For quite a while now, I've been making my own laundry detergent. It is cheap, easy and (best of all) non-toxic to either my family or the environment. Lots of people have asked me what I use and how I do it, so here ya go...
I use Borax, washing soda, and vegetable soap. That's it. I have glass jars to store all of the ingredients in as glass is always preferable to plastic. When I get low on detergent, it only takes a few minutes to whip up another batch. I got the recipe from a group based out of Missoula, MT called Women's Voices for the Earth. For more tips and do-it-yourself cleaning supply recipes, check them out here...http://www.womensvoices.org/
We have hard water, so I use the appropriate variation of the recipe which is as follows:
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup soap flakes (make them by grating any pure vegetable soap)
Mix together. Use 1T per load or 2T for more soiled loads.
Yep, that's it. If you prefer a liquid detergent, I have seen lots of different recipes out there on the web. It really takes a minimal amount of time to make your own. To me, it's totally worth the effort.
One of the things that we try to avoid in this house is pthalates, which are found in most scented products. If you want your laundry to smell nice, but without the toxic chemicals, try using essential oils. Sophie at Gorgeously Green http://www.gorgeouslygreen.com/ recommends this: