Make your own homemade powdered laundry detergent with simple, non-toxic ingredients that are both effective and safe for skin.
We have done our fair share of laundry ~ from baby clothes to poopy diapers, to to blown out accidents from our 5 and 7 year old boys.
Yes, those accidents happen. More times than I would like to admit.
While I have also picked up my fair share of eco-friendly detergent … the cost associated with them is just something that is really, really hard to swallow.
I also want something that’s going to be easy for my kids to use, as my oldest are required to do their laundry once a week too. As much as laundry pods are amazing, they are not an option when I have toddlers… after all, kids put everything in their mouth. As high as you might *think* you have them, they can always get them down.
The thing is, I always get scared to talk about homemade laundry soap because I’ve discovered that laundry soap is such a personal thing for so many people. Many people absolutely adore and are so very loyal to their major brand of detergent. Commerrcial detergents have connected with consumers through advertising (sales). They have also connected with people emotionally and mentally through smell.
The smell of your detergent might trigger certain feelings.
In the end, it’s hard to convince people to separate from this loyalty to their “brand” of detergent. No matter how harmful or toxic the detergent may be, people don’t particularly take to change well.
Years ago, I made the switch from national brand to homemade simply out of concern for what we were using on our skin. When I started looking for homemade options/recipes, they all seemed to have several things in common:
- Washing Soda
- Baking Soda
I was overwhelmed – do I try powder? Liquid? Do I need borax? Is borax really safe? In the end, I tried many and settled on this homemade powdered laundry detergent. I love it.
Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent
Lemon essential oil: If you can get your hands on some, that’s great – because it works great as an addition. It doesn’t have to be added to the laundry, but it works super as a stain remover and degreaser. I would recommend adding to the laundry after you put the detergent in – a few drops will do.
Vinegar: Not necessary for laundry detergent, but it works amazing in the rinse cycle. Since it’s acidic, it helps remove the excess detergent from clothes, and helps offset the pH of the laundry detergent (which is very alkaline).
Washing Soda: Definitely a must for making your own detergent. It’s great for a laundry booster, homemade laundry soap, grease, tough stains, all purpose cleaner, carpet stains, grill cleaner and more. Washing soda is alkaline and that alkalinity allows it to act as a solvent to remove tough stains and grime from clothes. It’s usually used in commercial detergent to treat hard water.
The washing soda binds to the minerals that make water hard and allows the detergent to be absorbed into the fibers to clean clothes. The sodium carbonate softens the water and helps lift dirt and stains from the clothes.
Washing soda is made from baking soda – just spread out on a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour. Stir, and re-spread out into a single layer, and bake an additional hour. Store in a tightly covered container.
Soap: A rich, coconut based soap is best, something with a high fat content. We recommend Dr. Bronner’s or, Kirk’s Castile Soap.
Making your own homemade powdered laundry deterrgent is SO easy. You’ll want to make sure you have a food processor relatively handy because that will be your means to converting the soap and the washing soda to a fine powder.
Most modern soaps and detergents have a few ingredients in them that cause suds. These chemicals are called surfactants and their job is to remove the dirt that the surface was on.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, or anything that has Cxx-xx and sulfonate.
- Cocamidopropyl betaine or sometimes glycerine betaine.
- Lauryl glucoside
Since this homemade powdered laundry detergent doesn’t contain those items, it’s low sudsing, and should be fine for HE machines. If you reference the Kirk’s Castile Soap site, they mention that the powdered recipe is great for HE washers.
The key is grating that soap down to a powder, which you have done with the food processor. Try to cut the soap bar into small pieces to make it easier on your food processor.
Where to Find the Ingredients?
You can find the ingredients at any local grocery – or, Vitacost as well. Kirk’s Castile Soap is most economical when purchased from Vitacost, and they occasionally offer 15-20% OFF sale codes when you sign up for their email list.
What about Fabric Softener?
Most fabric softener varieties are made of toxic chemicals and should be avoided ~ instead, use any of these options:
Vinegar in the Rinse Cycle: Vinegar helps to wash the soap residue from clothes that have been washed, and neutralizes the water. Laundry soap is alkaline, so vinegar provides the acidity to neutralize the pH. Aim for 1/2 C. per load.
Wool Dryer Balls: An effective way to dry clothes in a shorter period of time and provide scent. Find a set of 6 dryer balls on Amazon or opt to make your own.
Read more about using Wool Dryer Balls.
Aluminum Foil: Helps to serve as a semiconductor in the laundry and remove static. I rip off a big sheet and smash it into a ball (kind of like a baseball!) and throw it in. Over time it’ll shrink down smaller and smaller but that single foil ball will last forever. That is, as long as your kids don’t get a hold of it.
I will say though that it tends to get buried in clothes quite fast. I suggest making a few, just in case you lose track of them.
Read more about eliminating static in your laundry.