DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent.

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

As a family, we are doing our best at living a zero-waste life. It started with baby steps a few years ago. We are always finding ways to reduce use of chemicals in our home. Through this process, I have tried quite a few DIY liquid laundry detergents recipes.

I am a big fan of Young Living Essential Oils and have been using their Thieves Household Cleaner for over a year now. I use that cleaner for everything. For our sinks, tub, shower, floors, kitchen counters, etc. I love it! So why not try the Young Living chemical free laundry detergent. I did, and I loved it. However, I wanted a more economical option and reuse the plastic containers the liquid laundry had come in.

I decided to try a few recipes for liquid laundry detergent that use the Thieves Household Cleaner as an ingredient. Enter my favorite recipe below:



  1. 5 Tbsp. Young Living Thieves Cleaner

  2. 3 Tbsp. Borax

  3. 3 Tbsp. Washing Soda​

  4. 3 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (I have the Baby Unscented one)

  5. 1 two-liter container. ​(I use empty two 946ml YL liquid laundry detergent containers)

  6. 20-30 drops Young Living Purification oil (This is optional, but it gives a nice smell.)


  1. Put Borax & Washing Soda in a Pyrex bowl and mix together.

  2. Add 2 cups of boiling water, and mix well.

  3. Add Thieves cleaner and Castile soap.

  4. Add 2 more cups of boiling water, and mix again.

  5. Pour into a 2-liter container, and fill the rest of the container with cold water. (about 4 cups). Gently shake to mix evenly.

  6. Use 1/2 cup to 1 cup per load depending on the size and how dirty the laundry is.

NOTE: Some people use 4 liters of cold water instead of the 4 cups of boiling water + 4 cups of cold water.

  1. Like the Thieves liquid dish soap, this is not a sudsy detergent.

  2. You should shake the bottle before each use.

What if you can’t find washing soda in stores or online?

The first time I tried this recipe, I didn’t even know “washing soda” existed. I had no clue what it was and didn’t have any in the house. So…. I googled it and made my own. Here is the recipe that I used. It is super easy. I promise.


  1. Turn oven on 400 degrees F.

  2. Pour a thick (1/2 inch or so) layer of baking soda on the bottom of the baking dish. I have put more before and had to leave it in the oven twice as long. Not worth it.

  3. Bake for 1 hour, (stirring 1-2 times), or until it has changed in look and feel. Baking soda has a silky/powdery feel, and washing soda is more grainy than silky. The baking soda will need to reach the full 400 degrees for this reaction to take place, so give it time.

  4. When done, let cool before storing in an air-tight jar. Great way to reuse that big empty jam jar

And a word of caution:

Washing soda should be handled with care, as it is very caustic. Always wear gloves if handling it directly, and never inhale the dust particles directly.


Baking Soda is NaHCO3 (1 sodium, 1 hydrogen, 1 carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules).  Washing Soda is Na2CO3 (2 sodium, 1 carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules).  When baking soda is heated up to high temperatures, it breaks down and becomes washing soda, water steam, and carbon dioxide.  So, in other words, the difference between the two is water and carbon dioxide.  ((I hope my friend the math/science/physics teacher is proud of me at the moment. 😍 – ok.. I admit it… Wikipedia helped😉 )].

Put simply, the process of turning sodium bicarbonate into sodium carbonate is a chemical reaction that can be achieved in your kitchen oven. Using enough heat for a long enough period of time changes the structure of sodium bicarbonate into sodium carbonate, while releasing excess carbon dioxide and steam. ((ooooh… I am feeling so smart right now 😁)

Let me know what you think of the recipe and feel free to share your favorite recipes in the comments below.