here at Rhonda's wonderful Down-To-Earth blog. She also has pictures along with her recipe that you might want to look at, too.
1/2 cup Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/2 cup Twenty Mule Team Borax
1 cup grated Fels Naptha or Zote laundry soap
Note: One thing before I go any further concerning the grated soap. It seemed like it took FOREVER to completely dissolve, so I decided that next time I will put the grated soap in my food processor to chop it into finer pieces to cut down on time!
In a saucepan, pour in 1 quart of water and add the Washing Soda, Borax, and grated soap. Heat this and stir until everything is completely dissolved. Just make sure you don't do this on a heat high enough to boil or you will have a big mess to clean up!
Next, pour 8 quarts of cold water into a clean bucket (I used a 5-gallon bucket we bought at Home Depot ages ago).
Once the hot soap mixture is done, pour it into the bucket and stir. You'll notice that it will start to gel fairly quick and that's ok. When you fill your containers, leave a good 2 to 3 inch space at the top so you can shake the liquid before each use because as it sits, the soap will separate but that's normal.
You can see that the larger jug held most of the liquid!
I don't have the exact cost of this, but my husband and I did a rough estimate. For a little over 2 gallons of laundry liquid we figured it cost somewhere around $1.75 to $2.00. Compare that to an equal amount of the big name brand liquids and the savings is tremendous, not to mention that you're only using a 1/4 cup per load (maybe a 1/2 cup for larger, heavily soiled loads).
For me, the cost savings also goes further because I no longer use liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets. Apart from being expensive, they have a lot of chemicals, dyes, and fragrances that can irritate your skin and really, just aren't necessary! I use a cup of plain white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Vinegar not only kills germs, it also cuts any remaining soap from your clothing AND is a natural fabric softener. Even taking clothes out of the washer, I can barely get a hint of vinegar and once the clothes are dry, there is no odor at all (just in case you were worried about that).
If you happen to notice that your whites are graying slightly after a while, Rhonda suggests adding a scoop of Oxy Clean, or something similar, to the wash load every so often to remedy the problem.
Please let me know how this works for you, especially if you've never made something like this before. I've done a few loads of clothes while writing this, and everything looks wonderfully clean and smells great!
Happy washing! :)