I have embarked on my journey to diy laundry soap, and a journey it has been. Most of the recipes I found on the net have been roughly the same, but the one I went with was from http://whynotsew.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-to-make-homemade-laundry-detergent.html She has great visual instructions and lots of Q&A in the comments section. Check out her site.
My Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe
1 bar soap (any laundry or body soap, I use Sard)
1c washing soda
Grate soap into large stock pot. Add 3.5lt water and bring to simmer to melt soap.
Add borax and washing soda. Stir until melted and slightly thickened.
Add another 3.5lt cold water to mix. Leave to cool.
Store in covered bucket.
Use 1/2 to 1cup per load
Even with all ths useful info on Erin's site, I have had to tweek how to use the soap. The laundry liquid turns out anything but liquid. It is really thick and gel like, and because I have a high efficiency (HE) top loader and wash in cool water, it does not have a good chance to dissolve into the washing water.
So, to combat this problem, I first was microwaving the dosage in a china mug until it melted and adding this to the detergent dispenser. But I found this was not ideal, as all the soap was still not mixing into the wash, leaving some lumps remaining in the dispenser. So on to plan B.
Add dose of laundry soap to large, screw top, plastic container. Add hot tap water to container. Screw closed and shake well, gently releasing any built up pressure occasionally by slightly opening lid. Add well shaken mixture to washing machine bowl, not soap dispenser and put clothes on top.
This option works really well.
***Edited 21 Jan 2012 - Now I just shake up the measured amount in the screw top container and add to machine. No melting, adding water or whatever. Just shake and add!!
The soap itself works just as well as any commercial product, without the phosphates, dyes and fragrances!! Instead of fabric softener, I use white vinegar, just fill up the softener dispenser to the top. The soap works just as well without the vinegar rinse. I like to use the vinegar as much for cleaning the washing machine bowl as for rinsing the clothes. There is no vinegar smell at the end of the wash. Because the soap has no added fragrances, the laundry comes out smelling clean, not like anything, just clean. That's all I want from a laundry soap!! If you like your laundry to have a fragrance, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil(s). What ever works for you.
The cost per load is the deal maker for me. It works out to about 5cents per load. That's right... 5cents!!! Considering my regular detergent costs upward of 50cents per load. That is a considerable saving in my book! Even with the little bit of extra effort, it is sooo worth it.
So... will you try your own laundry soap? Let me know how you go!!