Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph Blog Making Your Own Allergenic Laundry Detergent – Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph's Blog

Making Your Own Allergenic Laundry Detergent

Posted on 2017-02-26 By

Commercial laundry detergents seem to be getting more and more toxic over time, resulting in increasing numbers of allergic reactions in unwitting consumers.  These companies also keep changing their ingredients, so the chemical formulations of a once-familiar product may be quite different today from what it was a mere six months ago.

Tea Tree Oil, in particular, is being added to many detergent products because of its powerful antiseptic properties. Of  concern to many consumers, however, is the resulting skin irritation some begin experiencing, often without knowing why it is happening.

The reaction occurs when their skin comes into direct contact with the oil, which apparently is difficult to eradicate from dense fabrics [especially from elasticized waistbands, insides of pockets, collars, zippers, etc.]

In an effort to escape similar problems, I decided to make my own laundry detergent sans allergens. I came up with the following recipe after reviewing many such recipes on the web.

First of all, I decided that a dry recipe was best, since it is so much more user-friendly to make.

These are the three ingredients that I decided to use in my own non-allergenic detergent recipe: these are products that can be found in many grocery stores:
Kirk’s All Natural Original Coco Castile Soap (1 bar = a cup)
20 Mule Team Borax (1 cup)
Arm & Hammer All Natural Super Washing Soda (1 cup)

Grating the soap was more difficult than I anticipated.

This is a typical hand-grater:  its seems easy enough, but it is very labor-intensive and not for me. It took way too long to grate a small bar of Kirk’s soap and it also put my soap-gripping fingers at risk. By the time I got to this point (see below) I decided that I needed to try something else.


So I discarded the hand grater in favor of a small electric food processor in my kitchen. It made all the difference. It quickly expedites a bar of Kirk’s soap and cleans up easily afterwards. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT THAT?


This is what that processed bar of Kirk’s soap looks like in less than a minute. Perfect!


The Finished Product

A large (wide mouth) BALL canning jar holds two 3-cup recipes with room to spare. I found the BALL jar at a local Target store.

The screw cap keeps the detergent mix air-tight – AND – you can shake the mix as needed, which is also a plus.


How much homemade detergent to use?

Start with 1 level tablespoon per average load and see how that works for you. For a larger load, increase it to 2 level tablespoons. But you really shouldn’t have to use much more than that at any given time.

This recipe works perfectly in a modern front-loading washing machine. And these three ingredients are safe for septic tanks and fields, too.


Machine Loads Tip

Set your front-loading machine to  NORMAL/CASUAL with HOT water and EXTRA RINSE…even with smaller loads. It will take time to eradicate any oils from clothes washed in that commercial detergent you have been using.

Otherwise, good luck! And may you have many happy itch-free washings!


PS.  In my experience, even the liquid form of Arm and Hammer For Sensitive Skin apparently includes allergens. ITCH ITCH ITCH