your great laundry detergent. I had been trying various eco friendly commercial detergents but was extremely unhappy with the results. My clothes never seemed to get clean. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try yours; it couldn’t be any worse. I’m delighted to say that after using yours for a good month I won’t be looking any further. My washing is cleaner than it has been in a long time and without harming the environment! I use a HE front loading washer with a powdered detergent dispenser. The first time the detergent did not dissolve completely. Every time since, I heat up a cup of water in the microwave, stir in the detergent and pour it into the dispenser when the cycle begins. There’s never been any residue left on the laundry. I have very hard water and used Epsom salt in the recipe. Without using vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser, my washing is amazingly softer. All in all, I am very pleased to have found a safe replacement for the expensive detergents I had been using.
I am so happy to hear that you are having great success with the detergent! I love it too. I have a HE machine and simple pour the powdered detergent on top of the clothes (in case you don’t want to use the dispenser). Thanks for commenting!
just found this! looks like a great alternative. does it work for all washing machines? And by all machines, I mean the HE – High Efficiency machines.
Lauren, yes you can use the detergent in HE machines. This recipe is low foaming so it is HE safe. I have personally used this detergent in a standard washing machine, a front load HE washing machine, and a top loading HE washing machine. It worked equally well in all the machines. You can read more in my Homemade Laundry Detergent Question and Answer.
Maybe I missed it in the comments, but has anyone used Biokleen? They have an oxygen bleach plus (3X concentrated. 32 loads, 2 pounds. About $9 on Amazon). I have a container here but I haven’t used it before. Since it’s three times concentrated would I only use 1 pound for this recipe?
It rates an A on EWG but has more ingredients than Oxiclean. I’ve always heard how much “filler” Oxiclean has (And for some reason I can’t convince myself that Oxiclean is “green” enough for me. Something still seems fishy!?)
Ecover Laundry Bleach is another one I’m interested in. Anyone have any experience?
I’ve never tried Biokleen or Ecover, let me know if you have any luck!
Hello Bren! I absolutely love your site! I see lots of comments regarding oxi-clean baby and just wanted to share. On the EWG site they also rate ” LA’s Totally Awesome Power Oxygen Base Cleaner” an “A”. I have been using this in my laundry detergent in place of oxi-clean and it works great! It’s the same ingredients as oxi-clean. Even better – you can find it at the Dollar Tree. A 16 oz container is only $1!!! I make a smaller sized, similar version of your recipe so this works perfectly for me- plus the scoop in the container is a perfect size to measure the laundry detergent out. Your recipes just make sense. I’ve made my own laundry detergent in the past but was still always concerned with the “natural” ingredients I was using. Thank you for sharing all of your recipes!!
What a great suggestion, Tawny! I can’t wait to check it out!
I made this today! Thank you for the recipe as my husband has such sensitive skin! Time will tell, but I have a feeling this will work 🙂 …
Thanks Rene! My kiddos have sensitive skin too. Hope this recipe works for your family.
Hi Bren! Your blog is amazing! I’ve been trying natural cleaning products for a while but your recipes look way better than the ones I’ve been using. I read some of your comments because Oxi Baby or anything like that exists here in Uruguay (there’s Oxi powder I’ll check today in the store to see the ingredients but doubt they come as clan as yours) so I was wondering if like you said to Daniel on Feb. 16 I could substitute it directly with Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Carbonate Peroxide. I’m not sure I’ll find them in pure state but just in case, could you tell me the proportions or if there’s anything I can substitute it with? Thank you!!
Ines, thank you so much for the lovely compliments. I am sorry to say that do not know the Sodium Carbonate or Sodium Carbonate Peroxide ratio since Oxiclean does not disclose the amount of fillers they use. You could try it out for yourself or use Borax as a substitute for the Oxiclean. I am not sure how you feel about Borax use, but you should be careful not to breathe it in if you use it in the recipe. Hope this helps!
Thank you Bren! I’m hunting for Oxiclean today to see if I’m lucky enough to fin a clean one. If not I’ll investigate with the other ingredients. I’ve been using borax for a while but had no idea you shouldn’t breath it, so I’ll try to get even cleaner with Oxi. Thank you for your answer!
