Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
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The safety and efficacy of homemade laundry detergent is a very hotly debated topic. In fact, it’s up there with things like canning safety, and possibly religion and politics as well!
Many people claim that homemade laundry detergents are either bad for your clothes, bad for your washing machine, or both. I’ve read many articles that claim homemade laundry soaps and detergents either don’t work (ie. leave clothes looking and smelling dirty), have discoloured people’s clothes (leaving whites yellow and colours looking dull), or left soap residue in the fibres of clothes. Some say it even ruined their washing machines, specifically front loaders and HE washing machines.
Not to mention the many online sources that claim that if your washing machine goes on the fritz during your warranty period and you’ve been using homemade laundry detergent, your warranty will be void.
On top of all of that, borax -a common ingredient used in homemade laundry detergent- has been called into question for safety reasons, as it can be toxic and even deadly if ingested or used indicated on skin.
😱 No wonder making your own laundry detergent is such a controversial topic!
However, I’ve been making and using homemade laundry detergent for about 2½ years now and not only have I never had a problem with the recipe that I use, our clothes are as clean as ever, our brand new (as of three years ago) Electrolux-brand HE front loader washing machine still runs perfectly well and has no built up soap residue (although we do a vinegar rinse once every 50 loads or so… when our fancy washing machine reminds us that it’s time;).
Since we started making our own, we’ve easily saved a few hundred dollars on store-bought laundry detergent, which is honestly the biggest reason why we make our own at home.
I will say, most other recipes I’ve read call for grated bar soap, and this can definitely be a culprit for soap residue, so I’m thinking that the fact that I use liquid Castile soap in my recipe makes a big difference. I’ll talk more about ingredients in a minute, but keep that in mind… Do not substitute grated bar soap for liquid Castile soap, or liquid dish soap for that matter! You will not get the same results and I definitely wouldn’t use either of those ingredients in my own washing machine.
That being said, I’m going to share my recipe with you today, but as a disclaimer I will say you would be wise to check your warranty and do additional research if you’re worried at all about using homemade detergent in your machine. I can only share that this has worked perfectly well for us, and that we have never had a problem with this particular recipe.
I’ll tell you the exact recipe we use and the exact amount we add to each load, and I can say with certainty that we have never had a load come out of the washing machine smelling or looking dirty, and have never had a problem with soap residue gumming up our washing machine (or clothes). But I cannot be held responsible for any adverse results you may experience, just to be clear.
I’m just sharing what works for me and my family, and homemade laundry detergent is something I’ve been asked about multiple times over the years, so I figured now is as good a time as any to share my recipe and experience with you!
Related: Spring Cleaning Recipes With Essential Oils
How much does it cost to make your own laundry detergent at home?
I wish I was one of those Type-A women who kept meticulous track of everything in her budget and that I had an exact cost per load to share with you, but alas, I am not that woman! What I can say is that I used to use a brand of all-natural detergent called Nellie’s All-Natural, which cost somewhere between $20 and $30 a box for powdered detergent which was meant to last for 60 loads, and I usually had to purchase around 3 or 4 boxes of this detergent per year, which means I spent between $60 to $90 per year on laundry detergent. Keep in mind that I’m also Canadian, so this was in CAD.
When I switched to making my own laundry detergent, I spent about $60 on all of the ingredients up front, but those ingredients have now lasted us about 2½ years, and we still have some ingredients leftover. This works out to around $25 per year (a savings of $35 to $65 per year based on what I was spending before).
Not bad if you ask me! But again, this may also depend on where you live, your currency and how much the ingredients cost in your area (if purchasing them locally).
Regardless, homemade laundry detergent will save you money one way or another.
Is homemade laundry detergent all-natural?
Another reason why I prefer to make my own laundry detergent is because I’ve been on a years-long mission to eliminate synthetic fragrances and chemicals from our home. Store-bought detergents often contain an array of harmful synthetic chemicals including sulfates, synthetic surfactants, phenols and petroleum distillates to name a few. Not to the mention synthetic fragrances that are in most conventional laundry detergents. Those store-bought detergents that smell like “lavender,” “fresh cotton” or a “tropical sunset” are full of synthetic chemicals that stay in your clothes and can cause irritation. I’ve used detergents before where the smell was so strong that it gave me headaches. This concoction of chemicals can be absorbed by your skin as well. For this reason, I switched to an all-natural detergent a number of years ago, but like I said, it still easily cost me between $60 to $90 per year just to clean our clothes. So I decided to start making my own for a fraction of the price and haven’t bought laundry detergent since!
