Zero-Waste Laundry

Zero-Waste Laundry

A quick & clean guide to eliminate plastic- and chemical-laden laundry products from your home to save your wallet & the environment. If you're skeptical about the need to switch over your laundry products—one of the biggest sourced of plastic consumption—over to these options, please give this piece by Plastic Pollution Coalition a read.


Option 1: Powder Detergent


Note: these can all be found in the bulk bin of your local health food store or for cheaper at your grocery store as well. Please opt for the bulk or buying the ingredients in paper packaging, which can be recycled.



  1. Grate your castille soap bars with a grater or a food processor.

  2. Make your washing soda if you're not buying it ready by following the directions below.

  3. Place all ingredients—the grated soap, washing soda, and borax—in a large glass or reused container. You can also blend the ingredients in a high-speed blender to make it into a finer powder.


Directions for Making Washing Soda

  1. Buy baking soda and bake 3 cups of it spread out to an inch-thick layer on a baking tray at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes with a wooden spoon.

Use this option with a tablespoon per small and up to 4 tablespoons per large or dirty load.

Option 2: Liquid Detergent



  • Same as above

  • Plus 4 cups of boiling water


  1. Follow the directions above except for the third step.

  2. Once you have grated the soap bars, pour into a large glass container. Make sure the container has been washed with warm to hot water to ensure it won't shatter with the boiling water.

  3. Pour the boiling water into the glass container with the grater soap bars and wait until they dissolve.

  4. Add the remaining dry ingredients into your jar, mix, and let it cool overnight.

Use this option with a 1/4 cup per small and up to 6 tablespoons per large or dirty load.

Another note here is to make sure to not inhale or directly get your hands into washing soda, as it's a skin irritant. Wash your hands well if you have and pour the powder out in a well-ventilated area.


Drying & Scents

Most of us find the smell of fresh laundry comforting and as a signifier for clean clothes. So many often opt for dryer sheets or fragranced softeners to attain this. 

Instead, we recommend either air-drying for an über economical & environemntally-friendly option. You can hang your clothes outside if you have the space or hang them in one of these. This is also the vegan option since the second option below has animal by-product.

You could also use wool dryer balls. You can put drops of your favourite essential oil on them to scent your clothes. Dryer balls reduce drying time as they soak up extra water and allow for better tumble drying. 

They last years, unlike the pushing need to buy more dryer sheets.

About the Author

Almila Kakinc-Dodd is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief of The Thirlby. She is also the author of the book The Thirlby: A Field Guide to a Vibrant Mind, Body, & Soul. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Nursing as a Dean’s Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. Her background is in Anthropology & Literature, which she has further enriched through her Integrative Health Practitioner training at Duke University. She lives in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, where she regularly contributes to various publications. She is a member of Democratic Socialists of America and urges others to join the movement.

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