I recently read an article that addressed the effects of cleaning products on the lungs of women. And it’s not good. After following 6,000 participants for 20 years, women who regularly used cleaning products were found to have the same decline in lung function as those that smoked 20 cigarettes per day. What?! This is why it is so important to find cleaning products that are natural and don’t contain harsh chemicals… Some think going natural in their cleaning products means spending a ton of money, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Check out this DIY Thieves laundry detergent that costs 7x less than what you’d buy at the store.
I have been making my own laundry detergent for years, and have loved almost everything about it… but there was one little part I wasn’t a huge fan of, and that was the need to grate soap into the mix. It isn’t super difficult, but it makes a mess, and you really need to wash your clothes in warm or hot water to ensure the soap fully dissolves. I was willing to overlook this for the past 3 years because the batches I made would last forever, and it did a fine job of getting my clothes clean. But then a friend of mine posted a recipe for a liquid laundry soap that required zero soap grating and was super budget-friendly. As always, I did a little research and tweaked the recipe a bit.
I love that everything in the recipe is void of harsh chemicals, and even better, it costs a fraction of what you’d pay for laundry detergent in the store. (Cost breakdown at the end of this post.) Ready for this awesome recipe?
What You Need to Make DIY Thieves Laundry Detergent
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The recipe below will make one gallon, you can certainly double the recipe (like I did) if your dispenser is larger.
Ingredients Needed for DIY Thieves Laundry Soap
- Washing Soda
- Baking Soda
- Thieves® Laundry Soap
- Thieves® Household Cleaner
- Hot Water- You may want to use distilled water to avoid impurities that naturally occur in tap water.
- 8 Drops Essential Oil of Your Choosing (Optional)- I used Thieves® and Lemon– 4 drops of each. If you are not sure where to buy essential oils, please check out this post.
Supplies Needed for Homemade Thieves Laundry Soap
- Stock Pot– If using a glass dispenser)
- Wood Spoon
- Drink Dispenser (at least 1 gallon)- I used this one and doubled the recipe to make 2 gallons. While my dispenser was glass, many ask about using a plastic container instead… If you want to use plastic, it needs to be the right kind of plastic for use with essential oils. “Typically, HDPE plastic as well as plastics number 1 (PETE) and 2 are safe for use with essential oils.” -Dr. Hill (Quote found here.)
How to Make DIY Thieves Laundry Detergent
Ready for the easiest tutorial ever?
*** If you are using a glass dispenser, it is recommended that you perform steps 1-3 in a stock pot in order to avoid the glass cracking from the hot water.***
Add enough hot water (not boiling!) to cover by an inch or two and stir until the washing soda has dissolved.
Once your washing soda has dissolved, add 1/4 cup baking soda, and, once again, stir until dissolved.
At this point, I would highly recommend placing your dispenser where you plan to keep it, as it gets a bit heavy. When adding water, simply using a pitcher or jug.
Also… if you performed steps 1-3 in a stock pot, at this point, pour the mixture into your dispenser once cooled.
Fill your dispenser with warm (room temperature) water, allowing some room at the top to add a few more ingredients.
First add 1/4 cup Thieves® Laundry Soap. I have seen similar recipes done with castile soap, but I love the idea of using an actual laundry soap instead (and others have reported that the Castile Soap gets chunky and dispensing becomes difficult).
Next add 2 Tablespoons of Thieves® Household Cleaner.
If you want to enhance the scent of the detergent a bit, feel free to add a few drops of essential oil. I chose to add Thieves® and Lemon (2 of my favorite essential oils for cleaning 🙂 ). A couple drops of each is all you’ll need.
All you have left to do is give it a little stir, and you’re good to go.
When doing laundry in a HE washer, use 1/4 cup per load.
UPDATE: If you notice the laundry soap settling to the bottom, just give the mixture a little stir. I actually didn’t notice this happening until it had been sitting on my counter for about 2 weeks, but others are reporting this happening after a short period of time. I just leave a wood spoon next to my dispenser and give it a quick stir if I notice any separation.
Cost Breakdown: Comparing Homemade Thieves Laundry Soap to A Leading Store Brand
Prices current as of the writing of this post on October 10, 2018. Prices may change.
DIY Thieves Laundry Detergent
- 1/4 cup Washing Soda: 17¢ (Based off Walmart’s pricing of $3.97 for a 55 oz. box, which has 6 cups)
- 1/4 cup Baking Soda: 10¢ (Based off Target’s pricing of 79¢ for a 16 oz. box, which has 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup Thieves® Laundry Soap: $1.84 (Based off Young Living’s wholesale pricing* for a 32 oz. bottle)
- 2 Tablespoons Thieves® Household Cleaner: $1.56 (Based off Young Living’s wholesale pricing* for a 14.4 oz bottle)
- 4 Drops Thieves essential oil (optional): 56¢
- 4 Drops Lemon essential oil (optional): 20¢
- With optional essential oils added: $4.43/gallon
- Without optional essential oils added: $3.67/gallon
When using 1/4 cup per load, this equals 6-7¢ per load.
*Wholesale pricing is available to members of Young Living, however, you also have the option to buy retail. If buying retail, the price of the Laundry Soap would increase to $2.43 and the cost of the household cleaner would increase to $2.06; increasing the price per gallon to $4.76 (without essential oils added) and the cost per load would be 7¢/load.
