DIY Borax Free Laundry Detergent

DIY Borax Free Laundry Detergent

Let’s be honest, who really enjoys doing laundry? Not me. It’s like the never-ending job. As soon as you are done there’s more to do. But, it has to be done. I’ve already talked about one of my favorite all natural laundry options: Soap nuts, but today I want to give you another. Homemade Borax-free laundry detergent recipe. It’s simple to make, simple to use, and you don’t need to worry about nasty chemicals.

Why Borax-Free Laundry Detergent?

Borax-Free Laundry Detergent: All natural and easy to make!

As I mentioned in this post, there’s quite a bit of controversy around Borax as a safe all-natural ingredient. I’ve made laundry detergent before using Borax, and it worked great. And while I’m more concerned about the residue that might be left on my dishes from the Borax, I feel pretty okay using it on my laundry. But still, if we can make a good detergent without it than why not? Better safe than sorry, right?

This laundry detergent recipe will help keep your clothes soft without toxic fabric softeners (thanks to the salt and baking soda). It will clean, freshen, and keep your family smiling. And if you need a little whitening boost, be sure to check out my homemade bleach.

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Want more toxic-free recipes? Check this out!

Borax-Free Laundry Detergent from


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About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie


    1. Sharon Hess

      Borax is the best, most natural thing you can use in your laundry. It’s a natural mineral salt that is mined from the desert, a natural bug killer, Phosphate-free, has been well researched for safety, and I make a lot of Borax-based cleaners. The above recipe sounds great too, but remember that most Castile soaps are made from oils such as palm, coconut and olive, and can leave a residue on your hair and laundry.

      1. N

        Borax is sodium bicarbonate that is very destructive to thyroid function and blocks iodine from reaching the thyroid its not the best like you think I would rather use the citric acid

  1. Jazzy

    I add borax to make my clothes bright. Would leaving it out leave your clothes looking dingy? I ‘m thinking of trying this; if I can find citric acid in this one horse town!

    1. Chris Coulter

      Citric acid is easy to find with free shipping options on amazon and I got a 10 pound bag on ebay cheap including shipping. It’s awesome I bought food grade and use it for more than cleaning. It’s great in the dishwasher too.

    2. Angel

      If you happen to have a Walmart nearby, Look in the section of the store where you would find Canning supplies (jars & such). even some “feed stores” have it. Or try a pharmacy.

    1. Tina

      Boil the castile soap in 4 cups of water until dissolved. Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well until dissolved. This is really a concentrate. Mine hardened and I keep it in a glass jar. I scoop out 2 tablespoons into a half gallon glass jug and add the very hot water to it. Once completely dissolved simply shake each time before use. Use the same amount of this as you would any other liquid detergent for your machine.

    2. Ro

      I have a front loader and all these homemade soaps are fine. Front loaders only real problem is with sudsing, this doesn’t suds up…

    3. Kelley P

      you can use powdered laundry detergent in your front loader. you may need to put it in the tub or a dispenser, just check your manual.

  2. Goatess

    Will this work in a high efficiency front loader? Is there any way to make this into a liquid?

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Not sure the best way to make this into a liquid, but I know there are several liquid recipes online if you search for them. As for the HE loader this helped me:

      “Homemade laundry detergent can be made as a liquid or powder. Since neither contain a sudsing agent as an ingredient, both are safe for a high-efficiency washer. For front-loading machines that use much less water, a liquid homemade detergent seems to work more smoothly. Use about two tablespoons of your homemade of detergent. If you are using the automatic dispenser, be sure that your detergent has no clumps and is flowing well. If it is not smooth, mix the detergent with two tablespoons of hot water before adding to the dispenser.

      As with any detergent, clean the washer often to prevent odor and build-up of lint and residue.”

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I really need to do my research on HE machines. My washing machine is so old school! :)

      1. Post author
        Robin Konie

        Okay, maybe this will help: “Homemade laundry detergent can be made as a liquid or powder. Since neither contain a sudsing agent as an ingredient, both are safe for a high-efficiency washer. For front-loading machines that use much less water, a liquid homemade detergent seems to work more smoothly. Use about two tablespoons of your homemade of detergent. If you are using the automatic dispenser, be sure that your detergent has no clumps and is flowing well. If it is not smooth, mix the detergent with two tablespoons of hot water before adding to the dispenser.

