Why I Started Making My Own Detergent

Anyone else grow up knowing your clothes were clean because they smelled “clean?” Me too! My family always used Tide detergent. I used to love the smell of Tide because it always made me think of clean clothes and fresh laundry. About 15 years ago, I dove into the world of health. I started off with just changing my diet. I went from eating conventional foods to 100% organic. Then slowly I started to realize there were other ways I could help my body be healthier. I started researching new shampoo options and then new bedding. What was so interesting in all my research was that time and time again, the most toxic products in our homes were often the ones that had a scent or fragrance. These were products like perfume, candles, deodorant, wall plug-ins, and yep, even detergents. 

That strong, fresh, “clean” smell from my Tide detergent actually meant I was breathing in and rubbing on my skin (through residue left in my clothes) harmful chemicals. I knew I had to change detergent, but I wasn’t sure how. It was around this time that I had my first child. I was doing cloth diapers so I knew I needed to find a detergent that was safe and very effective. I ended up using Charlie’s detergent for several years. At one point, we were working really hard at becoming a zero waste home that created no waste. When I got serious about that, I knew I’d have to start making more of my own products, which included laundry detergent.

After a lot of research and trial and error, I came up with a super simple recipe that works great for our family. Here’s how you make it, and I promise, it really is super simple! It’s a bit messy when you make it, so I suggest making several batches at once to give you a 6-12 month supply. It’s super cheap too, which is always an added bonus!


  • 6 cups washing soda
  • 4 shredded bars of soap (3.5-4 ounce bar)
  • Essential oils (optional)

First, you’ll need to turn baking soda into washing soda. Take 6 cups of baking soda and spread it evenly on a baking sheet. It should be about ½” thick. You’ll cook it for 1 hour at 450 degrees. At the 30 minute mark, mix it around with a spatula. When you pull it out after an hour, you’ll notice the consistency has changed. That’s because it’s now washing soda!

I shred my bars of soap in a food processor. It makes it very quick and easy.

Blend the shredded soap and washing soda in a food processor until it is well mixed and the shredded soap is in very small pieces. It can get dusty so I recommend putting a mask on or tying a tea towel around your nose and mouth. The washing soda powder isn’t toxic but it will make you sneeze!

Once it’s all mixed, pour it into a 1/2 gallon jar with a lid for storage. When doing laundry, add 1 tablespoon of detergent to hot water. Once dissolved, add a load of clothes and change the water temperature to whatever you need it to be.

See how simple that is? The ingredients are cheap and easy to find almost anywhere, and making the actual detergent, although messy, is really very simple! Give it a try and let me know what you think!*to watch a video of me making the detergent, check out my Facebook page.

Don’t have time to make your own?

No problem, I’ve done the work for you. Add your name to my email list here and I will let you know as soon as I have it for sale!

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