Thanks for the recipe! I have been making my own laundry detergent for years. I just recently found out the fels naphtha is not as safe as I thought it was 🙁 I am looking into using kirks castile soap in my laundry detergent as well. I am a little nervous because I have heard many people find that castile soap leaves an oily residue on their clothes. I really don’t want to ruin my families clothes but I also want to make healthy choices for my family, so I am at a dilemma!! Do you find that the castile soap leaves any sort of residue on your clothes? Also does it clean well?
I have been using this detergent for close to 3 years and I have never had an oily residue. It cleans great. It removes stains and odors well. You can read more in my Natural Laundry Detergent Q & A.
Do you have this recipe in a smaller size? I have all these ingredients on hand but I use a lot of them for cloth diapers so I don’t want to use the full boxes for this recipe.
Eliza, you can simply divide the ingredients by 1/2 or 1/4 to make a smaller batch.
Do you know if All OXI laundry booster free and clear for sensitive skin is equivalent to the OxiClean baby/free and clear? It is half the price but I couldn’t find it on the EWG website but I didn’t see it. However, the other All products on there seemed to score an F…
Danielle, it took me a little research but I have an answer! Here is where you find the product data sheet for the All Oxi Booster Free & Clear. It contains Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Carbonate Peroxide both of which rate an A on the EWG scale. This is essentially the same product as Oxiclean Free/Baby. I would check out the back of the box to make sure those are the only two ingredients and would then feel safe using it. I always double check to make sure the word fragrance is not on the ingredient list, sounds odd but a lot of fragrance free products still have fragrance! Hope this helps! I will have to check it out the next time I am at the store. -Bren
I was unable to find any Kirk Soap on the EWG website- any idea what the original soap is rated? (Not the unscented) thanks!
It rates a 2 on their beauty product score chart (1 being the best, 10 being the worst) . You can read the full report here.
Thank you for this recipe! Just getting on the all natural, no chemical bandwagon and this seems like a great recipe to start using in my home. Quick question, because I’m having a hard time doing conversions can you tell me how many 2-Qt jars you get out of this recipe using the Epsom salt version? I saw you mention in the comments which jars you use but it would be helpful to know how many to buy; or many you store it in a large container and refill the jar for everyday usage? Help is appreciated 🙂
Megan, the complete mixture would fill at least two 2-quart jars. I generally store the mixture I am using in a 2-quart jar and put the rest into the empty Oxyclean bin I used in the mix. I usually mix the detergent it in a giant plastic container that used to contain pretzels (I bought it at Costco so imagine the size!). I sometimes leave the detergent in that container…. but the glass jars look nicer!
I just washed 2 different loads of towels with the diy laundry soap. I always wash all my towels together but this time all the light colored towels have blue everywhere from a blue towel that was washed with them. I’ve washed them together many times and never had a problem with fading. Any idea what happened? I’m afraid to use it on my clothes. I don’t want something to fade all over them.
But on a better note….I love the way the towels came out as far as fresh and clean. It worked great. Just not loving the blue spots. Help!!
I’m not sure what happened, Kim. I am so sorry you had this issue. I have never had a problem with fading or color transfer. I do separate lights from colors even when washing towels. If you want to wash them together I would use cold water.
Hi Bren! Just wanted to let you know I have started washing everything, including towels, in cold water and I haven’t had anymore fading. Thank you so much for the great recipe!
I’m so happy it’s working for you!
Thank you for sharing! I’ll be making this weekend. Hate to sound CrAzY, but could this also be used to wash my dishes? I was dishes the old-fashioned way. I fill up a bowl with liquid dish washing soap, fill with water, and start dipping sponge to wash dishes. Since this is a safe and natural recipe, would you think it a good idea to also use for washing dishes? Thank you again!
Esmeralda, it should work to get the dishes clean by hand but will not suds up since there is no foaming agent. You can also use liquid Castille soap or washing soda alone for hand washing. Good luck!
I’ve used liquid laundry detergent for years and skeptical about powdered detergent. I have a top loader HE machine and wondered how well the detergent rinses out ofb the dispenser drawer?
