2 Ingredient DIY Laundry Detergent
We do a lot of laundry in my house. With three active sons and a husband who works a very serious manual job, my laundry basket is always full.
The weird thing about me is that I like to do laundry. It’s true! I love doing laundry. And one of the keys to my love of laundry is how inexpensive I can make it.
I’ve tried all different kinds and brands of detergent over the years to see which worked best on my clothes, and nothing seemed to work well and fit in the budget. And no matter what detergent we got, we’d always need to get a separate one for the children and one for my husband’s and my clothes.
It felt like we’d be spending a small fortune on laundry detergent forever. Until the glorious invention that is Pinterest showed me that I could make my own detergent.
After a lot of skepticism, I decided to try making my own laundry detergent.
I’ve never been a powder detergent kind of person, I decided to try out making the liquid detergent. I still wish I had taken a picture of the giant mess that I made. Thick, gooey bubbles and soap all over my kitchen and my pots and pans. It was a disaster.
Once the mess was cleaned up, my husband gently (trying to hold back laughing hysterically at me) told me to try out the powdered detergent if I wanted to make my own. Immediately, I agreed with him, as I scrapped dried soap bubbles off of every surface in my kitchen.
I tried out my recipe using this laundry soap and Borax along with baking soda, OxiClean, and washing soda and I instantly loved it. Each time I use it, I only needed to use 1 tbs./ load of laundry and it got all of the clothes so clean. I loved it!
It wasn’t until our second son came along and I realized that Borax and sensitive skin do not go well together. Then we learned that using this soap, or any soap, in the laundry can lead to soap scum build up which winds up making your clothes almost unwearable over time (see more on that down below).
After many trials and errors, I came up with my favorite 2 ingredient DIY laundry detergent:
- 1 part washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda)
- 1 part OxiClean
- Optional: tea tree, lavender, thieves essential oil
For each large load of laundry, use 1 tbs. along with 3 drops of tea tree oil for additional fragrance and the anti-bacterial properties of the tea tree oil.
This is HE-safe DIY laundry detergent because it has little to no suds. If you check on the wash when it’s running, you won’t see any bubbles in the churning wash. Don’t worry, though, it’s working! It also works in hot and cold wash cycles.
You’ll never need to worry about skin sensitivity with this detergent. We use the same detergent for my husband’s work clothes and my newborn’s onesies.
Does it actually work?
Shockingly, yes! I was more than a little skeptical about it at first. I mean, this is actually 2 ingredient DIY laundry detergent! Can it actually be any good?
My kids roll around in the dirt, they wear the same shirt days in a row (because dirt means nothing if it’s on the favorite shirt), they slide in the grass, and they constantly drop food on themselves. And their clothes go into the wash filthy and come out perfectly clean.
My husband works in a machine shop that leaves him covered with dirt and dust. His clothes always come out of the washer clean and ready fro the next day.
Warning about other DIY laundry detergent:
You may also have seen the stories floating around about how “I’m never using homemade detergent again and neither should you.” In these stories, some people put their clothes that were washed with homemade detergent in a stripping solution (it gets rid of soap scum and build up), and the water looked disgusting.
That’s why I love my detergent. It doesn’t have that one ingredient that causes that nasty build up, and is so common in homemade laundry detergents: soap. I’ve even heard of people encouraging you to shred bars of Ivory soap to use in your detergent! Do not, I repeat, do NOT put skin soap in your detergent!
This soap, even the non-body kind, really does build up in clothes and basically, makes them waterproof or water resistant. What’s even worse, that soap scum collects dirt and other nastiness from being worn and now you can’t even get your clothes clean looking or smelling. Ever wonder why your towels stop being fluffy or absorbent? It’s soap build up.
So here’s my rebuttal to those anti-homemade-detergent-ers: I’d be willing to bet that clothes washed using big brand name detergents would leave the water looking gray and gross if you put them in the same solution. It isn’t just the detergents being made at home. It’s soap scum buildup over time. Of course, adding soap to your homemade detergent when it shouldn’t be there will speed up the process of the buildup and grossness, but the result would be the same with other detergents.