Laundry Detergent Powder

Let's do some laundry Circular Living style! I love boycotting chemical companies and making my own laundry detergent powder instead. Conventional detergents are downright toxic. Do you know what quarternium-15 is? I didn't either, until I looked it up. It's a cleaning agent added to laundry detergent that releases formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. This is just one example of the "laundry" list of chemicals in the majority of detergents. See what I did there?! Laundry list....Ok, but seriously, how was I so trusting of these huge companies that obviously don't give two shits about people, animals, and the planet. Heck, they don't even have to disclose all of their ingredients to consumers. How messed up is that?! Natural cleaning products are often not that clean either, and are still packaged in plastic.

Making our own is very simple to do, and even those who don't have access to bulk can still make this recipe low impact! 

Buy Sensibly 

Baking soda and washing soda can usually be found in a cardboard box, which is a step up from plastic; however, if we can get them in bulk and fill up our own jars, that's the best! I've actually never seen washing soda in bulk. I found out that the company who makes the washing soda I've been using tests on animals (Arm & Hammer) which really sucks. After I finish up my box, I'll be making my own washing soda instead. 

I used to use Dr. Bronners castile bar soap in my laundry detergent; however they use palm oil, and I'm not down for that. I opt for plastic-free and palm-oil free bar soap that's not made with lard, tallow, or other animal fats.  Essentials oils are packaged in glass; however, the majority have plastic tops. This waste is currently unavoidable unless you make your own essential oils. Essential oils are one of the items I still buy in packaging - check on my post about what I recycle!

Laundry Detergent Powder 


3 cups washing soda 

3 cups baking soda

2 bars grated palm oil-free bar soap

40 drops essential oil (optional)*

lavender, sweet orange, grapefruit, and peppermint are my favorites for this recipe 

The Steps

1. In a large bowl, combine the baking soda and washing soda. 2. Grate the bar soap on a standard cheese grater, then add to the baking and washing soda.  3. Stir with a spoon until the soap is fully incorporated into the washing and baking soda. 4. Stir in essential oil(s), and transfer the laundry detergent powder to a glass jar with a lid. Keeping the lid on is essential to prolong the fragrance of the essential oils.

I use 1/4 a cup per large load of laundry, and 1/2 cup if the clothing is heavily soiled. My simple laundry softener compliments this detergent very well.

A bit about the Ingredients

Baking Soda: Baking soda is an effective cleaner and deodorizer, and it's brightening and abrasive qualities make it extra tough on stains, and dirt. 

Washing Soda: Many grocery stores do not carry washing soda, but most hardware stores do. It's also simple to make our own. Washing soda (sodium carbonate), also called soda ash is a common ingredient in laundry detergents due to its alkalinity and ability to brighten and degrease. 

Liquid Soap: The liquid soap I use is concentrated vegetable-based soap that's tough on dirt, grease, and grime, but gentle on the hands and the environment. 

Essential Oils: Essential oils not only have wonderful properties that make them essential for homemade cleaning solutions, but they also smell amazing!