The homemade laundry detergent recipe below uses all natural ingredients, all of which are safe when handled and diluted correctly.
Ingredients in homemade laundry detergent
Different recipes for homemade laundry detergent call for different ingredients. Some of them call for grating a bar of soap. Some of them call for borax while others omit it, and some I’ve seen even call for using Dawn dish detergent (which I wouldn’t recommend due to the crazy amount of suds this can produce –and leak out of your machine– as well as the soap residue it can leave behind).
I also don’t recommend using grated bar soap as this can also leave behind lots of soapy residue, both in the fibres of your clothes and in your washing machine.
Instead, I use Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile soap, and I’ve never had a problem with soapy residue.
I also use Arm & Hammer brand washing soda, which is similar to baking soda, but has a slightly different chemical makeup which is much more alkaline than baking soda. Washing soda is an 11 on the PH scale whereas baking soda is an 8. The high alkalinity of washing soda makes it a more effective stain remover than baking soda, which is an essential component of a good laundry detergent.
And finally, I do use borax in my laundry detergent, which I’ll touch on in more detail in just a moment.
Borax is also a very alkaline substance (around 9.5 to 10 on the PH scale). Once again, this is what makes borax an effective stain remover, just like washing soda. But this high alkalinity means that even though both of these ingredients are natural, they must be handled with caution and you should avoid touching them with bare skin. This is very similar to using lye in homemade soap: There’s nothing inherently dangerous about making homemade soap or using lye (which is even higher in alkalinity at about 14 on the PH scale), but if handled with bare hands, it can irritate or even burn skin.
Personally we don’t use gloves when making our homemade laundry detergent, but if you want to play it safe then gloves couldn’t hurt.
Otherwise, I do like to add some essential oils to my laundry detergent for a nice scent, but this part is totally optional. Sometimes I omit the oils and just add a few drops of essential oils to my wool dryer balls to add a little fresh scent to my clothing in the dryer.
What is borax?
Borax is a natural boron compound that is mined from mineral deposits that (from the research I’ve done) were left behind from hot springs in places like Death Valley. In fact, according to popular borax brand 20 Mule Team Borax, “U.S. Borax traces its roots to California’s Death Valley, where borate deposits were discovered in 1872. The first 20 mule team hauled borax a sweeping 165 miles through Death Valley in 1883.”
According to the Death Valley Natural History Association website, “borax belongs to a group of boron minerals called borates resembling quartz crystals, fibrous cotton balls or earthy white powders. They originated in hot springs or vapors associated with the outpouring of volcanic rocks such as the colorful formations of Artists Drive. Seeping groundwater formed glassy borate veins in the extinct lake beds of Furnace Creek and has moved soluble borates to modern salt flats such as the floor of Death Valley. There, evaporation has left a mixed white crust of salt, borax, and alkalies.”
While borax is a natural substance, it can be dangerous if ingested and can cause skin rashes, eye irritation, nausea and, if ingested, it can even cause death! But then again, so can bleach.
Borax has also been used as an effective detergent in laundry rooms across North America for decades. The first box I got was from my grandma who used to use it to do her laundry. While it must absolutely be handled with care and caution and kept out of reach of children (we keep ours high up on top of our standing freezer by our washing machine), borax is perfectly safe to use diluted in homemade laundry detergent.
So, now that we’ve got all of those disclaimers and cautionary tales out of the way, let’s move on to the recipe.
How to make your own liquid laundry detergent
To make your own liquid laundry detergent, start by bringing 8 cups of water to a boil.
While your water is boiling, add one cup of borax and one cup of washing soda to a large jug or bucket. I find that a gallon jar is just a little bit too small for this recipe, so if possible use something a little bit larger. We use an old 5 litre vinegar jug and just mix everything in there.
Once you’ve added the borax and washing soda, add one cup of liquid Castile soap, then add 8 cups of boiling water and mix it well to dissolve all the ingredients. (If using a jug, I find it’s useful to use a tea towel or oven mitts to hold the jug and shake it up as the boiling water will make it quite hot).
