this is a blog about memory keeping, funny stories & baked goods i make, and do my best not to eat. proper capitalization is always optional.


diy: laundry detergent (borax free)

about three months ago i came across a few pins on pinterest for do-it-yourself laundry detergent.
i set my mind that once our current detergent ran out, i was going to give it a go.
but i also promised myself i'd really give it a good run before telling anyone about it.
so about the time i was ready to blog about it, i ran out of dishwasher detergent..
and figured i'd try out the do-it-yourself for that as well.

well, let me tell you, i've learned just a little more than i ever planned to about some of these
do-it-yourself cleaning recipes!

the first diy laundry detergent called for called for borax.
it seemed to be popping up everywhere, and everyone was claiming it to be wonderful...
so i gave it a go.

1 cup of borax.
1 cup of arm & hammer super WASHING soda.
1 bar of fels naptha (found in the laundry section) grated.

combine it all & use one tablespoon per load.
it lasted a good month & a half.
at about 5-7 loads a week, i figure i got about 35-40 loads out of the mix.
let me just tell you, this stuff works GREAT and is CHEAP.
a box of borax is less than $5, as is the super washing soda.
the bar of fels naptha is 97c at walmart.
with only using a cup of each of the powders, you could get SEVERAL batches out of these boxes.
FOR $10.

so here's where the twist comes in. (cause there is ALWAYS a twist right?!)
i mentioned i decided to give a diy dishwasher mix a go.
ya. SO not successful.
it also had a mixture of borax & baking soda...
and when i googled to figure out where i'd gone wrong..
i came across all sorts of information i should have been smarter about seeking out before i started using borax!!

turns out borax, and fels naptha, while cheap.. aren't exactly green.
which was what i naively thought i was being.
not. the. case.
the few websites i came across warned that borax could cause intestinal problems if ingested over time, and that it could also cause skin irritations, and developmental effects specifically in the testes!!!!
and this stuff doesn't have to be ingested, the dust can be inhaled to cause certain ailments.

just googling it & sorting through half a dozen pages of information made me sure of two things:
1. i was NOT using it in my dishwasher
& 2. i was NOT using it on my laundry.

so, i found another diy laundry detergent mix.
and i'm happy to report it works just as well as the first did.. if not better.
the clothes, in my opinion, are much softer.

1 cup arm & hammer super washing powder
1/2 cup baking soda
1 bar dr. bonner castile soap grated (your choice of fragrance, i used the orange citrus)

again, so cheap.
the dr. bonner's soap is a little more inconvenient to find locally, at least in my area.
it's also $4.99 vs. the 97c for fels naptha (which by the way has a long list of chemicals & ickies too!)
but STILL. you are looking at less than $7 for 35-40 loads!!!!
and it's a truely GREEN diy mix.

the ONLY downside i could see is that there is no 'smell' to your laundry.
the only smell is just warm clean linen.
no lavender, or tide smells... although there is a very very faint citrus-y smell when i pull the clothes out of the wash.

i haven't worked on finding another diy dishwasher detergent yet, and am currently using the very-not-cheap seventh generation.
but i feel good about using it, and since i'm saving so much on laundry detergent, i don't mind so much until i find a good, green mix that doesn't leave an icky residue all over everything!

and we are just one step closer to cleaning the chemicals we can out of our home!

happy monday!

linking to:
the blackberry vine
ladybug blessings


  1. I cannot find dr bonners in my area, is there any other soap that you would recommend as an alternitive?

  2. hello! :) you can purchase dr. bronners online through their website : i don't feel comfortable giving you advice on other soaps, as i don't have knowledge of them. dr. bronner's is a pure-castile soap, so if you can find another soap that is also pure-castile soap, i'd say that's a good start! :)

  3. Thanks so much for this 'recipe'. I did a little more searching and was able to find 'Kirk's Castile Soap', which after reading the label closely, seems to be a pure castile [it said pure, and the ingredient list could be read by a 4 year old it was so simple]. Anyway i decided to try it out, so i whipped up a batch the afternoon and have washed several loads of my husbands stinky work clothes [we works in an oil refinary, so they STINK] and it seems to be getting the the job done better than our store bought detergent!! Also, the soap i purchased was only $2.15 a bar, manking it even more budget friendly. :)

  4. Do you melt the castile soap or just leave it in there dry?

  5. I wouldn't use borax in cleaning my laundry. The boric acid uses range from killing ants to cleaning the house. If something kills ansts, it might not be good for other life forms. Also, it has been linked with reproductive problems as well.

  6. Hi Kristy. One more question. Is it still 1 tbsp per load for the non borax recipe? Thanks!

  7. Perfect. And glad to hear a couple reports that it actually works! Another great reason not to use borax: apparently at high temperatures, it can break down into hydrogen peroxide and wreck your clothes! Dr. Bronner's is plentiful in my area. Whipping up a batch tomorrow!

  8. Does anyone have experience using this recipe in High Efficiency (HE) washers? Is there anything I need to be aware of or modify? Also, do you have any recipes for fabric softener alternatives? Thanks.

  9. Borax is only a carcinogen if you eat it. It is a natural substances that is mined out of the ground, and has been used for laundry purposes for decades. Don't eat it and you shouldn't have any problems.

  10. How much do you use of the non-borax recipe? 1 Tablespoon?


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