zero waste laundry detergent

laundry detergent a dream lived greener

I’ve waited quite a few loads before attempting to dump this knowledge on you. I wanted to make sure it worked first, and the short answer is yes.

Before I go on, I’ll explain to you that I have sensitive skin and have a long history battling eczema, basically since before high school. Something about premature and formula fed babies, as well as your stress levels and what you put in your body, I’ve been told are factors to the conditions of you and your eczema. Mine was incredibly bad. Like puss, ooze-I looked like an infected zombie-bad. It would get even worse in the winter. Over the years, I started to use less scented lotions, became more aware of the ingredients in all my foods, drank tons of water and found ways to lower my stress levels. My eczema started to decrease, I oozed less and no longer had it on my arms and legs but I was still extremely itchy.

At the time, I worked at the hair salon and my hands started to slowly become worse again (and then my lungs practically gave out and I had to quit). While I was working there I met clients who would bring in their own shampoos because they were extremely conscious of ingredients like formaldehyde, sulfates etc in their shampoos and I started to take note. This was probably 8 years ago. I then went on to discover almost all clothing you buy is sprayed with formaldehyde and that laundry detergents and fabric softener contained harsh ingredients in them.

I gave up using dryer sheets, which helped and would buy “green” laundry detergent and then once I had a baby, I used only baby detergent but being the ingredient nut job I am, I still noticed the ingredients weren’t that great.

I had no idea there was any other alternative.

And honestly, I was too lazy to care. Or search. Obviously.

Because it’s taken me this long to discover that you can make your own!  Basically you can make everything! Wow. So it’s been about 3 months now (I used up all my old, liquid detergent first) and I’ve been washing laundry like a pro.

Here are two laundry detergent recipes I’ve tried:


1 part baking soda
1 part grated castile soap (an example is: Dr. Bronners)
1 tbsp washing soda (or you can use Borax)


1 part baking soda
1 part grated castile soap
1 part home-made all purpose soap (you can find recipes online)

CURRENT LAUNDRY DETERGENT: (updated 10/08/2016)
Soap Nuts which we sell HERE.


None. I haven’t used fabric softener in more than 5 years and I don’t notice any difference in my clothes.


I use Home-made detergent and then I add white vinegar to the rinse cycle. And I live in an apartment, so basically I had to time when the rinse cycle happened and then run downstairs like a maniac.

I use about 1 tsp per load or if it’s a larger load and dirtier, 1 tbsp. My clothes are extremely clean. They aren’t “scented” but they smell clean (trust me I know, I have a baby boy) and they feel great. Best of all, I’m never itchy.

What do you do? Leave me comments below.

Published by Mailyne

Owner of DLG Media. Founder of A.R.T. in Action. Philanthropist. Environmentalist. Activist. Photographer. Video Producer. Writer. Artist. Mama.

19 thoughts on “zero waste laundry detergent

    1. That’s wonderful! This huge chunk of soap my friend gave me will last me about a year. If I ever get a seed and live in a warmer climate, I’d definitely grow my own soap nuts!

    1. Really? That’s not cool! It would seem almost wasteful too to send it through the cycle a second time with vinegar. I wonder if there is a way to keep it from locking?

  1. Later reply so I am sorry….my family we used soap nuts for about a year and the only thing I didn’t like about them was on the whites….it turned them brown…..that was my only complaint about them….I just found your site so sorry about the late reply.

    1. Really! I have to try them. I haven’t tried the soap nuts on whites. Then again I don’t own much white clothing.. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  2. I use Dizolve, off of Life Without Plastic. It’s in a paper form and in a card board box that is recyclable. Loving it so far!

  3. Washing soda is not borax. Might be worth updating to clarify. Both are good detergent ingredients incidentally.

  4. You should test going off gluten and dairy for half a year and see if the eczema disappears. It did for my daughter. Skin issues are very common symptoms of gluten intolerance.

    1. Hi Kicki – I am vegan and gluten-free since this post 🙂 It’s been about 5 or so months now. Thank you for your message!

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