When it’s well mixed and the ingredients have fully dissolved, add another 8 cups of cold water and mix again.
At this point, you can add some essential oils if you like. I like to use either lavender or Plant Therapy’s Deodorizing Blend. I know moms people who suggest lemon essential oil, but I don’t risk using lemon oil as it has the potential to stain your clothes. Plant Therapy also has their own set of laundry blends if you wanna mix it up!
If using essential oils, I like to add about 50 drops and then mix all of the ingredients together one more time.
Let your laundry detergent sit until it cools to room temperature. It will likely start to congeal to a thick white consistency.
To use, add about ¼ cup of laundry detergent to each load. We have a pre-measured ¼ cup scoop that we use to measure out our detergent, although in all honesty, I’ve been free pouring for about the past 6 months or so.
Do be careful not to add too much though as I’ve read that this can cause the issue of soapy residue!
How I dry my clothes
As a self-proclaimed “homesteader,” I feel like I’m expected to line dry my laundry and love the feel of crisp cotton on my skin, but in all honesty, I don’t. I might start line drying our laundry someday, but I’ll still probably throw it in to the dryer for a quick refresh to soften it up. that being said, I don’t like using dryer sheets for the same reasons I don’t like using conventional laundry detergent: They’re expensive, full of synthetic chemicals and can be harmful to our own health and to the environment.
But I also hate static cling, so I opt for using wool dryer balls instead.
I’ve been using dryer balls for longer than I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for, and they work just as well as dryer sheets but are 100% natural and can be reused over and over again.
Personally, I like to add a few drops of essential oils to my dryer balls before I toss them in with our laundry. HOWEVER, a reader recently informed me that adding essential oils to dryer balls has been linked to dryer fires as the oils can hit their flashpoint in a hot dryer and ignite! So I would definitely caution against this. The dryer balls on their own, however, are definitely worth the small investment up front as they will last for a very long time.
And that’s all you need for your natural homemade laundry routine!
Tell me, what does your laundry care routine look like? Do you line dry your clothes or do you prefer the dryer? Let me know in the comments below:)
Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
- 16 cups water
- 1 cup borax
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 cup Castile soap
- Essential oil (optional)
- Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. While your water is boiling, add one cup of borax and one cup of washing soda to a large jug or bucket. Mix well.
- Add one cup of liquid Castile soap, then add the 8 cups of boiling water and mix it well to dissolve all the ingredients.
- Once it’s well mixed and the ingredients have fully dissolved, add another 8 cups of cold water and mix again.
- At this point, you can add some essential oils if you like. If using essential oils, I like to add about 50 drops and then mix all of the ingredients together one more time.
- Let your laundry detergent sit until it cools to room temperature. Depending on the temperature, it may remain liquid or it may congeal to a thick white consistency. To use, add about ¼ cup of laundry detergent to each load.
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I made my second batch tonight! I’m so happy with this recipe. The first batch, I was a bit worried bc it congealed and it looked like water at the bottom and I realized I needed to shake well and we just pour into the dispenser now. This batch seems to be remaining more liquidy. Either way, thank you!
I made this recipe a few days ago and after sitting for a couple days part of it has congealed, and there’s crystallized stuff at the bottom. Should I boil it again?
Some congealing is normal, especially in cooler temperatures. Give it a good shake / mix before using.
What about the crystallized stuff? That won’t mix in
You can try boiling it all again if you’d like, that’s just not something I can speak about from experience. Do let us know if you try it, though!
I made half a batch incase it didn’t turn out right…you say depending on what the temperature is…it will essentially harden…exactly at what temperature will it harden? I followed the steps to a T and mine is literally liquid. I however do live in Florida and keep my house at. 73 degrees. Does this matter?
I’m not sure exactly at which temperature the mixture congeals, but I would say that keeping your house on the warmer side may be a reason why it doesn’t. If you followed the directions and ingredients correctly, the mixture should still be usable and effective, even if it’s more on the liquid side. Just give it a good shake / mix before using. Hope this helps!
I just made this recipe and placed it in an empty (washed) vinegar jug and in the process of mixing as the directions say it actually created a lot of pressure in the jug preventing me from getting it mixed correctly so I ended up mixing it in a separate bowl then putting it back into the jug when it was all dissolved. There was ALOT of soap suds that were a pain to get calmed down. As I sit here and look at it it’s still remaining a water Consistency and isn’t doing what the directions said it would do. Any thoughts?
