Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DIY Homemade Borax Free Laundry Detergent

This post is featured on the Wildcrafting Wednesday Hop!

For the past couple of months I have been on a mission to make my own household cleaners, not only to save money, but to eliminate some the toxins that commercial products contain. Residue from these detergents come in contact with our skin and is absorbed. These chemicals are linked to reproductive, endocrine, immune system disorders, central nervous system damage, and are extremely harmful to the environment.

I have experimented with a variety of recipes, but have found one that I am finally happy with and that actually gets the job done, and takes only a few minutes to make!

Borax Free Detergent

3 Cups sodium carbonate (Washing Soda)
1 Soap bar (pure glycerin or castille bars)
1/2 Cup citric acid
1/2 Cup coarse salt (Kosher Salt)

1) Finely grate your soap bar
2) Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl or 1 gallon bucket

Voila! That's it, now make sure to keep your detergent in an airtight container. If you have made homemade detergents before, then you know that they tend to "clump" a little.

To prevent this, simply take a piece of cloth and add a little silica or clay, tie it at the top and toss into your laundry detergent. The silica or clay will help draw out moisture from the detergent.

You can also add 30-40 drops of your favorite essential oils, just make sure that you mix the detergent thoroughly.

This recipe yields approximately 7 cups of detergent which equals roughly 112 tbs. You will only need to use 1-2 tbs of detergent per load.

Here is the cost break down -

Sodium carbonate - $12 for 5 lb. (about $1 per cup)
Bar soap - $2.00 (I used glycerin which is far cheaper than castille)
Citric acid - $4.99 for 7 1/2 ounces (I used most of the bottle)
Coarse salt - store bought a little under $4 for 3 lbs (about $1.33 per cup)

So for $10 can make 56-112 tbs of laundry, between $0.11 to $0.18 per load of chemical free laundry! By purchasing the citric acid in bulk or shopping around, this amount could have been even lower.

I am sure most of you are this detergent cloth diaper safe? Well, I am not sure.

Many cloth diaper manufacturers strongly suggest purchasing their own detergents and not to use homemade with pure/castille soaps or washing soda (eventhough most of the "cloth diaper safe" detergents that I have used listed sodium carbonate as the first ingredient). Personally, I have used similar homemade detergents with diapers and had not experienced repelling issues.

Teton Indoor Supply

Thank you Teton Indoor Supply for providing me with some of the materials above to do this post! Teton Indoor Supply is a family owned business based in Idaho specializing in natual health products and fertilizers to support your family's natural lifestyle.

** Teton Indoor Supply (website is no longer in operation) is now The Seed Supply and offers non-gmo seeds and soil nutrition, as well as free resources for your organic gardening needs **

Even though I was provided with an item free of charge, I was not paid or under any obligation to publish this post. All opinions above are entirely my own.


  1. Will you be testing this on cloth diapers?

  2. I sure am! I wanted to use this detergent on them long term to see if in fact it causes repelling issues, but so far it hasn't.

  3. Is this detergent safe in front loaders, HE washer, septic tanks, for hard water, etc??

    1. Where I live, there is EXTREME hard water, and I had not experienced any problems whatsoever with this detergent. All ingredients are HE safe ;-)

  4. Thanks for linking up at Wildcrafting Wednesday.

  5. Replies
    1. I do not use borax because of it's rating with the EWG (Environmental Working Group). Borax rates at a moderate/above moderate on their health concern scale and has been linked to acute toxicity (respiratory problems and skin irritation).

      In addition (taken from the EWG blog) "Men working in boric acid-producing factories have a greater risk of decreased sperm count and libido. According to EPA's safety review of these pesticides, chronic exposure to high doses of borax or boric acid causes testicular atrophy in male mice, rats and dogs.

      Animal studies reviewed by the EPA indicate that while the female reproductive system is less sensitive to borax, exposure to it can also lead to reduced ovulation and fertility. Borax and boric acid can cross the placenta, affecting fetal skeletal development and birth weight in animal studies of high-dose exposures."

      Even though the 5-6 rating (washing soda scores at a 1) suggests that these side effects occur with misuse or frequent exposure...I'd rather not use it as much as possible. I do use a borax/water solution for black mold (where I live high pollen count and mold is frequently present in the air) though that works amazing and I would choose to use that over any chemical substitute that I can find at a grocery store.

    2. Thank you! I was unaware of that. I just made some laundry detergent a week ago with Borax. I'm planning on sharing with family members, so I'll run out soon after that. Plan on making yours next. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This seems so easy... Thanks for the recipe. I think I will try this. I have never made homemade detergent but I love the idea of doing it and I would love to give it a try!

  7. I'm always looking for a homemade detergent that works, maybe this is the one.


Thank you for taking the time to leave me a friendly comment! I try my best to reply to as many as possible :-)