How To Make Your Own Laundry Detergent and Other Laundry Essentials

Updated: Apr. 08, 2024

Get rid of harsh chemicals by making your own DIY laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets.

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Time

10 - 20 minutes

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

less than $30

Introduction

Here is how to make your own laundry detergent at home that is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Tools Required

  • 1 - quart jar
  • 2 - gallon jars
  • Measuring cups
  • Tablespoon

Materials Required

  • 1-1/2- cups of baking soda
  • 1-1/2- cups of washing soda
  • 1/2-cup Epsom salt
  • 1/4-cup sea salt
  • Cotton Rags
  • Essential oil
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Vinegar

Making your own DIY laundry detergent and other laundry essentials is fast, easy and will leave your clothes smelling and feeling fresh. There are many reasons to dive into DIY-ing your cleaning products. With grocery costs rising, I switched to a homemade laundry detergent that’s less than half the cost of store-bought detergent. Plus, my homemade detergent is a powder detergent mix, so you use less of it per wash. 

My family is also sensitive to added fragrances that make them itch or trigger their asthma. When they’re only vaguely listed as “fragrances” on ingredient lists, it’s hard to know what really goes into producing these scents and smells. Making your own detergent gives you full control over your ingredient list, leaving you confident in the safety of your final product.

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

DIY laundry detergent

This homemade laundry detergent will soften clothes, brighten whites, and leave your clothes smelling fresh.

Mix these ingredients together in a quart-sized jar:

  • 1-1/2 cups of baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups of washing soda
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 25 drops of essential oils (lemon, sweet orange or lavender are my favorite)
    • Note: Lemon oil will clean and brighten whites and is antibacterial.

Make sure to work through the clumps made by the essential oils.

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons for each load of laundry. Put detergent in before adding clothes to the washing machine.

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Step 2

Homemade fabric softener

In addition to laundry detergent, it’s also important to use fabric softener from a natural source as well. Vinegar is a non-toxic fabric softener and deodorizer. Simply mix vinegar and your favorite essential oil to enhance the feel and scent of your clothes.

Shake together in a quart-sized jar:

  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 20 25 drops of essential oils in a jar.

Use 1/2 cup of mix during the rinse cycle.

How To Make Your Own Laundry Detergent And Other Laundry Essentials Fhmvs23 Mr 12 12 23 Laundrydetergent 2TMB STUDIO

Step 3

DIY dryer sheets

Dyer sheets neutralize static cling, soften clothes and add a fresh scent. I use the power of vinegar to soften cloth, vegetable glycerin for static cling, and essential oils for that fresh scent. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell! Once the clothes dry, any vinegar smell disappears — all that’s left is your favorite essential oil.

Mix these ingredients together in a quart-sized jar:

  • 2-1/2 cups of white vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable glycerin
  • 10 drops of essential oil

Cut up rags into rough 5-in. x 8-in. pieces. These can be new rags or reused washcloths, t-shirts, or pillowcases. Fold and push into the jar. Let it saturate the rags.

Use 2-4 dryer sheets per load.

How To Make Your Own Laundry Detergent And Other Laundry Essentials Fhmvs23 Mr 12 12 23 Laundrydetergent 3TMB STUDIO

Step 4

FAQ

How To Make Your Own Laundry Detergent And Other Laundry Essentials Fhmvs23 Mr 12 12 23 Laundrydetergent 4TMB STUDIO

Are homemade laundry detergents safe for high-efficiency washers?

Yes, this homemade laundry detergent is safe for high-efficiency washers because it lacks a foaming agent. Just add it to the washer before piling the clothes in.

Are homemade laundry detergents safe for front-loading washers?

Yes, you can use this homemade laundry detergent in a front-load washer; however, dump the powder into the drum before adding clothes. If a white residue lingers on the clothes, it means it wasn’t saturated enough. So next time, dissolve the tablespoon of detergent in a cup of warm water before adding it to the drum. Never use the automatic dispensers. It won’t work correctly with this type of detergent.

Can homemade fabric softener be put in the automatic dispenser?

Yes, the softener is liquid, so it can be placed directly into the automatic dispenser. Shake the solution before adding it to the washer since the essential oil tends to separate from the vinegar.