Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by SoapBox Soaps.

I’ve always had sensitive skin, and when I passed that trait down to my three girls (you’re welcome, Mommy loves you, please clean your room), I started implementing some to keep them from suffering from eczema woes.

One big thing that made a difference was making my own laundry detergent. I know that sounds mildly scary and super Laura Ingalls-y of me — and frankly, I’m not one to DIY for funsies, anyway — but it’s actually so incredibly easy and, in comparison, incredibly inexpensive, that I’ve been doing it for years and I’m not looking back. I’ve written about detergent before, and while that recipe is circulating on the internet, I’ve been able to simplify it even further.

DIY Laundry Detergent

My three ingredients are soap, Borax, and washing soda. The latter two may be a little bit difficult to find, but in a pinch, I order them off Amazon and they show up on my doorstep two days later. For soap, I’m a big fan of SoapBox Soaps, for a variety of reasons.

The ingredients are all words I can pronounce and spell, they’ve confirmed that no peanut oil or sesame oil is used in fragrance or in any part of manufacturing their soap (which we’ve come to realize is not so for some brands), and for every bar of soap you purchase, they send one to someone in need. They send soap (and clean water) to those in need worldwide, but they are also generous here in the US, sending supplies to homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and nursing homes. I’m pals with SoapBox’s CEO and his devotion to humanitarianism is not only genuine, it’s inspiring.

Ingredients down, let’s make some laundry detergent. For this batch, I used the lemongrass soap, which smells lovely but not like I fell into every candle and bath + body store at the mall.

DIY Laundry Detergent with SoapBox

There’s a “recipe” at the bottom for easy reference (please, please don’t eat it), and we’ve also created a fun little video so you can see how the process works. This batch is small, but you can easily double / triple / quadruple the recipe with a little bit of basic math. This detergent works on frontloaders and toploaders. I use one tablespoon per load, and because my girls have allergies/asthma/eczema, every machine I touch gets an extra rinse cycle, whether it’s the dishwasher or the washing machine.

I’m happy knowing exactly what’s in the large jar on top of my washing machine, and, you know, it’s kind of nice to tap into my inner Oregon Trail. Minus the dysentery and axels breaking. :)

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
  • one 4 oz. bar of soap
  • one cup washing soda
  • one and a half cups Borax
  1. Grate soap until fine. I like using a food processor, but a regular cheese grater will do. If using a processor, I put a little bit of the Borax or the washing soda in first. It helps process the soap.
  2. Mix in Borax and washing soda.
  3. Put in a container and use one tablespoon per load.

Special thanks to SoapBox Soaps for sponsoring. 

Roo Ciambriello

If Scratch or Sniff founder/editor Roo Ciambriello could list all of her favorite things, they'd include her sweet little family, food trucks, and every AMA Snoop Dogg has done on Reddit. Roo is a copywriter out of New Haven, Connecticut, and loves writing fun stories on the backs of potato chip bags and cereal boxes in Whole Foods, Target, Nordstrom, Kroger, y mucho mas. Roo creates voices for brands, ghostwrites for celebrities, writes a personal website, and is (much to the chagrin of those around her) pretty active on Twitter. You can also find her providing commentary on advertising/branding at Adweek and eating fajitas on deadline days.

4 Comments to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

  1. Kate

    I love this idea for sensitive skin. Cute video!!

  2. Tiffany

    Okay, you have made making laundry soap seem doable…I’m doing this! And since I have the lemongrass bar at home–I think I’ll use that too! Thanks Roo!

  3. I totally need to try this! I’ve been meaning to make my own detergent for a while, hate the chemically stuff :/

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