Yesterday, we made laundry detergent. It was easy and made quite a bit of detergent for not much money. All it takes is 2 cups of grated soap (Fels-Naptha, Ivory or Zote), 2 cups of washing soda, and 2 cups of Borax. We used a whole bar of Zote, and about half each of the borax and washing soda and made a double batch. So, the total cost was around $15 for enough soap to do about 200 loads of laundry.
Here's the process. Zote smells a bit citrus-like, which is nice.
Grate the soap, you'll need about 2 cups. A finer grate than this would actually probably be better.
Add the grated soap to boiling water. (It might be easier if you add the soap more slowly while stirring, ours clumped a bit.)
Stir until the soap is completely melted.
Transfer the liquid soap to a good sized bucket. (We're using a well-rinsed cat litter bucket, which is big enough for our double batch.)
Add 2 Cups of Borax and stir. At this point the soap/Borax mixture thickened up quite a bit.
Add 2 Cups of washing soda and stir. Interestingly, this made the mixture thin out again.
Finally, add 2 gallons of water and mix. Laundry detergent done!
I'll report back once we've used it for a while and let you know what we think of it in comparison to "regular" laundry detergent. With an almost-two-year-old in the house and spring around the corner, I suspect it's going to get a workout.