Less is More: What Makes Thieves Laundry Soap Different

19 September 10, 2015 - At Home, Cleaning with Young Living

When we formulated Thieves® Laundry Soap, there were two major questions we asked ourselves: what ingredients do we include? And, almost as importantly, what ingredients do we leave out?

Like other products in Young Living’s household cleaner lineup, Thieves Laundry Soap’s purpose is to provide our members with a true clean provided by a plant-based formula that is free from harsh additives. What are those additives? Here are three common ingredients that you may not have known about, plus a few tips on naturally keeping clothes white.


Optical Brighteners

Many popular laundry detergents contain optical brighteners to give clothes the appearance of being clean and white. By reflecting blue light, optical brighteners give the illusion of fabrics that look whiter than they actually are. These chemicals are designed to absorb into fabrics and remain on clothes after washing.

Thieves Laundry Soap is free from optical brighteners, because you don’t want your clothes to just look clean—you want them to actually be clean! Our plant-based formula uses pure essential oils and natural cleansing enzymes to wash your clothes and keep them fresh.

If you’re looking to keep your whites bright without adding synthetic chemicals to the wash, try one of these easy alternatives:

  • If you see stains on your clothes, pretreat them before washing.
  • Don’t mix your whites with other colors in the wash. Launder them in an all-white load and use hot water.
  • To whiten small items like socks or napkins, fill a pot with water and a few lemon slices, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and add linens. Soak for up to an hour, then launder as usual.
  • For an extra brightening boost for whites, hang them dry in the sun for natural bleaching!
 Thieves Laundry Soap


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, is a cleansing agent widely used in products like soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and laundry detergents. It is used so often because it’s inexpensive and produces lots of foamy lather. Many people are concerned about SLS in their products because it can sometimes cause irritation, itchiness, and may have other unknown side effects.

Thieves Laundry Soap is free from SLS and other sulfates. The cleaning power behind Thieves Laundry Soap comes from pure essential oils and natural enzymes.

Synthetic Perfumes

Some people consider synthetic perfumes to be problematic because companies aren’t required to disclose the exact ingredients in the fragrances. But as the world leader in essential oils, we prefer to work with the refreshing scents of the pure essential oils that set us apart. Bergamot, Jade Lemon, and the essential oils in our Thieves blend provide a refreshing scent without any hidden synthetic fragrances.


What tips do you have for naturally keeping your clothes looking their best? Share with us in the comments!


—Gloria Russo, International and Portfolio Brand Manager—Personal Care

  • Elaine

    I use Thieves Household Cleaner in a spray bottle, slightly diluted, to help with spots and stains on clothes. Just spray on and let set awhile, then toss in the washer with Thieves Laundry Soap and use white vinegar as fabric softener. I don’t add any fabric softener/dryer sheets to the dryer.

  • Christon Alister

    Thieves Laundry Soap is the best laundry soap I have ever used that is made of therapeutic grade essential oil components without any harsh chemicals & toxic compounds that are irritating to the skin. I would highly recommend it & give a thumbs up for this product. Way to go, YL.

  • Saskia J.

    Thieves Laundry Soap is the best I ever used! Makes my laundry soft, clean and non-static in the dryer! Totally mind-blowing. I never used dryer sheets anyways put then put up with the static crackling and a big ball of sheets. Not anymore…thank you. So grateful!

  • Laura Talman

    Is this safe in a gray water system?

    • Young Living

      Hi Laura, Given that the label directions are followed, the amount being released into the water system would not be cause for concern, as the amount would be a few cap-fulls at a time and then being diluted via water even further. As long as members are not dumping whole bottles down their drains and again that the label directions are followed the product should be considered safe for use and will perform per the label directions. We hope this information is helpful!

  • Barbara A Brazeau

    Are thieves cleaning products safe for septic systems?

    • Young Living

      Hi Barbara, We do not expect the Thieves® household products to pose any issues for a septic system if used according to the label directions. Thanks for stopping by!

  • TwizzNit

    where can I find a list of ingredients in this product? The link posted above is no longer valid. Thank you.

  • Hillary Riviere

    Is this safe to use on infants?

    • Young Living

      Hi Hillary, Our Thieves® Laundry Soap is safe for use with babies garments. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jill Claggett

    Does the laundry soap contain Betaine? Do any of the YL products contain Betaine?

    • Young Living

      Hi Jill, The Thieves Laundry Soap does not contain Betaine. The full ingredient list for each of our products can be viewed on our website here. Thanks for stopping by with your question!

  • Jamie

    Hi! Would I be able to use this detergent to hand wash woolens?

    • Young Living

      Hi Jamie, At this time, we have not tested the Thieves® Laundry Soap with wool items specifically. However, we do not anticipate any issues with using this product in conjunction with woolens. Thanks for stopping by with your question!

