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  • Writer's pictureMarie Katherine

Homemade Nontoxic Laundry Detergent (Only 3 Ingredients)

Updated: Nov 13

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Jump to the Recipe!

Homemade laundry detergent is absolutely the way to go! Not only is it non-toxic and eco-friendly, it's also incredibly budget-friendly! This recipe makes FIVE GALLONS of liquid detergent for about $12! Five gallons of liquid detergent will last most families a year or more! I chose to make my own detergent both to save money, but also because it uses simple, clean ingredients, which is better for our skin.

Clean ingredients are very important to me. See my post here for Why Switch to Nontoxic Household Items.

I attempted to make this recipe a few years ago using a bar of Castille soap. The result was a lumpy concoction that left me feeling that my clothes were not getting evenly washed and that the detergent might tear up my washer. However, I revised the original recipe a few months ago out of sheer desperation because store-bought laundry detergent is EXPENSIVE!

This recipe can be made into a liquid OR a powder, depending on what your washer takes. See the notes section for how to modify the recipe to make a powder detergent.

Before we get into the recipe, let's review the total cost!

Five gallons of liquid detergent costs about $11.40!

Roughly six cups of powder detergent cost $8.9!

And depending on how much your family uses, the liquid detergent should last about a year! That is a DEAL if I ever heard one!

Needed Tools:

  • A five-gallon bucket (with a lid if you plan to store the detergent in the bucket)

  • A glass dispenser or similar container to store the detergent in (optional)

  • A long spoon for stirring.



1. Add the borax, washing soda, and Castille soap to a five-gallon bucket.

2. Add hot water from the sink into the bucket until the water level is about 3-4 inches from the top. Be sure to stir continuously as the water is added.

3. That's it! You can either keep the detergent in the bucket or store it in a glass dispenser or jug.

  • Use 1/4 cup for every large load of laundry.

  • This mixture will separate over time, so be sure to shake well or stir before each use. I actually add in these shaker balls to my jugs to help break up any clumps. Find the ones I use here.

Be sure that your 5-gallon bucket does not have a leak. Mine did, and I lost about two gallons of detergent on my kitchen floor! (But my kitchen floor is incredibly clean now)


The detergent can be stored in a five-gallon bucket, but many people prefer to store it in a glass dispenser or similar container to make it easier to use. I opted for gallon-sized jugs, as that's what I had on hand. Here is a link to a good glass dispenser and a link to a similar jug. You can also check thrift stores for similar containers. Be sure whatever you use seals well as it needs to be shaken before each use.

This recipe could be made into a powder or a liquid. I opted for a liquid as a powder can solidify if exposed to moisture, or just over time. If you opt to make a powder, simply do not add water, and sub in one bar of Castille soap instead of liquid Castille soap. Grate the bar of soap, and add it to the dry mix of washing soda and borax.

The original recipe is unscented. You can add scent to yours by either adding 10-20 drops of essential oils OR by choosing a scented Castille soap.


Have you ever made homemade laundry detergent before? Let me know in the comments!

Want to learn more about clean living? See my posts here on

Why Switch to Non-toxic Household Items?

Simple, Effective, Homemade, Non-toxic Deodorant

My Personal Non-toxic Home Switches

6 Ways to Reduce Everyday Exposure to Toxins

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