Here is my recipe for making homemade laundry detergent. As a recipe, it just so happens to be in a list :)
You will need:
1. 1/2 C Borax
2. 1/2 C Arm and Hammer baking soda OR washing soda (I use baking soda, as washing soda is hard to find)
3. 1 full-size bar of soap, grated (makes about 1 cup)
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Use 1-2 TBS (yes, tablespoon!) per load, depending on how dirty the clothes are.
A few notes:
1. You can either grate the soap using a grater, or you can cut up the bar into small pieces and then use a food processor. The pieces of soap will be a little larger, so either mix the detergent up before you measure it out each time, or let the soap pieces dry out for a few days and then grind them up again.
2. Cheaper soap seems to work best (yeah!). You DON'T want to use any type of moisturizing soap, as it will clump together and make a HUGE mess!
3. Zote or Fels Naptha soaps are called for in the recipes that I found, but I haven't been able to find these soaps. I hear they're available in Mexican grocery stores, but I haven't checked there.
4. I figured out the cost per load to make this, using WalMart prices for Borax and baking soda (I used the cost of 33 cents per bar of soap), and determined that this recipe cost 3 CENTS per tablespoon! The cheapest laundry detergent (which has a lot of phosphates), I have found at 5 cents a load. This detergent works better than my ALL free and clear detergent that I was using, at 12 cents a load.
5. There is also a liquid version of this recipe, if you don't like powder detergent, that can be found over at The Simple Dollar. The liquid recipe makes about 5 gallons.
A big thanks to Frugal Upstate, where I found this recipe!