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Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Here’s an easy recipe that will save you money and help rid your home of some of the toxic chemicals that bombard our families on a daily basis. How’s that for multi-tasking?!

Homemade Laundry Detergent


You only need 5 ingredients: soap, baking soda, washing soda, epsom salt, and regular salt.

Soap: Well, the reason for this one is kinda obvious.

Baking soda: A natural fabric softener, whitens fabrics, fights tea and coffee stains, and neutralizes odors.   


Washing soda:  Breaks down and removes oil & grease stains and naturally softens the water.


Epsom salt: A natural surfactant; it lowers the surface tension of the water. This allows the clothes to become wet more quickly and the soil to be loosened and removed more easily. Surfactants also act to emulsify oily soils and keep them suspended so they don’t settle back on the fabric.

Salt: Mildly abrasive to work against stains.


Homemade Laundry Detergent



1 bar of soap (Dr. Bronner’s has several “no artificals” options, but Fels Naptha or Zote laundry bars will also work)

1 cup baking soda

2 cups Arm & Hammer washing soda

1 cup Epsom salt

¼ cup salt

20 – 30 drops of essential oil (optional, but I use a combination of lemon and peppermint oils)


  1. Using a knife and cutting board, chop the soap into small chunks. Place chunks in food processor and process until you have a fine powder. (Depending on the size of your processor, this may take several run throughs.)
  2. Combine soap and remaining ingredients in an airtight container.
  3. Use 1 – 2 Tablespoons for regular sized loads and 2 – 3 Tablespoons for larger loads.

Tips and notes:

If you don’t have a food processor, a cheese grater can be used. I prefer the fine powder that I get from the processing, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

Feel free to adjust amounts of the ingredients to find the perfect combination for your laundry needs.

I’ve made the detergent without the soap once in a pinch and still got satisfactory results.

Most, if not all, of the ingredients needed can be found at your local discount or health food store, but if you can’t find them or prefer shopping online simply click on the images of the ingredients or the hyperlinks above.

Check out these awesome “green” stain removal ideas: Natural Laundry Stain Removals


FYI: This post does contain affiliate links. Purchasing products through these links will incur no extra charge for you, but does help keep the “coffee brewing” on this site!  You can read more about this in our Affiliate Disclosure.

Shared with: Mamas Blog Central, Serving Joyfully, Tuesdays with a Twist, Teach Me Tuesday, Saving 4 Six, Strangers and Pilgrims, The Modest Mom, 3 GLOL, Cornerstone Confessions, The Princess and Her Cowboys, Create with Joy, Oh My Heartsie Girl, and Hip Homeschool Moms


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Candy is a southern girl who enjoys the simple things in life. Dirt road drivin’, Sunday afternoon nappin’, back yard swingin’, and sunset watchin’ are a few of the things that make her smile. She’s been married to her best friend and the love of her life for almost 25 years and is navigating motherhood with her 4 children, aged 23, 19, 14, & 11. Homeschooling for over 18 years now, she is also a bit of a word-nerd (ok, maybe more than a “bit” – she actually considers making lists of homophones to be entertaining), a lover of books and chocolate, a survivor of cancer, an author, and a hula hoop maker.
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16 Responses to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

  1. I tired the recipe with Zote, and I like the pleasant smell. And I like a dry soap rather than liquid.

    Its amazing I can use this soap on white and not have to bleach.

    Thanks for the link back.

    Have a great weekend!!

  2. Nynke May 31, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    I put the washing soda in the oven to get rid of the water and it came out very dry. Now the moistness hasn’t been a problem. It’s a bit of a hassle though, but since I don’t know where to get different washing soda (I live in the Netherlands), I think I’ll stick with this for now. Thanks for your help!

    • Candy May 31, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

      Glad you found something that will eliminate the excess moisture. (My last bar didn’t have that issue!) Sorry it’s been a hassle though.

  3. Nynke May 16, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    Hi Candy,
    I’ve made this a few times and have a question for you: after a short while, the detergent (stored in an airtight container) gets quite ‘wet’, probably due to washing soda containing H2O. Have you ever had this problem? I was wondering if it could effect the efficacy of the baking soda?
    I now with baking, the longer the baking soda has come into contact with anything wet, the less likely it is too work properly.
    I feel like the first few loads in the washer get clean, but after that not as well.
    Thanks so much!

    • Candy May 17, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

      Hi Nynke!

      I haven’t had that problem. Of course, my detergent goes pretty quickly so it may be that it just never had the time to do that. One thing I have noticed lately is that the soap that I get from the store (I use Fels Naptha or Zote) is more moist. The last few bars have been almost impossible to grate. I’ve actually had to place the bars on the dryer for several days for them to “harden up” to be grate-able. I have no idea what’s going on with that. If you’re dealing with mushy-type soap at the beginning maybe you could let yours harden up too.
      But if that’s not the case, my suggestion would be to make a smaller batch…Maybe just half all the ingredients so that it’s used up more quickly before it has time to become moist.

      Hope that helps! If not, come back and we’ll see what we can figure out. 🙂

      • Nynke May 18, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

        Hi Candy,
        thanks for your reply! My bar of soap was dry and hard, so that shouldn’t be the problem.
        I had a closer look at the packaging of washing soda: it’s sodium carbonate decahydrate instead of pure sodium carbonbate. I’m not a chemist, but maybe that makes a difference?
        I will try to make a smaller bacth and see if that helps. And ask my husband, who has more background in chemistry than I do.
        I’ll let you know how it goes.

  4. Gail Akeman January 20, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    I would like to try to make some homemade laundry detergent sometime.

    • Candy January 21, 2015 at 7:09 am #

      I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this detergent. I’ve tried numerous recipes over the years and this one is, by far, the easiest AND it actually works!

  5. Debra @ MsMoozys Open House December 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    Love this, I made some a while back but this is a little different so I am eager to try again! I will be featuring this post tomorrow on my blog at Tuesdays with a Twist, stop by for a peek. 🙂 Have a great week.

    • Candy December 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

      Awesome! Thanks for the feature, Debra. 🙂 I think you’ll be really impressed with the laundry detergent. It works great for our family.

  6. Mary@Back to the Basics! September 2, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist! YOU have been featured today at Back to the Basics!

    • Candy September 2, 2014 at 7:52 am #

      Woo Hoo! Thanks, Mary!

  7. Bobbi September 1, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Thanks so much for linking up at Teach Me Tuesday. You are very much appreciated! Hope to see you again this week! http://3glol.net/2014/09/01/teach-tuesday-19/


  8. Heather May 20, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    I will have to try this recipe. My DH said the last recipe didn’t seem to work well and to please spend the extra money on store detergent instead of one drive thru! I have to admit, it was a gloppy mess because it called for melting the fels-naphtha soap on the stove and I felt like I needed to wear a mask from the STRONG fumes!

    This recipe looks a lot simpler and better working!

    • Candy May 20, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      I used to use a liquid recipe that sounds a lot like the one you describe. It was a pain in the behind to make and if I didn’t shake it up enough every.single.time I used it, it was a gelatinous mess! This one is so much simpler and it does work…I especially love the scent of the oils. My clothes smell clean again without artificial fragrance.
      If your hubby is still on the fence about homemade after your last experience maybe you could get some store bought detergent and mix it with the homemade. You’ll still be stretching your dollars! 🙂


  1. Fabulous Finds & Linky Party #19 - Mamas Blog Central - August 14, 2014

    […] Make Your Own Laundry Detergent […]

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