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Natural Laundry Detergent – How to Detox Your Laundry Room

laundry detergent

Have you detoxed your laundry room yet? If not, you better get moving because the chemicals in conventional laundry products have been linked to a variety of diseases ranging from allergies to cancer! For all my DIY peeps out there, making your own natural laundry detergent is the way go and I have a super easy (and effective!) recipe below.

Why Using Natural Laundry Detergent is Important

Every day you are exposed to a cocktail of chemicals that interact with each other in ways that are far beyond our understanding. This “chemical soup” is particularly dangerous when we consider that the clothing on our skin are primary carriers of toxins!

Here's an interesting report from our friends at Annmarie Skincare

Since 2008, more chemicals found in common grocery store detergents have surfaced. In fact, we found seven more, and have listed them for you here, along with some healthier alternatives. You shouldn’t have to suffer asthma or dermatitis just to have clean clothes.

Scientists Find Proof of What We’ve Suspected

Researchers from the University of Washington studied top-selling laundry and air-freshening products and found that they emitted dozens of different chemicals. All of them gave off at least one identified as toxic or hazardous under federal laws!

Worse—none of these chemicals was listed on the label.

Laundry Chemicals are the Worst!

Among the products tested were a dryer sheet, a fabric softener, and a laundry detergent, as well as spray and plug-in air fresheners. Results showed nearly 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from the six products, and none were on the label. “Five of the six products emitted one or more carcinogenic ‘hazardous air pollutants,’ which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no safe exposure level,” said study author Anne Steinemann.

That’s not all. A later 2011 study by the same researchers found that air vented from machines using top-selling scented liquid laundry detergent and scented dryer sheets contained hazardous chemicals, including two classified as carcinogens.

For the study, researchers ran a load of laundry once with no products, once with a leading brand of scented liquid laundry detergent, and once with both the detergent and a dryer sheet. They captured the exhaust from the dryer vent with a canister.

An analysis of the captured air showed more than 25 VOCs, including seven hazardous air pollutants. The two carcinogens were acetaldehyde and benzene.

“These products can affect not only personal health,” said Steinemann, “but also public and environmental health. The chemicals can go into the air, down the drain and into water bodies.”

This, my friend, is why it's so important to make your own natural laundry detergent!

12 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid

In this interview with Stephen Ezell, CEO of MyGreenFills, we discuss the dangers of these toxic laundry product chemicals and outline a few of the worst. There are actually 12, which we call the The Laundry Room Dirty Dozen

To download a FREE copy of The Laundry Room “Dirty Dozen” – 12 Ingredients To Avoid Like The Plague! and a printable wallet guide to help make sure you're only buying safe products at the store, CLICK HERE.

How To Make Natural Laundry Detergent

Note these ingredients are rated “A” by the Environmental Working Group indicating their safety and non-toxicity.

Try this out next chance you get and let me know what you think in the comment section below! I'd love to hear your thoughts! If you have any natural laundry detergent DIY tips, please share them as well!

And be sure to check out my other DIY Recipes!

Natural Laundry Detergent Ingredients:

Step 1:

Begin on your stove top, grating half the bar of soap in a LARGE pot, on low heat. Emphasis on the LARGE….. 🙂 You will see why in Step 4. And a cheese grater works just perfect for grating the bar.

Step 2:

Slowly add 5 cups of water. Stir until the soap is completely dissolved. You should see just a few suds at this point.

Step 3:

Stir Oxiclean and Washing Soda gently into mixture until dissolved. This will take 2-3 minutes and the mixture will start to feel frothy and begin to grow.  Now the growing part is the fun part. 😉 Invite the kids in for this.

Step 4:

Before it begins to overflow, remove from heat, and move to a sink to catch suds overflow. (I didn't do this step the first time, and the kiddos made a slip and slide on my tile floors in the kitchen.) Watch the blob grow if desired…. 😉 and let cool.

Step 5:

Once soap has cooled for about 10 minutes add 4 cups of HOT water to each jar.

Step 6:

Evenly distribute the soap mixture and 40 drops of your favorite citrus oil to each jar.

Step 7:

Stir mixture and add cool water to fill each jar till almost full. Let set overnight to thicken some.

