Thursday, February 23, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent Without Borax

On the journey to saving money and reducing chemicals from our food/environment, I started to seek out homemade laundry detergent recipes.  I knew that not only would this save money but eliminate the strange chemicals our skin would come into contact with.  The more I searched, the more frustrated I became:  it seems as though almost all of the recipes out there call for Borax.  I remember my grandmother using Borax to clean her sinks and toilets, and harshly warning us kids against touching the stuff.  That didn't sit will with me, especially when you consider that our skin is the largest organ of our body!  Even if that risk is very minimal, the point of this life change is just that..... to change.  And if you CAN make laundry detergent without Borax, why wouldn't you?!  

Yep, my detergent is in a Bubbie's pickle jar :-)
It's ridiculously easy - here goes!

1 1/2 cups Washing Soda (found at most any grocery store)
1 bar of soap (some people use fels-naptha, or ivory.  I used Dr. Bronner's lavender castille soap)

Grate the entire bar of soap into small flakes using a grater.  Mix soap flakes with washing soda.  Voila!  

This is what your mixture will look like.
Use 2-3 tbsp per load depending on how dirty things are.  I use a 1/8th cup scoop per load myself.  It works wonderfully - very clean clothes and a light scent.  So far I love it, and have no complaints!  Each batch yields approximately 25 loads.

Here is the cost breakdown:

For a 50oz bottle of Tide (32 loads): $9.99, or .31 per load

Dr Bronner's Castille Soap, $4.49 (makes 1 batch), or .18 per load
Washing Soda, $2.99  (makes 4.5 batches) or .03 per load

Total per load for homemade detergent: .21!!  


  • You CAN use this in front load machines - it is very low suds.  
  • Wait for some water to collect in the basin before pouring it in.
Here are a few links to information about Borax if you are interested.


  1. A friendly fyi about your link to info about borax- boric acid is not borax. Sodium borate is borax and is harmful if ingested and is a potential skin irritant

  2. I want to make this but I'm not sure if I should double it and I'm confused by your math. This batch would make about 25 tablespoons, but since you're using 2 tablespoons per load, wouldn't the batch actually be more like 12.5 loads of laundry?