Easy Chemical-Free DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe

Did you know making your own laundry detergent is extremely easy and will also save you money?!?  Why buy store-bought laundry detergent that contains tons of chemicals, when you can make your own all-natural laundry detergent with just a few simple ingredients?  All you need is two or three ingredients: a bar of soap, borax, and essential oils (optional).  The only tools you will need is: a bowl, a cheese grater, a kitchen scale, a mini food blender (like a Magic Bullet), and a container to store your detergent in.  You can buy an all-natural bar of soap or, spend a little more time, and make your own to use in your laundry detergent.

Our Homemade Soap

My husband and I make our own soap.  This is a little more labor intensive process, but we like it because we know exactly what is in our soap.  Plus, it’s fun to make.  I will be discussing the soap making process in-depth in a future post.  But, you don’t need to make your own soap to make laundry detergent.

If you don’t make your own soap, I recommend picking up a bar of Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Bar Soap.  It comes in many different scents such as: Peppermint, Lavender, Citrus, Rose, Tea Tree, and Eucalyptus.  You can also get Unscented if you prefer.  If you choose Unscented you can add your own essential oils to your laundry detergent to create your own custom scent!  Dr. Bronner’s is a very pure soap and if you can’t make your own, it’s honestly the next best option.

Dr. Bronner’s is the top-selling soap in the U.S. natural marketplace. Only the purest organic & Fair Trade ingredients. No synthetic preservatives, no detergents or foaming agents —None!”


Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps only contain pure, gentle, safe, natural ingredients.  The Unscented bar soap contains: Organic Coconut Oil*, Organic Palm Oil*, Sodium Hydroxide**, Water, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) (*CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENTS **None remains after saponifying oils into soap & glycerin.)  If you choose a scent, such as Lavender, then it will contain all-natural extracts such as Lavandin.  Dr. Bronner’s products also hold many certifications:


Making your own laundry detergent is also very gentle on your skin.  I have super sensitive skin because of my eczema.  I used to have reactions to laundry detergent all the time, but ever since my husband and I started making our own, I have had no issues.

The next ingredient you will need is Borax which you can easily find down the laundry aisle at the store.  When added to laundry detergent, Borax can help whiten your whites, soften hard water, neutralize odors, and disinfect clothes (source).  Borax is sold under the brand name “20 Mule Team Borax”.


“Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate is a naturally occurring mineral that is used in many commercial cleaning products.

Borax is sold in powder form and has a consistency that’s similar to powdered laundry detergent.

In the late 1800’s, borax was mined in Death Valley and transported across the Mojave Desert by teams of mules and horses to the railroad spur. That’s where 20 Mule Team Borax gets its name.”


Once you have those two ingredients (bar soap and borax) you are ready to make your own all-natural laundry detergent!

Step One:

Grate your soap.  My husband and I have a cheese grater that we only use for grating soap.  Get a large bowl to grate your soap into.  Important: Make sure to set aside tools that are only used for soap making.  

Step Two:

Use a food scale to weigh out soap shavings.  This will help you to determine how much borax you need to use.  The mixture is a 1:1 ratio.  For every gram of soap shavings, you add an equal gram of borax. (ex. 2 grams soap flakes, 2 grams borax)

Step Three:

Attach the container to your mini food blender and blend the soap flakes and borax into a fine powder.  If you used an unscented soap, this would be when you would add in your essential oil.  Once blended, your laundry detergent is ready to use!  Transfer to a storage container.

Use 1/8 cup per load of laundry.  Because this is an all-natural laundry detergent it will not suds up like commercial laundry detergents, but trust me you will get amazing cleaning power and super clean, great smelling clothes!

If you are using essential oils to scent your laundry detergent, I highly recommend Young Living.  Add 4-5 drops of one oil such as: Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Citrus Fresh, Purification, or Thieves to your laundry detergent before blending into a powder.  Or, create your own fun essential oil combinations that will make your laundry smell amazing!  Here are some ideas to get you started:

Clean & Fresh

  • 2 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Lemon
  • 1 drop Rosemary

Lavender Lemonade

  • 2 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Lemon
  • 1 drop Basil

Clean & Refreshing

  • 2 drops Lemon
  • 2 drops Peppermint
  • 1 drop Lavender

Cleaning Powerhouse

  • 2 drops Orange
  • 2 drops Lime
  • 1 drop Tea Tree

Experiment and have fun!

Interested In Ordering Oils:

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Want To See Other Products I Recommend?  Check out Things I Love which includes discount codes.



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