Make-It-Monday: Standard Powdered Laundry Detergent

My biggest concern in washing clothes is getting rid of the stink. My husband and I are pretty active, which means lots of soiled work out clothes.  You know the reputation gym socks have – that’s the kind of stink I want my detergent to be able to eliminate.

There’s also a few tricks of the trade that are helpful:

For extra stinky clothes – wash in HOT water.  Add vinegar or an extra scoop of detergent if it’s really bad.  I try not to mix the active wear clothes with other clothing – that stink can jump garments if your detergent isn’t quite doing the trick or if your active wear is just abnormally awful.

A simple cold water soak will do wonders for preventing a stain before you try to wash the culprit out.  We’ll be posting some DIY stain solutions this month as well – just remember these recipes might not work as well as bleach or chemical filled options.  Our goal of course is to find the next best thing as far as green alternatives go.

This is my current go-to recipe for making laundry detergent.  It’s relatively easy to make and just as easy to use.  This recipe comes from Live Simply 



  • 1 5-ounce castile soap bar unscented, or your favorite scented variety
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 30-40 drops essential oil optional*, example: 15 drops eucalyptus and 15 drops lavender


Cut the bar into small, thin slices.

Place the soap chunks in a food processor bowl.

Pulse until the soap resembles small crumbles (almost like finely crumbled feta cheese). Alternatively, shred the soap with a sharp cheese grater into a large bowl. 

Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, and place a dish towel over the processor bowl (optional, if you find the powder is circulating in the air). Pulse until the ingredients are well combined and the mixture resembles a fine powder.

Add the essential oil, if using. Place the dish towel over the bowl again. And pulse for just a few seconds to combine.

Pour the soap into a storage container with a lid. The soap will keep for at least 6 months.

To Use:

Stir or shake the soap before use. Scoop 1-2 tablespoons (for HE machines) or ¼ cup for top-loaders, and add directly to the clothes in the washer (not the soap dispenser). Use the warmest water possible for your clothing. See the troubleshooting tips below for more help. 

What’s nice about this recipe is that it tackles strong odors with washing soda and baking soda, as well as helps soften clothes by the addition of salt.
I’ve been using this recipe successfully for 4 months now and haven’t felt the need to change things up.  I haven’t noticed any issues with abnormal color fading. We wear a lot of dark clothing, likely due to our clumsy demeanor and the ability of darker clothes to hide stains!  That being said, I can’t attest to how this detergent does with whites since we tend to avoid having white garments at all.
What are some of your laundry tips & tricks? Feel free to share!

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