I use homemade laundry detergent without borax. Why did I decide to do that? Like many things, it happened after I became a mom.
For years, I used Tide liquid laundry detergent. It’s widely available. It did a pretty good job keeping my clothes clean. I bought it, used it, and didn’t think much about it. This changed when my little bug arrived. Like many new moms, I began to question the way I did things. I wondered if I was doing the best I could for her.
One day, while doing grocery shopping, I realized that Tide offered Tide Free & Gentle. I hadn’t noticed this “gentler” detergent in my local supermarket before. I was confused. Did this mean that regular Tide had questionable ingredients? Was regular Tide not gentle? Oh, no! I had been using it to wash my newborn’s clothes. I had a mini freak out, and felt guilty for not having looked into the laundry detergent before using it to wash my little one’s clothes. I needed to figure this out. Should I continue to use Tide? Use Tide’s “gentler” detergent? Or should I use something else entirely.
According to several articles from 2012, Tide products, including Tide Free & Gentle and Tide Original Scent, had small amounts of 1,4 dioxane. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorizes 1,4 dioxane as a “probable human carcinogen.” The California Environmental Protection Agency says 1,4 dioxane “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” This means both federal and state agencies think that 1,4 dioxane might cause cancer. Ugh! Also alarming, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) gave Tide Free & Gentle an “F” based on health and environmental concerns over its use. Tide Original Scent also got an “F” because it has questionable ingredients, like borax (aka sodium borate). Ugh! Ugh! Tide is out.
Tide is not the only brand of laundry detergent that might pose a health risk. EWG looked at over 800 laundry detergents on the market. EWG gave nearly 70 percent of them a score of “D” or “F” based on health and environmental concerns. It seems that there is limited regulation on what ingredients a company can use in its cleaning products. This article claims that companies can “use almost any ingredient they want to, including known carcinogens and substances that can harm fetal and infant development.” Also scary is that the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) says between January and August 2016, 7,887 young children were reported to be exposed to laundry detergent pods. Dr. Gary Smith, the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said:
These children have come in [to the hospital] in a coma, they’ve stopped breathing. We’ve even had two deaths in the last two years due to exposure to laundry detergent packets.
Ugh! Store-bought laundry detergents are out. I then looked into making homemade laundry detergent. Borax is used in many DIY laundry detergent recipes. It’s cheap and effective. But I read up on borax and its health effects, and decided that it’s not for my family. (Read more about why I’m anti-borax.) After some trial and error, and quite a few tweaks of multiple DIY laundry detergent recipes, I now use the following recipe to make a homemade laundry detergent without borax. I’ve been happy with its cleaning ability. Check out the before and after pictures at the end of the post!
Homemade Laundry Detergent without Borax
Prep Time: about 20 minutes
Yields: about 34 oz, enough for about 15 loads of clothes
Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent without Borax
includes affiliate links
- All Natural Soap Bars – 3-4 bars (about 16 oz). I use ends and scraps of my homemade soap bars. It’s a great way to use soap that would otherwise be thrown away. You can also use Fragrance Free Kirk’s Coco Castile Soap.
- Washing Soda – 8 oz. I use Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. This is an all natural laundry booster.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – I get hydrogen peroxide from my local drug store, often for less than a dollar.
- (optional) Essential Oil – 1-2 teaspoons, depending on your preference. Add essential oil if you want your clothes lightly scented. I use Now Foods Lavender Essential Oil. Now Foods Lemon Essential Oil works too.
- A Glass Jar – I use a thoroughly cleaned pickle jar. You can also use a wide mouth glass jar.
- A Grater – I got my grater at IKEA. It’s similar to a Norpro Stainless Steel Grater.
- A Scoop – a scoop like these will work.
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent without Borax, 4 Steps
(1) Grate your soap bars. Be careful when the soap gets small. The grater is super sharp and can do some damage to your fingers.
(2) Place the grated soap in a glass jar.
(3) Add Washing Soda to the glass jar. Close the lid of the glass jar. Shake the grated soap and washing soda.
(4) (optional) Add lavender essential oil or lemon essential oil. Shake well. Your homemade laundry detergent without borax is ready for use.
How to Use Homemade Laundry Detergent without Borax
Spot Treatment. Scoop some homemade laundry detergent on the stain. Add hydrogen peroxide to the spot, on top of the homemade laundry detergent. Place laundry in a washing machine.
Use in a Washing Machine. Place laundry in a washing machine. Add about 1/2 cup of homemade laundry detergent without borax. Add about 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide. Turn on the washing machine.
That’s it! This is how you make your very own homemade laundry detergent without borax, and how to use it. Your homemade laundry detergent will not have any of the chemicals often found in store-bought laundry detergents, which might be harmful to you and your loved ones. You must wonder, how well does the homemade laundry detergent without borax work? See the before and after pictures below. I used the homemade laundry detergent for spot treatment and as a regular laundry detergent on my little bug’s white t-shirt. The homemade laundry detergent got the fresh grass stain out completely. It also significantly lightened an old grease stain that’s been on the t-shirt for as long as I can remember.
So, will you be making your own homemade laundry detergent without borax? I’d love to know how well it cleans your clothes. Feel free to share your before and after pictures. As always, if you like this homemade laundry detergent without borax recipe, please remember to pin and share it!