Also, I see that you use Oxiclean. There aren’t any harmful chemicals in oxiclean?
Oxiclean is mostly sodium percarbonate which is considered eco-friendly. According to the EWG Oxiclean Baby and Free rate A and B. You can learn more at EWG. The free and baby versions are supposed to be free of artificial dye and scent. You can read more about the detergent and my use of it in my post Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent Question and Answer. Hope this answers your questions!
Deb, I only used liquid detergent before making this detergent. In my opinion it dissolves more quickly than store bought powders. I have a top loading HE machine and put the detergent directly in the wash tub with the clothes. I have never used it in the detergent compartment, but it works great right on top of the laundry in cold water. When I am at my parents home (which uses extremely cold well water) I dissolve the detergent in a cup of warm water and pour it directly on top of the laundry. You can read more about the detergent and my use of it in my post Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent Question and Answer
Jeannine de Swardt
A question, does the detergent leave a greasy residue behind, in your machines inner workings, like some of the other detergents?
Jeannine, I’m not sure which other detergents you mention, however this detergent recipe has not ever left a greasy residue behind for me. I have used it for nearly two years with no problems.
Hi there! I am currently using a homemade non toxic liquid detergent that I’ve been pretty happy with, but I think I’d like to give this a try. Does the powder stay loose and “powdery”? I wonder because when I made a powder dish washer detergent and kept it in a Mason jar under the kitchen sink, it turned into a brick. Not sure if it was something in the recipe, or the moisture or temperature uunder the sink? Not sure? But that’s my only concern with making a powder, have you had any issue of that sort?
Great question, Jessica! The detergent stays very powdery no clumping or hardening. I’ve had the same problem with homemade dishwasher detergent and found out it was the citric acid reacting with the other ingredients that turn it into a brick! (You can solve the dishwasher detergent problem by leaving a silica gel packet or small mesh bag of rice in the jar or by leaving the mixture open in a large bowl for several days & stirring occasionally before you put it in a storage jar.) Hope this helps!
Excellent! Thanks so much! Gonna try this laundry detergent asap….. and may try dish washing powder again too! Thanks for the tips 🙂
Hope you like the recipe! You should also check out my lemon dishwasher detergent and powdered dishwasher detergent.
Does this dissolve in cold water?
Wanita,I haven’t had any problems with it dissolving in cold water (and I do most of my laundry in cold water). If you are concerned you can always dissolve it in a small cup of warm water and them add it to the machine.
I’ve tried other DIY recipes in the past and did not like any of them, but I made yours last week and I just love it! I’m so happy to not be using unsafe detergent any more…thank you so much! I have one question, I have always put a 1/2 cup vinegar in the wash cycle with my towels…can I still add vinegar with your detergent…I’m wondering if it will counteract with the castile soap or the Oxyclean? Thanks Bren…Janel in NJ
Janel, I’m so happy to hear that you like the recipe! You should not add vinegar to the wash cycle of any detergent that contains Castile soap, it will break down the soap. I add the vinegar to my fabric softener dispenser, it is then added during the rinse cycle where it helps to rinse out the soap and fluffs/deodorizes the laundry. If you do not have a fabric softener dispenser or do not want to use if for vinegar you can use a Downy Automatic Dispenser to release vinegar at the right time. Let me know if you have more questions! -Bren
That’s what I thought, but I wanted to make sure. Thank you and I hope you and your family have a Blessed Thanksgiving! Janel 🙂
Would it be okay to use Dr. Brooner liquid castles soap instead of the bar of Castile soap? Also if I downsized the recipe to 1.17 gallon what would measurements be? Thanks, Connie
Connie, you can not use liquid Castile. You can read all the reasons why and what you can substitute in my Homemade laundry detergent q&a. If you want to make 80% of the recipe amount you just need to multiply each ingredient by .80, I prefer to make the full recipe as it uses full boxes of the ingredients. Thanks for commenting!
Super washing soda Crazy expensive online and can’t find locally…. I heard soda ash from pool supply store is the same (100% sodium carbonate) thoughts???
Soda ash and washing soda are all names for sodium carbonate. I buy mine in the laundry section of the grocery store. You could double-check with the pool supply to make sure it is the same. Also, check out my Question & Answer for making Homemade Laundry Detergent. Hope this helps!
