Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY All-Natural Laundry Detergent

Have you ever considered making your own natural laundry detergent? Seems a little hard-core, eh? I thought so too, but the more I saw recipes pop up the more I was itching to try them out. I finally got around to this while on holidays last month and made 1/2 batch for fear that it wouldn't be all it cracked up to be. Well, fear not my friends - this stuff is awesome!

So, why should you use an all-natural laundry detergent? There's plenty of information out there to make you squirm. Websites that break down all the chemicals and carcinogens that the brand name laundry detergents contain. Contaminants that cause cancer, liver and kidney problems, skin and eye irritations, lung damage, allergic reactions and reproductive and developmental effects...just to name a few. Remember, when I mentioned that I was no longer using dryer fabric sheets? Yeah, they can cause all of these side effects too. And not to mention all of the damage they do to the environment when flushed down the drain or thrown in the garbage.

While we have been using some mild laundry detergents lately to make a tiny step closer to all-natural laundry detergent, I know that this little step has now placed me much closer to my goal of switching over to all-natural household and personal hygiene products for good. And all it took was a little bit of planning, shopping and elbow grease!

The recipe below is from the side of the box of Eco-Pioneer washing soda I purchased, but the first time I saw the recipe was about a year ago. At the time, I thought it was a little too hard-core, ha! There are all kinds of variations out there too, like this one for a liquid version that I recently found on Pinterest. I might try that one out when this one is all used up - months from now!

Here's the recipe if you're interested in jumping on the bandwagon too!

DIY All-Natural Laundry Detergent

4 cups natural soap, finely grated
Finely grated is a must - anything larger won't dissolve properly. I've used pure soap and for my latest batch I used The Soap Works Tea Tree Oil Soap (tea tree oil is anti-septic and anti-fungal). I've purchased the soaps on Well.ca and at Rainbow Natural Foods for $1.99/bar. Each bar grates down to approximately 2 cups of shavings.

2 cups Borax
I purchase my Borax at Loblaws for $5.69/box. If you're not convinced that this is a healthy option, check our Crunchy Betty's research on Borax - something I wondered myself when I started using the stuff.

2 cups washing soda
I've been using Eco-Pioneer Pure Washing Soda, purchased on Well.ca for $8.19/box. You may also find Arm & Hammer Washing Soda in your grocery store (I couldn't find it until after I purchased the Eco-Pioneer online).

Essential oil (optional).
Some people add essential oils like lavender to add a nice scent to their detergent.

Mix all the ingredients together and voila!, you've got yourself a batch of cheap, all-natural, eco-friendly laundry detergent. And the best part - just use 2 tablespoons per load - that's it!I put my batch in a glass canister with a lid (best idea so it doesn't harden and clump together) that I picked up at a consignment store years ago. I think it looks pretty.

For those really soiled clothes, let your clothes soak a bit.  Or, use this awesome all-natural stain remover laundry bar from The Soap Works. I swear it works much better than the Shout spray I used to use.

I've included prices above to give you an idea of how much money you will save. With a couple more bars of soap I'm pretty sure I can make about 4 batches of the recipe. I'm currently keeping tabs of how many loads I am washing so I can do a final count and crunch the numbers once I'm through the canister.

Happy laundering!


  1. Thanks so much for posting this information. I've contemplated making my own laundry soap but never taken the time to find testimonials from people who actually use it. Now that I've read your review, I will definitely make the switch.

    BTW, have you switched to baking soda and vinegar for washing your hair yet?

  2. Glad to hear!
    I have not...it's another thing on my list I want to try. I've been using all-natural shampoo and soaps for a while now, but have been meaning to try this. Do you?

  3. Yes.


  4. Love this, I've been meaning to try it since V was in CDs and always wondered how available the ingredients were in Canada/Ottawa.

    (My guilty admission - I was hoping you would post a pic of that pretty jar full of detergent so I could add this to Pinterest *g*)