Safe Alternative to Toxic Laundry Detergent


Yesterday I showed you how to replace toxic dryer sheets and today I’ll show you a safe alternative to expensive toxic laundry detergent.  This DIY laundry detergent recipe is roughly $2.88 vs. $20 for tide (for 2 gallons or 96 loads).

A few years ago one of my college roommates developed a severe reaction to laundry detergent.  She was covered in hives for a week and couldn’t figure out why.  Turns out over fall break her mom washed all her clothes and sheets in a new Victoria Secret laundry detergent.  While most people don’t develop this intense of a reaction you’re still absorbing all the chemicals directly through your largest organ, your skin and lungs.  And since there are no laws for manufacturers to disclose which chemicals or byproducts they use here’s a list of the worst offenders…

  1. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
  2. 1,4-dioxane
  3. NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate)
  4. Phosphates

Now if you want to learn more about the many other names used for these chemicals, by products, and what diseases they’ve been shown to cause you can read more from Dr. Mercola’s article “Are you slowly killing your family.”  I’ll sum it up for you in one word: cancer.  Big surprise.

Something that did really shock me is this article from that is a MUST read.  I just found her site, she has a lot of great recipes, and has healed her gut too. We both believe all disease starts in the gut.  Anyway I knew baby cribs and sleeping bags had flame retardants, but I did not realize that all of our clothes do as well!  So unless you purchase these items organic you’re wearing, breathing, and soaking it right in…

  • Cotton: It is the most heavily sprayed crop with carcinogenic pesticides, mostly genetically modified, and then flame-retardants are added. Grown in old rice fields doused with arsenic.
  • Nylon or acetate: Treated with PBDEs….By law these chemicals must remain after 50 washes and are absorbed through the skin.
  • Fleece: Very toxic with flame-retardants, you do not want to sleep in it!
  • Leather: Contains the heavy metal chrome.
  • Polyester: Flame-retardants are built into the clothes and cannot be washed out.
  • Clothes that claim to be “wrinkle and shrink free”: They are loaded with formaldehyde!

 As if we really needed another reason to go organic.  Just start with the items you use the most.  Commercial pj’s and fleece blankets are said to be the worst so that would be a good place to start too.

Obviously we can’t avoid wearing clothes completely, but we can at least stop purchasing expensive water with chemicals and use this safe alternative instead.

DIY Laundry Detergent Ingredients

You can find all of these at Kroger, Walmart, or my health store.

3/4 cup Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (I use lavender)

1/2 cup Super Washing Soda

1/2 cup Baking Soda

2 gallons of water


Add the washing soda to a 2 gallon bucket.  (Didn’t have one so just used 2 recycled containers).  Stir while adding enough hot tap water to cover the washing soda and mix completely.  Then slowly add the baking soda and stir.  Make sure it’s all dissolved before adding the Dr. Bronner’s or it will get clumpy.  Lastly add the rest of the 2 gallons of water.  Store in a glass jar and mix thoroughly before using ~1/3 cup/load.  That took all of 2 minutes.

I’ve been using this DIY laundry detergent for 4 months in our high efficiency washer and haven’t even finished the 1st batch yet.  Now if I have really tough stains I make a quick baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste and rub that on the stain with a toothbrush for 30 minutes or so before washing.  That stuff is magic destroying stains you’d never thought you’d get rid of.  This DIY laundry detergent works just as good if not better than Tide, Arm and Hammer, All, and Gain.

If you haven’t checked out my non toxic cleaning giveaway you still have a few days left to win.  Leave your questions at the bottom of this post so others can learn from them and I’ll check in daily.


To learn more about Emily Smith RN-BSN, Holistic Health Coach visits