The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Green Life

make your own laundry detergent!

Like cooking your own food, making your own household products is the best way to ensure that all ingredients are as eco-friendly as possible. There are a lot of household products that we can make ourselves, saving trees and money in the process. Today, I want to share a recipe for laundry detergent that I found on The Simple Dollar. It takes just four ingredients, and four tools that you likely have already check it out


  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax* (optional – 20 Mule Team is one brand)
  • 1 bar soap (whatever eco-friendly soap you choose is fine!)
  • 3 gallons water
  • A container to store it in (a five-gallon bucket with a lid will do – try to find one that’s not made of plastic though!)
  • A large wooden spoon for stiiring
  • Put to boil soapy water
  • Grater or other tool to cut up the soap


  1. Pour four cups of water into the pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. While it’s heating up, cut or shave the soap into pieces with your grater
  3. When the water is boiling, throw in the soap a bit at a time, stirring until dissolved
  4. Lower heat until water is simmering
  5. Stir the soapy water with a spoon until all of the soap is dissolved
  6. Eventually the water will take on the color of the soap you added, but a little bit paler.
  7. You should end up with some very warm, soapy water
  8. Next, get out your large bucket and add three gallons of warm tap water to it.
  9. To this bucket, add a cup of the washing soda
  10. Add the soap solution you made, and stir.
  11. Stir in half a cup of borax if you’ve chosen to use it
  12. Put a lid on the bucket and let the mixture sit for 24 hours.

When you take off the lid, you’ll find a number of things depending on the type of soap and water you used. It could be firm or watery just stir it up a bit and it’s ready to be used. Use one cup of detergent per load of laundry. This DIY laundry detergent has no expiration date and lasts for 52 loads. I haven’t tried this yet but I need to!

That’s it- all for around $10! What other household product recipes would you like to see?

*borax tends to get clothes feeling extra clean and fresh smelling you can experiment and see which recipe you like better, borax or no borax.


Have you tried to make any other household cleaners? Tell me how in the comments!




  • Christy

    I’ve tried this recipe & it works WONDERFULLY!!! I’ve never added soap before but I would like to give it a try. The recipe gets your clothes clean & bright! I also add a cup of white distilled vinegar to my load to serve as a fabric softener & it eliminates static cling too!!

  • Angela Fulton Weaver

    I’ve been using this for years, but no way it’s $10 for three gallons! It’s actually closer to $2 considering you get many batches out of the box of soda and borax. I’ve used Fells Naptha, Ivory Soap and Zote grated up, each about a dollar. Depends on what I have onhand. I also mix up all my ingredients on the stove to make sure it’s all dissolved, then dilute and stir in the extra water.

  • Lola Carter

    It IS closer to $2 a batch, once you have the borax and soda. The bars of soap are the most expensive part, but, believe it or not, can usually be found at the local dollar tree. I’ve used this for 3 years. When I make it, I add about 20 drops of my favorite essential oil, lavender. Try it with your favorite.

  • PJ Halliday

    Thanks for the post Alicia! Just made this, it is in the basement..brewing! I had a leak in my first bucket so dumped it into a second one. The bit that leaked out was jelly like…something must be working. I used goat milk soap. Also in the directions, it first says 1C borax but later in the steps it says 1/2C. I used 1C.