Detergents that are currently on the market contain petroleum, phthalates, phosphates, chlorine, optical brighteners, synthetic fragrances, and dyes.

Why are those things bad?

  • Petroleum – A limited resource that we A) don’t need to be wasting and B) are creating a lot of pollution in extracting and refining it.
  • Phthalates – Endocrine disruptors – Mess with your hormones and reproductive health – Pregnant women and infants are suppose to avoid it!
  • Phosphates – Banned in Europe and some (but not all!) states – Quick breakdown is it stays in the water, gets back to the environment, promotes algae growth, causes eutrophication, starves local waters of oxygen, and causes plants and animals to die.
  • Chlorine- Um, it’s a poisonous gas. Can cause blurred vision, burning pain, redness, and blisters on the skin if exposed to gas; skin injuries similar to frostbite can occur if it is exposed to liquid chlorine; burning sensation in the nose, throat, and eyes; coughing; chest tightness; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath- delayed if low concentrations of chlorine gas are inhaled; fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema); nausea and vomiting; watery eyes; and wheezing…sound like what you want to wash your clothes in?
  • Optical Brighteners – Hormone disrupters that BIND to your SKIN. Cause rashes and allergic reactions with lots of kiddos. Also, they are the reason why light shirts “glow” under blacklight…that’s how much is leftover after a “wash!”
  • Synthetic Frangrances & Dyes –  These are “trade secrets”  – so there’s no way to know what they are using to cover up the chemical smell and color!

All of those things are bad just by touching your skin and staying in the water…and the new “pod” detergents are even worse because they are easy for kids to ingest because they look like treats!

After learning all of that, it would be easy to think that making detergent must be crazy difficult since the manufacturers are making it so complicated…but it’s not!  I made a GIANT batch in under 10 minutes!

Still not convinced?  My final piece of information to draw you over to the “green” side…It’s CHEAPER!


  • 1/2 Box of Washing Soda
  • 1/2 Box of Borax
  • 1 bar of Soap  (I used Dr. Bronners Lavender!)
  • 1 cup Oxi-Clean FREE
  • 2 cups Baking Soda
  • A container of some sort (I up-cycled a giant old pretzel container.)


  1. Grate the soap,  then put in a blender/food processor till it looks more like a powder
  2. Mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Label your container!
  4. Wash Clothes!

Notes: I use a 3 tablespoon scoop for regular loads!  This was my first attempt at making a detergent, and the first 6 loads have all turned out clean and smelling delicious! But I will keep everyone updated on the future changes I may make!

Wasn’t that crazy easy?

Image source: icarmen33/shutterstock