Cruelty-Free Laundry Detergent for Babies

After hearing how most laundry detergent companies test their products on animals (Tide, Purex, etc.), it greatly influenced my shopping choices. I had made my own laundry detergent in the past, but found that I was still supporting animal testing through purchasing those ingredients… So I searched for products that were cruelty-free, baby-friendly, and safe for cloth diapers that I could use in making laundry detergent.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 2.07.03 PM*quote from Anna Lappe

Why make your own? (Similar to the reasons why to use cloth diaper wipes)

  • It’s safe for washing babies’ clothes and most cloth diapers.
  • None of the products in this recipe were tested on animals.
  • The price is comparable to or cheaper than most powdered laundry detergents.

Tide Free and Gentle is $0.37/load, All Free and Clear is $0.49/load, Dreft Baby is $0.64/load, and Seventh Generation Free and Clear (a cruelty-free company) is $0.17/load.

This recipe costs $0.20 per load with the cruelty-free ingredients in this post. For a cheaper homemade laundry detergent recipe see my mom’s recipe.

Cruelty-Free Laundry Detergent

What do you need?

Because Arm & Hammer tests their products on animals, I chose to buy baking soda through Mountain Rose Herbs ($0.18/oz). Bob’s Red Mill baking soda ($0.31/oz) is also a cruelty-free. I made my own washing soda by baking the baking soda.

Cruelty-Free Laundry Detergent

The common soap bar used in most homemade laundry detergent recipes is the tallow-based Fels Naptha soap bar. Fels Naptha is owned by Dial which is a company that tests on animals. Dr. Bronner’s soap bars are fair-trade certified and cruelty-free plus they smell amazing. I’ve tried Mrs. Meyer’s soap bars as well, but they had an overwhelming and unpleasant smell (like really bad candles).

It only costs around $8.00 for the ingredients above, which is good for 30-40 loads.

Why don’t I use Borax?

I chose not to use 20 Mule Team Borax because it is now owned by Dial (which does animal testing) and because it’s harsh on cloth diaper covers and babies’ bums. (Borax also has insecticidal properties and is toxic to dogs). If you wanted to add borax to your detergent, you can replace a cup of washing soda with borax from Mountain Rose Herbs.

How to make cruelty-free laundry detergent:

  • 1 bar of castile soap, shredded and crumbled. I used my mom’s salad shooter, but you can also use a food processor or good ol’ cheese grater. Then I used my hands to crumble the gratings.
  • 2 cups of homemade washing soda

Mix together and store in a glass container. When you’re ready to wash your laundry, throw in 1 Tbsp of the detergent into the washing machine.

Cruelty-Free Laundry Detergent


Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 4.45.35 PM

Enjoy your washing!

Do you make your own laundry detergent? Tell us about it below!

Comment below, or contact Lauren today for a Cloth Diaper Consultation.


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