Hi Brittany – the only other thing I could suggest would be to place the detergent in a cooler place and see if it thickens up a bit. As for the suds – did you use pure liquid castille soap? If so, then I’m not sure…it may be a case of just needing to try again, but hopefully with time and cooler temperatures, the mixture thickens up a little and works well for you!
I made it, and the same thing happened to me, but it works wonderfully better than any laundry detergent I have made after sitting at also congealed a little bit. I shook it up. Some of the lumps came out, but some of them didn’t, but it still washed perfectly, and again got my clothes cleaner than any laundry detergent
This is so great to hear, Jeanette! Thank you for sharing and I’m glad you are enjoying the recipe.
Can this go in the typical detergent dispenser area of the washing machine? Or should it go directly in the drum with the clothes?
It can go into the dispenser, but it shouldn’t matter either way 🙂
Hi there! So…could you ideally throw a bit of each right into the washing machine per load? Wondering because I have adhd and often forget to make the detergent…and then don’t have any…but have all the ingredients. Can I skip the making process and throw a certain amount of each thing (not essential oil) into the washer per load?
Hmm…I don’t know about that. I’m not sure if the result would be the same, given that the ingredients haven’t been properly and thoroughly mixed and dissolved.
I have done this. I have a top loader and sometimes do just this. I make one without Borax and I use my hand to give it a good swish, then rinse hand well and dry.
(I seriously think I’m about a 0.5 on spectrum).
When I make mine, I make concentrated (half the original water) and just let the fresh water in wash cycle dilute it.
Is there any easy combo of things to just throw in the machine? Dash of borax + washing soda and be done? This recipe is great but it’s too much prep for my neuro divergent brain. I need no prep throw it in ideas.
Should I put the detergent In right away are wait until the machine fills up
Just add it as you would normal detergent – for me, that’s usually right away.
I made a batch this past weekend. Easy to make and it smells great! The only thing I’m worried about is that it separated and looks gritty now that the jars have sat for a couple of days. Is that normal? The soap was completely dissolved when I made it, and it was never “thick” so I’m not sure what I did wrong.
Hi Jennifer – don’t worry, some separation is normal. Just gently shake to combine before use.
Mine turned solid? Any suggestions?
If it was stored in a cold place, then the temperature might be to blame as it tends to congeal / solidify a bit more when cold. If it truly solidified and unusable, then I’d just suggest trying again and ensuring the amounts of everything is correct!
Just made a half batch in a glass juice jar. It looks great. Can’t wait to use it. Had no problem dissolving and mixing it all up. My water is well with a water softener. Used my electric tea kettle to “boil” two cups of water, dissolved the powders, added Castile, then two cups of water. I added 10 drops of Thieves. Doing a load of towels now. Yay! Thank you!
That’s great, Ann! I’m so glad the recipe worked well for you.
Sorry I am late in notifying you, but on November 19, 2022, I made this recipe. I followed it exactly.
It’s one big gallon of——nothing. It glops into my HE detergent tray and I don’t see any suds…even small ones due to the Castile soap.
My question is: Exactly HOW is this an effective detergent?
Same Marlene. I’m wondering if a reaction takes place when mixing the borax or washing powder and the castile soap. From what I’ve experienced, a similar reaction happens when mixing vinegar and castile soap.
I made the soap in a bucket and mixed it with a battery drill with a paddle attachment. I have a thick foam on top and liquid on the bottom . If I use the foam I does not resolve completely in the soap dispenser . Can I sprinkle salt on the foam to dissolve it and re mix the ingredients ?
How do you use this in a dispenser if it gets thick?? How do you keep it from thickening up in the first place. I made a batch and after it cooled and sat for awhile it’s like pudding.
I’d like to double or triple batch this. I was wondering if you have done this before and if so, would you basically add the same amount of each ingredient per 16 cups of water? Or would I need to reduce the amount of some of the ingredients if that makes sense?
I haven’t doubled the batch myself as this makes enough to last several months, but in theory it should work just fine. I would double or triple all of the ingredients (same as you would with a recipe_ and see how it goes. No promises but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Best of luck and let me know how it goes!
