When we made the switch a few years back to all-natural cleaning supplies, we switched our laundry detergent, too. We started off shelling out lots of cash for all-natural versions on store shelves, but we figured there had to be another way—they were just so darn expensive!
My husband and I started researching homemade laundry detergent out there, and there were a ton of options. And a lot of them used borax—an ingredient that we were hesitant to use. We were trying to get away from unnatural ingredients, and while there is no clear “yes, it’s good for you” or “no, it’s bad for you” verdict on borax, there are enough negative anecdotes and studies out there about it that made us want to try to avoid it if we could. So we started searching for a borax-free laundry detergent. There were decidedly fewer recipes out there without borax. So that meant it was experimentation time!
It took a few trials, but we ended up figuring out a borax-free laundry detergent that works really, incredibly well for us. We’ve been using this for years and our clothes get clean—like, really clean. And we’re pretty tough on our laundry.
We do a lot of manual labor around here—playing in the dirt in the garden, sweating up a storm, and getting our clothes into all kinds of not-so-clean situations. We’ve definitely put this stuff to the test.
I think my favorite part of this detergent is that my clothes don’t smell like anything when they come out of the dryer. No lilac fields or clean summer dew scents. It took me a really long time to learn that “clean” doesn’t smell like something. Rather, true “clean” smells like absolutely nothing. And this detergent gets our clothes to smelling like nothing!
Of course, if you like some scent in your laundry, you could throw in a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mixture (in fact, lemon is an all-natural stain-fighter, and lavender is always a wonderful scent to add to almost anything!).
I will say that we have regular top loading washer, so I have no idea if this will work with the fancy new-fangled front-loading machines. It might—because it’s a low-soap, low-suds mixture—but try at your own risk! We also didn’t use this stuff when we were washing cloth diapers, because I had no idea if it would break down the absorbency—we just stuck to Rockin Green for those.
About a half cup of this stuff gets a super-large load of our clothes very clean, but you might need to do some trial-and-error to figure out what the right amount is for your machine. That means we get about 40 loads of laundry out of one gallon of detergent. And it costs me less than $5 to make each gallon—steal! Here’s how to make it:
Don’t shell out all your money for natural laundry detergents. Make your own borax-free laundry detergent for less than $5 per gallon instead!
- 14 cups very hot water, divided
- 1 cup baking soda, divided
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 cup unscented liquid castile soap
- 30 drops lavender essential oil, optional, for scent
- Gallon-sized jug
- In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, combine 7 cups of the hot water with half the baking soda (1/2 cup) and half the salt (1/4 cup). Stir well until completely dissolved. The mixture will start out cloudy and fizzy, but when it’s completely dissolved, it should be mostly clear. Pour the mixture into a gallon-sized jug.
- Repeat step one with the remaining water, baking soda, and salt, and then add the mixture to the gallon-sized jug.
- Add in the liquid castile soap and essential oil, if using. Swirl gently, close, and label.
- Shake the container to mix ingredients, then either pour 1/2 cup (you can use more if it’s a particularly dirty or large load) of the solution into the washer while it fills, or place it in the soap cup provided in your washing machine.
- This recipe has NOT been tested with a front-loading high-efficiency washer. I use it in my top-loading HE washer just fine though.
- We break up the baking soda addition mostly because people don’t usually have a 16 cup measuring cup! It also seems to help get the baking soda to dissolve properly. This recipe uses almost the max amount of baking soda density that can dissolve in water, so make sure not to add more baking soda or use less water.
- If you are having trouble dissolving the baking soda, heat the water, salt, and baking soda in a large pot over medium heat until completely dissolved.
- Category: Natural Home
Keywords: natural home, cleaning, laundry