How to Make DIY Laundry Detergent (Powder, Liquid and Cubes)


Some people are always on a hunt for a new DIY project. We’ve got an easy one for you, one that’s forever going to change the way you do your laundry – DIY laundry detergent.

And if you’re into detoxing your lifestyle, you can go beyond just eating green. The products you use in your home day-to-day can also be free of toxic chemicals. Making your own laundry detergent is a great way rid your clothes of the chemicals commonly used in commercial laundry detergents.

how to make laundry detergent

Pair your homemade laundry detergent with homemade fabric softener and you’re all set. DIY laundry detergent is also cost effective in the long run. And if you like the idea of saving money, you can also try your hand at DIY dishwasher detergent.

Here are three simple recipes to make DIY laundry detergent powder, liquid and cubes at home.

Method 1: Powder Laundry Detergent

If you wish to go basic, then give this simple laundry detergent powder a try. Just gather the ingredients, mix well, store and use as needed. Other than borax, we’ve used Castile bar soap, baking soda, washing soda, Epsom salt and essential oils.

For many, the jury is still out on the toxicity of borax, and we won’t argue. We’ll just provide you with two recipes – one that contains borax and a borax-free option. However, most of the concerns about borax seem to be about excess exposure to the eyes and skin as well as when it is ingested in large quantities. Doing the same with table salt or baking soda is also bound to land you in trouble.

Borax simply boosts the power of your detergent, making it more effective at cleaning, removing stains, deodorizing and freshening up the laundry.

Castile soap is a gentle multi-purpose soap made from vegetable oils which forms the base of this recipe. It will clean and soften your laundry.

Baking soda acts as stain remover, degreaser and deodorizer. Washing soda does the same, but better. It also brightens up your clothes and linens – colors and whites. In the borax recipe, you won’t need the washing soda.

Epsom salt makes the laundry colorfast and prevents the colors from bleeding. It also softens hard water. We’re also using a blend of lavender and orange essential oils in the borax-free recipe, but you can go with your choice of essential oils.

#With Borax

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using borax to make powder laundry detergent

  • Castile bar soap, finely shredded (all-purpose cleaning agent) – 15 oz.
  • Baking soda (degreaser, stain remover and deodorizer) – ½ cup
  • Borax (boosts detergent effectiveness) – ¼ cup
  • Epsom salt (water softener, keeps fabric colorfast) – ¼ cup

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

combine the ingredients to make powder laundry detergent

  • Put 15 oz. of finely shredded Castile bar soap in a mixing bowl. The soap shavings should equal about 1 cup.
  • Add ¼ cup of borax to it.
  • Add ½ cup of baking soda as well.
  • Add in ¼ cup of Epsom salt.

Step 2. Mix and store

mix and store powder laundry detergent and use as needed

  • Mix the ingredients really well with a wooden spoon.
  • Spoon the detergent mix into an airtight jar and use as needed.
  • For a regular load of laundry, use 1 tablespoon of the powder laundry detergent for front loaders and 2 tablespoons for top loaders.

final using borax to make powder laundry detergent

#Without Borax

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to make powder laundry detergent without using borax

  • Castile bar soap, finely shredded (all-purpose cleaning agent) – 1½ cups
  • Baking soda (degreaser, stain remover and deodorizer) – 1 cup
  • Washing soda (powerful cleaning agent and water softener) – 1 cup
  • Epsom salt (water softener, keeps fabric colorfast) – ½ cup
  • Lavender essential oil (antimicrobial and imparts fragrance) – 10 to 12 drops
  • Orange essential oil (antimicrobial and imparts fragrance) – 5 or 6 drops

Step 1. Combine the shredded soap and powder ingredients

combine soap and powder ingredients to make powder laundry detergent

  • Put 1½ cups of finely shredded Castile bar soap in a mixing bowl.
  • Add 1 cup each of washing soda and baking soda to it.

combine soap and powder ingredients to make powder laundry detergent

  • Add in ½ cup of Epsom salt.
  • Mix the ingredients really well with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Step 2. Add in the essential oils

add essential oils to make powder laundry detergent

  • Put 10 to 12 drops of lavender essential oil into the mix.
  • Add 5 or 6 drops of orange essential oil to it.
  • Give the mixture another stir.

Step 3. Store and use as needed

store the powder laundry detergent and use as needed

  • Fill up an airtight jar with your borax-free laundry detergent powder for convenient use.
  • For a regular load of laundry, use 1 tablespoon of the borax-free powder laundry detergent for front loaders and 2 tablespoons for top loaders.

final without using borax to make powder laundry detergent

Method 2: Liquid Laundry Detergent

If you prefer liquid laundry soap, you can make this  easy DIY detergent with liquid Castile soap, baking soda and washing soda.

Made from vegetable oils, Castile soap is a great vegan alternative to soaps made from animal fats. Baking soda removes stains and deodorizes the laundry, while washing soda is great for brightening up the whites as well as colors. You can also use homemade washing soda for this recipe.

