I just finished making a big batch of laundry detergent. I don't yet know how well it will work, but I'm optimistic after reading the comments on the site where I got the recipe.
I found it here at The Simple Dollar.
I've actually seen the recipe all over the place, but this was the latest one and the one I used. I added some essential oils because I didn't like the smell of the Fels Naptha soap and wanted to cover it as much as possible. I used Orange oil, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil, and Peppermint Oil. Yes, I realize that sounds like a strange combination, but it smelled good to me. As a matter of fact, at one point, before adding the Peppermint, I thought about how weird I am that I actually thought it smelled like it "needed" some mint. But all of those oils, perhaps with the exception of the peppermint which I just don't know about, have antiseptic qualities to them so they should actually help to clean our clothes while helping it smell a little better, too.
Then I used an old All container to pour some of it in. I had one load worth of detergent left in there. That used to be my favorite detergent, but today it just smelled awful compared to what I'd just made. It cleaned relatively well and no one broke out if I used it. Then I tried Melaleuca detergent and liked it better than the All, but it was really expensive and we just can't do that. Then I heard about Charlie's Soap. I really like this stuff! If the homemade stuff doesn't work out, we'll go back to Charlie's Soap. I would highly recommend it to those who don't want to try making their own or are just looking for a really good laundry detergent! It works great! It has no scent at all and got our clothes--even the dirty filthy nasty and sometimes mildewy stuff that a large family on a farm can generate--really clean. From what I've heard, this homemade stuff is as good as Charlie's Soap, yet even cheaper. So we'll see.
There are recipes out there for powdered detergent, but I prefer liquid. So I chose that recipe. It makes 3 1/2 gallons. You're supposed to use anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup per load. We'll be trying that out to see what works. But if you figure it takes a full cup of detergent, there are 52 loads worth in the batch I made today. And I only used about $2-$3 worth of stuff to make this. That's less than some of the cheaper laundry detergents you can buy today, but it is said to work better than Tide. We'll see about that. But certainly it will work at least as well as the cheap stuff. If it isn't better, it's not worth the trouble. But if it really is as good as the Charlie's Soap, it works out to be a LOT cheaper and therefore was very worth my time and effort.
I'll let you know after I wash a few loads.