DIY Homemade All Natural Laundry Products

In an effort to reduce the chemicals we are exposed to, as well as save a bit of money and help the environment, I decided to stop using commercial laundry products and instead start making my own.

I tried a variety of 'recipes' and was pleasantly surprised at how easy they all were to make and how well they worked.

In Part One of my Laundry Room Makeover, our laundry room got a new coat of paint and a cute French black & white toile motif.

This inspired me to take my 'makeover' one step further and start making my own natural laundry products.

I am going to share how to make your own DIY homemade detergent (powder and gel), stain remover, fabric softener and bleach alternative using common, natural household ingredients readily available in your grocery store or online.

So let's get started!


~makes about 5-1/2 Cups~

1/2 bar Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap (or other natural bar soap of your choice, such as Dr. Bronners)
2 Cups Borax
2 Cups Baking Soda
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

Grate soap bar into a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Use 1/4 Cup powder per load.


~makes about 1-1/2 gallons~

1/4 bar Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap (or other natural bar soap of your choice, such as Dr. Bronners)
1/2 Cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/4 Cup Borax
.5 oz Lavender Essential Oil

Grate soap into a saucepan. Add 2 cups water and simmer until melted.  Add washing soda and Borax and stir until dissolved. 
(Note to self: pick up an old saucepan at Goodwill to use for this concoction!) 

Pour 2 cups warm water into a large bowl. Add soap mixture and whisk. Slowly add another 10 cups warm water and the essential oil, stirring until mixed.  The mixture will turn to a gel.

Let sit for 24 hours and then transfer into a large glass or non-reactive jug.  Use 1/2 Cup per load.  

(Note: Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap is also a great natural laundry detergent if you don't want to make your own. The Citrus Scent is especially nice.  And their bar soap can be substituted for the Fels-Naptha. The lavender smells wonderful!)


 ~makes 3-1/3 Cups~

2 Cups Hot Water
1/3 Cup Hair Conditioner (I used Hugo Naturals Vanilla & Sweet Orange)
1 Cup White Vinegar
10 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil

Stir the conditioner into the water and mix well. Add the vinegar and essential oil. 
Use 1-2 Tablespoons as you would regular fabric softener.


~makes about 1-1/8 gallons~

1-1/2 Cups 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
One Gallon water
.5 oz Lemon Essential Oil

Mix and store in a large glass container.  Use as you would regular bleach.


~makes 2 Cups~

1 Cup Water
1 Cup White Vinegar

Shake Borax or Arm & Hammer Washing Soda onto stain, spray with vinegar/water mixture, let sit 10-20 minutes then brush with an old toothbrush. Launder.


Berry stains: soak in lemon juice
Chocolate: soak in club soda
Coffee or sweat: soak in white vinegar
Grease or rust: baking soda/water paste - let sit for 3 hours
Lipstick or ink: soak in milk 
Red wine: salt/water paste - let sit for 1-2 hours

I did two loads of laundry, using both the liquid and powder laundry detergents as well as the fabric softener. I also tried the bleach alternative and all-purpose stain remover.

Our clothes are clean! Everything smells so fresh and natural. I am hooked!

I didn't price the ingredients and figure cost per load, but you can see from the prices below that everything I bought barely cost what one jug of each commercial detergent, bleach and fabric softener costs and I only used a fraction to mix up a batch of each product.

I still have enough to make many, many more batches, so the savings will be substantial.

Also by making your own laundry products, all those ugly plastic jugs and containers that commercial products are packaged in aren't going to landfills.  

The ingredients I used mostly come in cardboard boxes, so the burden on the environment is greatly reduced. And making your own gives you an excuse to find pretty reusable jars and canisters to store them in.

If you have a favorite homemade laundry product please feel free to share it in the comment section.  I would love to try some other 'recipes'.

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  1. I love lavender!!! for baths, deodorant, cleaning, etc....

  2. I use Dr. Bronner's soap around the house, but seriously do some stinky football practice laundry! I have thought for a while about trying some homemade detergent. Thanks for your recipe.

  3. I have never used essential oils, thy just aren't in my budget right now. I do have some projects that I would love to try with them tho.

  4. The ingredients for the powder are the same as I use but the quantity is different. I use 1 cup each of the powders and a whole bar of Fels Naptha. Then I only use 2 tablespoons per load. It even gets the smelly machine shop smell out of my husbands work clothes! :)

  5. I love the smell of lavendar, especially on sheets! Somewhere I read to make a spray for ironing, but I don't iron, lol! But I use it on my sheets when I need a little pick me up! Thanks for the recipe, I just ran out of laundry soap, so I'm going to try this!

  6. I love the smell of orange...any kind of citrus just perks everything up :)

  7. I love lavender I use it most in my laundry soap

  8. Good morning. I have been making my own version of this laundry soap for over a year. I have shared it with several people and have converted them all! It is hard to pick which is my favorite as I love both the lemon ( nice refreshing smell ) and the lavender which I love in my pillowcases , the scent helps me relax and sleep well.

    Tina Hoak

  9. I love the scent of lavender but this sweet orange sounds like it could be wonderful, too!!! I started making our laundry detergent a couple of months ago and have been so happy with it. Yours is slightly different and since I'm always up for trying something new, I might try yours next go 'round!

  10. I love your jars where did you find them? I make all laundry products, however you have some new things I will try thanks lavender and Calendula are favs. MTn rose rocks!

    1. I found all the jars and canisters on ebay believe it or not.

    2. thanks so great be on the look out! dresses everything up so pretty

  11. I LOVE Cedarwood!!! I am so enjoying your blog, I just cannot thank you enough for all the wonderful information and PICTURES you provide here. Thank you so much!!!