I cannot find the oxiclean baby anywhere! I know I can order it online, but I am eager to make this over the weekend. Are there any alternatives? Thanks!
Oxiclean Baby is getting harder and harder to find. You can substitute Oxiclean Free in the recipe. Also, I just wrote a question and answer we post for the laundry detergent recipe since I get so many question you can find it here: Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent Q&A. Hope this helps!
Question….. How does this detergent work with dark loads? Our family tends to wear a lot of dark colors (especially my teens) and I am worried about dark colors fading. Thanks for any help!
Jesse, I use this detergent on all my clothes (darks, delicates, everything) I have not had any problems. I think it is very gentle on clothes.
Most recipes I’ve seen call for washing soda not baking soda – so you use baking soda?
Vicki, my recipe uses both: 4 lbs Baking Soda and 3 lb. 7 oz. (one box) of Washing Soda. Hope this helps!
Do you know if this is safe to use on cloth diapers?
Nevermind, sorry, just saw the other comments! Thanks!
I’ve never used it on cloth diapers, but I have used it on pretty much everything else without any problems. Hope this helps!
Hello! I’m so excited to make this!! My husband is a plumber and would prefer I not use powder detergent.. do you think it would be possible to mix this with water ahead of time so it will dissolve? Thank you so much!
Yes, you can mix a scoop of the detergent with a cup of warm water and pour it into the machine as the cycle starts.
How much do I put in the washer per load?
I use 1-2 Tbsp per load.
Great post, I had no idea borax had such a low rating. Did it state why? Have you tried soap nuts? I really want to start using those to see if this is a big difference or not.
Ashleigh, you can read more about Borax from the EWG on their blog and also at the Mother Nature Network. I have never tried soap nuts but have heard a lot about them. We love this detergent so I haven’t used anything else for years. You’ll have to let me know if you try them.
I live in Canada and I am finding it difficult to locate Oxiclean baby. Are there substitutes that you recommend?
Becca, if Oxyclean Free is available in Canada it makes a great substitute. Oxyclean is just one brand name for a mixture of sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate. You can find it under other brand names. If you find one available in Canada I would look it up on the Think Dirty app or the EWG database to make sure it is non-toxic and free of artificial fragrance.
Thank you, Bren! My hubby is in the navy too!
My problem is getting smell off the gym clothes:(
Im gonna make this batch, take half of it or less and add in some downy crystals and wash extra smelly items with that batch;)
Hi Sally! Great to see another Navy wife here! Hope you like the laundry detergent! If you want to make a natural detergent I would check the scented product on EWG before adding it. Most don’t rate well. Have you tried vinegar in the rinse water? It does an amazing job of eliminating odor. I use this recipe (with no Epsom salts) and a vinegar rinse on my hubby’s gym stuff and it smells clean and fresh. Hope you like the recipe.
I was wondering since you do not use the Epsom salts if you tried this recipe with them and didn’t like it? Thanks, Janel
Good question, Janel! I honestly didn’t see much difference with or without the Epsom salt. Since I like it just fine without I don’t feel the need to use them. I think some people like them because they have hard or extra soft water. Hope this answers your question!
The only Epsom salt I could find had lavender eo, would that be ok? Also would this work without the oxy baby? Only ingredient I didn’t find at walmart. Final question is this safe to use for baby clothes, assuming yet but want to make sure before I skip deft this time.
I would look up any Epsom Salts you find on the EWG Skin Deep Database, one common Lavender Epsoe Salt contains artificial fragrance. You can generally find plan Epsom salt in the pharmacy section of Wal-Mart, just ask the pharmacist.
The recipe will not work as well without some type of Oxiclean, I believe Wal Mart carries Oxyclean Free which rates well on the EWG scale and works in this recipe.
Dreft baby detergents rate an F on the EWG scale. This recipe rates an A, that’s why I use it on all my kids’ laundry. It has never harmed any item I have washed in it.
Hope this answers your questions, let me know if you have more. I am so glad you are trying the recipe!