I did my first load with this recipe. My whites look really dingy after and I did a second rinse. Did I do something wrong when I made it?
So sorry you’ve had this issue. I haven’t had a problem before unless clothes were really stained or dirty (I usually do a pre-soak if they’re quite bad). If you followed the recipe I can’t see what you would have done wrong. It’s possible that if you’re used to using a standard store-bought detergent that the clothes aren’t quite as bright white as you’re used to. But they shouldn’t be dingy.
If you are using a HE machine you reduce the amount of detergent used because the machine uses less water. If they have white residue theres soap left on the clothing. You’re using too much.
Good recipe, thank you.
About the toxicity of borax, you might want to read the following article. Borax can be taken as a health supplement! I had no idea either.
here is the link! oops!
I made the recipe (in a hurry late at night) and I forgot the cold water step. Now it’s a hard substance in my bucket. Is there any way so salvage it now? I’d hate to waste all those ingredients!
I would maybe try adding some hot water to soften it up and then let it cool down. Maybe start with half the amount of water but make it boiling, then add the remaining cold water once it’s dissolved and let cool. That’s what I would try. Let me know how it works out!
The ingredients say 16 cups water but the steps say 8 boiling+ 8 more boiling + 8 cold…so is it 24 cups of water? Or 18?
I believe the 8 cups of boiling water is the same 8 cups of boiling water at the start of the recipe. So 8 cups boiling + 8 cups cold = 16 cups. I’m going to double check with Anna, and if that’s not the case I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Just from reading the recipe, it sounds like you put eight cups of water on to boil and you leave that boiling water there. While you’re waiting you combine the borax the washing soda and the Castile soap in a bucket and then you add those eight cups of water that are boiling to that and mix it well. After that you add
the cups of cold water
I live this recipe and plant therapy oils! So far the laundry detergent has been cleaning my clothes but after a couple of days in the bucket/container and it’s chunky like gel. I have shaken and stirred. I used the recipe to the T. Is there anything I can do or anything I did wrong?
It doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong. The consistency changes are normal. Ours also tends to gel. I just shake before each use to make sure it’s well combined as sometimes it likes to separate and it still works great and cleans our clothes well:)
Thank you. I have a new washer and it seems to dissolve and not leave any build up.
I shake and stir. Mine is pretty chunky and not really liquified underneath. I am loving the chemical free and enjoy your blog. Thank you.
Hi Anna, do you have a recipe for fabric softener for an HE washing machine?!?!
Hi Gloria – sorry, not at this time!
I just made this yesterday. Already did a load and it was great. Was not worried about the thickness or bubbles after it was shook. Today it kinda looked chunky. Mixed it again and touched it and it was more like a gel I felt like would liquify. I have a HE too loader so it washes pretty well. Should still be ok if it’s chunking even after shaking right? It smells great. I actually got Castile soap that’s lavender sent. Plant Therapy oils are so nice!!! I plan on making more household cleaning products with it. Thank you for this recipe.
6 cups hot water
2 cups of any conditioner
3 cups vinegar
Stir(not shake) together until dissolved
Hi there, I am new to this and I fear I have done something wrong, I just made this liquid and once cooled I did a load of washing but it has come out with undissolved mixture on it. Can I re-boil the entire mixture to try dissolve it better or will I have to start again? Thank you
If you are ending up with residue on your clothes you may just be using too much. Also, if you are adding the detergent directly into the tub of your machine rather than a soap dispenser, you may want to try putting it in the machine first and then putting your laundry in on top.
Thank you I will try adding less. I have a front loader so put liquid into the dispenser. I also had particles stuck in the rubber ring. I will see how I go using less next time. Would it be ok to re boil the mixture again incase I haven’t dissolved it properly the first time?
Anna would not recommend reboiling the finished product, but you could try adding a bit more boiling water and giving it a good shake before you do another load. If this still doesn’t work then you may have to start from scratch.
you can still put the detergent (homemade or otherwise) into the drum of the front-load machine. they just make the pour-in drawer because it’s convenient. just measure out the soap, lumpy or not, into a cup and pour it directly into the drum, then stick your clothes in shut the door and start washing
Hi there! Thank you for all of your details. Do you put the detergent in the container in the washer as normal, or do you put it right in the washer?
