how to wash clothes eco-friendly & DIY detergent


When it comes to laundry I usually end up feeling a little bit guilty  – especially at the end of an 8 load laundry day which seems to happen quite regularly around here with a family of 4 and two dirty little boys!  The water consumption that Canadians and Americans use for laundry alone is staggering. ¹ One American family uses 16,000 gallons of water a year in their washer. With just over 80 million washers installed in the US alone, that is 1, 280, 000, 000, 000 gallons of water. And that’s not even including commercial washers.

² Traditional top-loading washing machines use about forty gallons of water per load, whereas Energy Star washers use only about twenty-five gallons per load. That’s a 40 percent savings in water, which translates into an energy cost savings of almost 50 percent. Did you know that a front-loading Energy Star washer will save enough energy annually to light your entire home for a month and a half, and it saves as much water in a year as the average person drinks in a lifetime???

We’ve been using energy efficient front loaders for a number of years already, but with our most recent washer and dryer purchase just a few months ago I really took notice of the difference a front loader makes. Maybe the technology has improved or it’s a better quality set, but my washing and drying efficiency is exceptional! Our new set has an extremely fast/high spin speed so my towels and clothes (even heavy blankets) come out feeling practically dry which cuts down on my drying time. Combine that with a warm or cold wash cycle, our eco-friendly tankless hot water heater, some (mostly) eco-friendly detergent and I’m green cleaning like it’s nobodies business.

I admit I still struggle with finding the perfect eco detergent even after all the brands I’ve tried (I definitely have my favorites for cloth diapers though) so if you an amazing recipe for DIY detergent that you enjoy please leave me a comment below! I’m determined to make my own!

Do you have other eco-friendly laundry tips? Do you hang dry (inside) in the wintertime? How many loads do you do a week? (Or a day?)

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About Amanda

Amanda Robinson is the eco-chic, green living, fitness loving mom behind Natural Mommie. Since 2009, Amanda Robinson has been the source for moms to learn how to bring more balanced green beauty, eco-friendly, sustainable, organic products into their homes without being too “crunchy” or “granola”. Amanda is passionate about design, wellness and inspiring moms to make more eco-friendly and healthy choices without having to trade in their stilettos for Birkenstocks. In addition to Natural Mommie, Amanda is also the owner and designer behind Top Knot Style - a beautiful collection of handmade oversized luxury knitwear.

11 thoughts on “how to wash clothes eco-friendly & DIY detergent

  1. I have an amazing one that I posted on my blog a while back. I’m on my phone & can’t multi task to find it, but later I’ll link it! I made a triple batch about 3 months ago and haven’t made more since because it lasted so long!! :)

    1. Ali that’d be fabulous if you could share. I remember reading somewhere that it works out to about 500 loads for less than $10!

      My mother in law makes her own bar soap so I have a ton that I could use to make my own detergent!

  2. I made this laundry soap for the first time yesterday:
    I used 2 bars of Sunlight soap for it and yielded a total of 3 litres of pureed paste in the end. I’ve read that some home made soaps can void your front load washers warranty, but have no idea if that’s true. Mine is super old, so I don’t care. I tried it on a load of my husband’s barn clothes yesterday, using less than a tablespoon worth of soap, and they came out just as clean as they normally do. I normally leave his barn clothes for him to wash, so have no idea how much detergent he normally uses.

  3. I need a good DIY recipe. However I need it for HE machines, which I imagine you would too if you have new front loaders. One thing of the many things I learned about them from selling them is how regular soap can ruin your machine (and even your warranty with some companies).

  4. I use vinegar instead of liquid fabric softener – it works great and no filmy residue! (works great as a rinse in the dishwasher too!)

  5. I have used most of these recipes on this site. #1 is probably the one I use most frequently. Even then I have experimented with different soaps to try and see if there was one I liked better.

    My clothes are clean. I have 6 children now from tiny baby to preteen. 4 of these children are boys and even my girls are not afraid to go out and get dirty. We live in the country and I encourage them to be outside as much as possible and be hands on and explore while out there. I also use cloth diapers. I have dirty laundry. It comes out clean.

    Now since you don’t have added brightners and whiteners and this that and the other in these detergents, you may notice a difference in the appearance of some of your clothes if you have been using detergents with those things in it. But it can clean your clothes. I have not been dissappointed…and I have had lots of laundry experience doing at LEAST 6 loads a day every least and that is 7 days a week.

    The main issue with front loaders is you don’t want a highly sudsy detergent. Thats what will damage your machine. There is pretty much no sudsing with these detergents so they work fine.

  6. I know this is an old post, but I use the recipe off the Duggars site, and I love it! I also sell it and all my customers love it! (they realize how easy and cheap it is to make but would rather just buy it premade. lol) I make half the recipe which gives me 160 loads and costs me about $1.60 to make :) Great for HE washers too!

  7. No prob :) It really is a super simple recipe and such a money saver and my clothes have never been cleaner!! I also use the fabric softener recipe:)

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