Leading Brand of Laundry Detergent
Leading Brand of Laundry Detergent: $16.66/gallon (Based off Target’s pricing of $17.99 for a 138 oz. bottle of Tide. Pricing may change, but is accurate based on the date of publication of this post.)
Be very careful when looking at cost per load. While the packaging states there are 89 loads, it also states this is when measured to “line 2”. If you are doing a “large load” of laundry, you are directed to use twice as much detergent and fill to line 4. If using a HE washer, you need to use even more, and fill to line 5. I have a HE washer, and would definitely need to fill to that number 5 line, so…
- Filling to line 4 or 5: 41¢ per load. That is 6-7x higher than the DIY version above!
- Filling to “line 2”: 20¢ per load (3 times more expensive!)
Frequently Asked Questions About DIY Thieves Laundry Detergent
Where Did You Get Your Dispenser?
I bought my dispenser at Target. You can find it here.
Where Do I Find Thieves Products?
You can buy Thieves products through Young Living. I am not associated with Young Living, so feel free to reach out to a brand ambassador near you. Alternatively you can buy the laundry soap, household cleaner and essential oil on Amazon, although it’s a bit more expensive than Young Living’s retail prices.
Do You Put the DIY Thieves Laundry Detergent in the Soap Dispenser or Directly into the Drum?
I always add my DIY laundry detergent into the washing machine soap dispenser. In our previous house, our washing machine had a separate spot for liquid vs. powder detergent. Now, ours simply has one for everything. The mixture does disappear the moment I add it, but I figure, either way, all that laundry soap ends up in my load anyway.
Can I Use This in a HE Washing Machine? If so, How Much?
I have been using this recipe in our HE washer without issue, and I add 1/4 cup per large load.
How Much Detergent Should I Use in A Top Loading Washer?
Because I don’t actually have a top loading washing machine, this is a little harder for me to answer. Most top loading washers use about twice as much water as a HE front loading machine, so I would guess you would need to double the amount of detergent to 1/2 cup. You can certainly play around with the amount until you find what works best.
Can I Substitute Borax for the Washing Soda?
Borax and Washing Soda do similar things for your laundry. Both have a higher pH which softens the water, allowing the soap to do a better job cleaning your clothes. The reason I did not add Borax to this recipe was because there are some people that prefer not to use Borax in their DIY recipes. My powdered laundry detergent recipe does use Borax, so I wanted to offer an alternative that was Borax-free. I have had some people choose to substitute the Washing Soda with Borax and reported success, however, I cannot say for sure how it fairs as I have never tried it myself.
I’m Seeing Some Separation, What Should I Do?
It’s always frustrating when the soap separates out of the mixture and settles to the bottom. This ended up happening to mine after about two weeks, so when I originally posted the recipe, this hadn’t yet occurred. I still have a lot of this laundry soap left, but for my next batch, I will try to figure out a solution. In the meantime, I have a wooden spoon sitting next to the detergent; I simply give it a stir before adding it to my washing machine. While I know this is a bit frustrating, I am more than happy to stir if it means I’m saving tons of money and avoiding harsh chemicals.
If you are choosing to add essential oils to the mix, I did notice mine floating on the top 24 hours later, but after the first mix, they never reappeared.
Do the Clothes Smell Strongly of Thieves?
I have never noticed a strong smell to any DIY laundry detergent recipe. This recent recipe does state that you can add essential oils to the mix, which does (of course) add a little scent. However, once the clothes are washed, the scent doesn’t seem to stick around. (Honestly, I’ll probably skip the addition of the essential oils next time around). If you want to add some scent to your clothing, I would highly recommend adding a few drops of essential oil to some dryer balls when drying your laundry. I love this method because you can change out the scent as often as you’d like.
You can also make your own dryer balls. It’s super easy to do.
Is There A Thieves Laundry Detergent Printable I Can Use for Reference?
Many of you are asking for a Thieves Laundry Detergent printable of this recipe because you want to be able to reference it for your next batch. While I didn’t originally create a printable, I have now. You can print it off using the link below.
Homemade Thieves Laundry Soap
- ¼ Cup Washing Soda
- ¼ Cup Baking Soda
- ¼ Cup Thieves® Laundry Soap
- 2 Tablespoons Thieves® Household Cleaner
- Distilled Water
- 8 Drops Essential Oils Optional
- Stock Pot if using a Glass Dispenser
- Wooden Spoon
- Drink Dispenser for Storage
- Start by pouring 1/4 cup washing soda into your dispenser (or stock pot)
- Add enough hot water (not boiling!) to cover by an inch or two and stir until the washing soda has dissolved.
- Once your washing soda has dissolved, add 1/4 cup baking soda and, once again, stir until dissolved.
- If you performed steps 1-3 in a stock pot, pour the mixture into your dispenser once cooled.
- Fill your dispenser with warm (room temperature) water, allowing some room at the top to add a few more ingredients.
- Add 1/4 cup Thieves® Laundry Soap and stir.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of Thieves® Household Cleaner and stir.
- If you want to enhance the scent of the detergent a bit, feel free to add a few drops of essential oil.
- All you have left to do is give it a little stir, and you’re good to go.