A girl's quest to live on the greener side.

DIY Zero Waste Laundry Detergent

zero waste laundry detergent

By: Ariana Palmieri
Most laundry detergents come in plastic containers that are hardly zero waste friendly. Plus, have you read the ingredients in conventional laundry detergents? They're pretty toxic and unnatural if you ask me. That's why I decided to create my own zero waste laundry detergent that I could fit into a 4 oz. glass jar. No more packaging waste, and no more unnecessary chemicals. I particularly love using this detergent on my zero waste essentials, such as cloth napkins, face towels and reusable pads. I just wash them all in the sink using this stuff. That said, it's definitely strong enough to hold its own in a laundry machine. This recipe was inspired by The Simply Co's laundry detergent, which is amazing, but can get a little pricey with each new purchase.

This zero waste laundry detergent is ridiculously easy to make: It only requires 3 ingredients and it's borax-free. It's also powdered,  not liquid, which is just my personal preference. One of the biggest perks to making it is that it saves me money in the long run. I don't have to constantly buy someone else's detergent anymore, which is great. I just buy the ingredients for it in bulk so I can make more whenever I run low. Here's how I do it.


Zero Waste Laundry Detergent

zero waste laundry deteregent
The 3 ingredients needed to make this DIY: Baking soda, washing soda and castile bar soap.
As you can see, I'm running low on detergent, so I'll have to make more soon!

This laundry detergent is all-natural, borax-free, toxin-free and zero waste. You only need 3 ingredients to make it. What could be better? Also, just for reference, I used a 4 oz. glass jar to house this recipe, so the measurements are meant to accommodate that jar. If you'd like to make a bigger batch, just double the ingredients until you get the perfect amount to fill your container.

  • 2/3 cup of baking soda
  • 1/3 cup of washing soda
  • 1/3 cup of grated castile bar soap (scented or unscented - it's up to you)

  1. Begin by making sure your castile bar soap is grated. I did this just by using a cheese grater over a measuring cup (to make sure I got the exact measurements I needed). Stop grating when the gratings reach 1/3 cup on your measuring cup. Next, add it to a bowl. 
  2. Add the washing soda and the baking soda to the bowl and mix everything together. If you have a blender, you can blend the mixture so that it becomes very fine. If not, simply grind any chunks you might see using the back of your spoon.
  3. When you feel the mixture is ready (either after blending, or mixing with a spoon), pour it into your container. I use a glass jar - specifically a 4 oz. one. Congrats: You just made zero waste laundry detergent!

To use:
  • For a small load, 1 tablespoon should cover it.
  • For a big load, 2 tablespoons should do the trick.
  • If you follow my recipe exactly and place your zero waste detergent in a 4 oz. jar, it should be good for about 8 loads. The best part is, if you buy your ingredients in bulk, you'll still have a lot of ingredients left over to make more!
  • I usually just use this in the sink for cleaning my zero waste items. If that's how you intend on using it too, here's a pro tip for you: Start off filling the sink with a little warm water, add a sprinkling of this zero waste laundry detergent, then fill up the rest of the sink with cold water. Make sure you mix the detergent into the water using your hand. I usually just let items I'm washing sit in the soapy water for 10 minutes or so, depending on how dirty they are. Sometimes I give them a good squeeze too. I wash cloth napkins, cloth face towels and my reusable pads with this detergent and it works like a charm.

What's your favorite zero waste laundry detergent?


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  2. Great post, and this is a genuine question... Do you fill 3 of those 4oz jars? Because that's a little over 10oz (volume) of ingredients in your recipe. You stated you only make enough to fill your jar. ��

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