This is the recipe that I use, there are other variations and it's fairly easy to variate it according to your personal needs.
You will need :
**1 good sized clean bucket, with a lid, I use the Scoop Away kitty litter buckets
**Arm & Hammer Washing Soda - this is different than Baking Soda, do not confuse the two! can usually be found at some grocery stores - HEB, Kroger, Reasor's to name a few.
**Borax 20 Mule Team - easy to find at Wal-Mart, etc
**Bar Ivory soap or Nel Fals bar soap, grated
**Large pan for boiling - I use an old stock pan that I don't make use of otherwise.
**Wooden spoon, paint stir stick, something durable that you can stir with, plastic doesn't seem to do quite as well as wooden.
**Old laundry detergent bottle(s)
OxyClean powder (or similar product), including the OxyClean does make the price a bit higher, but for badly grimy clothes it works great as a booster to the detergent itself.
Essential oils, scent of your choice
1. Put large stock pan on the stove, add a half gallon of water.
2. Grate the bar of soap, add it to the water, start it boiling.
3. Boil the water, with the soap, until the soap is completely liquefied - VERY important! You do not want to see any solid flakes, at all. I use an old wooden spoon to stir & check.
4. After the bar of soap is liquefied, add 1 cup of the washing soda, 1 cup of the Borax, & one cup of the OxyClean (or similar product), if using the OxyClean, and add in another half gallon of water, boil until all ingredients are dissolved.
5. In your bucket have 1 gallon of cold water waiting.
6. Add the boiling water to the cold water.
7. Mix well.
8. Add in another half gallon of water, mix.
9. Add in 10-15 (or so) drops of the essential oils - basically whatever your desire is on strength of scent.
10. Use the funnel to pour into old detergent bottles, but leave room to shake the bottle.
11. As the detergent cools it has a tendency to separate & thicken - shake well before each use to remix.
12. Store any left over detergent in the bucket with a lid, stir well before refilling your container.
13. Use as you would regular detergent, safe for both HE and regular washing machines. For more soiled clothes just add more detergent, up to 1.5 cups.
Estimated initial start-up cost is less than $20. When making the detergent without the OxyClean the cost per 2 1/2 gallons of detergent is roughly $1.25. Two and a half gallons of Tide will run you an average of $60. Adding the OxyClean ups your start up cost to roughly $30, if using the Name Brand, off brand can be found for $2-4, and the price per 2 1/2 gallons is about $2.50. This, in my person opinion & experience, out preforms Tide & similar products.