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homemade natural detergent recipe
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4.41 from 20 votes

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe (Borax-Free)

I've been using this laundry detergent recipe for years and I'm so happy with it. It's affordable, easy to make, and it's worked beautifully for my family.  
For top loaders, use three tablespoons per load. Makes about 38 loads. 
For HE washers, about half the normal amount is recommended which would be about 76 loads. See FAQ section below for important information about using with HE washers.
Quick note: I don't find that clothes smell particularly like the laundry powder scents after they are washed and dried. Essential oils don't stick to clothes in the same way that synthetic perfumes do. If you want your clothes to have a fresh scent, try this linen spray recipe.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 38 loads
Author Heather Dessinger



Additional Items You Might Want To Have On Hand


To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

  • Grate the soap with a cheese grater.
  • Add the grated soap, washing soda and essential oil (if using) to your food processor.
  • Blend until you have a fine powder. You may want to lay a dish towel over the top of your food processor to prevent a fine mist of powder from floating into the air. Also, let it settle a bit before opening the container or the powder will float onto your kitchen counter.
  • Pour into a clean, airtight container.

To Use Your Homemade Laundry Detergent (Top Loading Machine)

  • Add 3 tablespoons laundry detergent per load. If you are washing in cold water, dissolve it in hot water before adding it in. I prefer to start each load with a little hot water to dissolve and then put my laundry in.
  • Optional Step: Add 2 tablespoons of powdered oxygen bleach to your load.
  • Optional Step: Add 1/2 cup vinegar to a Downy ball or the fabric softener compartment.
  • Optional Step: For extra fabric softening goodness and a shorter drying time, toss some wool dryer balls in the dryer with your clothes. They're an eco-friendly, reusable alternative to dryer sheets.


Special notes:
  1. As with other detergents, it is recommended that you cut the amount used in half for HE machines.
  2. Be sure to check your owner’s manual - using certain types of laundry products in your HE machine may void your warranty. See the FAQ section below for more information.