Lavender essential oil is added for fragrance and its sanitizing effect.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to make liquid laundry detergent

  • Hot water (for base) – 2 gallons
  • Liquid Castile soap (all-purpose cleaning agent) – ¾ cup
  • Baking soda (degreaser, stain remover and deodorizer) – ½ cup
  • Washing soda (powerful cleaning agent and water softener) – ½ cup
  • Lavender essential oil (antimicrobial and imparts fragrance) – about 30 drops

Step 1. Dissolve washing soda in some hot water

dissolve washing soda in some hot water to make liquid laundry detergent

  • Put ½ cup of washing soda in a container. The capacity of the container should be more than 2 gallons.
  • Pour a few cups of hot water into the container.
  • Stir until the washing soda dissolves into the hot water.

Step 2. Mix in the baking soda and the remaining water

mix in baking soda to make liquid laundry detergent

  • Add ½ cup of baking soda to the container.
  • Stir to dissolve the baking soda.
  • Top off the container with the rest of the 2 gallons of hot water, while stirring to mix the ingredients completely.

Step 3. Add the Castile soap and essential oil

add castile soap and essential oil to make liquid laundry detergent

  • Pour ¾ cup of liquid Castile soap into the container.
  • Add about 30 drops of lavender essential oil or any essential oil of your choice.
  • Stir the ingredients a couple of times to dissolve the soap completely.

Step 4. Store and use as needed

store liquid laundry detergent and use as required

  • Pour your homemade liquid laundry detergent into convenient containers for storage. Simple plastic soda bottles will do just fine.
  • If your mixing container is difficult to pour from, like ours was, you can use a jug or any container with a spout for easy pouring.
  • When it’s time to do the laundry, just measure and pour the liquid detergent into the washer and wash as usual. Use about 1/3 cup of the detergent for a medium load of dirty laundry.

final liquid laundry detergent

Method 3: Laundry Detergent Cubes

Laundry detergent cubes are one of the many hacks of using ice cube trays. All you need to do is make a detergent paste, pack it in ice cube trays and set it to dry. By making DIY laundry detergent tabs of a certain volume, you can easily decide the quantity of the detergent you put in each wash.

Our detergent mix contains Castile bar soap, baking soda, washing soda, Epsom salt and white vinegar. Castile soap is an all-natural, chemical and toxin-free soap that does a terrific cleaning job in a variety of scenarios.

Baking soda and washing soda make your laundry detergent more effective. Baking soda is a great degreaser and stain remover. Washing soda has similar properties, but is more potent and can work through heavily soiled laundry.

Epsom salt works to remove stains, soften hard water and brightens the colors of your clothing and linens. White vinegar also works as a stain remover and deodorizer.

Essential oils are not just for fragrance, but will also sanitize the laundry. You can use the essential oils of your choice.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to make laundry detergent cubes

  • Castile bar soap, finely shredded (all-purpose cleaning agent) – 14 oz.
  • Baking soda (degreaser, stain remover and deodorizer) – ¼ cup
  • Washing soda (powerful cleaning agent and water softener) – ½ cup
  • Epsom salt (water softener, keeps fabric colorfast) – ¼ cup
  • White vinegar (degreaser and deodorizer) – ¼ cup
  • Lavender essential oil (antimicrobial and imparts fragrance) – 5 or 6 drops
  • Orange essential oil (antimicrobial and imparts fragrance) – 2 or 3 drops

Step 1. Combine the shredded soap and the other powder ingredients

combine soap and other powder ingredients to make laundry detergent cubes

  • Put 14 oz. of finely shredded Castile bar soap into a mixing bowl.
  • Add ½ cup of washing soda to it.
  • Add ¼ cup of baking soda.
  • Add in ¼ cup of Epsom salt.
  • Stir to mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.

Step 2. Add in the essential oils

add essential oils to make laundry detergent cubes

  • Put 5 or 6 drops of lavender essential oil into the mixing bowl.
  • Add 2 or 3 drops of orange essential oil to it.

Step 3. Add vinegar to make a paste

add vinegar to make a paste for making laundry detergent cubes

  • Slowly pour ¼ cup of white vinegar into the bowl, while stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon.
  • Mix the ingredients into a lump-free paste.
  • If the mixture feels too tight and thick to work with, you may add more vinegar.

Step 4. Make detergent cubes in an ice cube tray

make laundry detergent cubes in ice cube tray

  • Spoon the detergent paste into the sections of an ice cube tray.
  • Tightly pack in the detergent by pressing it down with the back of the spoon.
  • Set the detergent cubes out to dry in the sun for about 24 hours. If the cubes are not completely dry, they’ll break apart when you take them out of the tray.

Step 5. Pop out the dry detergent cubes and store for convenient use

final laundry detergent cubes

  • Pop the cubes out of the tray when the detergent has dried up nice and hard.
  • Store the detergent cubes in an airtight container and use as needed.
  • The size of your detergent cubes will decide how many detergent cubes per washing load you’ll need.
  • If your detergent tabs are about 1 tablespoon in volume, use 1 tab for a regular load of laundry in front load washing machine. Use 2 tabs if using top load machine.

Tips

  • While making DIY laundry detergent, all the mixing should be done with a wooden spoon or spatula. A metal spoon can react with the soda and vinegar. In a pinch, a spoon made with sturdy plastic would work fine.
  • You can also use coarse sea salt instead of Epsom salt in the recipes.
  • Lemon essential oil would also make a good addition to DIY laundry detergents. It is a natural degreaser and stain remover.

Summary of How to Make DIY Laundry Detergent

how to make DIY laundry detergent

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