In an effort to save money and maybe even help the environment a little, I have started making my own laundry detergent. Here's the recipe:
1 cup Grated Soap 1/2 cup Borax 1/2 cup Washing Soda
For the soap, some people use Ivory, others use Fels Naphtha, and I used Zote. I found it at Big Lots for about $.80 a bar. It's bright pink! I used the food processor to grate the soap, first with the grater attachment and then with the regular blade. You have to make sure the pieces of soap are small enough that they'll dissolve in the wash. Borax and Washing Soda are available at the grocery store. Even podunk Columbus had it at the Publix.
Use 1 Tablespoon per load. 2 Tablespoons if it's really dirty stuff. Be forewarned that you want to put the soap in first and blast it with hot or warm water for a few moments before switching to cold if you're doing a cold load. Then put in the clothes. Also, this mixture doesn't suds up. And finally, I put vinegar in a downy fabric softener dispenser so it goes through the rinse. That leaves the clothes fresh feeling and also soft! Yet another great use for vinegar.
The only time I don't use this homemade concoction is when I'm washing cloth diapers. I haven't been brave enough because I'm afraid of the potential buildup. Therefore, I'm still using my tiny bit of Purex for the diapers.
So it really is cheaper to use this method. Most people, of course, use too much detergent in general, so just cutting back could be helpful as well.