Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent
The never-ending chore.
There always seems to be clothes to be washed, clothes to be folded, or clothes to be put away. And if it’s not clothes, it’s towels or bedding.
And don’t even get me started on laundry during potty-training season. Or stomach flu season.
We spend a lot of time with that washing machine, don’t we?
I really would like to know how much of my life has been spent tackling the laundry.
Have you ever felt the overwhelm that comes with endless laundry?
Well, I have no magic secret that makes the chore of laundry disappear (OK, except for hire a laundry service. But for me, and maybe you, that’s not a legit option). I don’t have 5 tips to never do laundry again (trust me, I wish I did).
But what I can help with is the COST and the QUALITY of the soap you’re using for every. Single. Load.
Hello, Homemade Laundry Detergent!
It all started with my sensitive baby
When my first born was barely 6 months old, he broke out in hives.
We had to change diet, lotions, body wash, and laundry products. Before this, I never really thought too much about how laundry detergent would affect our bodies. My mom was actually the first one to switch to natural laundry detergent and sent me and my sisters terrifying articles about the harm of MANY of the things found in laundry detergent.
Since I was researching so much information in regards to my son’s skin issues, I really paid attention to these articles.
Before this I never thought about the effect of those detergent products on my skin. And I never really thought about how our skin absorbs 100% of what we put on it.
What we put ON our skin can impact our bodies similarly to as if we were ingesting it. We can poison ourselves from the outside, in.
This has changed the game of everything for me. This drives me to DIY products like nobody’s business.
What’s so bad about store-bought detergent?
Unless you’re buying natural laundry detergents, the most commonly used laundry detergents contain components that can cause respiratory illness, eye irritation, cancer, and endocrine disruption.
I want none of those things for my family, and I doubt you do, too.
That little ingredient called “fragrance” in your laundry detergent alone can cause a myriad of health problems. “Fragrance” is a word that is used as an umbrella for many companies. They don’t have to disclose what ingredients are in their “fragrance” and it can range from natural to synthetic.
Most large name companies are using synthetic.
According to Dr. Axe, it can be a mixture of unidentified ingredients that are carcinogens, allergens, neurotoxic chemicals, endocrine disruptors, respiratory irritants, and environmental toxicants.
No wonder research is showing that the laundry room is the most toxic room in our households.
That’s just under fragrance.
It makes me so sad that that “clean laundry smell” can actually be killing us.
I seriously cried when I realized this.
The smell of Tide was my favorite.
I’m sorry if I’m ruining your day! It’s OK to cry like I did.
The best resource for being in the know
The Environmental Workers Group has a website found at ewg.org, and it is an amazing resource for finding out how different household products rank for health and environmental issues.
And I love that EWG uses an A, B, C, D, F grade scale. We can all relate to that!
So, products that have low concern based on their transparency and disclosure of ingredients get an A. Products that won’t disclose any information on ingredients are have known carcinogens or environmental hazards fare worse.
Unfortunately, a lot of top brands have an F rating. Including Tide *insert crying face*
This is very important: just because something claims to be NATURAL, does NOT mean it automatically gets an A.
I was surprised by some of the products that I thought were natural.
Turns out they can get away with a lot under “umbrella words.”
(PS. If you aren’t up for making your own homemade laundry detergent yet, purchasing a highy rated EWG detergent is a great choice).
(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, but you will not be charged a penny extra! And mama, I never recommend products I don’t love or believe in. I so appreciate your support)
A better homemade laundry detergent option
Based on researching ingredients through the EWG website and other resources, I’ve created a laundry blend that is safe AND effective. Yasssssss!
And did I mention that it’s a powder, so it’s ridiculous easy to throw together?
You don’t have to grate a single bar of soap.
Here’s the break-down of what this homemade laundry detergent is
- Baking Soda is found in crystalline form in nature, making it environmentally friendly
- It is a deodorizer, which, hallelujah, clothes desperately need sometimes
- Baking Soda is a gentle exfoliator, which helps scrub stains out of material
- It softens water to enhance the effectiveness of the detergent
- Washing Soda is essentially plant ash, called sodium carbonate or soda ash, making it safe for the environment
- It helps to remove grease, oil, and various other stains out of material
- It is abrasive, which is a good thing when getting grime out of laundry
- Washing soda treats hard water, similarly to baking soda, aiding in effectiveness
- It only contains two ingredients (sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate aka soda ash)which are derived from nature, making it very environmentally friendly
- Sodium percarbonate, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide, is a natural bleaching and lifting agent that is safe for colors
- Sodium percarbonate also kills germs and lifts blood stains well
- OxiClean also contains soda ash (see washing soda), which we already know has great cleaning power as mentioned above
- It almost goes without saying, but salt is a naturally derived mineral, making it a healthy option for the environment
- Salt works as a catalyst for other ingredients, boosting their cleaning and deodorizing effectiveness
- It is a scouring agent, giving some good scrubbing and thus softening action to the detergent
- Salt brightens colors, removes yellowing, and helps fade perspiration stains
- It also aids in keeping your washer clean by helping eliminate mildew
On the EWG website, all of these ingredients score an A (except for sea salt…but that’s because they didn’t rank sea salt…because…well…it’s salt).
Cloth Diaper users: We use this homemade laundry detergent with cloth diapers and haven’t had any problems. It does a better job than most detergents I’ve used previously for cloth diapers. If you want to add essential oils into your laundry detergent, I would make a separate container without for cloth diapering needs. There are differing opinions on the use of essential oils
OxiClean Baby: $7.82 for about 6 cups
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda: $3.97 for 7 cups
Baking Soda: $7.57 for 24 cups
Sea Salt (purchased in bulk): $1.26 for 6 cups
Total upfront cost of all ingredients: $10.80
BUT WAIT! There’s more. Each item makes at least three recipes. And each recipe does 112 loads.
The final breakdown looks like this:
OxiClean Baby: $1.30
Washing Soda: $1.18
Baking Soda: $0.63
Sea Salt: $0.42
Total per recipe: $3.53, or 3 cents per load!
I’m pretty ecstatic about them numbers right there.
This homemade laundry detergent is so gentle on our skin, environment, and wallet, AND does a fantastic job cleaning our nasty clothes, too.
I may not LOVE the actual chore of laundry, but I’m pretty much in love with this laundry detergent.
- 2 cups baking soda
- 2 cups washing soda
- 2 cups sea salt
- 1 cup Baby Oxi-Clean
- Optional: 15-30 drops of essential oil like lavender, orange, tea trea, or peppermint
- Combine baking soda, washing soda, and Oxi-Clean together in a gallon size container with a tight lid
- Add salt on top and drop in essential oils, if using, in the salt for better distribution and absorption
- Put lid on container and shake until all ingredients look well combined
- To use, add 1 Tablespoon per load for front-loaders or 2 Tablespoons per load for top-loaders, following your washer's directions for powder detergent
- Wash as normal!
Do you have any laundry tips that make your life easier? Help a mama out!
Interested in more homemade products? Try out this homemade sunscreen that is actually beneficial for your skin!