Hi I just made this recipe with Kiss My Face Olive Oil soap because I couldn’t find Kirk’s or Dr Bronners (without scent) anywhere is my area. The Kiss my Face doesn’t say “castile” on the packaging, do you think it will still work ok?
Yes, it will still work great. I have used Kiss My Face Olive Oil soap in the recipe as a substitute for Castile when necessary.
Thanks for the recipe! I went and grabbed all the ingredients at Walmart today, with the exception of the OxiClean Baby, which I had to order from Amazon. I have a load or two of laundry that needs to be done, would it be safe to use the mixture minus the OxiClean until it comes in, or should I just use my chemical-laden Arm & Hammer in the meantime?
Also, couldn’t find scented soap. Can I add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture for a fresh scent?
Bianca, it should be safe to use the mixture minus the oxyclean, but I have never tried it. It might not get your clothes as clean. You can add essential oils but the laundry will still come out smelling mostly like nothing. You might try the essentials oils during the rinse cycle if you really want scent. Hope this helps! So glad you are trying the detergent!
I made this incredibly easy mixture tonight!! And washed my first load of clothes in it. I am so glad to have found something that is safe & non-toxic for my family. I love it but my husband wishes it had more of a smell. Is there anything safe to add to give it a freshly-washed smell?
I’m glad you like the detergent! Unfortunately laundry scents are usually from toxic chemicals, so you can’t make this smell like most commercial scented detergents. You can use scented Castile soap in place of the non scented or try my Fabric Softener which uses essential oils. If you really want scent spritz the clean laundry with my Fabric and Room Refresher Spray before folding. Hope this helps!
Can you add essential oil if you want a pleasant aroma?
Lori, as I mentioned in the comments above, I would use scented Castile soap if you want to add scent. I would leave the essential oils for the dryer. You can find my fabric softener recipe here. They wash right out in the washing machine and leave no odor, kind of a waste for an expensive product! Hope this helps.
I have Epsom salts that have milk and honey added to it. Will that work or should I buy just plain pure Epsom salts?
Christine, I would not use the milk and honey ones – unfortunately the scented epsom salts often have many other additives (including coloring) that may or not work well in your laundry. Hope this helps!
I was wondering if this Landry detergent will dissolve in cold water ? I am very excited to try this!
Tiffany, I haven’t had any problems with it dissolving in cold water (and I do most of my laundry in cold water). If you are concerned you can always dissolve it in a small cup of warm water and them add it to the machine.
I am so excited to try this recipe! I’ve never made any sort of laundry product myself so I am a bit nervous about it 🙂 My husband and I are trying to have a baby so I’m looking to clear my house of any toxins/chemicals. I was wondering if any all natural bar soap would work in place of the Kirk’s? I did read through the comments and some suggested Zote. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!!
I have used several different versions of Castille soap. I am not sure about Zote. I would check EWG or the Think Dirty app for ratings. I try to avoid artificial
Fragrances and colors.
Is Oxyclean really non toxic?
Good question Bernie! According to the EWG ratings Oxiclean Baby and Free rate A and B. You can learn more at EWG. Oxiclean is mostly sodium percarbonate (sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide) which is consider eco-friendly. The free and baby versions are supposed to be free of artificial dye and scent.
My washer has a detergent drawer with a spot for powdered detergent – can I add it there or should I add it directly into the drum?
Stephanie, good question! It should work in a powdered detergent dispenser since it is the same consistency of regular powdered detergent, however I have never used it this way. My washer does not have a powdered detergent dispenser so I just put it in with the clothes. Hope this helps!
Hi just wondering where you purchased the oil lean baby soap at. Thank you
Jaime, I think you are looking for Oxiclean Baby? It is often available at online retailers and baby stores. I often use Oxyclean Free when I can’t find the baby version. It is getting harder and harder to find. Oxiclean Free works great too.
I am excited to try this recipe! I also love your glass containers….where did you get those and what size?
Thanks Mary! I hope you try the recipe! My jars are 2 quart wire bail jars. I love the look and their affordable price. You can get them at Target, Ikea, etc.
Just did my first batch of laundry this weekend with your detergent and LOVED it! I am now going to make the fabric softener. Thanks so much for making my house more environmental friendly and healthier.