  • Christine

    I need to have something other than the 1/4 or 1/2 cap for measuring. My group sees a cap and figures “fill it up.”
    How many teaspoons or tablespoons for each 1/4 cap and for 1/2 cap?
    I have large-capacity top loading washer and typical dirty laundry.
    Would I need more than 1/2 cap?
    I use cool or warm water to wash.

  • Danielle Stanke

    Does this laundry soap make your clothes smell like thieves, if I use will I end up smelling like thieves all day?

    • Young Living

      Hi Danielle, Great question. The Thieves® Laundry Soap will leave your clothes smelling fresh and clean with a light citrus scent. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Nataly

    Hi, for your standard amount of 1/4 capful, this applies to how many kilograms of wash? (mine is a 11 kg front load washing machine)

    • Young Living

      Hi Nataly, Great question. We recommend starting with 1/2 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon. Due to the size of your washer you may need to experiment with the amount of detergent needed depending on the load. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jamie

    I love every Thieves product! It would be awesome if you could make dishwasher detergent!

  • Thieves Laundry Detergent is one of my most favorite YL products! I am so pleased with it!

  • Peggy

    My husband is a Pipe Fitter and his work clothes are full of Chimicles oil dust grime just about everything and anything that he gets into inside/out of pipes or just working inside the factory. On that note, I have a large HE washing machine, a 1/4 is used for normal loads, what is your advice for my husbands work clothes??

    • Young Living

      Hello Peggy, The directions for the Thieves® Laundry Soap recommends using more, as needed, for heavily soiled loads. We suggest experimenting to see what works best for your husband’s work clothes. You can also use the Thieves Laundry Soap to pretreat fabrics by pouring it directly onto stains, rubbing gently and allowing it to soak before washing. Thanks for stopping by!

  • I have no dryer, just a clothesline in the basement in the winter, which humidifies the air in the house, a clothesline outside from my deck to dry in the summer sun! Laundry is my ultimate favorite household chore. The sun even makes the smell of the natural essential oils better when I take the laundry inside again! Love it!

  • Joy

    After using grocery store laundry detergents, it hard to believe that 1/4 of that little cup with get a load of clothes clean, but it does! I love it!

  • Amy

    Young Living – are you able to in the future make marks on the lid to know where to fill for standard and HE washers? It would be very helpful and appreciated.

    • Hi Amy, The ½ capful amount is about where the rim of the bottle meets the cap and the ¼ capful would be half of that. We appreciate your suggestion and will forward it on to the appropriate department for future consideration.

  • Thieves Laundry Soap is a great detergent. You are so right that your clothes don`t just look clean. Thank you for sharing this post! Best regards!

  • Abela Moorey

    Love it! This is a great post. I like this topic. This blog helps me in many ways. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work and for sharing this kind of info.

  • Very Interesting

  • Helen Scott

    Well, I’m in week 2! Still so green hahaha. I received my Thieves laundry soap yesterday and couldn’t wait to use it! Wow, I have to say I love it. My clothes just smell fabulous. So looking forward to learning more and getting into more products. Thanks!

  • I am adding this to my November ER order. I cannot wait to give it a try!

  • Michelle Schaefer

    This is going to be part of my next order. So excited to be slowly removing toxic cleaners from my home.

  • Tracy

    I have the same question several others have asked, but I don’t see it answered anywhere, or did I miss it?
    About the amount used—–is it 1/4 capful when you figure a capful to mean all the way to the very top, or just to where the cap widens to fit the bottle?

    • Young Living

      Hi Tracy, Great question. The ½ capful amount is about where the rim of the bottle meets the cap and the ¼ capful would be half of that.

  • Kelli

    Does the Thieves Laundry Soap disinfect as well?

    • Young Living

      Thank you for your question, Kelli. Thieves Laundry Soap will gently and naturally wash clothes leaving them truly clean.

  • Love the new laundry soap my clothes feel lighter and whiter very pleased, I have tried other organic brands this is by far the best, thanks #YOUNGLIVINGOILS

  • Mary Thorstad

    Can you please tell me how much you use in a HE washer? About how loads do you get out of one bottle?

    • Young Living

      Hi Mary! Use ¼ cap for high-efficiency washers. There are approximately 64 loads per bottle.

  • Helen Ens

    Please bring it to Canada. I just ordered the dish soap waiting for it to arrive. But how do u pre-soak in a front loading? I usually do it in my bathtub. Which then means all this good product just goes down the drain. And if I do it in a pail and pour it into the machine it drains everything before it starts.

    • Sue Peters

      I soak in my front load washer….just not in a ton of water. I turn it on and rotate the clothes a couple of times during the soaking just to keep them wet. Works wonderfully.

    • Young Living

      Helen, Thieves Laundry Soap can be used for pre-treating by pouring the soap directly onto the clothing, rubbing it in and then letting it soak the item before laundering. It is not necessary to rinse the garment prior to washing. Thanks for your question!

  • Nicole Sigman

    Thoughts on using this with cloth diapers and the effect it might have on absorbency?

