Zero Waste Laundry Detergent

Spread the Sustainable Gospel!


For a lot of us, switching to a zero waste lifestyle means making quite a few things from scratch. Finding everything you need package free and in bulk is extremely hard. It wasn’t until recently that I came across the one and only store in Kansas City that sells bulk all-natural laundry soap. Of course, driving 45 minutes to get there seems counterproductive when trying to lessen my environmental impact. I do still fill up my bottles when I’m in the area – but to hold me over until then, I have resorted to making my own Zero Waste Laundry Detergent.



At first, I was annoyed when it came down to having to make my own soap but quickly changed my perspective after the first time I made it. It was actually really easy! I can whip up a batch that will last me a month in less time than it would take me to run to the store and purchase a bottle. It also helps that this recipe is only 3 ingredients: washing soda, baking soda, and pure castile soap. I’ve read mixed opinions on the safety of borax so I just opted to try making powder without it. It’s funny how we always think homemade means “will take forever to make.” This would also be a fun project for your little ones to help out with. Put them to work. Grating that soap wears you out! Of course, I have noodle arms so it’s probably just me.



In addition to how easy it is to make laundry powder, you will also save quite a bit of money. Store bought is not cheap, unless you buy the cheapest bottle there is which I can guarantee you will not clean your clothes. Been there, done that. I used to spend about $15 a month on laundry detergent since the name brand jugs would last me about 2 months. Now, a month of soap costs me around $6 if I don’t get anything on sale. It’s just my husband and me, so we don’t produce that much laundry. I can imagine if you have kids it would cost you more



I was skeptical that this homemade soap would actually “clean” my clothes, so I started using it in addition to my store-bought stuff to compare. I was actually very surprised that the homemade powder did just as good of a job or better. My husband’s socks were definitely whiter, thank you baking soda. The real test was washing my dogs’ beds. Normally I have to wash them about 2-3 times to get the smell out. With the laundry powder, it worked the first time.
So all in all, I am very pleased with my zero waste laundry powder. No more plastic bottles for me!


Zero Waste Laundry Detergent


Author: Megean Weldon
Recipe Type: Cleaning
Yield: Almost a quart


  • 1 cup Baking Soda (bulk bins/paper)
  • 1 cup Washing Soda (bulk bins/paper)
  • 1 bar Pure Castile Soap (paper)
  • Several drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)


  1. Finely grate the bar of castile soap.
  2. Mix baking soda, washing soda, castile soap, and essential oil together.
  3. Use about 2-3 tablespoons per load depending on size and load soil level.

How simple is that?!


25 thoughts on “Zero Waste Laundry Detergent

  1. So glad you shared this – it's exactly what I've been looking for. I still haven't run out of store-bought detergent (bought one of those mega-bottles years ago), but now I'm sort of excited for that day to come!

  2. I find mine at all of my local grocery stores. If it's harder to find in your area, I have read that pool supply stores carry soda ash that works the same way or you can purchase it online at

  3. hi! I'm embarking on zero waste and just found your blog and I also live in KC! Where is the store that sells bulk all natural laundry soap? And where do you buy the bulk ingredients for your recipe?

  4. Hi Dana! It's nice to meet a fellow KC zero waster! The store is called Hand and Land in Leawood. Since I live in the northland, I primarily keep my shopping at sprouts and hyvee on 64th and at city market. I get bulk baking soda from HyVee and I get the washing soda and castile soap in paper packaging that I then compost. Those I get at Sprouts. Here is a link to some of the stores in the KC area that sell bulk products. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I live in the northland too! On Antioch about 10 minutes south of that Hyvee. Good to know there is at least one person in a hundred mile radius that doesn think I'm crazy. I haven't done too much bulk shopping yet so I didn't pay enough attention to what selection they had. I've tried the spouts once too and will be going more but wasn't sure where I could get other items like soap. Thanks for the link!

    • I live down in Turner, and I have recently embarked on this zero-waste journey too. So yes, there are a couple people who don’t think you are crazy. This revelation has been heartening for me too :).

  6. I've just made this recipe with the lovely smelling peppermint soap from Dr. Bronner and left out the essential oil as it already smells lovely. I hope it get's the sweat smell out of my work out gear… Will let you know the result!

  7. That's a great post. I think this post should help you discover home made detergent powder. Smelling laundry detergent powder is very famous to house wife's because it is very safety and should not contain any harmful hygienic elements. If is it home made definitely it would be better for you.

  8. Can I still wash my clothes with cold water? I tried some of a friends homemade wash soap a while ago. It didnโ€™t dissolve and left gritty yuckyness in the bottom of my washer. Iโ€™d love to be able to make my own but I canโ€™t get that bad experience out of my head.

    • To be on the safe side, I would probably dissolve it in a few ounces of warm water first, then add that to your laundry. You might even be able to do a small test with just 1 teaspoon of powder into a few ounces of cool water to see if it will also dissolve.

    • To be on the safe side, I would probably dissolve the powder in a few ounces of cool or warm water first, then add that to your washer or detergent tray.

  9. Castille Soap is not something I can get where I live, nor can I afford to but it online and have it sent here, is there anything I can use to replace it? Thank you!

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