3 Gallons of Natural Laundry Detergent for Under $20!
 
Author:
Recipe type: Household Cleaner
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. (Stove Top)
  2. Grate the entire bar of soap over LARGE pot on low heat - you can split in two batches if you don't have a large enough pot.
  3. Add 5 cups of water.
  4. Stir soap and water until dissolved on medium-high.
  5. Add OxiClean and Washing Soda in mixture until dissolved
  6. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

  7. (In Glass Jars)
  8. Pour 4 cups hot water into each of the 3 jars.
  9. Then add about 2 cups of the soap mixture into each bucket with 40 drops of any citrus essential oil.
  10. Stir, then add enough cool water to fill each bucket.
  11. Let each bucket thicken over night.
  12. And don't forget to stir before each use because the detergent may get lumpy or gelatinize.
  13. Easy peesy!
  14. Quick Note: Depending on whether you have a high-efficiency washer or not, you should use between1/4 - ½ cup scoop per load.

Safety & Contraindications

Are you sure you're using essential oils safely and effectively? Are you confused by dilutions and conversions?

 Let me help take out the guesswork and download my FREE roller bottle guide HERE.

Essential Oil Roller Bottle Dilution Guide

When it comes to drug interactions and contraindications, there are literally textbooks devoted to the study of essential oil safety and, as a trained researcher and doctor, I think it’s important to note that there is virtually no research out there discussing how essential oils interact with drugs in human clinical trials. This means that essential oil safety is still a wild frontier in the science community and no one really knows (for certain) how essential oils will interact with drugs or your body.

Nonetheless, properly diluting your essential oils is fundamental to safety and effectiveness because they are highly concentrated plant compounds. To help you along your journey, I have a created an easy-to-use dilution guide that you can download for FREE to make sure that all of your topical applications are safe and effective for the entire family. 

CLICK HERE to download my free EO Roller Bottle Dilution Chart! 

As with as medicine and natural therapies, this is only a guide and be sure to discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and consult your physician immediately.



This post currently has 41 comments.

  1. Nancy
    August 4, 2017

    Could you use liquid Castile instead of the bar soap?

      Reply
  2. Patti B
    July 1, 2017

    Does each bucket get 40 drops of essential oil?

      Reply
    • Customer Support
      July 6, 2017

      Hello Patti,
      Yes in each glass gallon bucket. 🙂

        Reply
  3. Karen
    July 1, 2017

    Where can you find the ingredients? I can’t wait to try this!

      Reply
    • Customer Support
      July 6, 2017

      Hello Karen,
      If you go back to the article, in the recipe are some links of where to purchase. 🙂 Amazon is our friend.

        Reply
  4. Lisa
    October 18, 2016

    Can this be used for he (high efficiency) machines, or is this only for traditional washers??

      Reply
    • Customer Support
      October 19, 2016

      It’s great for HE machines too!

        Reply
  5. Widmark
    October 11, 2016

    Do you know of DIY for fabric freshener? I have mold allergies and need one with tree oil. It really helps to get a good night sleep because my bed may be the culprit.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      October 11, 2016

      Hi Widmark,

      You can simply add a couple drops in a wool dryer ball or spray your sheets with a EO spritzer. Easy peesy!

      Here’s a sleep spray to give you some ideas –> http://drericz.com/diy-sleep-spray/

        Reply
  6. Tammy
    September 4, 2016

    So…this recipe actually makes 6, 5 gallon buckets or 30 gallons of laundry detergent?!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      September 6, 2016

      3 gallons actually. 🙂

        Reply
      • Tammy
        September 9, 2016

        Thank you for clearing that up for me. Not sure why I was making it so hard to figure out. I believe it was because other recipes I’ve seen have been made in a five gallon bucket. ?

          Reply
        • Dr. Z
          September 9, 2016

          🙂

            Reply
      • Mary Ann Linger
        July 24, 2017

        No I’m confused…the title on the recipe says 3 gallons,…but you are saying 6. ???

          Reply
        • Dr. Z
          July 25, 2017

          Hi Mary,

          The recipe makes 3 gallons, which is up to 6 months of detergent (depending on your needs). Hope this helps.

            Reply
  7. NancyNancy
    August 9, 2016

    Is this safe for septic tanks? Thanks

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      August 11, 2016

      As far as I know, yes, but please don’t quote me because we don’t have a septic tank. 🙂

        Reply
  8. Julie
    June 28, 2016

    I found a similar recipe on Pinterest that is a dry powder. It also uses Washing Soda and a bar soap but includes Borax and baking soda. Can I use a combination of essential oils or is it better to stay with one scent?

