You will save loads of money with this simple homemade laundry detergent recipe. It’s great for any type of washing machine and is made of safe ingredients. If you’re like me and can’t tolerate the smell of most commercial detergent then you will love this!

Years ago I started making my own detergent to save money. There were piles of laundry to do every day and we were buying lots of detergent every month. I’m allergic to synthetic fragrances and back in the olden days there was only one brand I could use and it was pricey! With my recipe I use essential oils but they aren’t necessary for clean laundry


Our home uses a septic tank and in researching I found that the borax in most homemade detergent recipes wasn’t great for our septic or for city water treatment systems either. For the most part the ingredients in my recipe are so safe you could eat them, several are already in your kitchen!


One thing I focus on is reducing waste. The fact that only two ingredients I use comes in a plastic bag is a huge bonus for me. While you can find them in cardboard containers, the amount I use is only available in plastic bags. This is tons better than throwing out a huge plastic jug every month!

Simple Homemade Laundry Detergent

Simple Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 bar of castile soap, grated
  • 10-20 drops of essential oils or blend

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl or container being careful not to breathe any dust that gets stirred up. Store in an airtight container and use 2 tablespoons for a normal load.

Bulk Recipe

I make a huge batch of this every 6 months and store it in a sealed 5 gallon bucket. Another thing I do is make my own bar soap for detergent. Now you may not be ready to tackle making your own soap so you can use castile soap or a laundry bar like Fels-Naptha.

Bulk Ingredient Sources

A great source for citric acid is Amazon, I buy 10 pounds at a time and that with make about 2 of my batches of detergent. You can find the washing soda in 3 pound boxes at Walmart. Any place that sells pool supplies is a good source for large quantities of baking soda.

  • 4 boxes of washing soda
  • 6 pounds of baking soda
  • 5-6 pounds of citric acid
  • 3 pounds of salt
  • 8 bars of soap, grated
  • Lots of essential oils

The day before you make the detergent grate the soap and set it out to dry a bit. If you mix it straight away in such a large amount it will make a big clump and be hard to break up. Once the soap is dried a bit, layer the ingredients in the bucket. I pour in a box of washing soda then add a quarter of each ingredient and mix lightly as I go. Then all that’s left is to fill the container I keep in my laundry room and get to washing!

Essential Oils Ideas

My favorite essential oils to use for detergent are tea tree oil, lemon, eucalyptus, or lavender. As I mentioned above, this isn’t needed for cleaning the clothes it just smells good. You will have great detergent without essential oils. I add it because it makes laundry more enjoyable. Sometimes I just use whatever oils I have that need to be used up and call it good.