Conventional laundry detergents and fabric softeners often contain dangerous chemicals that can be harmful to your health and the environment. These chemicals come in the form of fragrances and dyes that often attract us to the detergent in the first place. Who doesn’t want their laundry to smell like falling spring rain or a honeysuckle vine? However, don’t be fooled. Some of these cool colors and fragrances come at a cost.
Fortunately, you can have clean and fresh smelling laundry without the burden of chemicals. You can feel good about caring for the world around you and also can save money by making your own detergent.
I have been making laundry detergent for years and would not switch back to conventional suds even if someone paid me. I enjoy making it, my laundry is clean, I save a ton of money, and I feel good about what I’m doing for my family.
You even can make your own dryer sheets and liquid softener.
Let’s get started:
Homemade Dryer Sheets
These fabric dryer sheets can be used over and over and do a great job of making clothes soft.
- white vinegar
- glass container with lid
- fabric scraps (cotton)
- essential oils (mixture)
Cut some squares of cotton fabric; I like to use old dishcloths and T-shirts. If you are not going to sew the edges, use pinking shears. This will keep the fabric from fraying. If you have a sewing machine, you can do zigzag stitches on the edges. Mix ½ cup of vinegar with 10 drops of essential oils. I like lavender and tea tree. Pour your scented, softening solution into a container that reseals. Add your fabric squares and allow them to soak in the vinegar and essential oil mixture. Flip the container over and mix it up before use.
When it’s time to dry clothes, grab a couple of fabric squares, ring them out, and throw them in the dryer with your clothes. I use four per load. You can reuse the fabric squares over and over again. No need to wash them; just throw them back in the solution.
Homemade Liquid Softener
I don’t know about you, but I love my clothes to feel soft with no static cling. Here is a great recipe that leaves your clothes silky soft.
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
Stir the hot water and baking soda together. Slowly add in the vinegar. Beware: It will fizz up and bubble. Once it is all mixed together, store it in a container with a lid and shake before each use. Add about ¼ cup for each wash.
Detergent Recipe One: The All-Purpose Clothes Cleaner
This recipe is great for everyday clothes:
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap
- 3 gallons water
- 5-gallon bucket with a lid
Grate the bar of Fels-Naptha soap.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
- Lower heat to a simmer and add the grated soap.
- Stir with a wooden spoon until the soap dissolves.
- Pour 3 gallons of water into a clean, five-gallon bucket.
- Pour in baking soda, washing soda and the boiled soap mix.
- Stir until dissolved.
- Add in 25 drops of your favorite essential oil.
- Cover the bucket and let the mixture sit for 24 hours.
- Stir the mixture well before using – it will be clumpy.
- Use 1 cup for a regular size load. This mixture makes 52 cups.
Detergent Recipe Two: Peppermint Wash
I love the way this detergent mixes together, and the aroma is fabulous.
- ¾ cup peppermint Castile Soap
- ½ cup super washing soda
- ½ cup baking soda
- 2-gallon bucket
- hand mixer
- Pour lukewarm to cold water in the bottom of the two-gallon bucket.
- Add the dry powders.
- Use a hand mixer to combine, adding more water if needed. You want the powder to be fully blended with no clumps.
- Fill the bucket almost to the top, with water.
- Add the Castile soap and stir with a long wooden spoon.
- Use a funnel to pour into containers.
- This make enough detergent for about 96 loads.
Have you ever made laundry detergent or dryer sheets? Share your tips in the section below: