I was talking with a co-worker of mine a few days ago about local foods and sustainability while we were working. He mentioned the homemade laundry soap I had told him I was trying a few months ago to see if it would work. I thought I'd post it here in case he can't find it. One of our local news stations, Fox 8, had posted something on their Facebook account about how much money could be saved with the DIY soap, and after I looked into it some more, it seemed to be a great alternative to dumping tons of plastic into the landfills a month. Much to my delight it actually works in my high-efficiency machine too, because it doesn't suds a lot (which my septic tank seems thankful for too).
Here's the "recipe" for the soap, if you are interested in giving it a whirl. It makes TEN GALLONS, and the only thing you buy again for the next batch is a bar of soap, so it's super cheap!
4 1/2 cups of hot water
1 bar of Fels Naptha Soap (sometimes it's in the laundry aisle, other times by bath stuff)
1 cup washing soda (Buehler's had an Arm & Hammer version by the laundry soap)
1/2 c Borax (laundry aisle, once again)
2 five gallon buckets
Grate the soap bar into a saucepan , add the water, and heat it up, stirring it along the way until the soap is dissolved. Fill one of the 5 gallon buckets half full of hot water and add the Borax and washing soda. Stir in the hot melted soap mixture and mix it all up until it is all dissolved. Now's the time to toss in a few (30 or so) drops of whatever essential oil you want to smell like, if you are into fragrances and whatever. Or just smell like clean. It's your choice.
Top the bucket off with some hot water, cover it and let it sit overnight. It will get all gelatinous and fun. The next day, stir it up, dump half of it into another 5 gallon bucket, and top both buckets off with hot water. Done!
When you need to wash clothes, stir it up a bit, and use about 5/8 cup per regular-sized load. Use a little more directly on stains and such if you need to.