        As with any detergent, clean the washer often to prevent odor and build-up of lint and residue.”

    1. Dee

      I made some home made detergent recently with borax. It actually called for washing soda as this recipe did, while doing some research i read that washing soda is caustic and to use baking soda instead. (Actually read this on a blog site where woman posted about washng her cloth diapers). Then i read that you can turn baking soda into washing soda by heating it in the oven.

      So…… I guess there is to much contradicting info, however i chose the baking powder bastard the washing soda anyway;)

  3. Kevlynn

    What’s WRONG with BORAX? I’ve read that some people drink it (a pinch) & even use it in their BATH!

    1. Ann

      Agree. Although the kind used for health must be without added scent. 20 Mule Team brand adds scent. So if I can find the scent-free borax that would be totally acceptable for me.

    2. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Like I said, it’s pretty controversial… and I’ve used borax before without worrying to much about it. If you google “is borax safe” you’ll find all sorts of reasons for and against it. This is simply an option for those who’ve decided against it. :)

        1. Sara Murphy

          Fels-naptha can be put into the microwave till double or triple in size then put into a baggy and crush it up with a rolling pin. Sooo easy!

  4. Donna Simek

    The most common use of citric acid is as a food additive, most often as either a way of flavoring or naturally preserving a product. If you have a soda on hand, take a gander at its list of ingredients. You’ll most likely find it somewhere after carbonated water. It’s used to add an acidic or sour taste to your soda, depending on the flavor. You may also find it in the production of lesser priced wines where the fruit used has little to no acidity of its own. More often than not, there will be no mention of it as an ingredient, but you shouldn’t find it in your higher quality bottles.

    Surprisingly, it can also be used in non-food products such as some laundry detergents. Its addition in the compound can aid in the production of foam and increase the capacity for the product to clean your clothes.

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I get both of mine online (the links in the ingredients will take you to Amazon where I purchase mine.)

  5. Tez

    Why washing soda and baking soda? They’re essentially the same function one with more power than the other?

    Washing soda, Castile soap, salt or citric acid together make a great detergent without redundant ingredients

    1. Kelley P

      I was wondering why both, too. they are different chemically, but I wonder what one provides that the other doesn’t

  6. Railroad436

    For those of you that convert there laundry recipes into liquid, how do you get it from hardening? I used a receipt nearly identical to this and it split up into a big, thick hard chunk on top and liquid on the bottom. I believe my recipe was close except for I used vinegar and not sea salt.

  7. Kari

    Can you tell me approximately how many loads this recipe makes? i have a front loader so I imagine I’d be using one scoop each time. Thanks!

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      That’s a great question, and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never measured it out. This will last me a couple of months doing laundry for a family of 2 adult and 1 child.

  8. Ruth

    Thank you SO much for including links to your ingredients and pictures! Love this! SO helpful!

  9. selene

    can you add essential oils for scent? would that make only a couple of scented rocks?

    1. Penny

      I personally didn’t like adding essential oils to mine. I add a small bottle of purex crystals to my mixture. I double the batch thought when adding the whole bottle. I family isn’t allergic to scent like the crystals so it works out:)

    2. Nadine

      I put essential oil in my homemade laundry soap (I do make the borax kind though) and do not need a dessicant. It depend on how humid of an area you live in. But I also add it as I am “grating” my soap. (I use a small food processor I bought specifically for making laundry detergent.)

  10. Jaime

    I made this and so far so good! I have noticed that the soap doesn’t dissolve right away (maybe a smaller grater next time) and mine does clump and get hard. But I’m still using it and next batch I will change it up! Thank you!

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Honestly, I haven’t heard of that being the case (as most recipes on line use both)… but I’m not a chemist. I’ll have to look into it!

  11. brenda

    I was going to ask if the citric acid caused clumping, but I read a comment that it is a problem. So if you leave it in a bowl and stir it frequently for about 2-3 days. You can stick it in the jar and not have any problem. I use citric acid in my dish detergent and this is the way I solved the problem with clumping.