Mary, I am so glad you like the detergent. It is my favorte DIY. I hope you enjoy the fabric softener too!
I was originally looking for a homage detergent that had a lavender scent. Would you be able to add lavender essential oil to this? Or would these Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap, All-One Hemp Lavender be a good substitution? Kirk’s does not have a lavender option. I want to make sure it stays non-toxic and everything.
Yes, the Dr Bronners Lavendar(or other scents) would work great. I love their products. I use Kirks in this recipe because it is more affordable. Just substitute an equal number of ounces as the Dr Bronner bars are larger than the Kirks. If you want to use essential oils try them in fabric softener Or fabric refresher spray.
Bren, thank you for the recipe! Kimberly, I bought lavender Epsom salt to give it a little scent. It’s cheaper than buying scented soap.
They also had Milk and Honey, Camomile scented Epsom salts. Which I will try next time.
Welcome Sally! So glad you like the recipe. If you’re concerned about using a non-toxic laundry detergent you’ll want to look up the Epsom Salts on the Think Dirty App or EWG. Many of the scented Epsom salts use artificial fragrance. The scented Castile is more expensive but uses natural scents.
Thanks! In looking online it seems Target and Walmart are no longer carrying this product. Amazon and Diapers.com have it. Anyway, I’ll keep looking around town or maybe just pony up the extra few dollars to order online
The only place I found it was at Babies R Us.
Great suggestion Allie!
Megan, did you see Allie’s comment about Babies R Us for the Oxyclean Baby? They usually have coupons too.
Great, I’ll check that out. Thanks!
I’m excited to try this. I haven’t been able to find oxiclean baby but did find oxi clean free from Target. I’ll do this and then when I run out I can try to find oxi clean baby again.
I hope you have good luck with the detergent. I have been using Oxiclean Free frequently as the baby version is getting harder and harder to find. Come back and let me know how you liked it!
Hi-this looks great! But I’m pricing things out on Amazon and the total comes to over $50. Any ideas on where to get the ingredients for as cheap as you listed above?
Megan, I’m glad you like the recipe. I usually get the Kirks Castile at Walmart or Amazon. The rest of the ingredients I get at local discount stores or (sometimes) the grocery stores. Right now (3/12/15) the washing soda is $3.97 (Wal-Mart), the Oxyclean is $6.99 (Target), and the baking soda is $2.24 (Wal-Mart) — add that to the Kirk’s and the total price of the detergent is $17.22 for 320 loads or $0.05 a load. If you use generic Epsom salts it adds about $1.25 (Wal-Mart) I also find good deals at Costco on larger quantities of baking soda and Oxyclean… I occasionally find castile soap and washing soda at Costco too. (I have been making it for awhile so I don’t mind stocking up on large amounts of the ingredients.) I love the convenience of Amazon, but it sometimes comes at a premium price on household items. I occasionally find some good deals using Amazon Prime (especially if I use auto delivery). I always price compare at Target.com and Walmart.com before ordering on Amazon. You can also Google phrases such as “Oxyclean coupons” and find more savings at times. Hope this helps!
Ok so now I’m standing in Target and they don’t seem to carry Oxiclean Baby, I can’t find it online either. Is it ok to use regular Oxiclean? Thanks!
Yes, you can use the regular version or Oxyclean free. I prefer the free or baby version because they have no added artificial scent. Also, sometimes the baby version is hiding in the baby section.
Did you ever look into the ingredients of Oxiclean? I think it is just washing soda and hydrogen peroxide basically. I searched alternatives to oxiclean and got an article stating the following:
The material safety data sheet (MSDS), which is a form with data regarding the properties of a particular substance, for OxiClean with an issue date of March 12, 2007 is here (original source). That document lists the following ingredients for OxiClean.
OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Ingredients
Chemical Ingredients % By Wt.
Sodium carbonate 55-65%
Sodium carbonate Peroxyhydrate 30-40%
Ethoxylated Alcohol C12-C16 2-4%
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate (128860) Fact Sheet:
Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate is a granular substance made by combining sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. The following is its mode of action: When water is present, the compound breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate. The hydrogen peroxide oxidizes and thus kills the target pests. After contact, the hydrogen peroxide breaks down harmlessly into water and oxygen. (CAS No. 15630-89-4)
Another ingredient, Sodium carbonate, also known as washing soda or soda ash), Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid.