      Reply
    • Customer Support
      June 29, 2016

      Use any combination you’d like!

        Reply
  9. Amanda
    June 26, 2016

    Hi
    I really appreciate this new database – fantastic!

    I am from Australia and as there are no links to each product to see what they are, can you add them or tell me if these are available in Australia or is there an alternative?

    Also, recommendations for my front loader says not to use liquid. I notice some comments on “dry” ingredients being used – could you translate the recipe for just dry use please?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      June 26, 2016

      Links updated! 🙂

        Reply
    • Joyce
      June 26, 2016

      Hi Amanda,

      I wonder if Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster is the same as Washing soda you can get from Woolworths and the Oxiclean Laundry Baby Stain Soaker is the same as Napisan.

        Reply
  10. cindy
    June 26, 2016

    Since using a version of this soap most of my hormone issues have gone away. I had a large cist in my uterus that has shrunk and very bad cramps that have also gone away. It’s amazing how much we absorb through our skin. I use the phils naphta. I have also given it to friends with cramps and they have had their cramps go away. Word of caution if dealing with hormone issues don’t use lavender eo in your laundry soap it is a plant estrogen.

      Reply
  11. Joyce S.
    June 25, 2016

    Thank you SO MUCH for a homemade laundry detergent recipe that does NOT contain BORAX! I think I’m am allergic to borax and have been searching far and wide for a non-borax homeamde laundry detergent. Now, if only I can come up with 6 gallon jugs that will work!!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      June 26, 2016

      Or just cut the recipe in third or something to fit your supplies. 🙂

        Reply
  12. Joan riek
    June 25, 2016

    Where can you buy oziclean in Australia? Joan

      Reply
  13. Deborah
    June 25, 2016

    I’ve been using dry laundry soap for a while now. It cleans better than any other soap I’ve ever used. I do make my own soap for use though. Old fashioned lye soap. I also use it to bathe with. My skin is in better condition than ever. Don’t have to use a moisturizer at all. No more dry skin. And yes, it has some harsh chemicals, lye, but I take precautions when mixing. I love these recipes. Oh, I do use the essential oils to make it smell good, AND I use vinegar in the rinse instead of fabric softener.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      June 27, 2016

      Thanks for the tips Deborah!

        Reply
  14. Christy
    April 25, 2016

    Could you sub a bar of castile soap for the fels-naptha?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      April 25, 2016

      Yep!

        Reply
  15. Barbara
    March 15, 2016

    Does this soap clean good and get rid of smells. My guys have a lot of oil stains from trucks on clothes?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      March 18, 2016

      Yep works great!

        Reply
  16. Rhonda
    February 10, 2016

    Love this! Are the 5-gallon containers mentioned in ingredients needed the same as the “buckets” mentioned in the directions? Thanks

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      February 16, 2016

      Yes. 🙂

        Reply
    • lisa
      July 22, 2016

      that confused me too! Thanks for clarifying 🙂

        Reply
  17. Cynde
    February 7, 2016

    Very similar to an Amish soap recipe I have been wanting to try from Lyman’s Hardware. They have a dried form of the ingredients. Can you keep yours dry? Is this He safe for the new washers? I would think so… Thank you. I am new since your summit. Have enjoyed your site.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      February 9, 2016

      Dry ingredients? For sure! That should work just fine.

      New washers? Not sure – they all are different. We have a normal one.

        Reply
      • Jacque P
        March 30, 2016

        YES, wet or dry, it is safe for “He” machines!! :o) I’ve been using a version of this recipe for several years. Be mindful if you use it in a powdered form though; remember to only use 2 Tablespoons for small / average loads (and follow your machine’s directions regarding where to add it to the machine). Additionally, if your wash water temp isn’t HOT, I’ve found it helpful to semi-dissolve the needed powder in hot water prior to adding it the machine OR pour some hot water in the detergent loading area as the wash cycle starts.

          Reply
  18. Lars
    February 6, 2016

    Remember, soap is poison. In miniature doses it is alowed on skin.
    Here is a little review about Fels Laundry Bar, that provoked me to thnking: “Can we not cut out on poisons even a little more and add more essential oils instead?”

    See the review here and note the comment from Mitch who lived near the plant, where they produce the Fels Bars… ????

    http://www.goddijn.com/soap/sfels.htm

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      February 7, 2016

      Hi Lars,

      Saying soap is poison is a long-stretch, don’t you think? I wouldn’t go that far… 😉

        Reply

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