  12. Love making my own detergent and stain remover. So much cheaper. What a pretty laundry room.

  13. Your laundry room is lovely! I actually just started making my own laundry detergent, and was thinking it would be good to add a nice smell to it since it doesn't smell "clean" like commercial detergents do. Just placed my order with Mountain Rose, thanks for the recommendation. I went a little overboard when I saw all the pretty essential oils, but I will have a variety to choose from now, right?

  14. I love lemongrass, to die for!

  15. I just LOVE lavender. I really think it works to make the kids sleepy. I put it in our sheets. But, you can't go wrong with citrus. It smells so clean. It also deters ants.

  16. LOVE this post! I'm definitely going to try these recipes.

  17. I love peppermint.

  18. I love frankincense.

  19. I Love jasmine! And I can't wait to make these. Thank you sooooo much, I have bookmarked this page.

  20. I scent just about everything with Lavender . . . my hand soaps, my daughters baby shampoo, even the salves that I make. I think that is the thing my Mom missed most when I moved out was no more lavender mint hand soap in her bathroom. :)

  21. Lavender is my favorite.

  22. There are so many scents I love that it's hard to choose. The one I seem to use the most is Lavender and Vanilla combined. I would love to try the Sweet Orange!

  23. Lavender is my favorite. It has always appealed to me.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. I love lemon and orange they smell clean

  25. I'm due to stock up so this is great!! Lavender and rosemary are my must haves, thanks!!

  26. I like citrusy scents, orange is probably the best.

  27. Oh, Lisa, this post is fabulous! I've read it twice, now. I've pinned many recipes from Pinterest, but haven't tried any. I've even bought the ingredients...all except for the expensive essential oils (which I would love to win). My favorite scent is lemon, but I also love orange and rosemary. Your containers and photos are lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  28. I love all citrus smells, but the orange is my favorite. I will definitely start making my own laundry soap as my husband complains that his clothes never smell clean anymore and I fell like I need a second mortgage on the house to afford laundry detergents. BTW, he's a commercial fisherman and truck driver, so I have gasoline/diesel and fish and shrimp bait smells to deal with..... gross.

  29. Lemon is my favorite, smells clean and fresh! Looking forward to trying homemade laundry detergent...

  30. I like lemongrass verbena, as well as anything orange. Also, I read the Caldrea Sea Salt Laundry Ingredients and they use Cardamom to enhance the citrus. I love the smell of this line, but not the price. Love your blog. We are getting our first chickens next week and I have been reading lots!

  31. Lavender! It's so relaxing. I've added a few plants to my garden and plan on adding more.

  32. I'm your newest follower and I found you from the linking up party at I Gotta Try That. If you find the natural soap isn't working that great for you, try out the recipe I linked up here *it's from Mountain Rose Herbals*

    I'm off to read some more posts on your lovely blog

  33. Lavender is my favorite. I spray a natural lavender mist on my pillow every night as I can have trouble sleeping. If I do this I find I fall asleep so much easier. It is also a natural bug repellent, and it has antiseptic powers. Come day time though I want anything citrus! I've been using the gel detergent recipe for two years now and love it. I get by with just using vinegar for my fabric softener. I don't even use hair conditioner on myself, just apple cider vinegar. I use white vinegar in my laundry. The one thing you need to be careful about with store brand vinegar is that most of the time they are made from petroleum by-products. Heinz is a good bet. All of their vinegar is grain vinegar. You have to look at their apple cider vinegar. Some is pure apple cider vinegar and some is grain vinegar that has been flavored. It is clearly marked on the label. A few store brands are grain vinegar, if they are believe me it will say so. The ones that don't say anything, you can be pretty sure they are a petroleum product. then to finish out your laundry perfectly............hang it on a line outside. It will smell wonderful when you bring it in!

  34. Just made my first batch of powdered laundry detergent. I used the whole bar of Fels-Naptha & doubled everything else. Stirred by hand in a large bowl & dumped in a plastic coffee can. It fit perfectly (once I washed the coffee can, there was no coffee smell). My first load is running right now :) I can't wait to check it out when it's done. One thing, I used warm water wash but the detergent stuck in the dispenser (it's a front loader)....anyone else have that problem and a solution?

  35. Just visiting from Frugally Sustainable.
    The containers you used are beautiful!
    I also make my own laundry stuff and find that I don't miss buying anything!
    I use a different formula for stain remover. I put it in a previously used Spray n Wash bottle (which didn't work!)
    1 part dish soap to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide.

    Works miracles on whites and colors. Even under-arm yellowed stains.

  36. This is a fantastic post. Thank you so much for putting all of this in one place. And, I was reading this thinking, 'but I can't find borax anywhere' and 'I've never seen washing soda' and you went ahead and provided the links! I'm very pleased :-) I'm pinning this and will be making my very own laundry detergent in the near future! Now, to find a dishwasher detergent...

  37. What a wonderful idea!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

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  43. Great tips! I've been making my own powder detergent, but have thought I need to work on a stain remover. Thanks for the 'recipe'.

  44. What about using this in a front loader HE washer. I have some homemade laundry detergent, but am afraid to use it in my new washer.. anyone have a frontloader and use the homemade stuff???

  45. I had a similar question to Tracey, about using homemade detergent in HE machines. I would like to try one, but it's not worth messing up a new washer. Any insight into whether something is HE safe?

    1. I'm not sure. I would contact the manufacturer and ask for a list of ingredients that would mess it up maybe?

  46. Great post. This week over on Wildcrafting Wednesdays we’re hosting a special Hygiene Edition and this post would be perfect in the carnival. I’d love it if you would pop over and share this post again with our readers.

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