Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5 Minute Natural Laundry Detergent {Borax Free!}

Hello! Hope you all had lovely weekends. After a full week of gloomy weather, seeing the sun out again this weekend was a very welcome change! Our weekend was a busy one for us with visits with friends and social gatherings, but it was good to see folks.

I've been wanting to make and use a natural laundry detergent for years now, but was deterred by every recipe I would come across containing Borax. So imagine my excitement when a few weeks ago while perusing a link party I found a mix created by the awesome Amanda from Dwelling In Happiness that was exactly the concoction I'd been waiting for!

I like the idea of using a homemade laundry detergent because:
  • it's all-natural
  • you can pick the scent (or have no scent)
  • it's cheap and easy to make
  • especially great for infant/children's clothes, as children tend to have sensitive skin and the chemicals/products used in store-bought detergents can cause rashes, eczema, and even hives.

(Do check out Amanda's blog showing the making of the detergent. She gives lots of pretty step-by-step picture instructions and more information about each of the ingredients used in this detergent).

I wanted to also share my own experience of making and using it, and give another reference for a cost breakdown, so here we go!

Amanda's mixture makes 2 gallons, but here are the measurements for making 1 gallon like I did:

For the Detergent:
  • 1/4 cup Super Washing Soda
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 6 tbsp castile soap (I used Dr. Bronner)
  • 15 drops essential oil of choice (lavender, lemon, jasmine, etc. are all nice aromas for the detergent)

  • 1-2 gallon (clean) container or bucket (I bought a new $3 bucket from Lowes that'll be solely used for making detergent)
  • long spoon (or anything that you can use to stir the mix with - I used a wooden paint mixing stick)
  • A glass jar sized for 1 gallon (I found my 1 gallon mason jar at Walmart), or several wide-mouth canning jars

To Make:

  • Pour the super washing soda into the bucket. Add warm tap water to just cover the soda and mix until dissolved.
  • Add the baking soda and also stir to mix it in.
  • Pour in 1 gallon of hot water.
  • Drop in the 6 tbsp of castile soap/Dr. Bronner.
  • Add 15 drops of your choice essential oil.
  • Pour mix into jar/s.

That's it! It literally takes 5 minutes to whip up a batch, and it gives you a lot of loads.

To Use: 

Before each use, give it a quick stir as some of the contents may sit at the bottom. 
Use approximately 1/3 of a cup for a full load of laundry.

Back when I was researching natural detergents, I saw some worries from others about the possibility of oil stains on their clothing, but I've had no problems whatsoever. I've done both white and color loads with this detergent, and each have come out clean and fresh. 

Here is how much I paid for each "ingredient" used:

Cost Breakdown:

Super Washing Soda - $2.99
Baking Soda (1 lb box) - $0.59
Lemon oil - $4.99
Dr. Bronner liquid castile soap - $7

This jar lasted me a little over 3 months! I did about 4 loads/week, give or take, and was pretty generous with how much I used each load (lil' more than 1/3 cup). I got about 50 loads out of it - not bad! At approx $1 to make a gallon jar (rough estimate),
that comes to $0.02/load!

Even better, I recently became the owner of a HE-detergent washer and have had success using this detergent in it. Awesome, because those special HE detergents ain't cheap! :)

Bonus: With past detergents, we always had an awful, almost rotten-egg smell from our previous top-load washer during and after it being run. We tried airing it out, switching detergents, and making sure there were no build-ups in the pipes, but nothing seemed to work. However, ever since using this homemade detergent, I can walk into the laundry room while the machine is running and actually breathe in. No smell whatsoever in our laundry room anymore! Truly a wonderful development!

{Pin It For Later!}

Shared On: dotelltuesday, totallyterrifictuesdayoutsidethebox, creativityunleashed


  1. I'm SO glad this worked well for you!! Thank you so much for your sweet words about my blog. :) We love this detergent and won't be using anything else ever! :)

    1. You're more than welcome! :) I'm in love with this detergent as well and so happy to be using it!!

  2. Hello. I have a few questions regarding this. I loved the smell of the detergent; after putting in 1/3C - which is a ton for my HE front load washer (almost overflowed the tray) I washed the clothes, the detergent barely suds'ed up and after the clothes were done there was zero smell to the clothes. I followed the recipe to a 'T' but not sure if this is normal, or what? Any help is appreciated!!

    1. Hi! Awesome that you're trying it out! Yes, so far in my experience no smell after laundering is normal as well. :)

  3. So the clothes shouldn't smell at all like the detergent? With all those essential oils in the mixture I thought it would have transferred to the clothes? And about the lather..should the washer be getting sudsy or no?

    1. I can't speak on the lather as I have a top-load, windowless washer. But I've put dirty clothes from lawn work or painting or whatnot in and though they don't smell like lemons, I have had them coming out clean smelling and completely cleaned. Hope that helps a bit. :)

    2. Update: I now have a washer that takes only "HE" detergent and has a window. I've used this detergent in it and have had no trouble with it over-sudsing (is that a term??) or causing any trouble for the washer. As for the essential oil, I didn't get anything that was certified or pricey, just your run-of-the-mill oil from Aura Cacia brand that I found in a grocery store. More high-end pure oils may keep their smell, but I haven't tried it with them.

  4. I just made a batch and it doesn't look like your picture. It looks like the store laundry soup but is very watery. Did I miss something

    1. Hi Peggy - it's hard to say for sure as I can't see what you're seeing, but mine is usually watery-ish the first day or so and then little by little starts to firm up a bit, which is why I keep a paint-stirrer nearby to give it a whirl every once in a while. As long as you give it a stir before each use to make sure none of the "ingredients" settle to the bottom, you should be golden. :)

  5. I LOVE this detergent recipe! My youngest asked me yesterday (smelling his fresh from the dryer shirt): "Is this the flavored detergent?" Athletic wear no longer has that detergent & funky aftermath odor that never seems to come out. Witha house full of teenage boys, this is such a bonus!

    1. Hello! Sorry for the belated response! Thanks so much for your comment and loved what your youngest said, hehe - it makes me very happy to know it's helping ya out! ^_^

  6. Hi, I'm excited to try this out. For ease of making, I have to ask- why not just mix/shake the ingredients together in the 1 gallon jar?

    1. Hehe, I've thought of that too and been tempted to try! I believe tho from what I've noticed whenever I've made the mix is that it takes a bit of time and stirring for the baking soda and washing soda to dissolve in the hot water, so the extra steps ensure that they do get properly worked into the mix. If you do try it the other way and it works tho, do let me know! :-D

  7. Does this start accumulating bacteria after setting out a few weeks? I made my batch 2 weeks ago. Now it has these giant white blobs that best described, look like spider webs of tumble weeds that take up the entire dispenser and don't go away even when I stir it... Is this normal...? :/ If not, what might I have done wrong to cause that? Do you think it's still ok to use? It looks gross but I don't know if that necessarily means it's bad...

    1. Hi Jessica! Thanks for the question - sorry for my belated response! Your batch sounds just like mine and is perfectly safe, so no worries; there's nothing in the mix that can go bad. :) I realize it's definitely not like store-bought liquid detergent, so I can see why a solution changing like this one can may make anyone raise an eyebrow. I've noticed that usually 1-2 weeks after making a batch it does the same thing with getting "white blobs", which I find ideal because then I don't need to mix it as much (or sometimes not at all) before using. Sometimes the consistency changes with the temperature of the room too.
      You can go right on using it with no wariness - let me know if I can be of any further help! :)


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