Hi Jen! Yes, you are correct, Oxiclean is basically powdered hydrogen peroxide which is what makes it effective in this recipe. When the water in the wash “activates” the Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate it becomes a great cleaner. Hydrogen peroxide is great for removing stains from laundry. Hope this answers your question!
Hi 🙂 Thank for this post, I found it on Pinterest & I’m gonna give it a go! We are also trying to rid our house of chemicals but I find that all the “safer” detergents are really expensive. I do have one question though, I have used unscented laundry detergent before and our clothes never smelled clean. Is there any natural things you know of that I could add? Maybe something plant based? Also, I use vinager around the house to clean and it’s a pretty strong smell (one my husband is not fond of) does you laundry smell like vinager if you use it? Thanks so much!! I’m excited to try this!
P.S. Have you made any dishwasher detergent?
Jenny, thanks for stopping by the blog! This detergent smells slightly like baby wash. Your clothes will come out smelling like nothing, maybe a little Oxyclean baby smell. If you want the detergent to have a scent you can use scented castille soap in place of the Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap. You need 16 ounces total for the recipe. If you use vinegar in the rinse the clothes will smell slightly vinegary when wet, but will have absolutely NO VINEGAR smell when dry. (Vinegar is a natural deodorizer, so as it dries it removes odors including its own.) You can also try my homemade fabric softener, it smells like whatever essential oils you uses. I understand the concern about vinegar smell, when cleaning with it you can add essential oils or make citrus scented vinegar. I also use this Homemade Air Freshener for Fabric and Rooms (which makes the house smell wonderful) and this Natural Carpet Deodorizer and Room Freshener(which turns your vacuum into a air freshener). Yes, I also make my own dishwasher detergent too, you can get the recipe here. Hope this answers your questions! Let me know if you have more!
WOW!! Awesome thank you!! I’m going to check all of these out 🙂 I’m finding moving away from chemicals is pretty fun for me as I make my own… I love making things, especially when they benefit my family! Thanks again, I LOVE your blog!!
Thanks so much Jenny! I love making my own stuff too. It’s so much fun to get safer and save money at the same time. Let me know if you have more questions!
Just wondering, for an HE washer, should i put it in the detergent dispenser or directly in with the clothes?
Nicole, I have a top loading HE washer, I put the detergent directly in with the clothes. I’m not sure it would dissolve completely from the detergent compartment but it works great right on top of the clothes. Hope this helps!
Hi, thanks for sharing this recipe! I’m planning to make it this weekend. Can I ask where you bought your ingredients? These prices are really great!
Becky, I get the Kirks Castile at Walmart or Amazon(Walmart only carries it in some locations), the rest I get at local discount stores or grocery stores. I watch for sales/coupons on baking soda and can usually find an online coupon for Oxyclean. I have been making it for awhile so I tend to stock up! I also find some good deals using Amazon Prime. Hope this helps!!
This is great! I was making my own for a while and didn’t like using borax but never thought to just leave it out. I think I may try this!
And I love the addition of epsom salt. Do you think it would be overkill to add the epsom and do a vinegar rinse?
Thanks Stephanie! No, I don’t think it would be overkill to do both the epsom salts and the vinegar. I’ve done it before for things I wanted extra fluffy (like towels) or stuff I want rinsed really well (Like baby clothes). The vinegar rinse helps breakdown any detergent that may have been left behind.
Hi Bren… Excellent recipe! We’ve been working to free our home from harmful chemicals since my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer just over a year ago. She’s doing brilliantly and has just about finished all the main courses of treatment and fingers crossed they’re doing the trick… Does anyone have any suggestions for alternatives to Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap for those wishing to try this over in the UK? I can’t seem to locate any stockists of that particular soap over here. Many thanks 🙂
Justin, so glad to hear your wife is doing well! My own journey to a more chemical free life was inspired by a dear friend’s breast cancer diagnosis. On to laundry… You can substitute any Castile soap in the same measurement. I have used Dr Bronners unscented bars and Kiss my face unscented olive oil bars successfully. While living in Japan I purchased whatever castille bars I could find. I would recommend unscented, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive brand. Hope this helps! Sorry I am not more familiar with UK brands. -Bren
That’s brilliant… I just googled a couple of natural soaps and there’s a few that might work so I’ll give them a try. Going to look out for an old food processor on freecycle to use. Don’t fancy soapy grated veg next time Tina uses it!
