DIY Dr. Bronner’s Laundry Detergent

I love making Dr. Bronner’s Laundry Detergent.

It all started in 2009 when I was pregnant with Gabriel and I was in hyper-nesting mode.  By golly, when I had that baby I was NOT going to run out of laundry detergent.  And every time I used up one of my 10-15 bottles of laundry detergent I would almost panic and look for deals on the internet so I could get more.

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Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soaps

Everything changed when I watched a Duggar Episode, jaw to the floor, as they explained how they make their laundry detergent at home in industrial sized tubs (because, of course, they do a crap ton of laundry).  I thought that was pretty cool, however, I never attempted it because I wasn’t into having a slop bucket of laundry detergent hanging around my house.  The slop factor turned me off.  I have to keep up appearances, people!

Almost a year after Gabriel was born I was at a friend’s home and a mutual friend mentioned how she made her laundry detergent, but instead of using that stinky Felsnapthacrap soap that smells so strong, she uses Dr. Bronner’s delicious smelling castile soaps (Thanks, Lauren for the great idea!).  I REALLY love this laundry detergent.  It works well and smells really good.  The Dr. Bronner’s soap does cost a little bit more, but the laundry detergent is still significantly cheaper than the typical store bought brand.  Here’s how I make my laundry detergent.

 DIY Dr. Bronner’s Laundry Detergent

1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax, Natural Laundry Booster
1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 bar of your favorite Dr. Bronner’s Castile Magic Soap, finely shredded

To finely shred bar soap I use a zester like the one below.

For every load of laundry I use around 2 TBS of laundry detergent.  The coffee tablespoon scoop, like the one below, would do the trick!

tablespoon scoop
*I shred the soap using the fine side of a cheese grater, or a zester like the one below.

*Yes, the finished product looks a bit like butter and sugar mixed together.
*I store my soap in a glass container that has a lid.
*When I scoop out laundry detergent I try to make sure I get a good mixture of the white powder and the shredded soap.
*This soap isn’t going to sud.  Sudsing doesn’t get your clothes clean, it’s the ingredients that do the work.  Trust me!
*I’ve never used this soap to wash cloth diapers, so I cannot guarantee it won’t make your diapers repel.

Final Product

The Finished Product



  1. 1

    Jenny says

    Sounds awesome! Eve seems to be allergic to washing soda though. Just figured that out this week. Do you know if there is a good substitute?

  2. 4

    Mireille says

    How does your homemade soap work on your diapers? I’ve been using Rocking Green since my last trimester because I was afraid of there being a problem using my homemade stuff.

    • 5


      I’ve never used this soap on diapers and I’m too afraid to try. I’ve had repelling issues with all soaps that I’ve tried, except the Thirsties Super Wash soap that I use. Maybe I’ll try it once…

  3. 6

    Erinn says

    We’ve been using this recipe (but with Fels Naptha instead of Dr. Bronner’s) for a few years, now. I’ve got a food processor in the laundry room that’s sole task is laundry soap making. Never sat down and figured it out, but I know we’re saving money – the cost of a box of borax, a box of washing soda and six bars of Fels Naptha spent twice a year has gotta be cheaper than a box of commercial detergent every month.

    • 7


      Erinn, try using Dr. Bronner’s one time and let me know what you think! If I had a food processor I would totally mix it up in that think. I bet the consistency is a lot better than mine!

      • 8

        Erinn says

        I kept meaning to come back to this post, but forgetting… Until today! 😀

        We had a few bars of Fels Naptha left, so to use up the remaining soap, I decided to make a half-and-half batch (a double batch of the other ingredients with two bars or soap) using one bar of FN and one of Dr. Bronner’s. Even just half Dr. Bronner’s makes such a difference. The smell is nicer, and while the clothes don’t seem any cleaner (they were getting just as clean with only FN in the mix), I think they feel softer when they come out of the dryer (we don’t use dryer sheets of fabric softener).

        Next batch is going to have no Fels Naptha. (-:

  4. 10

    Amy Dearie says

    So where do you purchase Dr. Bronners soaps? I used the Fels soap because all the bar soaps at Walmart seemed to be filled with things i assumed were not good for clothes {only skin, i.e. moisturizers or deodorants}. But the scent is *not* my fave, I will definitely agree! Next time I hope to try one of these scents!

