3 Ingredient DIY All Natural Laundry Detergent

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In my quest to switch to all natural, chemical free, living laundry detergent was next on the list. Turns out it is an easy switch from store bought to homemade. Did you know that DIY alternatives to laundry detergent are often just as effective and much less expensive?

My main road block was a DIY detergent for High Efficiency (HE) washers and after scouring the internet and looking at different recipes, I put my own twist on one specifically designed for HE washers and decided to share it all for you here.

Currently, my washer is running with the homemade detergent, and no suds spilling out so far so I will call that a win!

Laundry Detergent vs Laundry Soap - What’s the Difference?

Laundry soap and laundry detergent are not the same thing.

A soap is by definition a mixture of fats and oils with an alkali or base.

Detergent, on the other hand, is typically synthetic and is typically designed for a specific purpose (dissolve even in hard water or cold water.) 

Since store bought versions are called “laundry detergents,” I’ve opted to call this tutorial a DIY All Natural Laundry Detergent recipe, though it uses a soap base.

Is it Safe for High Efficiency Washers?

The main concern with a high efficiency washer is creating too many suds, so a low-suds soap or detergent is suggested.

This recipe is low-suds and should be safe for HE, but always check with the instructions that came with your machine to make sure before using.

Why Switch?

I switched to natural homemade laundry detergent/soap to avoid the harsh chemicals, fragrances, colors, and additives in many regular detergents. Also, it turns out that homemade is also much less expensive and incredibly easy to make!

Even if you’re just starting out with natural living laundry soap is a simple switch you can make without much effort and without expensive speciality ingredients.

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Laundry Detergent Ingredients

This homemade laundry soap recipe uses three basic ingredients:

  • Borax: A naturally occurring mineral - I get mine here

  • Washing Soda: Also called Soda Ash, this helps remove oils and residue. Available at most local grocers or here

  • Grated Bar Soap: Like Dr. Bronners - get it here

Optional addition is essential oils for scent. I prefer lavender essential oil added to the powdered recipe, though most of the scent is gone after drying.

Laundry Soap Ingredients List

  • bar of grated bar soap

  • 1 cup of washing soda

  • 1 cup of borax (or additional washing soda)

  • 20 drops of lavender essential oil

How to Make Laundry Soap

  1. Grate the soap using a hand grater or food processor. Grate into fine particles so it dissolves easily.

  2. Carefully mix with the washing soda and borax (use gloves or a spoon as these can by drying if used directly on skin)

  3. Add essential oils and stir.

  4. Store in an air-tight glass jar.

  5. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. Add 1 tablespoon of oxygen booster if needed… I use this on white loads.

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Use 1-2 tbsp in your washer per load and wa la!