Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent | How To Clean Your Clothes Naturally

Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent | How To Clean Your Clothes Naturally

Learn how to make a gallon of natural homemade laundry detergent for less than $4. This laundry detergent is completely natural, non-toxic, safe and most importantly, it’s effective. This recipe will allow for 50-64 loads per batch, so the cost is less than 8 cents per load!

two half gallon jars of laundry soap with gold measuring cups and a lemon sliced in half

When I first opened the door to the world of natural living, my first experiment with DIY natural products was laundry detergent. That was I believe in 2012, maybe earlier! Back then, non-toxic products were a lot harder to come by, so you had to get resourceful. If you found them they were expensive, usually not very effective, and often not as natural as the package claimed them to be. Hello, green washing. Hence diving into DIY natural products was sort of necessary.

Over the years I have tried plenty of natural laundry detergent recipes, and they often left me disappointed. Many call for borax, which has been questioned when it comes to safety. Others left a film in my washing machine and on my clothes. Several other recipes called for grating a bar of castile soap, and while I have tried that, I honestly just don’t have the patience to do so. We wash most of our laundry on cold, so I also found sometimes the grated soap particles (when using a DIY laundry powder) wouldn’t fully melt, and then would leave little bits of dried soap on the laundry I was trying to clean. I also found that several recipes made massive batches, 5+ gallons, and that might be worthwhile if you have a large family, but we don’t, plus I don’t have the space for all that!

How Does Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent Work?

This recipe for natural laundry detergent uses just a few carefully selected ingredients, each chosen with a purpose. Washing soda is a natural solvent, meaning it works to dissolve other substances. Because of this it is great for boosting the power of the laundry detergent in removing stains. Baking soda is also powerful at removing stains, plus it helps to absorb and remove any odors. Castile soap is super concentrated, so a little goes a long way when it comes to cleaning clothes! The chloride in salt helps to keep laundry looking bright, and it also acts as a natural softener! I also use it in my DIY Fabric Softener & Scent Booster. Essential oils are not necessary, but I love to add them for a natural, toxin free, fragrance.

For many, many years, 6 or 7 to be exact, I had a recipe that was my go-to. It works great, however I often added a little bit of washing soda to the drum of our washing machine, because of how effective it is at removing stains. It made sense for me to play around with homemade natural laundry detergent of my own that included washing soda. I also just like to change things up from time to time, so this recipe was born!

white backdrop with ingredients for diy laundry soap

I share about many of these ingredients in this post.

Can I Substitute The Ingredients?

If you need to substitute ingredients in this recipe, you do have some options.

  • If you can’t find washing soda, you can make it yourself with baking soda! Simply spread baking soda on a baking sheet, and cook for an hour at 400 F. This will change baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, to washing soda, sodium carbonate!
  • Instead of coarse salt, use table salt or epsom salt – both work!
  • Substitute a full bar of grated castile soap for the liquid castile soap. You will want to melt the soap in hot water before mixing in the other ingredients.

overhead shot of homemade laundry detergent ingredients on white marble backdrop

Why Don’t You Use Borax In Natural Laundry Detergent?

The safety of borax has been questioned. The EU has banned borax because of its potential harm to reproductive health. This is based on studies of borax on mice and rats after ingesting high amounts. While I am sure there are much worse ingredients out there, I would much rather play it safe. It is known for being effective in removing stains, however I find washing soda does the trick all on it’s own.

How Much Natural Laundry Detergent Do You Need Per Load?

I typically use about 1/3 cup or so for an average sized load of laundry. If I am doing a small load however, I will use about 1/4 cup. This works great for us! I just keep a 4 oz mason jar in my laundry room to use to measure my detergent whenever I am doing a load of laundry.

Does This Detergent Work With HE Washing Machines?

Yes, this recipe works with both HE and standard washing machines! Because standard washing machines use less water, you may find that you want to add a little bit more detergent. I would say about 1/2 cup per load. Test it out with your washing machine to see what works!

Why Does My Laundry Detergent Separate?

You will probably notice that after your homemade natural laundry detergent cools it separates like in the picture below. This is totally fine! Just give it a good shake before using.

a gallon of homemade laundry detergent with a sliced lemon and measuring cups

Yield: 50

Natural Laundry Detergent | How To Clean Your Clothes Naturally

Learn how to make a gallon of natural homemade laundry detergent for less than $4. This laundry detergent is completely natural, non-toxic, safe and effective. This recipe will allow for 50-64 loads per batch, making the cost less than 8 cents per load.


  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • 30 drops essential oil
  • water
  • gallon sized container


  1. Add baking soda, salt, and washing soda to a large glass bowl or jar. Add enough hot water to dissolve as best you can.
  2. Transfer mixture to a gallon container. Add castile soap and essential oils.
  3. Top off with cold water, and mix well.
  4. Use 1/4-1/3 cup per load, depending on the size.


I typically make my detergent in a gallon sized glass jar. I add the washing soda, baking soda, salt, and hot water directly to it to dissolve, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pin It For Later

two half gallon jars of homemade laundry detergent pinterest graphic with text overlay diy natural laundry detergent

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14 thoughts on “Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent | How To Clean Your Clothes Naturally”

  • I am just beginning to make laundry detergent again…I did it years ago…I will have to give this one a try!

  • I love that this laundry detergent is cheap, easy to make, and all natural. Once our laundry detergent runs out I’ll have to give this a go!

    • Thanks Sarah! It really is so easy and much more affordable than the natural options I would buy. Let me know if you give it a try!

  • I’ve been looking for a recipe without grating a soap bar! I agree the soap doesn’t fully dissolve. I’m almost out of my last batch and I will be trying this. Thank you!

    • I am making this and the washing soda, baking soda, and salt aren’t dissolving in the hot water. It just clumps up. Any tips?

      • I haven’t had this issue however it may separate a bit as it sits. I wouldn’t worry about it, it’ll be just as effective. Just give it a good shake before use 🙂

  • I have another homemade laundry detergent recipe I have been using for years. But I have been wanting to try something new (and liquid) so I am so excited to give this a try!

  • I love this! I’ve been wanting to make my own laundry detergent for a while. This doesn’t seem as daunting as I’ve made it out to be in my head. I’m gonna give this a try 🙂

  • I am currently obsessed with castile soap and all of the endless possibilities of things to make with it. I made this today using microwaved distilled water. I heated 3.5 cups in a pyrex measuring cup and dissolved the sodas and salt. Dissolved super easy. Waited for it too cool to warm, and then alternated pouring it into a jug with the remaining water before adding lavender scented castile and rose geranium essential oil. Smells heavenly. Off to wash some clothes……

  • I have a HE washer. Can this detergent go into the detergent spot of the washer or does it need to go directly into the drum?

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