Using homemade laundry detergent with natural cleaning ingredients is easier on your clothing, your skin and the environment (also your wallet!) than buying commercial chemical detergents.
Homemade laundry soap cleans just as effectively, and so far I haven't heard of anyone having an allergic reaction to the natural laundry recipes.
That said, if you're extremely sensitive, you could make them without the essential oils.
My mom uses the liquid laundry detergent recipe below to soak stains out of her tea towels. She just leaves them to soak in the detergent for about a week, and she says they come up beautifully, with no wear and tear on the fabric. Give it a try!
You need a 5 gallon bucket for this homemade laundry soap recipe. Somebody on one of the forums suggested asking a restaurant for their empties (fat for deep frying comes in huge buckets.) I got mine from my local bulk food store for a dollar.
4 cups hot boiled Water
1 natural Soap Bar or Soap Flakes (see the directions below for tips)
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup Borax
30 drops Lavender essential oil
30 drops Lemon essential oil
30 drops Grapefruit OR Clove essential oil
Grate the soap bar using the coarse side of your cheese grater. I buy clear vegetable glycerin or olive oil soap bars from my local bulk food store, and many web sources suggest using Ivory soap.
Combine the soap flakes and hot water in a large saucepan. Stir over a medium-low heat until the soap is melted.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot water. Add the melted soap mixture, the washing soda and the borax. Stir until all the powder is dissolved.
Fill the bucket up to the top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
Next morning, stir the essential oils into the laundry soap mixture.
Transfer your homemade laundry detergent to a bunch of clean used laundry jugs.
To use: Shake the bottle before each use to dissolve any lumps of gel that might have formed while it was sitting.
Use 1 cup per load for top-load washing machines, and half a cup for front-load washers.
This recipe makes enough homemade laundry detergent for 45 top loads or 90 front loads. If that seems like a lot, reduce the recipe by half (although it's not going to go bad - it's soap!)
Note: Washing soda is made from Sodium Carbonate and is not the same ingredient as baking soda. You can usually find washing soda in the laundry area of your grocery or department store or ask for it at a pool store. It will be in the water softeners section. You can also buy washing soda online at Amazon.com
This homemade laundry soap recipe is a lot easier to make than the liquid recipe, so if you like using powdered laundry soap, this one's for you!
2 cups Soap Flakes (see directions below for making soap flakes)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
20 drops Lemon OR Clove essential oil
20 drops Lavender essential oil
To make soap flakes, grate a bar of unscented natural soap using the fine side of your cheese grater. I buy clear vegetable glycerin or olive oil soap bars from my local bulk food store, and many web sources suggest using Ivory soap.
Update: I'm tired of spending so much effort on making soap flakes. I've decided it's worth a little extra cost to save myself the time and aggravation it takes to grate up the soap bars. If you're feeling the same way, here's a link for buying soap flakes. Your arms will thank you!
Combine all the ingredients in a large airtight container. Stir to combine (or just put the lid on and shake vigorously.)
Use 2 tablespoons homemade laundry detergent per load.
Ever heard of Soap Nuts? They're actually a fruit (related to the Goji berry) native to India and Nepal.
They're an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical detergents, and they're especially good for people sensitive to commercial detergents.
Soap nuts contain natural detergents called Saponins. The soap nut shell absorbs water and releases the saponins, which circulate as natural cleansers in the wash water, releasing dirt, grime, and oils from clothing.
To use, put 4 to 6 soap nuts in a muslin bag and drop it into your washing machine along with your clothes. Run the machine as usual.
There will be almost no bubbles during the wash cycle, and it will smell a bit like apple cider. The soap nuts can be re-used several times (3 to 5 loads) and then composted. They will look mushy and grey when they need to be changed.
It's a great idea to replace your chemical fabric softener with vinegar. Here's why: vinegar...
Removes detergent residue.
Helps stop colors from fading.
Deodorizes smelly clothes.
Do not use vinegar if you're using chlorine bleach - the combination produces toxic gases.
In fact, why not switch to Oxygen Bleach - it's gentler on fabrics and more environmentally friendly. Plus, your clothes won't smell like a swimming pool!
Move beyond homemade laundry detergent - do your whole house the homemade way! Check out these recipes for homemade cleaners... and see how easy it is to clean pretty much everything with inexpensive, natural cleaning choices.
Homemade Stain Removers
Homemade All Purpose Cleaners
Homemade Bathroom Cleaners
Window & Glass Cleaners
Homemade Floor Cleaners
Homemade Carpet Cleaners
Homemade Drain Cleaners
Homemade Dishwashing Detergents
Homemade Dish Soap
Homemade Cleaners Main Page
Aromatherapy Recipes Homepage from Homemade Laundry Detergent