17 Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes To Save You Money

It wasn’t until I began my journey toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle, that I found out there are many things you can make yourself. Many common household items that you can make, will save you money and are good for the planet.

If you take a look at the ingredients in major brands of laundry detergent, you may be surprised to find a lot of harsh chemicals you can barely pronounce. I try to use the same general rule with household products as I do with the food and beverages: If you can’t pronounce it, easily identify it, and know where it comes from — say no.

Washing laundry long ago may have required more work, but the ingredients were simpler. They consisted of either animal or vegetable fat, ashes, water, and sometimes salt, or other minerals that were found in the water or earth.

Throughout time, ingredients have changed and improved. Borax, washing soda, and some form of bar soap was the general blend a few decades ago. These days, your store-bought detergent might smell amazing (all the way from your neighbors’ house) and that’s a problem. Because many of those laundry detergents that smell amazing are also full of ingredients that you probably don’t want on your clothes or skin, such as:

  • Petroleum Derived Chemicals
  • Triclosan
  • Phthalates
  • Synthetic Fragrances
  • Carcinogens

These ingredients are leading causes of skin irritation, hormone disruption, and allergic reactions. Homemade laundry detergent is cheaper and safer to use. When you make your laundry detergent yourself, you know all of the ingredients.

Read on to discover 17 homemade laundry detergents for all of you DIY, frugal living, and eco-friendly readers who want to save money and know exactly what ingredients you’re using to clean your clothes, towels, and linens.

1. Unscented Laundry Detergent

Ingredients

  • Borax
  • Washing Soda
  • Ivory Soap

I like this recipe because it’s super simple to make. You can choose to leave it fragrance-free or add some of your favorite essential oils. It makes a 5-gallon bucket of super-concentrated detergent, but in all actuality, it yields 10 gallons once you add water to dilute it.

2. Borax-Free Liquid Detergent

Image courtesy of Bren Makes

Ingredients

  • Washing Soda
  • Baking Soda
  • Liquid Castile Soap
  • Water

Borax is an ingredient that’s always up for debate in green communities. Some people think it’s environmentally friendly while others believe it contains some potentially non-green compounds. If you’d rather skip washing with borax, check out this liquid detergent that’s made without it.

3. Sensitive Skin And Baby Safe

Image Courtesy of Mom 4 Real

Ingredients

  • Washing Soda
  • Borax
  • Unscented Mild Liquid Castile Soap

This recipe is for those of you with babies or sensitive skin and would make a great DIY gift for baby showers. Babies have gentle skin so harsh chemicals and overpowering fragrances can be too much for their little noses and soft skin.

4. Liquid and Powder Detergent

Ingredients

  • Washing Soda
  • Borax
  • Bar Soap

A lot of people shy away from powdered detergent because it can streak clothes. I have found if you add the detergent and let the water run, it dissolves better and eliminates the powder streaks.

Related Post: 18 Laundry Room Ideas For Better Organization And Decor

Powdered detergent is easier to make than liquid (liquid laundry detergent generally involves a little bit of cooking). This recipe gives you options for both liquid and powdered detergent.

5. Laundry Detergent With Downy Unstoppables

Ingredients

  • Laundry Bar Soap
  • Borax
  • Washing Soda
  • Baking Soda
  • Downy Unstoppable Scent Booster

Just because you’re making homemade laundry detergent doesn’t mean you can’t include some store-bought products as ingredients. Adding Downy Unstoppable to your DIY detergent gives the detergent a more intense fragrance. But since you’re making the detergent yourself, you have the power to adjust how strong or subtle the fragrance is scented.

6. Lavender-Scented Laundry Detergent

lavender scented laundry detergent
Image courtesy of Simply Designing

Ingredients

  • Washing Soda
  • Borax
  • Lavender Liquid Castile Soap

I love this recipe and use it for my linens and curtains. You can use whatever fragrance floats your boat, or in this case, floats your load. I like to use a combination of vanilla and lavender for a sweet fresh scent. It’s subtle and floral without being overpowering.

7. Essential Oils Liquid Soap No Residue

essential oil laundry detergent
Photo courtesy of Recipes With Essential Oils

Ingredients

  • Sal Suds
  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • Essential Oils

While looking for some new recipes to try, I learned that some people end up with residue in their washing machines from homemade soap. It is usually the powdered soap that does this whether or not it is homemade. I’ve seen it myself.

Related Post: DIY Soap Recipes

To eliminate the residue, I wipe out my washing machine with cleaning vinegar and then run the washer through one cycle with a lemon cleanser. To avoid this residue all together, consider trying this recipe.

