How to wash your Organic Cotton clothes

If you’re like me, you want to clean your organic cotton clothes in an eco-friendly way, you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on “natural” laundry soap,  and you’ve read about all of the toxins in laundry detergents and want to get that stuff out of your life.

Or maybe you’re allergic to regular detergents, and need something more gentle.

In an older post, I shared how I made powdered laundry soap with borax, washing soda and a bar of castile soap. The recipe works great, but does have some drawbacks – it’s time-consuming to grate the bar of soap, and doesn’t work well for items you have to wash in cold water (i.e: screen printed clothing, organics, some delicates, anything you want to keep bright & colorful .. etc.)  (Edit: See a more recent & simplified version of this post here:


borax, washing soda & castille soap

There’s a popular liquid soap recipe out there, but you have to grate soap and then boil it – I wanted something easy.

Many of the recipes also have you make about 5 gallons worth of soap at a time – since I live in New York City I don’t have a lot of extra space for that.

I’ve finally found a solution that works for me. (Hopefully it will make your life easier, too!) It’s cheap, quick, easy, and you only make 2 gallons at a time (or you can cut the measurements in half to make one gallon).

Here’s what you need: 


1 cup Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap. ( I used peppermint – it smelled amazing when mixing it, but the scent doesnt linger on the washed clothes)

1/2 cup Borax

1/2 cup Washing soda  ( See part 1 of this series for more info on Borax & Washing Soda)


1 mason jar (or another container to mix in) 

2 empty 1 gallon milk or water jugs

a funnel

Something to stir with ( I used a chopstick)



1. Using the funnel, add your Borax and Washing soda to a container – I used a mason jar since the measurements are already marked – you could just measure it all out and add it to a bucket if you’d like)

borax and washing soda

2. Add some hot water to the jar and stir to dissolve the powder – try to break up most of the clumps.


3.  Pour half of the borax/washing soda/water solution into one jug, and half into the other.

4. Add a little hot water to each jug – cap ’em & shake ’em.

5. add 1/2 cup of Dr. Bronners to one jug, and 1/2 a cup to the other.


6. Fill the jugs the rest of the way with hot water (leaving a little room at the top.)

7. Cap & Shake the jugs again to mix everything together.

That’s it!

You can use 1/3 cup of soap in each wash. I added 20 drops of lavender essential oil to the washer, and the clothes came out smelling

fresh. (Some recipes call for you to add the essential oils to the jug – I avoided that since essential oils can degrade plastic, and sunlight can damage them. It’s best to keep them stored in amber glass.)

The borax and washing soda have great cleaning & stain fighting power, but if you want to skip them all together you can simply add 1/3 cup Dr. Bronners liquid soap to the wash. Some people add a dash of baking soda, too.

Some have mentioned that Dr. Bronners may fade clothes, so to be on the safe side you may want to use this only on your whites. Others have said they’ve used it for years without any fading.

To prevent colors from fading; turn clothes inside out, wash in cold water, use the shortest cycle, wash on gentle and hang dry when you can.

Adding 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle is also supposed to keep colors bright, and will act as a natural fabric softener.

I hope these tips help. Have you ever tried this recipe, or do you ever use Dr. Bronners to wash your clothes? Do you have any tips for me? Let me know in the comments below!


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2 responses to “How to wash your Organic Cotton clothes”

  1. […] water, since cold water won’t disolve all of the grated soap. (Soon I’ll be sharing part 2 of this post – where I show how to make a liquid […]

  2. […] I love this eco-friendly soap recipe (borax + washing soda + castle […]

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