Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe for DIY Clean Clothes Without the Chemicals


It’s true – often the “eco” brands don’t quite live up to their toxic counterparts in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. However, this homemade laundry detergent recipe is incredible potent and easily rivals commercial brands.

All you need are a few simple ingredients and a large bucket and you’re on your way to 50+ eco-friendly loads of laundry. Your clothes will smell and look fresh and you can rest assured that your skin is no longer absorbing artificial fillers and fragrances from your clothes.

This is a basic all-purpose homemade laundry detergent recipe that can be altered slightly to fit your fragrance preferences. Naturally, it smells like soap – nothing artifical – but you can add 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil to add more aroma to the mix. I suggest trying the following recipe first to get the basics down before you experiment.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Good for about 50 loads


  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap
  • ½ cup borax
  • 1 cup sodium carbonate (washing soda)
  • 3 gallons water
  • 5-gallon bucket with lid


Grate the Fels-Naptha soap until it is a pile of flakes. Bring 4 cups of water in a large pot to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the grated Fels-Naptha soap. Stir until all is dissolved.

Pour 3 gallons of water into the bucket, and then add the borax, sodium carbonate and dissolved soap mixture. Stir until all is evenly combined and dissolved. Put the lid on the bucket and let sit for 24 hours. Before use, stir the mixture first. There will be clumps, but they will dissolve during washing. Use 1 cup per load.

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Photo Credit: KimYoungSung