    • 11


      Amy, I’d try Chamberlin’s Natural Food Store in Lakeland. Publix might have it too. Actually, I’m pretty sure Publix might have it because they sell Dr. Bronner’s other soap products (atleast at my Publix).

    • 13

      Kareena says

      I recently made dishwasher detergent and used 20 ounces of borax, 20 ounces of baking soda, and 9 ounces of kosher salt. We have hard water, too, and a [blush] very dirty dishwasher, judging by the scale problem. I also fill the reservoir with white vinegar.Prior to running out of dishwasher powder and making my own batch, I had been using the Whole Foods dishwasher powder, which is pretty inexpensive and seems to be comprised of just these ingredients, plus some scent and a couple of other water softeners/conditioners.

      • 14

        Sharon says

        Kareena, I am going to try that. I have been looking for a substitute for dishwashing detergent! Thank you for sharing!

  5. 15

    Les says

    I’m interested to try the laundry detergent at home. Did you know Dr. Bronner’s has a baby-mild soap that is available in liquid, bar form, and a pump-top bottle? Might be especially nice to use the baby-mild scent for the laundry detergent recipe, as it is unscented.

  6. 19

    Kate says

    I use this strictly with cold water (oil is too expensive) and it works wonderfully! The felsnapa smell makes me sick, so we use dr. Bronners it ivory (ivory stinks too)! Now that I’m 6 months pregnant I’m making a batch with the baby soap:) I do however make this in liquid form since we use cold water, makes it a bit easier!

  7. 22


    Emanuel H. Bronner was the maker of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, a concentrated liquid notable for the vast amount of lather produced from a few drops and the vast amount of tiny text on its packaging. Bronner, whose parents were killed in the Holocaust, promoted a belief in the goodness and unity of humanity. All Dr. Bronner’s classic liquid & bar soaps are not only certified under the USDA National Organic Program, but also certified Fair Trade! In addition, they offer a range of high-quality organic and fair trade personal care products, from lotions to shaving gels – all certified under the same USDA program that certifies organic foods.

  8. 24


    I was reading that the mule Borax stuff is toxic. It received a rating of “F” at I just use liquide castle soap, baking soda and water. It works great!

  9. 25

    SiaraAnne says

    I know this is a little late, but if you’re having trouble finding Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, it’s sold at Target in the cosmetics section, next to the other organic hygiene products.

  10. 26

    Claudia says

    If you’re put off by the smell of your soap, try adding essential oil of eucalyptus, lavender or teatree to the powder or directly to the wash.

  11. 27

    Jake says

    All over the internet are recipes for powdered or flaked laundry soap, but with varied recommendations for the amount to use. I recently bought a commercial product, Dri-Pak Pure Soap Flakes. (A lot of thought went into that name.) The manufacturer recommends 1/2 cup per load in top loaders and 2 tablespoons in front loaders. One-half cup is a far cry from the 1 tablespoon recommended on this page, which doesn’t specify top- or front-loader though it makes a big difference, and I have no way of figuring out which amount is preferable. One-half cut might do a better job, but it also might leave more residue. I also don’t know why it is preferable to use a grated soap bar instead of liquid castile soap. Such is the black art of using soap instead of detergent.

    I wouldn’t put much stock in EWF’s evaluation of borax. To call EWF extremist would be a huge understatement. Everything is “toxic,” including the water in the washer. First rule of toxicology: the dose makes the poison. Some people, such as those with certain allergies or asthma, might want to avoid borax, but the same could be said of pine furniture (which gives me fits), cats, cow’s milk, and wool. Using EWF’s criteria, we could declare the entire Earth and it contents to be “toxic,” to somebody or other.

  12. 30

    Nicolas Martin says

    I found a product at a health food store this week, Earth Mama Laundry Detergent. Oddly it is not a detergent at all, it contains castile soap, sodium carbonate, sodium borate, and essential oils (says the label). I choice lemon and the other was lavender. It is a bag of powder which is claimed to provide 72 loads, and require 1-2 tablespoons per load. The listed web address is

  13. 32

    m wood says

    The only thing that is bad in this soap is the Borax. Check out this web site for yourself… Hope this may help any off you trying to go more natural.

  14. 33

    laura says

    does anyone know can you leave out the borax and do Earth Friendly Products OXO Brite Non-chlorine Bleach instead so the recipe would read:
    1c. oxo brite
    1c. washing soda
    1 bar of dr. bronner’s


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