House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

7 Laundry Detergent Alternatives in 2023 (That Actually Work)

Person pouring liquid in the washing machine

Laundry detergent is expensive, contains harmful chemicals, and is usually mostly water, causing many people to seek out alternatives to laundry detergent that actually work. If this sounds like your situation, you are in luck. Here are several different DIY methods for creating a detergent that will help clean your clothes for a fraction of the cost.

divider 4

The 7 Laundry Detergent Alternatives

1. DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent

Materials: Borax, washing soda, non-foaming soap
Tools: Cheese grater, measuring cup, storage container
Difficulty: Easy

This DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent recipe is a great place to start when looking for an alternative to commercial products. It only requires a few materials and is easy to make, though it can take up to 24 hours to set up. The resulting detergent only costs a few cents per load and is much safer than commercial detergent. The author even provides tips to improve the recipe if you have trouble cleaning your clothes.

2. DIY Natural Laundry Detergent

Materials: Epsom salt, washing soda, baking soda, sea salt
Tools: Measuring cup, storage container
Difficulty: Easy

The DIY Natural Laundry Detergent is an easy project that results in a powdered detergent that works exceptionally well and is inexpensive. You can make it in a few minutes, and it is customizable, so you can adjust it to your liking. It makes use of washing soda, which does most of the work while the other ingredients complement it.

3. DIY Laundry Detergent Pods

Materials: Castile soap, washing soda, white vinegar
Tools: Box grater, ice cube trays
Difficulty: Easy

The DIY Laundry Detergent Pods is a fun project that takes out most of the work of starting each load. Toss in one pod per load, and you are ready to go. The hardest part of the project is cutting up the castile soap, which only takes a few minutes, and you do need to let the completed mixture sit in the ice cube trays overnight. After that, though, you are ready to start enjoying your clean and fresh-smelling laundry. Another benefit of this plan is that it also shows you how to make reusable dryer sheets for an even better experience in the laundry room.

4. DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent

Materials: Borax, washing soda, bar soap, essential oil
Tools: Box grater,
Difficulty: Easy

This DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent plan is similar to the others on this list but uses slightly different ingredients that might help you get better results. One of the biggest differences is the use of essential oils to help give your clothes a nice fragrance. This project is easy to complete and makes enough for 48 small loads.

5. Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Materials: Baking soda, castile soap, salt
Tools: Gallon jug
Difficulty: Easy

The Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap plan is one of the only ones on this list that does not require washing soda or Borax but instead relies on baking soda, castile soap, and salt to get the job done. It’s a great choice for people with pets or children who might get into the Borax.

6. Premium Homemade Laundry Detergent

Materials: Baking soda, Borax, Purex crystals, Zote soap
Tools: Box grater, bucket, rubber gloves
Difficulty: Easy

The Premium Homemade Laundry Detergent project uses many of the same ingredients as previous projects, but it creates something that might work better. The finished product does a good job and gets clothes smelling nice. It also looks colorful while you store it, thanks to the Zote soap.

7. Three Step Homemade Laundry Detergent

Materials: Washing soda, Borax, Purex crystals, OxiClean
Tools: Box grater, bucket, rubber gloves
Difficulty: Easy

The Three Step Homemade Laundry Detergent is a fantastic plan that makes use of the power of OxiClean to help get your laundry clean and odor free. It’s easy to create and results in a year’s supply for only a few dollars, so it’s a great choice for anyone looking for a good alternative to commercial laundry detergent.

divider 4How Does Homemade Laundry Detergent Work?

Most DIY laundry detergents use washing soda, which is sodium carbonate that is good at destroying grease and removing stains. Another primary ingredient is a bar soap that doesn’t make suds, like Zote soap, which uses natural ingredients like coconut oil to create a powerful cleaner that won’t make a mess in your machine. Borax is another powerful cleaner, but it’s also a strong acid, so it is important to keep it out of reach of children or pets.

How Do I Make Homemade Laundry Detergent?

Any of the plans listed here will get you started down the path of creating natural laundry detergent at home for a fraction of the cost of commercial brands. In many cases, you will only need to mix powdered ingredients, with the hardest part being to cut a bar of soap into tiny pieces or to use a cheese grater.

divider 4


It’s quite possible to make a powerful laundry detergent at home for a fraction of the cost of commercial brands, and this list helps prove it. Most of these projects will result in detergent that lasts several months or even a year. We highly recommend trying the DIY Natural Laundry Detergent or the DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent first to see how they work for you before trying out the ones that use more ingredients, like the Premium Homemade Laundry Detergent.

See also: 

Featured Image Credit: RODNAE Productions. Pexels

Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools