The more I delved into living an eco-friendly lifestyle; I realized the detergent I was washing my family’s clothing with was also negatively impacting our bodies, the environment and our wallet. I started making my own eco-friendly powdered laundry detergent and have been very pleased with the outcome of the clothing after each load of laundry.
Below you will find a simple tutorial on how to make your own powdered laundry detergent. It usually takes me around five minutes to mix everything together. I have also included natural ways to eliminate stains and other useful tips for going green in the laundry room.
DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe
1 Cup of Borax
1 Cup of Washing Soda (or Baking Soda)
1 Bar of Ivory Soap (or any natural soap of your choice)
Plastic Tub (with lid)
* This detergent creates minimal suds (if any) and is safe to use in high efficiency (HE) front-loading washers.
Step One – Grate the bar of soap you plan on using into the mixing bowl. Try to grate the soap using the smallest grating side if possible, this will help the soap turn into powder easier and prevent small slivers of soap from being added to the detergent mix. It is much harder to chop the slivers up into a powdery texture than it is to grate them into a powder.
Step Two – Once the grated bar of soap has reached a powdery texture, add a cup of Borax to the mixing bowl and thoroughly stir the two ingredients together. I like to use a fork to press the two ingredients together; making sure the mixture is smooth. Next you will add one cup of the washing soda to the mixture and stir the ingredients again.
Step Three – I use a plastic scooper from a baby formula can to measure the detergent powder which equals to about one tablespoon per scoop. A small load receives one scoop, a medium load receives two scoops and a large load receives three scoops. I store the powdered detergent in a plastic tub with lid.
Pre-Treating Stained Ares Prior to Washing
Below are a few eco-friendly ways you can pre-treat stained or heavily soiled areas on the clothing before adding them to the washing machine.
Vinegar – Mix equal parts of vinegar and water into a spray bottle and pre-treat any necessary areas before washing clothing.
Hydrogen Peroxide – I recommend this for white clothing. Soak clothing in cold water and a teaspoon or two of the hydrogen peroxide to the soiled areas. Do not rub area, just blot the stain. Let sit and then add to the wash.
Baking Soda Paste – Find a shaker (for salt, pepper or parmesan cheese) at a local second hand shop or at the dollar store. Keep it filled with baking soda. Wet the stained area with cold water, sprinkle baking soda on the area and you will notice a paste form. Blot the area with the paste and then add to the washing machine.
Wash pre-treated clothing in the washing machine with cold or warm water.
You may add a few drops of lavender oil to the washing machine when your load of laundry is filling up on the rinse cycle. The lavender oil will add a light scent and act as a fabric softener.
Adding ½ cup – 1 cup of white vinegar to your laundry will also help soften your clothing in the washing machine.
The Diaper Jungle has provided a Detergent Ingredients Glossary on their website to help you learn more about what is in commercial laundry detergents.