This can from an issue of "Simple Times" online newsletter and I thought it might be right up some people's alley...LAUNDRY LIQUID RECIPEby Margaret Van Emmerick -- Brisbane, Australia
I found the following recipe in an issue of "Soft Technology" (now ReNew magazine), a publication of the Alternative Technology Association of Australia
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Grate up one cake of yellow or pure laundry soap or one cup of grated soap ends into a small pot. Add enough *cold* water to 2/3 fill the pot.
Heat until all the soap is dissolved, stirring continuously and making sure it doesn't boil over. I had an accidental discovery one time I made up this brew. I had put the cold water in with the grated soap, had mixed it up and then got distracted. Several hours later I returned to find that the soap had got all nice and soft so I heated that and it liquefied really quickly. Unless I'm in a hurry, I usually do it that way now.
Add the melted soap to one large bucketful of hot water (I use an old nappy bucket because it also has a lid). Lastly add one cup of washing soda (also known as sal soda) and stir until dissolved. Do not do in reverse order or big gluggy lumps will result which are a pest to try and strain.
The mix cools to a huge gelatinous mess but when mixed up again looks like soap out of a pump pack. I usually find that my hands are the best tools for mixing it up again, although in the middle of winter this tends to be a little daunting so a potato masher or similar might do instead.
All preparation takes about 15 minutes (unless I let the grated soap and cold water sit a while first) and costs around 40 cents for an 11 litre bucketful.
I use about 1 litre (4 cups) of soap mix per large (7kg), fairly dirty load, and about 500 ml (2 cups) for smaller and/or less dirty loads. There is also a fairly good chance that I am a bit heavy handed with the stuff and could possibly use less. For smaller machines please do consider using less.
While I think of it, this brew does not suds up very much. Where the water is extremely soft, it may froth up a little.
The mixture is, or should be --- depending on the soap that is used --- phosphate free, reducing our impact on the environment.
I usually add a handful of baking soda (bi-carbonate of soda) to the washing cycle and about a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. The baking soda is to assist in the removal of odours from the wash and the vinegar acts as a mild disinfectant, fabric softener and rinse aid. Some people have been concerned about using vinegar in the washing machine. If I remember correctly, it wasn't recommended for enamel bowled machines. It didn't cause me any difficulties but your mileage may vary.
By the way, washing soda/sal soda and bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda) are NOT one and the same and are NOT interchangeable. Bi-carbonate of soda is NaHCO3. Washing soda is Na2CO3.10H2O.