Green, Hypoallergenic, Recipe for Laundry Detergent – Easy and Cheap

4 Materials
1 Hour

Here is my simple recipe for hypoallergenic homemade laundry detergent! I’ve always had very sensitive skin and, over the years as I totally removed chemical and commercial cleaning products from my home, I’ve also developed a super sensitive nose. Laundry detergent was my first real green plunge into homemade household products (back in 2013) and my liquid laundry soap recipe still works great but, honestly, I’ve gotten a lot more lazy over the years lol.

My liquid recipe requires some time melting and pouring everything together and also requires storage space for several one gallon jugs. (Not to mention those plastic jugs don’t last forever and start leaking… ask me how I know…)

I’ve found this whole moving into natural homemade products requires baby steps. I always used liquid detergents so the transition for me just made it easier to go with a liquid initially.

But I got to wondering if my liquid detergent recipe wouldn’t work just as well in its powder form – thus eliminating basically ALL the time it took to make it and LOTS of storage! I would be going from four 1 gallon jugs to one little container.

I also altered the recipe just a bit and I find this combination works REALLY well and is much easier to remember!

2 Bars of Soap (Dial Basics Hypoallergenic Bar Soap is what I like - I get it off of Amazon)

2 Cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

2 Cups Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

2 Cups 20 Mule Team Borax

NOTE: I have a High Efficiency (HE) washer and dryer combination machine that both washes and dries all of my clothes. In the manual it says that I need to use detergent specifically made for HE machines. I did a little research and pretty much ANY homemade detergent will work great in HE machines! The reason being that they all produce very little suds.

When it comes to cost in this recipe it hinges a lot on what kind of bar of soap you use. In the last batch I made I actually used two VERY expensive homemade organic shampoo bars I had purchased at a festival this last summer. Because of my hard water shampoo bars DO NOT work for my hair – BUMMER.

So I used them in my last batch of laundry soap.

I assume you will be purchasing bars that are around $2 per bar but that’s up to you. Your choice of bar soap will leave some scent (or no scent) behind etc. Also your choice will determine how much effort its going to require to grate it lol.

Tips: Food processors work great for bar soap. You can also warm the bar for a few seconds in the microwave to grate by hand and that has the added benefit of REALLY cleaning your cheese grater!

At $2 per bar of soap this entire batch of laundry detergent will run you about $7.

You only need a tablespoon dumped right in there on top of your clothes per load so that averages out to 50 loads per batch at only 14 CENTS a load! For me as a single gal that’s over six months of laundry detergent for $7!

There is absolutely nothing on the market that I could buy for $14 that would last me an entire year. And there’s also no amount of money anyone could pay me to bring those chemicals and crap back into my home to sit against my skin all day.

Makes me rashy and itchy just to think about it – I still have back acne scars!

Besides that I also don’t use fabric softener. I won’t get started on what a terrible waste of money I think fabric softener is… So I’m just gonna say I use about a tablespoon of white vinegar per load instead. You can put the white vinegar anywhere you would normally put liquid fabric softener.

The vinegar softens and cleans my fabrics (and eliminates static!) and it also has the benefit of helping keep my machine clean too.

You can put vinegar in your machine anywhere you would normally put liquid fabric softener. (My machine has a special little spot for it.)

What do my clothes smell like? LITERALLY NOTHING. Like, for real, they smell totally like nothing at all. I often get asked if they smell like vinegar and honestly that’s just silly.

Of course they don’t smell like vinegar they got washed!

As for how long my clothes hold up. I’m in a unique situation here as I have well water and I don’t have a water softener so my water is REALLY hard and I’m using a combination washer/dryer which is wonderfully easy on my clothes. My clothes last a really long time. My blacks stay wonderfully black etc.

(I also don’t wash clothes unless they really actually need to be washed… I am not above wearing a pair of jeans for a week lol)

How this detergent works really does depend on your water and machine situation. I am confident to say it will do just as well (and probably way better) than your current commercial brand.

This recipe is SO inexpensive why not give it a try!

NOTE: Your clothes won’t smell like nothing right away as the chemical scents and everything else used in commercial fabric softeners and laundry detergents will stick around for awhile. But, eventually, this recipe will thoroughly clean your clothes and your machine too!

(It generally takes at least three washes before I no longer smell commercial fabric softeners or detergents on the clothes. Whenever I purchase new clothes I wash them twice before wearing them.)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 12 questions
  • Theresa Shelton
    on Dec 31, 2019

    Can you add a few drops of essential oils if you prefer a scent?

  • Gigiharmon55
    on Jan 1, 2020

    I can't use the borax will it still clean our cloths?

    Miss Gigi

    • Karen Kallio
      on Jan 13, 2020

      Arent borax and arm and hammer laundry booster essentially the same thing?

  • Diannah Smith
    9 minutes ago

    This sounds great. I love the simplicity of it! One quick question, you grate the bars of soap and use them that way? No extra chopping into smaller pieces? I'd be hand grating. Thanks again!

Join the conversation

3 of 46 comments
  • Roberta
    on Jan 13, 2020

    I will try this as well thank you

  • Pamela Blakeney

    Sounds like a winner to me! I'm going to check it out too. I'm all for saving money and I am familiar with the products you are using. They are among the proven for their purpose. Thanks for sharing.

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