I decided to try to make my own laundry detergent. I have a top loading super capacity machine (I can fit my King Size Comforter and sheets in there with no issue), so I don't know how it would work on an HE machine, but from the reviews I've read, people LOVE it.
I was kinda skeptical, but I figure if almost everyone on the internet is trying it and seeming to like it, it can't be THAT bad! I have been using this for a week now and honestly, I love it! The very first load I washed with the liquid, I needed to rewash, but only because I didn't use enough of it (I didn't even think about it, and used the same as I normally do with my super concentrated stuff). Once I figured out I needed about twice as much as before, things have been great! I haven't taken any before/after pictures, but when I pulled E's shirt out of the washer this morning, I wished I would have! He had it covered in ketchup, applesauce and some chocolate mixed in which had sat over night and was pretty much ground in/dried up. I tossed it in without pre-treating just to see how it would do (Could always re-wash later, right?). It came out GREAT! I also got the "opportunity" to see how it would work on smells--Someone had an accident on the sheets, so I got to wash urine smell. No residual smell at all. I do always use vinegar as a fabric softener now as well, so that may have helped with the smell, but either way, I was happy with the results.
There are tons of recipes out there for it, and most are pretty much the same. The one I followed last weekend was listed here. It was literally the first one on Google that day (and today, apparently, as I forgot to bookmark it). I started the process in the afternoon, and it was done and ready to go by the next afternoon (It needs to sit for quite a while).
I had a hard time finding the Fels Naptha and Washing Soda at first, but they now carry it in my Wal-Mart laundry aisle. I think I've paid probably $20 for everything to get started on this, and this includes:
1-5 gallon bucket w/ Lid ($5 at Menards)
1 Paint Stirrer Attachment for the drill ($7)
1 Cheese Grater for the soap ($2)
1 box of Washing Soda ($3)
1 box of Borax ($3)
1 bar of Fels Naptha ($1)
$ 21--However, most of these items will be used for many batches.
First I grated up the bar of Fels Naptha with the cheese grater. I'd read reviews, and it doesn't matter how fine you grate it, so I just used the regular "shred" style. (Note: When I made the dry soap, which will be listed below, I did wish I grated it up a bit more, but it's not a deal breaker). I pretty much followed the instructions step by step and have been using it for a week now. It made enough to fill my All Container with a the pour spout and a giant vinegar bottle.
I also decided that since I had a ton of leftover ingredients, I would go ahead and make a batch of this recipe, which is dry.
I've only used the powdered for towels and blankets so far, but I really am liking it as well. I've heard it doesn't do as well in Cold water (doesn't dissolve completely) but I've been using hot water with it and no issues so far.