Have a brilliant week!
I have searched high and low and this is one of the best recipes I’ve found. What are your thoughts on incorporating citric acid into this recipe? Would it cancel out or react with one of the other ingredients? Also, what do you think about adding a bit of soap berry powder? Is that overkill?
Thanks for commenting Allie, you have some good questions. I do use citric acid in my dish washing powder ( as a water softener/lime/scale remover but I have never used it on laundry. I am a concerned it might counteract the castille soap since it is an acid (you can read more here ). As far as soap berry, it wouldn’t hurt the recipe, but you might be wasting $ adding the additional soap with the castille. I’ve used the current recipe for several years in several locations around the US and world (we move a lot) and in several types of machines (standard, HE front loader and HE top loader) and it has always worked well. Maybe save the citric acid or soap berry powder for a pre- treater? Or try making a small batch of my recipe and adDing your desired substitutions a bit at a time per load to see which combination you like best. I hope this helps! -Bren
Hello! This will be my first time making home made detergent and was so happy to find your recipe was borax free. Do you know if I can substitute the bar castile soap for liquid castile soap? Also is this recipe safe for HE washers? Thanks so much!
Caitlin, so glad you’re trying the recipe! You can not use liquid Castile in the mix, it would react with the Oxyclean. You can buy pre shredded Castile soap flakes. I’m working on a non-toxic liquid detergent recipe! This recipe is low foaming so it is HE safe.
I also used a bit more epsom salt than your recipe calls for. I bought a 4 pound bag at Target and put in about half. Figured it was close enough 🙂
This is one of the advantages of this recipe, “close enough” works! LOL! -Bren
Thank you so much for this post! I made a batch and it is amazing 🙂 I will admit that I “cheated” a bit and used a box of Zote soap flakes in place of the grated Kirk’s. I don’t like to grate soap and the flakes are a great substitute. I’ve made other dry laundry soap and I wasn’t impressed – plus they ALL included borax. Yuck.
Need to make the dishwasher soap next.
Thanks again for you wonderful green recipe.
Anne, I’m so glad you like the laundry detergent and I’m happy to hear the Zote worked. I will have to look for Zote on my next shopping trip!
Bren- Thank you for this recipe, as I will be making shortly! After reading the comments, I am wondering if I should go with the Zote Flake route, as that would cut my time in half. But I was unable to find it on EWG. I was wondering if you knew anything about it as far as chemical/toxin wise? I saw you heard it was a good soap? Thank you : )
Great question, Sarah. I have not used Zote because I have not been able to find detailed information about its ingredients, this always concerns me. Here is the information I have found on Good Guide.
Thank you for your helpful feedback 🙂
I have been using your recipe for some time now and I actually made another batch and was reading one of your articles about the difference of BS and Washing soda and it says to never mix baking soda and WS together with vinegar but here you mentioned to add to the load. Can you clarify please. Also I thought it said to use less ws and more bs but this recipe has even amounts
Vivi, the washing soda and baking soda don’t mix with the vinegar when it is added to the rinse compartment.
How well does this detergent work? Have you tried it on any particularly messy items? I need a new detergent, but with my husband being a construction worker and having a messy 4yo boy and a baby in cloth diapers… I need something that WORKS! lol.
Brittany, my husband is in the Navy and his flight suits often stink like jet fuel (yuck). This detergent used with the vinegar rinse (white vinegar in your fabric softener dispenser) has really done the trick. I can’t vouch for diapers, but it is made with OxiBaby which says it is made for diapers. It took tomato sauce off a t-shirt with no pre-treating if that is proof! Hope this helps.
Wow. I’m going to try this! Looks great. Thanks for the tip!