As of Feb., I have joined the ranks of the legions of folks making their own laundry detergent...it is so easy to do, lasts for a long time and is very, very inexpensive. When I first made it, I tacked a piece of paper above the washer and had everyone make a hash mark everytime they did a load of laundry. At the end of the first bucket of detergent, I added up the number of marks and divided it into the cost detergent and the result was 1/2 cent per load. My cost didn't include the water used to make the detergent. You can't beat 1/2 cent anywhere, under any label. And the detergent cleans well. I got my bucket and lid for free by asking at the Kroger Bakery Dept. if they had any extra and they gave me one. Their icing comes premade in large buckets and if you ask at the right time, you can get the bucket and lid.
1 bar Ivory Soap
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team borax
Grate the bar of soap and put into a large pan. Add 6 cups of water and heat, stir until soap melts. Add Washing Soda and Borax, stir until dissolved. Pour 4 cups hot water into bucket, add soap mixture and stir. Then stir in 2 gallons of water. Let soap sit for 24 hours to gel. Then stir and use. I use 1/4 cup per load for my front load high efficiency washer.
For a top load washer you may need 1/3 to 1/2 cup. I use a long wooden paint stirrer stick from Home Depot to stir and the end.
Homemade Fabric Softener
3 cups water
1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup hair conditioner
Stir together well and put into container. Shake well before each use. Use like downey.
I use the cheapest cond. I can find (usually the coconut scent). And I store this in an old fabric softener bottle. Works great and no static.
Also, I read about just using White Vinegar instead of fabric softener so I thought I would try it. I have used it on our whites for months now (1/3 c.) works really good and no, the whites don't smell like pickles. They don't have a smell at all. It is supposed to help cut down on the softener left in the towels and help them absorb better. Also, at Walmart you can buy a gallon of white vinegar for about $2.50 so this will last a good long time.
I had found a recipe for stain spray but wasn't please with the results. It just didn't cut through the grease, so for right now I am back to 409. I have been able to treat some stains by rubbing a little of the detergent right on the stain and letting it sit a little while. That has been a good alternative, but still doesn't work well on Allen's greasy spots waiter clothes.