How to make and/or find Earth-friendly laundry soap

Washing machine and laundry

Common laundry detergents are full of toxic chemicals that are harmful to you and the environment. Make your own Earth-friendly laundry soap. Learn what to look for when buying store-bought products. (Photo: PlanetCare via Unsplash)

Detergents and soaps are not the same thing.

Common laundry detergents are often full of synthetic and toxic chemicals, such as phosphates, surfactants and nonylphenol ethoxylates, which can harm aquatic life, ecosystems and humans.

Soap is made from natural substances such as lye or soap nuts.

Here are some effective, eco-friendly, DIY laundry soap recipes that use inexpensive ingredients you may already have at home!

DIY laundry soap recipes

Liquid laundry soap 1

  • 7 L hot water
  • 250 ml (1 cup) baking soda
  • 250 ml (1 cup) liquid castile soap
  • 78 ml (1/3 cup) coarse salt

Dissolve dry ingredients in hot water. Add soap and stir.

Liquid laundry soap 2

  • 7 L water
  • 250 ml (1 cup) soap granules
  • 125 ml (½ cup) baking soda
  • 125 ml (½ cup) washing soda
  • 20 drops essential oil (optional)

Add 1 L of water and soap granules to pot. Heat until diluted. Pour into a pail with 6 L water, baking soda and washing soda. Stir until dissolved. Add essential oil. Soap will gel as it cools.

For hard water, add more washing soda.

Powdered laundry soap

  • 250 ml (1 cup) soap granules
  • 125 ml (½ cup) baking soda
  • 125 ml (½ cup) washing soda
  • 10 drops essential oil (optional)

Combine dry ingredients. Stir in essential oil.

An eco-friendly mattress and pillow


To soften fabrics, pour one cup of white vinegar into rinse cycle (not the wash cycle). Check manual before use. Vinegar can be problematic for rubber dishwashing or washing machine components.

What to look for when purchasing Earth-friendly laundry soap

Although shopping aisles are now awash with “green” laundry products, it’s still difficult to discern what’s truly eco-friendly, what’s strategic marketing and what’s greenwashing. Check out this green cleaners shopping guide.