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Homemade Laundry Detergent: How To Detoxify Clothes, Sheets, & More

How To Survive Prepper News

Homemade Laundry Detergent: How To Detoxify Clothes, Sheets, & More

Toxins; whether visible or invisible, are an unfortunate mainstay in our environment.  Learning how to make homemade laundry detergent can help detoxify clothes, sheets, and more.

Many modern families have become more conscious of chemical induced foods and products, and sought ways to avoid interaction with said products. Purchasing organic foods and products (that may contain less harmful chemicals) can become costly, especially if you are supporting a large family. What you may not realize is how easy and cost effective it can be to gather materials and make your very own household products such as toothpaste and laundry detergent!

Toxic chemicals are used every day to destroy living creatures and organisms such as rodents, insects, and even organic growth. Much like the often colored material’s used in Aerial Application to eliminate unwanted life forms dwelling in crop fields. Even the milk that we consume every day may have been subject to some sort of chemical contamination during the cow’s life span.  Something as simple as our clothing laundry detergents are made with chemicals that are found in paint products.  We simply cannot get rid of toxins, though we can minimize our exposure using homemade laundry detergent.



Homemade Laundry Detergent vs. Store Bought Detergents
homemade laundry detergent vs. store bought

Homemade laundry detergent should most certainly make your preppers list of items. Because, well, if SHTF happens, you’ll want clean clothes.

If you plan on delving into a DIY option for homemade laundry detergent, you may want to educate yourself on the harsh ingredients found in store bought laundry detergent.

Some of the most popular brands of detergent like Tide, Purex, and Snuggle make your clothing smell great and keep them spotless, but also contain chemicals which can cause diseases or allergic reactions.  These conditions could turn into autoimmune diseases, gastrointestinal inflammation, infection or turn into cancer.  Our immune systems are strong, but they aren’t supposed to support toxins that can seep into our systems from products that are supposed to keep ourselves clean.

Everything you put on your skin absorbs over time meaning, these chemicals and additives come with a hefty price. There are alternatives to using such chemicals (hence, homemade laundry detergent), with a bit of motivation and the proper know how, which are all just a few key strokes away!

Toxic Chemicals In Laundry Detergent:

  • 1, 4- Dioxane
  • Fragrance
  • Perfume
  • Surfactants
  • Bleach
  • Diamino
  • Stilbenedisulfonic acid
  • Ethylenediamine tetra acetic acid

One of the most toxic chemicals in most detergents is known as, 1, 4- Dioxane (here’s a study). This chemical is typically used for varnishes and paints! Yes, you heard correctly.  Why on earth would you want to wash your clothing in this toxic crap?

Our EPA considers this a carcinogen.  The exposure can cause a number of severe side effects in your or your child.  Some of them include: headaches, drowsiness, nose and eye irritation, and vertigo. Later on they can be linked to liver, kidney, throat and lung damage, tumors and cancer.

There are always alternatives to purchasing seemingly convenient household products that are less chemically frightening.

Less Toxic store bought detergent brands; also Hypoallergenic Brands:

  • Bio Kleen
  • Mrs. Meyers
  • Charlie’s Soap
  • Babyganics
  • Dropps
  • ECOS
  • Country Save
  • Honest
  • Method
  • Molly Suds
  • Ecover zero
  • Method
  • 7thGeneration

Choosing to DIY: Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

If you feel safety is the first priority when it comes to your family and you haven’t started to go green in various aspects of your life, you should probably start now.

Making homemade laundry detergent is simple and contains fewer harmful chemicals. The only potential dilemma you may face is a buildup that can occur over time in your washer.  So, you may want to look into more off grid type techniques: good ol’ wash board and hand washing.  Most of the time, newer washing machines handle homemade soap mixtures well especially if they were manufactured after the year 2000, as they are higher efficiency models!

Ingredients for homemade laundry detergent:

(Pick 1 bar of soap to grate)

  • Castile bar soaps; eco-friendly/organic/Non-GMO brands also (Dr. Bronner is a great brand)
  • Or a Zote bar
  • Or Fels Naptha Laundry bar
  • Super Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer)
  • Borax (20 Mule Team Kind)
  • Water
  • Non-GMO essential oils for fragrance: lavender, orange, mint, etc.

Choosing to go with a less fragrant soap mixture is an option; but if you prefer a fragrance, including a non-GMO essential oil is key when your goal is to be more eco-friendly. The less chemical ridden the product is, the better it will be for your family’s health and overall safety.

The steps below are simple and won’t take up much of your time.

The amount of soap can last you a few months if you aren’t doing 15-20 loads of laundry a week.  It all depends on how active your lifestyle is and how many people you wash clothes for!

DIY Liquid Laundry Soap Instructions:
1.     Get a bar of soap and grate it like a block of cheese.
2.     Place in a large pan with 2 quarts of water, heat with soap particles until they melt.
3.     (Separate from above) Have a 5 gallon bucket ready and put about 4 gallons of hot water, and the soapy mixture in and stir.
4.     Add in 2-3 cups of Borax granules.
5.     Add and stir in 2-3 cups of baking soda to the 5 gallon bucket.
6.     Add 10-20 drops of essential oil. (Optional)
7.     Make sure everything is stirred well.
8.     Leave set for several hours or overnight.
9.     You can leave in bucket or place in containers.
10.  Use between a ½ to 1 cup per load of wash you do.

