This summer I started making my own laundry detergent. It's so incredibly easy and quick to make. It's thrifty. And by not purchasing a bottle of laundry detergent, I'm not throwing plastic into a recycle bin.
There are a lot of recipes online. Do a search and you can find plenty. I tried several and this is the one that I like the most. I found all the ingredients in the laundry aisle at the grocery store.
1/2 bar Fels-Naptha soap (or Ivory, it works well too)
1/2 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda!)
1/2 cup Borax
2 gallons water
Grate the soap. I just use my regular grater and throw it in the dishwasher when I'm done.
It rather looks like cheese.
Place your soap shavings and 6 cups of water in a good sized pot. (Here too, I use something right out of the kitchen cabinet and run it through the dishwasher. As of yet we have not suffered soap poisoning or any ill effects, but have a lovely, super-clean pot.)
Put it over medium-high heat, and stir until all the shavings melt. Things will get a little bubbly.
While that's melting, heat 4 cups of water in the microwave.
Once the shavings are melted, add 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup washing soda. The mixture will thicken up a bit. Stir until it's dissolved, and remove from heat.
Pour the 4 cups of hot water from the microwave into a big bucket. (I use a 3-gallon bucket with a lid.) Then pour in the soap mixture from the pot. Stir.
Next, add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water (22 cups total) and stir again.
Let the mixture sit overnight before using it. It'll thicken up considerably, turning to a gloopy, good-smelling gel.
I keep the lid loosely on the bucket, but don't snap it closed. Before using the detergent, I give it a good stir, and then scoop out 1 cup.
It's a gloopy, sludgy mess with some chunks and some runny bits, and it does a fantastic job!!