 8. 3-Ingredient Laundry Detergent

Ingredients

  • Castile Bar Soap
  • Washing Soda
  • Borax

Sometimes the fewer ingredients the better. This recipe is cheap and easy to make with three ingredients. It only takes 10 minutes to make this detergent, and all you need is borax, naptha soap, and washing soda.

9. Dr. Bronner’s And Vinegar

Ingredients

  • Liquid Castile Soap
  • Vinegar

I am a huge fan of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. It’s available in both liquid and bar soap and can be used for many things: cleaning, dishes, laundry, bathing, and so much more.

Related Post: Why You Should Start Using A Clothesline

All you need for this detergent is to use a one-half cup of Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap. Choose the unscented or a fragrance of your choice. When it is time for the rinse cycle, toss in a one-half cup of white vinegar.

10. DIY Laundry Pods

laundry pods
Image courtesy of the Krazy Coupon Lady

Ingredients

  • Washing Soda
  • Laundry Bar Soap
  • Epsom Salt
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • White Vinegar
  • Essential Oils

I love the idea of laundry pods but the dissolvable plastic coating makes me stay away from them. For all of you pod lovers out there this one might be for you!

11. Plastic-Free Laundry Pods

Ingredients

  • Laundry Bar Soap
  • Washing Soda
  • Borax
  • OxiClean
  • Vinegar

After finding the recipe above, I went in search of a pod recipe I could make that didn’t have any plastic involved — and here it is! I look forward to trying this recipe and if any of you readers try it before me, please let me know how it turned out for you.

12. Hypoallergenic And Borax-Free Laundry Detergent

Ingredients

  • Washing Soda
  • Baking Soda
  • Grated Castile Soap
  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Citrus Enzyme Cleaner or Citric Acid

I have some family members with sensitive skin so this recipe was a good one to try. I like that it’s free of borax and includes citric acid and vinegar. I never thought of using citric acid outside of the kitchen before now.

13. No Cooking Liquid Detergent

Ingredients

  • Borax
  • Washing Soda
  • Dawn Dish Soap

I mentioned earlier that a lot of people stray away from the DIY liquid laundry soap because it requires some cooking. So for you guys, this recipe doesn’t involve any cooking at all. It does, however, take a little time to make because at certain points, you have to let it rest for a day or two.

14. DIY HE Washer Friendly

Ingredients

  • Washing Soda
  • Borax
  • Baking Soda
  • Laundry Soap
  • OxiClean
  • Essential Oils

This recipe is safe to use in any type of washing machine including a HE or high-efficiency washer.

15. Super Laundry Sauce

Ingredients

  • Laundry Soap
  • Borax
  • Washing Soda

This laundry detergent takes a little time and patience to make, but it’s a good starter recipe for beginners. The consistency is kind of thick — hence the reason it’s called laundry sauce. This is another one on my DIY project to-do list.

16. Laundry Detergent Tabs

laundry soap tabs
Photo courtesy of At Home With Jen

Ingredients

  • Washing Soda
  • Castile Bar Soap
  • Epsom Salt
  • White Vinegar
  • Essential Oils

These detergent tabs are similar to pods, but there is no coating whatsoever. You can use an old ice cube tray for the molds, or get creative and use molds of different shapes.

17. All-in-One Laundry Bombs

Ingredients

  • Laundry Soap
  • Epsom Salt
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Vinegar
  • Essential Oils

I would say this recipe is in my top 5 for this list and may even be the best homemade laundry detergent. It has everything. You don’t need stain or spot remover, fabric softener, or anything extra because this laundry bomb does it all.

Making your own laundry detergent may seem like a daunting task, but it can be simple and approachable with the right recipe. Let us know your favorite homemade laundry detergent recipe in the comments below!

Written by Elaina Garcia

Today’s Homesteading story is brought to you by Elaina Garcia. Healing and Health is an important part of life. Elaina has been practicing natural healing for almost 15 years and finds wildcrafting medicine to be extremely important, especially on the homestead.

One Comment

Leave a Reply
  1. Woohoo for homemade laundry detergent! We’ve been making ours for years–the simple washing soda/borax/homemade soap recipe version. I recently discovered a little tip for those washing their clothes by hand (like all ten of us, I know). Washing soda, while fantastic for getting stains out of clothes and maximizing the power of the soap, is actually pretty strongly basic–I believe it’s a 11 on the pH scale. That makes it caustic to the skin, so if your’e doing hand-washing, wear gloves when you come in contact with washing soda! I found out the hard way–my fingertips are still recovering and healing.

Leave a Reply

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

wyandotte chickens

Chicken Wormers: A Guide

driveway and mailbox

12 Driveway Ideas to Transform Your Home’s Exterior