DIY Stain Removal

diy stain remover, natural laundry detergent
There are options for stain removal that is less toxic.  You will want to use these tips right away, as these options are less strong compared to chemical based stain lifters that you would normally use before doing the wash in your machine.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Baking Soda
  • Borax soak/spray
  • Initial soap/water and scrub

Why Should You Use Natural Laundry Soap? Benefits.

  • Cheaper
  • Fun Activity/learning process
  • Less harmful to environment
  • Less harmful to your health

The benefits outweigh the risks when you make your own laundry soap. As previously mentioned, too many potentially harmful chemicals are present in regular store bought detergents.  Most of the brands contain fragrances, phenols, sulfates, and petroleum distillates. These are all linked to different kinds of cancer, liver, kidney and lung problems.

Making your own soap doesn’t take long and it can be a fun family activity. You will not only save money, but teach your children (if you’ve got them) a lesson on why chemicals are dangerous to your health and what you can do to help the environment as well.

Potential Homemade Laundry Detergent Con

The only real con is the possibility of buildup residue in your washing machine. Newer machines are more efficient and can handle this better.

Homemade Laundry Detergent And Septic Tanks?

For those people who are away from the city and have septic tanks the consensus is the more eco-friendly brands are safer than brands that have more chemicals in them such as Tide, Snuggle, Xtra, or Purex and so on.  Using a more plant based detergent is best for the septic system if you’re not going to make your own.  Also, always spread out your loads throughout the week.

Worst Laundry Detergents For Septic Systems

When washing your clothes with most store bought detergents, you’re getting way more than your asking for: chemicals.  The laundry detergents that aren’t very safe for your septic system are the ones that have an overload of toxic junk.  The chemicals in these brands cause serious alarm. They are loaded with dyes, brighteners, preservatives, and other synthetic components. These are some of the brands that are filled with crap that you will want to stay away from.

Worst Laundry Detergents For Septic Systems:

  • Ajax
  • Gain
  • Fab Ultra
  • Tide
  • Tide Pods
  • Ivory Ultra
  • Cheerbright
  • Wisk
  • Dynamo

Best Laundry Detergents For Septic Systems

  • Earth Friendly Laundry Products
  • Charlie’s Soap Laundry Detergent
  • Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent
  • Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
  • Equator Laundry Products
  • Country Save Laundry Products
  • Amway SA8
  • Seventh Generation

Just So You Know: Detergent vs. Soap

The soap you see in a store laundry isle is actually what we call, detergent.  Modern washing machines work with detergents, no so much with Castile based soaps alone. Alone, the borax would probably be just fine.

With that being said a small amount of the castile soaps mixed with borax, and a few drops of nice smelling essential oils should work okay.  Most of the newer high efficiency washers do a great job with homemade stuff.  Always be on the lookout for buildup though, it can potentially be problematic with your washer over time.

You may want to take more time with wiping down the inside of the machine the best you can. Yeah, this is an extra duty now, if you want to steer clear harsh chemical made store bought detergents.

Sometimes clothes can get build up as well making them more dingy because of this, so keeping on top of the buildup issue you need to do.  You might have to do a trial and error on which less topic bar soap you use with your other ingredients.

Also note: For those of you who use cloth diapers, using homemade laundry detergent for washing these might not be the best idea.

Magnetic Laundry System: Do They Work?

If you don’t want to make your own laundry soap there is another option.  The next big thing in laundry is using magnets instead of detergent or homemade soap.  The Water Liberty Magnetic Laundry System is the most popular one on the market.

I’m sure you’ve seen the two girls who invented them.

water liberty magnetic laundry system

Essentially, you place two magnets inside the washing machine, with your clothing, turn on the water and your good to go.  These magnets are in place of detergent and have the same response detergent does with water.  The magnets won’t leave your clothes with a clean smell after they are done. You can read my Patented Magnetic Laundry System review for deeper information.


Making your home environment less toxic is always going to be a good thing, especially when it comes to cleaning your clothes.  By changing the way we doing chores adds an extra step or two when you make your own laundry soap, but in the future having less health problems is worth it.

If you’re ready to change the way you shop, start by gathering soap and other simple ingredients to save money and be more health conscious and eco-friendly.  Remember, if you have an older washing machine, build up may become an issue and investing in a newer machine would be a positive thing, not only for you as a homeowner, but for a less harmful laundry adventure!

Author: Meredith Iager

Meredith has 13 years of writing experience online and in newspapers and studied journalism at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Over the years, she has contributed entertainment articles and reviews to various sites including FrederickNewsPost.com and Fanbolt.com. Since 2010, she has focused on AMA and integrative health and wellness content for AngiesList.com, SteadyContent.com, and a variety of private clients. She is an avid supporter of being prepared when SHTF and growing your own food, and is pro federal legalization of marijuana. In addition to writing, she does transcription, researches on health constantly, and is an avid oil and acrylic painter. You can check out her paintings and older articles here: Meredith_A_Iager on HubPages | Follow Meredith on Instagram

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