  12. Tamara

    I have all the ingredients, but my “Real Salt” is not the course kind. It is “fine”. Do you think that will matter?

  13. Pingback: DIY Borax free Laundry Detergent | Healthy Posts

  14. Jennifer

    Is the 1-2 tbsp. for a regular load size in a top load washing machine then? I’m just used to using A LOT more with regular detergent that I’m worried only 2 tbs. isn’t enough. Also, do you want to keep the salt coarse or can it be ground as well in a processor with the soap? Thanks!

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Yeah, I use about 2 Tbs. for my top load machine. If it’s a really large batch I’ll do three. You’ll find that most commercial soaps tell you to use a lot more than you need to (which makes sense as you’ll go through it faster and have to buy more.) You should be able to just add the salt to the rest if you are using a processor.

  15. anne

    Hi Robin! I saw that your previous detergent recipe did not include the soap. I haven’t gotten any yet and am wondering if I can use prep it all and use it as listed above with the exception of no castille soap (until I get it). Would that work? Thanks!!! LOVE your site! I’m making this and your deo. today!! : )


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  17. Cristine Hafner

    If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own laundry soap, try the Norwex Ultra Power Plus. There is also a Laundry Pre-Wash that is free of allergens, dyes, and petroleum solvents. I also use their dryer balls which have eliminated the use of dryer sheets.

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Not sure about the cost, but it has been cheaper than buying “natural ” detergents. A batch will usually last as a couple of weeks… and we seem to do a lot of laundry with a toddler and a baby in the home. I need to get better about tracking these numbers for you. Sorry!

  18. Shelly

    I don’t know exactly what the controversy is over Borax, except maybe a particular corporate brand. Which reminds me of a similar controversy based on misunderstanding with aluminum free baking soda versus the actual aluminum free baking powder.

    This recipe has one problem. The citric acid in place of the borax as a brightner. You might as well put vinegar with the baking soda and washing soda too because that is how citric acid reacts with both sodas only over a slower period and then turns rock hard.

    I have tried numerous ways in many different formulas to get the benefits of the citric acid to work with the baking soda and, or the wash soda, but to no avail. They react together like vinegar and soda.

  19. Stephanie Tyutyunnik

    What is the cost of this to make? Or pur load? I use Arm n Hammer liquid that I coupon for cheap.. I tried making my own and used the borax recipe.. and it made my eczema worse..


  20. Pingback: DIY Borax Free Laundry Detergent | All Natural Home and Beauty

  21. Kitty Sharkey

    I have a Laundry-to-Landscape grey water system. Both borax and salt are big no-no’s. Soap nuts, however, are a GREAT option. I was skeptical at first. But once I tried them and saw all the suds produced, my doubts quickly faded.

    Added bonus – I have sensitive skin and therefore have problems with regular detergents. I tried homemade laundry soap with borax and had issues as well. But not with the soap nuts. Zero issues, clean clothes, and the grey water is just fine for my flowers and fruit trees. I use rain water in the veggie garden. Well, except not this year. I’m in California and I’m beginning to think that rain is a distant memory.

  22. Pingback: How To Make Borax Free Laundry Detergent | Health & Natural Living

  23. Ann

    Okay, I admit I love all the ingredients for the detergent and it will definitely cost me less than the stuff I am currently using. And I am never enough of it. I have a family and my 6 year old daughter just pours food and juices on herself. I know it is odd to hear that for a six year old but she can be clean and tidy for about 10 minutes tops and only if I keep her away from ‘danger agents’. She plasters herself by magic. So, question – does this thing clean the smudges, stains, grease… and other nice things?

  24. Yabbi Yum

    I would love to see the ‘controversy’ about Borax the OP mentions. I can’t find it, unless one thinks ‘borax’ and ‘boric’ are the same, they are not. Borax is an excellent natural laundry and dishwasher additive.

  25. Kristin

    HELP! I didn’t notice the comment on adding something else to the mixture to prevent clumping. I live in southern Louisiana and now my detergent is almost rock hard. What do I do?!?!

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