Anna puts the detergent in the container but you could try it directly in the washer if that is your preference. I would suggest putting it in first and then putting the clothes in on top.
I just made this and mine came out watery and I followed the directions to a tee. Is it supposed to be? Most laundry soaps I’ve used are a little thicker.
It usually tends to thicken up as it cools. I actually noticed my latest batch was more watery than usual too so it could be the warmer temperatures as we head into summer. But typically it does thicken up and is not as liquidy. Either way it will still work fine. Just give it a good shake before using.
I like this recipe. I didn’t have enough of Castile soap for the double recipe but when I put it in my front load machine it gave me suds errors
**1/4 cup might be too much for some machines.
I should have read through the comments as someone already said this. 🙂
Greetings, thank you for the recipe, I am looking forward to trying it! I’m wondering if adding vinegar in the final or separate/extra rinse would have an adverse effect on the laundry? Does anyone know? I believe that castille and vinegar are not good combinations together. Although the soap should be rinsed away, there maybe traces remaining.
The issue with mixing Castile soap and vinegar is that they render each other ineffective, and the Castile will separate and become oily.
Anna does not use vinegar with her laundry, but she will add it to a machine cleaning cycle every 40 or 50 loads.
How can I adapt the recipe so that it stays liquid consistency?
A varied consistency tends to be the nature of the recipe. It is affected by temperature and will stay more liquid if you keep it warm.
Hi there, I made this laundry soap today. Before it even was cooled completely it separated. Liquid on the bottom and thick and foamy on the top. What went wrong? Can I still use it in a front load washer?
It’s very common for it to separate, especially as it’s cooling. Just give it a good shake before you use it and it should be fine:)
How long does it take to gel? Mines at room temp but it’s still liquid.
The consistency of the laundry soap can range from quite liquid to fairly solid, but neither state will effect the performance. We recommend that you just give it a shake before each use.
Can this detergent be used to wash laundry by hand?
I would be cautious using this detergent to wash clothes by hand as it contains Borax and Borax can irritate skin if it comes in direct contact. That being said, I have used it to wash clothes by hand before and I’ve been fine. You might want to wear gloves (ie. dish washing gloves) just in case.
What could I use instead of the soap?
In this recipe you have to have some kind of soap for it to clean properly. Anna uses this brand of soap because it has no synthetics in it and is gentle while being effective. If you do not have this brand available to you, then perhaps you can use another similar soap for this particular recipe? Anna prefers the liquid over the solid type as it seems to reduce any residue left behind – as she has experienced.
We can not guarantee, if you do choose to substitute the soap, that your results will be exactly the same as Anna’s (because we haven’t tried any other substitutions for this ingredient) but you are welcome to try something else. We would love to know how it works for you, if you do. 🙂
Good morning. Did I read somewhere that this was only good for front loader washing machines? I have a top loader.
Does that matter?
This is good for all washing machines. I just specified that it’s good for front loaders as many homemade detergents aren’t so great for front loading machines but it should work just fine with a top loader too:)
I’ve seen recipes that recommend cutting the amount per load in half for HE front loading machines. Do you recommend ¼ cup even for HE front loaders? Thank you!!
hi Anna….sounds great and can’t wait to get started on my first batch.
Do you have a recipe for an All Purpose Cleaner that be be put into a spray bottle?
I actually have a post with a bunch of homemade cleaning recipes, including an all-purpose citrus vinegar spray. You can check it out here: https://thehouseandhomestead.com/spring-cleaning-essential-oils/
Love this recipe. I have been making my own laundry detergent for over a year. Your recipe is so much simpler than the one I had. I did have trouble when I mixed the borax, washing soda and castle soap it made a hard ball; so I added the borax and washing soda first and then add the castle soap to the water. It desolved fast. In the store laundry isle they now have scent booster to add to the wash, I used that instead of essential oils and it is much cheaper.
That sounds great, Mary.
I’m glad you like our simple and easy recipe. Adding a scent booster to suit your needs is a great idea. We use the essential oils as it reduces the amount of chemicals in the product but I like that you have made adjustments that make you happy with the end product. It is a personal choice to add whatever type of scent you like, if you even add a scent at all.
Here’s to some happy laundry!
Can you use this on a cold water washing cycle?
This detergent can be used just like any other liquid detergent you would purchase at the store.
