How To Make Natural Laundry Detergent

Making your own homemade laundry detergent saves you money, is easy to do, and very effective in regular HE washers.

When you learn how to make natural laundry detergent and then do it, you are helping to rid your home of potentially harmful chemicals.

As a bonus, making your own laundry detergent is fun and will give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment when you’re finished.

You may be a little hesitant to try to make your own laundry detergent because you have reservations such as, does homemade laundry detergent really work, or isn’t homemade laundry soap bad for my machine?

We will go over these questions in detail as well as provide you with the items you’ll need to make your own natural laundry detergent.

Does Homemade Laundry Detergent Really Work

My family are lovers of the great outdoors.

We hike, play lots of outdoor sports, haul and cut firewood, and many other different activities.

Our clothes definitely show this part of our lifestyle.

Everyone’s definition of clean is different.

This laundry detergent will clean off the dirt and will eliminate the smells.

Because of the natural ingredients, however, I have added a few ingredients to make the scent as fresh as I want it.

Isn’t Homemade Laundry Detergent Bad For My Washing Machine

I can only speak from my experience with this question, and the answer is a definite NO.

I have a modern front-load GE washing machine and have been using this homemade detergent for three years.

We haven’t had any problems with our washing machine.

I have researched the topic and found that as long as you don’t use any vinegar in the recipe for your laundry soap, then you should be fine.

The vinegar can erode the seals of your machine.

Now let’s go over the materials that we use to make our homemade laundry soap.

What You’ll Need


Borax is a very important part of the mixture.

Borax is the number one stain-fighting ingredient in this and will also help to adjust the ph in your water.

Therefore, if you have hard water, Borax will help to soften it.

We will go over in detail the common myth of Borax being toxic in our commonly asked questions section.

I LOVE to use the 20 Mule Team Borax Natural Laundry Booster & Multi-Purpose Household Cleaner – 2pc

It’s what I recommend in my video below.

Super Washing Soda

Next, you’ll need super washing soda.

This will help to clean the clothes and works well in both warm and cold water.

The Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster gets great reviews on Amazon and is what I love to use.


A lot of people either use FELS- NAPTHA or ZOTE in their DIY laundry detergent, and that is fine. However, I have found that using both of them helps with getting that stronger scent that so many people are looking for in their store-bought detergents.

Order your Fels Naptha Laundry Soap Bar and your Zote Laundry Soap Bar – Stain Remover in bulk because our recipe makes a lot of detergent!


I can’t stress enough that the Gain is an optional item.

I like to add it just because I love the smell that it helps create.

It doesn’t help to clean, disinfect, or take away stains any better with it.

Purex Crystals Scent Booster

Just as with the Gain detergent addition, these boosters are purely for the great smell that they help create.

If you do choose to add these, I recommend Purex Crystals In-Wash Fragrance and Scent Booster.

They really add-in, creating a wonderfully fresh scent.

I use a 36 oz. Bottle combined with a 24 oz.

I recommend experimenting with the number of scent boosters that you use as you may not like the same smell as me.

Cheese Grater

Make sure that you have a good grater on hand because that is what you will use to grate up all of the soap.

If yours is getting old and needs to be replaced, this stainless steel grater with four sides from Amazon gets amazing reviews.

Rubber Cleaning Gloves

Make sure that you have some gloves when adding all of the items and mixing them together.

Different skin types will react differently with the ingredients as you mix them, so it’s just best to ensure that you don’t have any allergic reaction to the mixture to get some cleaning gloves.

This pair of Cleanbear Synthetic Rubber Gloves gets great reviews on Amazon and work very well.

Large Tub Or Bucket With Lid

The last thing that you will need is a container to keep this large amount of detergent that you are about to make.

Just be sure that it has a lid in order to keep the detergent fresh.

And that’s it!

Step By Step Instructions For How To Make Natural Laundry Detergent

In this section, we’ll give you the detailed steps you need to make natural laundry soap.

Watch the video and follow these steps to learn how to DIY laundry detergent at home.

1. Grate The Bars Of Soap

This is by far the hardest and most tedious step.

If you have little helpers, this is the part of the process to get them to pitch in.

I make a HUGE load of detergent, so I use five bars of the Fels-Naptha and three bars of Zote.

Pro Tip:

Make sure that you grate it as fine as you can get it. 

Doing this will help it dissolve much better.

Pro Tip:

Use a knife to cut the Zote bars into smaller sections.

This will help you in the grating process as it makes it much easier to handle.

2. Mix All Ingredients Together

After you completed the super fun process of grating all of the soap, you simply mix all the remaining ingredients together into your bucket or tub.

My mixture includes:

If you are looking for a great smelling detergent to add to your washing rotation, check out our related article on the 12 best smelling laundry detergents.

3. Transfer Detergent Mixture To Jar Of Preference

Next, you simply pour as much of the mixture out of your tub and into the jar or jug that you will be keeping your detergent into.

To measure how much to use, I use one of the little measuring cups that come out of an Oxi-Clean box.

I use 2-3 of those per load, depending on how large the load is.

Be sure to check out the video above for the test wash and see how clean we were able to get a rug that gets tons of traffic daily.

Commonly Asked Questions

Is it ok to use Borax as an ingredient in my homemade laundry detergent?

First of all, let’s address the question of whether Borax makes your laundry detergent toxic.

Borax is a combination of sodium tetraborate, a boron mineral, and salt that’s mined directly from the ground.

It is NOT boric acid!

Borax is wholly natural.

It doesn’t cause cancer, accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin.

It is not harmful to the environment.

In fact, the largest borax (borate) mine in the world – found in Boron, California – is considered by many to be the most ecologically sound and environmentally sustainable mine in the United States.

This is also the mine where 20 Mule Team comes from.

In the end, you have to decide yourself, but we have come to the conclusion that Borax is the perfect ingredient in our homemade laundry detergent recipe.


We hope you enjoyed learning how to make natural laundry detergent from your own kitchen.

It’s not a hard process once you figure out what you’re doing and how you’re going to do it.

After following the steps and video above, you’ll be a pro at making you’re own laundry soap.

It gives me a great sense of accomplishment, and I hope that it does the same for you.