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Let’s Talk About Natural Alternative DIY Detergents

DIY detergents are an eco-friendly and natural alternative to the chemical-filled, mainstream detergents that are available at our grocery and drug stores. These detergents can lead to dryer vents emitting high amounts of volatile organic compounds, something Savvy Rest avoids as evident through our GreenGuard GOLD certification.

Detergents in plastic containers are piled high in trucks that drive across the country, emitting unnecessary fumes just so we can buy a product that isn’t encouraging a healthy lifestyle. We live busy lives and it’s easy to just pick up the detergent at the store, plop it in our laundry room, and not have to worry about it. However, we should be concerned about what is in this everyday household product and making your own detergent isn’t as difficult as it sounds; it can be fun and as a bonus, it can save you money. But before you ditch that plastic container and take out your favorite mason jar, let’s talk about things to keep in mind when making your own detergent so you end up with the best product possible.

Choosing a Detergent Recipe

There are tons of different detergent recipes online. How do you choose? Like DIY deodorants and homemade skincare products, sometimes you have to play around with various ingredients and amounts until you find the perfect product for you. Some of our followers on Facebook have voiced their opinions on DIY detergents and the reviews were mixed. The key is to have a DIY detergent that will not cause soap buildup and damage your machine. Some DIY detergents won’t work well in a high efficiency machine, especially if the water you are using is high in iron. That’s why it’s important to do your homework beforehand.

DIY detergent recipe

One of our employees has been using a DIY detergent for years with her high efficiency washing machine. She has not experienced any soap buildup or residue on her clothing. We of course cannot promise that you will have a stellar experience as well, but if you are willing to give it a try, here is her recipe:

2 cups Arm & Hammer washing soda
1 bar of fels naptha or casteel soap
essential oil (optional)


Shave or grate the bar of soap. Add grated soap to a pot with 4 cups of hot water and heat over medium heat; stir to dissolve the soap. In a 5 gallon bucket, add 2 cups of arm and hammer washing soda and fill bucket halfway with hot water. Stir to dissolve. Add in liquid soap mixture and stir. Add in 1/2 oz to 1 oz of essential oil of your choice for scent (we recommend lavender for a soothing and pleasant scent). Cover the bucket with a lid. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours. Remove lid, stir the now gel-like soap to break up any solid pieces. Add hot water to fill the bucket. Pour half of the detergent into another 5 gallon bucket. Fill both 5 gallon buckets to the top with hot water. Stir and pour the 10 gallons of detergent into containers of your choice. Use 1/4 cup of detergent per load.

We understand that some may not be ready to bring out the buckets and become a detergent chemist. If you still prefer buying your own detergent, make sure to avoid the following ingredients.

We wish you luck in your detergent-making (or simply healthy buying) adventure!

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