Over the last decade, several brands of natural laundry detergent have gained traction in the super store market. We are no longer bound only by options such as Tide, Gain, and All. We can now choose quality products from Seventh Generation, Pure, Mrs. Meyer’s, Common Goods, and more!

This is great for those of us who prefer to use plant-derived materials to wash our clothes. The “mainstream” brands do a great job of demolishing stains, but they also include synthetic organic chemicals to make it happen, also used in pesticides. Need I say more?

Fortunately many customers are supporting a more natural approach, and this is great. Not only do our clothes stay free from unnatural ingredients, we reduce the negative impact of introducing unnecessary substances into the water system.

If you want to take the next step and get even more natural, it is totally doable to make homemade laundry detergent! Here are three versions from two sites.  

With Borax

This recipe for a 5 gallon supply uses only a cup of Borax, a cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, half a cup of grated Fels Naptha soap, water, and essential oil as desired. Fels Naptha soap is a stain pre-treater that’s been around for 100 years. Other Borax and Washing Soda recipes online suggest using soaps with natural scents instead of Fels Naptha and essential oils. Melting the soap in water takes about 10 minutes, then all you have to do is mix the remaining ingredients in a bucket, let sit for 24 hours, and you have 5 gallons of detergent made for cheap and ultra naturally. Use ¼ cup per load of laundry.


One recipe calls for Liquid Castile Soap, Super Washing Soda, Baking Soda, and water. This great technique is so easy. Just boil water, add ingredients, stir, add more water, let cool, mix. Use ⅓ cup for each load. The second recipe calls for Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner with Super Washing Soda and water. Boil water, mix in ingredients, let cool. ¼ cup per load. It doesn’t get easier than this, and wow, it actually works – it was the first one I tried!


If you plan to use natural homemade laundry detergent in your HE machine, you might note that HE washers require detergents that are low foaming, and the ingredients in all these recipes are low foaming. One recommendation is to run an empty cycle with some citric acid every 2-3 months to keep the washing machine clean and smelling fresh.

For those of you interested in learning more about how to limit toxin exposure, read Dr. Axe’s article on the Best Natural Cleaning Products.  

Happy cleaning!