DIY Laundry Detergent – Save 50% By Making Your Own


Years ago, DIY laundry detergent recipes were all over Pinterest, but I pooh-poohed it and kept telling myself,  “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”  I had used Tide my entire life, and I wasn’t about to change that.  But when unexpected financial issues fall in your lap, you are left trying to cut corners wherever you can.  This happened to me, and it forced me to get on the DIY bandwagon to save our family money.  After finances got better, I continued to make my own detergent.

In addition to saving gobs of money (around 50%!), I still prefer it to store bought detergent because mine is made with much safer ingredients.  I have a feeling you will feel the same once you try it.

Let’s get started!

You will need a large container to keep your detergent in.  We used a clean 35-gallon cat litter container.  (I know, I need to buy a cute little boho chic apothecary jar with a scooper, so I can be cool like all the other diy moms).  You’ll also need a large cooking bowl, a cheese grater and/or a food processor.  If you do not have a food processor, an old fashioned cheese grater will work.   PLEASE NOTE:  If you want to use this detergent in cold water, you will need a food processor to turn the soap into a fine powder.

Each load only needs 1-2 Tablespoons of your mix, depending on how soiled your clothes are.  Make sure to buy High Efficiency (HE) washer soda if you have a HE washer and dryer.  As for the soap, I wanted a more natural one, so I bought Kirk’s coconut oil-based soap.  I also bought the all-natural washer soda instead of the Arm & Hammer brand.  It costs a little more, but worth it.  (I add a couple of drops of a purifying blend of essential oils to each load for extra odor elimination and to make my clothes smell pretty.)

This recipe should last you a LONG time, and only cost you about $20 to make!  Depending on how big your family is, and how many loads you wash per week.  We have a family of 3, and do anywhere from 3-6 loads per week.  I am proud to say that our first batch lasted us just over a year!  I had made it July 12, 2015, and it started running out by the end of July 2016!  ALL FOR JUST $20!


2 bars of Kirk’s castile soap
1 box of Arm & Hammer washer soda (not baking soda) (Wal-Mart)
1 box of 20 Mule Borax
1 3lb tub of Oxi-Clean
A blend of odor-eliminating essential oils (see note in red below)

Grate the bars of soap with a cheese grater, and crumble any larger pieces.  It needs to be as fine as possible.  Add it to a large container (I used an empty 25 lb. kitty litter container), and then add both the borax, oxi-clean and washer soap.  Shake well so that all ingredients are well distributed.

When you go to wash a load of laundry, drop in 2-3 drops of the purifying essential oil blend onto the laundry detergent you just put in the washing machine cup.  Read my story below to read why these tiny little drops are so helpful in eliminating odor! 

DISCLAIMER:  Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, and contain fillers and/or contaminants.  The essential oils I use are 100% pure according to full disclosures of sourcing, testing and third-party testing for absolute purity by the company.  Please do not buy oils from the store and assume that they are pure without first contacting a professional.

quick story

I once got a bunch of free work pants from a very heavy smoker.  I washed them once with Tide.  They still smelled like smoke.  I washed them a second time, but this time I added a few drops of a purifying blend of pure essential oils to the laundry detergent, and they came out smelling super fresh – not a hint of smoke!   It is also a great oil blend for mildewy towels, and the dishwasher.

Karen Kornichuk
Certified Aromatherapist
and Member of the National Association
for Holistic Aromatherapy



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