I started making laundry detergent just before little one was due in December. I wanted her clothing to be free from all of the nasty chemicals that even some baby detergents contain. We started off by making a simple powdered detergent and have graduated to the liquid goopy stuff. Both work great. Here are the recipes:
1 bar of soap*
1/2 cup 100 mule team borax
1/2 cup arm & hammer washing soda
finely grate the bar of soap either in a cuisinart or on a box grater. mix well with the borax and washing soda. use 2tbs on small loads and 3-4 on larger loads.
*you can use any soap that you want. i chose a castille soap because it is free from all the nasty chemicals. a lot of people use fels naptha for this. if you choose to use fels naptha then you only have to use 1/3 of the bar.
i can attest that this works well because i use this on the little one's cloth diapers. however when i do diapers i toss in a little extra borax and hang them in the sun to dry. the sun gets out any remaining stains so i don't have to worry about nasty chemically stain removers.
you will need a large container for storage. we used a 5 gallon bucket from home depot that husband attached a spicket to.
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
1 bar of soap
3 gallons + 4 cups of water (approx)
Finely grate your bar of soap with either a box grater or a cuisinart. Boil about 4 cups of water in a large pan. Once it is boiling turn it down to a simmer and slowly add and mix in the grated soap until it has all melted. Pour your soapy water into your 5 gallon bucket along with 3 gallons of hot tap water. (You want to make sure that everything is hot so that all of the ingredients melt and mix well together.) Add the borax and the washing soda and stir well. Close the container with a lid and let it sit for 24 hrs. Depending on the soap that you use it could be a variety of different textures. But you will be set with this recipe for quite a while. (Which is why we switched to making this recipe.)
the powdered recipe is a collaboration of different recipes that i found scouring the internet. the liquid recipe was borrowed from the simple dollar. check out their website for a fabulous detailed guide.