We've been counting every penny since I quit my library job and looking for big and small ways to cut corners. One thing I spend a lot of money on is laundry detergent. Between cloth diapering and the insane amount of clothes worn and shed by two adults and two children, I'm going through gallons of the stuff. I always buy non-toxic, environmentally friendly detergent and those aren't cheap.
So when I came across this age-old, very basic recipe for detergent, I had to try it. There are lots of homemade detergent recipes out there (see the link list below) and unfortunately, from what I've read, most of them won't work on cloth diapers unless you're only using all cotton (and I'm not). So it looks like I'll continue to buy Sun and Earth for the diapers and use the homemade stuff for everything else. At least I'll only be purchasing laundry detergent a few times a year now.
For a basic detergent recipe here's what you'll need:
Natural Castile Soap (I prefer Kirk's Castile soap, but you could use Dr. Bronner's or a bar of homemade castile soap)
Using a cheese grater, shred one bar (approximately 2 cups) of Castile Soap.
Mix shredded soap with 1 Cup of Borax and 1 Cup of Washing Soda.
Pour powdered detergent into a container that holds at least 4 cups. I used an old bee pollen container.
To wash, use 1-2 tablespoons of detergent depending on your preference. I use 2 tablespoons per load. By the way, this is a perfect low-suds detergent for HE machines.
If you feel like experimenting, try some of these recipes for homemade laundry soap:
Tipnut has 10 recipes and lots of tips.
Want to make liquid laundry detergent? Here's a step-by-step tutorial with pictures.
Here's a recipe for liquid detergent using Fels-Naptha.