I made this recipe and my detergent separated. It’s thick and white on top and clear and thin on the bottom.
That’s normal. Just give it a good shake before you use it:)
Can you use a flavored Castile soap like the citrus blend? Thank you!
Yes, you can use a scented Castile soap. You may then find that you will not need or want to use the optional essential oil.
However, if you do add more scent, remember to coordinate your essential oil with the scent of the soap (citrus with citrus, floral with floral,….etc).
Do you store in plastic? There’s no concern of any of the ingredients breaking down the material?
When I asked Anna about that she said: “You can if you like. I’ve stored in both glass and plastic. I currently store it in an old vinegar jug, so it’s plastic but also food safe. I’ve stored it in an old laundry detergent jug before too and a bleach jug would work. Other detergents are stored in these jugs and I’m not eating detergent so I’m not too worried about storing in these types of plastic jugs.”
I hope that helps. 🙂
Can I substitute the Borax for Oxi Clean free?
Chemically, borax and Oxi-Clean work the same way. That being said, we have not tried to use it in this recipe.
Anna’s goal with this particular recipe is to remove unnecessary chemicals and plastics from the environment as well be economical and do a good job cleaning. Oxi-Clean contains polymer which is a term often used to refer to plastic.
But, as it works almost exactly the same way as borax, you are welcome to try it for yourself. We cannot guarantee that it will work exactly the same as what Anna describes here, but we would love to hear how it works for you if you choose to try it.
Thanks for the recipe! Is the 1cup of the Castile soap diluted or undiluted?
The Castile soap is undiluted. (It’s diluted after you mix it with the rest of the ingredients:)
Is this safe for babies clothes?
I would think so Lexi. I know that Anna started making this recipe when her daughter was 2 years old and had no problems.
Perhaps, if you are hesitant, you could test it on one piece of clothing and see if your baby has any kind of a reaction before washing all of his/her clothes.
I would love to know what you think and how it works for you.
How do you use the laundry detergent if it congeals into a gel? My detergent congealed, but left a lot of water at the bottom? Should I mix it, or should I just use the gel mixture that floated to the top?
That’s totally normal. Ours congeals all the time. I just shake the jug and it liquifies enough for me to pour some out. But you could also transfer it to a container with an opening big enough for you to scoop it out if that’s easier.
Do you use this with a septic system?
Yes, we’re on septic.
I followed your recipe for detergent, but mine is runny and not thickening up at all? What did I do wrong?
If you followed the recipe then you did nothing wrong. At the end Anna says that it may remain liquid or it may get thick as it cools which is mainly due to your room temperature or climate. It does not have any impact on the effectiveness of the product. Many store bought products are also liquid and have the advantage of being easy to measure out the amount you desire. 🙂
I hope this helps.
I rarely hang clothes on the line to dry. I’m not sure if it’s because I truly don’t have the time or just because I’m too lazy. I wish I could get excited about it, but the dryer is just so fast and convenient sitting right there next to the washer just begging for those wet clothes to dry and give it a purpose in life. I just can’t say no.
Hi! Just been reading and I’m going to give this a go, I do have one question tho. The recipe, how much detergent does it make? Thank you for clarifying, Sabrina
Anna said that the recipe makes a little more than a gallon so she uses a 5 liter jug she found which works fine. If you don’t have one that large, you can mix it all in a larger container and pour into two smaller jugs for ease of use.
Like the Farmer said . Does anything ever go right ? Heard the guy say that on a farming show as I just came in the house from working on the broke down combine and getting ready to work on the broke down grain truck . I know the feeling .
I have a feeling you’re responding to the email I sent out where I talked about crying in my coffee over my gardening struggles this year. You’re so right! If it’s not one thing it’s another. But we keep going anyway because this homesteading lifestyle is worth it. Thanks for the comment and the support! I assure you that at least this laundry detergent recipe has never failed me 😉
As for the dryer balls that seems good and all, but several years ago I recall a woman sharing her recipes and saying she used an old wash rag just damp it and soap the living day lights out of it and through it it in the dryer. Well why not. I like it it’s just my clothes and I’m a woman I can pick Ann choose so I went to the local health barn and had a bottle of Jasmine and secrets mixed and well you know. It was costly. But worth it. Missy marcou