Whether you’re wanting to save some money, love DIY projects, or just want a detergent that you can understand, I have you covered! I’ve been making my own detergents for several years, and I’ve been shocked to discover how few people know that you can. And these aren’t just for “older” model washing machines – these are typically safe for HE washers, as well!
I’ve broken this article up into 4 sections, so feel free to skip ahead if you want to learn about a specific kind of detergent. Otherwise, please enjoy!
DIY Liquid Detergent
Liquid detergents can be a little easier to measure out, and tend to be less messy. Plus, making it is a cinch! Here’s my quick guide to making liquid laundry detergent:
– Grate a bar of your favorite soap using either a food processor or cheese grater. You’ll want it to be decently thin, so try to avoid making it chunky.
– In an old saucepan, gradually heat 2 quarts (that’s 8 cups) of water with your grated soap. You’ll want to stir it constantly until your soap is totally dissolved.
– Get yourself a 5-gallon container. Paint buckets can be great for this! Put 4 1/2 gallons of super hot water, 2 cups of washing or baking soda, and 2 cups of borax. Stir it until everything is dissolved completely.
– Add the soap mixture into your bucket and – again – stir well.
– Cover your mixture well and let it sit overnight.
– Stir (or shake!) until the mixture is smooth, then pour it into separate gallon containers.
Now you have yourself 5 gallons of DIY liquid laundry detergent! This will last you quite a while, too, as you only need to use 1/2 to 1 cup for each load of laundry.
It’s important to note that depending on your washing machine and the type of water your home uses, you may find that you start getting build up in the machine. If that happens, there are TONS of ways to get rid of it.
You should also be aware that using soap rather than detergent will give you varying results. Depending on the type of soap you use, you may find that your clothes don’t get as clean as they should. Play around with soaps to find out what works best for you and your clothes.
DIY Powdered Detergent
These can be as simple as powdering your favorite bar of soap in a blender and adding essential oils to it or can involve mixing a few common household items to make a powerful laundry detergent. In my experience, the latter works better than the former – although I am a proponent of adding in essential oils for a custom scent.
Mix together one 3 lb, 7 oz box of A&H Washing Soda (similar to baking soda), a 3 lb box of OxyClean, Zote Soap bar x2, and a 4 lb box of A&H baking soda. If you want, Scentsy Washer Whiffs are all the rage as of late for adding a nice fragrance to your laundry. However, you can always just skip that and add your favorite oils for scent, or skip adding a fragrance all together!
Grate your soap bars until they are fine, then mix everything together in a large container. Yep! You’re all done!
You’ll only need to use about 2 – 4 tablespoons of this mixture per load of laundry, which makes it pretty efficient in terms of price.
DIY Natural Detergent
It was hard for me to decide this one. There are many great DIY natural detergents out there, but I had to choose one recipe. I decided to go with a blend of essential oils with a little baking soda to get out any stains and lift dirt.
– Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, and Sage can be combined together to make a super-effective detergent. It will have an astringent, yet leafy scent. It can be kind of overpowering for some. 1 – 2 drops of each of these oils and 1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda will get the smells and stains out of your clothes, leaving them clean and smelling fresh.
– Orange, grapefruit, and cinnamon oils will give your clothes a deep down clean as well as a spicy citrus scent that will leave you feeling energized (and maybe a little hungry!) all through the day. Again, add just 1 – 2 drops of each oil and 1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda to your load of laundry.
– Cedarwood, rosemary, and lime oils will give your laundry a unique, sweet yet earthy scent that is sure to please. 1 – 2 drops of each of these and 1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda will leave your clothes smelling wonderful and looking fantastic!
– As a bonus, I’ll include my “nighttime recipe”, which I love to use for my kids’ nap time and bedtime clothes and bedding. Lavender oil can be used by itself, but I like to combine it with chamomile and ylang-ylang oils for a sweet, meadow smell that helps whisk my kids to sleep. Use only 1 drop of each of these oils, and add – you guessed it – 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda.
DIY on a Dime Detergent
This one is without a doubt one of the best. It doesn’t cost very much at all, and it’s super easy to use. It doesn’t even involve any pre-mixing. It can also be a lifesaver if you’re short on cash or time. Chances are you already have these ingredients!
– After you’ve added your laundry to the washer, toss in about half a cup of baking soda. Depending on your washer, there will be either a spot for dry detergents or you can just put it right on top of your clothes. Be sure that you use it accordingly!
– Add about 1/2 – 1 cup of white distilled vinegar on top of that.
– Start up your washer!
It really is that simple. It gets your clothes super clean, as the baking soda will bubble stains out of clothes and the vinegar will eliminate smells. And don’t worry – your clothes will not smell like vinegar! In fact, they shouldn’t really smell like much at all.
If you want to take this recipe up a notch, you can add your favorite essential oil or oil blends to add a nice scent to your clothing.
So there you have it! My favorite recipes for 4 different DIY laundry detergents. I hope that you find them as helpful as I have. They have saved my family and I countless money and has given us a better understanding of what goes into washing our clothes. (Plus, our kiddos love to help choose the scents!)
Have you ever made your own laundry detergent before? What’s your favorite recipe? Let me know in the comments below!