How to Make Your Own Laundry Pods

two hands hold homemade DIY white laundry pods on gray countertop

Treehugger / Jordan Provost

Overview
  • Working Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 day
  • Yield: 8-10 pods
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $20

Ah, laundry pods. Introduced in 2012 by Proctor & Gamble in the form of Tide Pods, these concentrated and candy-colored packets of detergent have swept the marketplace, not to mention the news.

While laundry pods may have their advantages if you're unable to pour liquid or measure out powders, it's hard not to see them as a marketing ploy, a way to boost sales of a product that, at this point, doesn't have much in the way of innovation left. Indeed, laundry pods aren't even all that new. Proctor & Gamble developed Salvo laundry tablets in the 1960s, but the product never caught on with consumers and was discontinued in the 1970s.

Sure, they may have just been pucks of detergent without the "cool" colors, but the principle is basically the same: drop in pre-measured blocks of detergent and call it a day. Yet the non-colored versions don't seem to have the same dangerous appeal that has led small children to eat them and some teens to poison themselves on YouTube. Since 2015, Consumer Reports has discouraged people from buying laundry pods until they're much safer for small kids.

What You'll Need

Tools

  • 1 food grater
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 ice cube tray

Ingredients

  • 1 bar of castile soap
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of Epsom salts
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 10 drops of essential oil

Instructions

flat lay of ingredients and tools needed to make laundry pods, includes soap and grater

Treehugger / Jordan Provost

If you want the convenience of laundry pods without shelling out the cash, you can make your own. Homemade laundry pods won't look as nifty but they'll still get your laundry clean. Making them can be a little messy, however, since you have to pack the detergent into molds, typically ice trays.

This recipe calls for castile soap, washing soda, baking soda and Epsom salts for their cleaning power. Some drops of essential lemon oils provide the scent.

Vinegar is also useful in the case of DIY laundry pods because it makes the soap mixture a little clumpy as well. You need that clumpiness to form the detergent into pods.

The results of these homemade laundry pods, ironically enough, are basically pucks of detergent, not unlike Proctor & Gamble's failed Salvo product.

  1. Grate soap

    hands grate castile soap with metal grater into stainless mixing bowl

    Treehugger / Jordan Provost

    Grate your bar of castile soap into a large mixing bowl.

  2. Stir it up

    hands mix dried soap in stainless steel bowl to make laundry pods

    Treehugger / Jordan Provost

    Add washing soda, Epsom salts, and white vinegar to bowl and stir until combined.

  3. Pack the pods

    hands use wooden spoon to pack white ice cube tray with diy laundry pod mixture

    Treehugger / Jordan Provost

    Pack the clumpy mixture into ice cube trays. Let dry for at least 24 hours.

  4. Remove and store

    large glass jar with metal screw-lid and chalk label is filled with DIY laundry detergent pods

    Treehugger / Jordan Provost

    Pop the pods out of the ice cube tray and store in an airtight container.