Homemade citrus laundry detergent + natural fabric softener

My first batch of homemade laundry detergent lasted exactly five months. It worked great, but the husband requested some fragrance in the next batch. Since I’ve been experimenting with essential oils, I was happy to try something new. I added orange and lemon oils for a nice scent as well as some tea tree oil which has antibacterial/antifungal properties to aid with cleaning. You could use more or less depending on how much scent you want. This one has a very subtle scent. Here’s the new “recipe”:

Homemade citrus-scented laundry detergent

Homemade laundry detergent with orange, lemon and tea tree oils

1 box Borax (unpictured above)

1 box baking soda

1 box washing soda

1 bar Zote soap

30 drops orange essential oil

15 drops lemon essential oil

15 drops tea tree essential oil


1. Grate your bar of soap using a metal cheese grater.

Zote soap for homemade laundry detergent

2. Add baking soda to your container. I used a 2 gallon glass container from Wal-Mart. It cost about $10.

3. Add the essential oils to the baking soda. Mix well and make sure to break up any clumps.

4. Add remaining ingredients. It helps to add them in layers to distribute the ingredients evenly.

homemade laundry detergent

5. Use 1-2 scoops per load. I use a metal coffee scoop that holds 2 tsps.

homemade laundry detergent

For a natural and cheap fabric softener, I use white vinegar with essential oil added. I take one cup of vinegar, add 5 drops of essential oil and pour it into my machine’s bleach holder. Something magical happens during the wash cycle that keeps my clothes from smelling like vinegar.

My basement smells like oranges and I love it.

Do you have any natural laundry tips? Share them in the comments!

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