2 cups bar soap (Ivory-what we use, Fels Naptha, or Zote. You can't use just any soap. It has to be one of these as they are low-foaming)
2 cups borax (found in the laundry section of your local big box store)
2 cups washing soda (do not confuse this with baking soda, they are not the same thing. You can find this in the laundry section of many grocery stores or on-line)
Step 1: Grate the soap. You can use a cheese grater or a knife and cutting board. Just make sure you shave it into very small pieces! This is the most difficult and longest process of the whole deal and it only takes about 10 minutes! :o) Place the soap shavings in a 1 gallon ice cream bucket. Mine happens to be 5 quart, doesn't really matter much. Place the bucket in your kitchen sink.
Step 2: On the stove, heat 1 quart of water to a rolling boil. Pour into the bucket with the soap shavings and stir with a whisk till all the soap is melted. If there are a few small pieces floating, it's alright, they will eventually dissolve.
Step 3: Add in the borax and washing soda. Again, stir with the whisk till they are totally dissolved. At this point, it will look like slightly thinned icing. Note the picture below of it dribbling off the whisk. Looks good enough to lick off the whisk, but by all means, restrain yourself from doing so! It will only bring back bad memories of the first time you back talked your Grandmother! :-P
Step 4: (And this is why we put it in the sink) add in cold water till your bucket is full. Stir lightly with your whisk. You will get some bubbles but try to keep them to a minimum.
Step 5: Put on the lid and allow to sit for at least 24 hours. After that 24 hours, stir well again with the whisk. Make sure you label well!
To use: Stir well and dip out 1/3 of the mix. Pour into a 1 gallon container. You can use another ice cream bucket, a glass pickle jar or an old laundry soap container (this is that I use.) Add in another gallon or so of water, what ever it takes to fill up the container. Every time you use it, give it a little shake or stir.
Use 1/4 cup per regular load. For high efficiency washers you can use even less.
Like I stated before, this works great! And it is cheap too! Less than $2.00 for the pre-mix which makes three containers full once diluted. I would guess that at about 100 loads or so. You can also add some drops of essential oils.
Tea tree- natural antiseptic
Lavender- for smell
Or any other scents you like.