    • My sister has been using it on her cloth diapers since convention and I have for about a month. Neither of us are having any issues! We used the thieves household cleaner before:)

      • christine weimer

        How much do you use for pre-wash and how much for regular wash cycles on diapers? I have an HE top-load I wash my cloth diapers with.

        • Young Living

          Hi Christine. Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, we have not yet tested the Laundry Soap specifically with cloth diapers. We would suggest experimenting to see what works best for you.

  • I’ve been using the laundry detergent since the convention. Was so excited to get home and start using it. I have the old top load washer and use only 1/4 – 1/2 capfull depending on how soiled. It more than met my expectations. Before I used Thieves HH Cleaner in my regular detergent. Thieves Laundry Detergent is way better NO more bad additives on my skin. For my whites I’ve always, and continue, to put 1/3 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup of vinegar. I also use vinegar for my softener with a few drops of my choice of Essential Oils. Hang to dry – so fresh smelling. For the few items I put in dryer I will add a few drops of EO on a wool ball. Thank you YL for continuing to improve my quality of life.

  • sharry

    I use baking soda to whiten & brighten.
    Vinegar to soften. Had been using essential oils to make dryer sheets. Can’t wait to try Thieves laundry soap! 1 step closer to natural!!

    • suzy note

      Sharry, How do you make your dryer sheets? I am searching for some ideas! Thanks!

      • Alan Way

        We use wool balls to help with static in dryer

  • Margaret Stone

    Is this safe for septic tank? Thanks

    • Young Living

      Hi Margaret! We do not expect the Thieves® Laundry Soap to pose any issues for a septic system if used according to the label directions. Hope this is helpful!

  • Rita

    This product is interesting. I’m wondering if it would be safe for cloth diapers? My main concerns would be, does it leave any sort of residue that could cause my diapers to be less absorbant? Also, are the enzymes such that might break down PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) over time?

    • Young Living

      At this time, we have not tested the Thieves Laundry Soap with cloth diapers specifically. However, we do not anticipate any issues with using this product in conjunction with cloth diapers. You may want to test the product on a small area at first to determine if it is compatible with the specific cloth diapers you use.

  • I have a question about using Thieves laundry detergent on cloth diapers. Most modern cloth diapers have a layer of PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) or TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) built into the diaper as a waterproofing element. I am worried that the Thieves laundry soap would cause this material to break down and become less waterproof, since we know that essential oils such as Lemon can dissolve plastics. Do you have any information about how Thieves laundry soap would interact with these materials over time? Cloth diapers are expensive and I do not want to ruin them. Thank you!

    • Young Living

      At this time, we have not tested the Thieves Laundry Soap with cloth diapers specifically. However, we do not anticipate any issues with using this product in conjunction with cloth diapers. You may want to test the product on a small area at first to determine if it is compatible with the specific cloth diapers you use.

  • Leslie

    So many helpful ideas I am actually excited to do my laundry! Thanx everyone!

  • Shirley Porras

    I first purchased Thieves Laundry Soap at convention. I am still confused about the amount to use. I have a HE washer and understand 1/4 cap is recommended but is that 1/4th of the entire size of the cap. How much is 1/4 cap in tablespoons?

    • Suzanne

      I have the same question!

      • Judy

        Same question too

      • Bette

        I have an HE washer also, is this compliant?

    • Steve Merrill

      We have an HE washer. Yes, it’s compliant. The container is 32 ounces, so each load in an HE washer would be 1/2 ounce – or 1 tablespoon. I believe there’s a marking on the cap that is a 1/2 cap – so half of that is the HE amount.

  • Kimberly

    Where can I find a list of the ingredients that ARE in this? I am allergic to coconut and coconut oil derivatives, so I need to make sure it doesn’t appear anywhere in this before I can safely try it (my allergy causes death, so I can’t take chances!). It helps that there is no SLS as that is a coconut oil derivative, but I find coconut still manages to find its way into products w/o the SLS.

  • Mary

    I use vinegar as fabric softener/rinse agent. Works great!

  • I have been using the Thieves Laundry soap since it was available and I have been very satisfied. I have well water and it makes everything smell, so it has been a joy to have good smelling cloths lately without the added chemicals of the usual products. It is a must on my Essential Rewards order for sure.

    • Young Living

      Great to hear! Thanks for sharing Melanie!

  • Beth Etheridge

    I just started using the Thieves Laundry soap about 2 weeks ago and I absolutely love it! I am allergic to so many soaps because of all the additives and I am glad young living finally made laundry detergent. I was using the Thieves household cleaner before in my laundry. It actually worked great also. But this is much better! My clothes are so fresh, I love the difference! And I just use a little bit of vinegar for fabric softener. Thanks Young Living for no more chemicals & keeping me itch free!

    • Young Living

      Great to hear! Thanks for sharing, Beth!

    • Paige

      Beth, Do you just add a little bit of vinegar in your washer as fabric softener? Or at what stage and how do you apply the vinegar? I’d like to try it!


    Thinking I’d like to try this product.

  • mary richardson

    Can’t wait to get mine.

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