I searched all over for Washing Soda awhile back and gave up, but I did recently find it at a small grocery store that I had checked before but didn't have it at that time. They had all three ingredients: borax, Fels Naptha bar soap and Washing Soda, something tells me someone else in this town makes their own (wonder who it is!). I know they did not have this before, and when I used to shop there, I asked them to carry a cereal they didn't previously carry and they did, so I have a feeling someone asked them for this stuff. Washing soda seems to be fairly hard to find. If you can't find this stuff, go to your local Mom and Pop type grocery store and ask the manager if he/she would carry it. I bet they would!
Recipe: (I have read a few different ones, I settled on this one)
One bar of grated Fels Naptha soap, 1 1/4 cup borax, 1 1/4 cup washing soda.
Or - 1 cup grated soap, 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda.
I grated the bar of soap, but when it mixed in with the borax and soda, the perfectionist in me said, "With those big flakes how can I get close to scooping out an equal proportion?"
So I threw the flakes in the food processor. Much better. I am storing it in an ice cream bucket.
or: UPDATE - you can use the side of the grater that looks like someone just punched holes in it. Never knew what that side was for, but it's perfect for making it into a fine powder dust, I no longer use the food processor.
Here's the price break down.
I have been buying Charlie's soap, since I was unhappy with store laundry soap because things weren't getting clean anymore. For 80 loads at $15.49, it costs 19 cents a load.
Fels Naptha Soap = 99 cents makes about 2 1/2 cups grated = 40 cents/cup
Borax = $3.79 for 9 1/2 cups = 40 cents / cup
Washing Soda = $2.79 for 7 cups = 40 cents/cup
Cool, all 40 cents a cup! So no matter what proportion I make, it is 40 cents a cup.
16 Tablespoons equal one cup, so 2.5 cents for one tablespoon (recommended for lightly soiled laundry), 5 cents for two tablespoons recommended for heavy soiled laundry.
80 loads of Charlie's soap is $15.49.
80 loads Homemade soap is $ 2 - $4. Definitely worth the time to grate soap!
UPDATE: I have made this detergent using my normal bathroom soap bar, Ivory soap, which makes it cheaper and less fragrant. It works well, but not really for heavily soiled items like my husband's work clothes. So, I returned to using Fels Naptha.
UPDATE II: Unless you want to convert this into liquid soap by boiling it with water, this soap will leave linty like residue on your really dark/black fabrics. I'm too lazy to convert it (Find directions to make the above into liquid here, actually now that I type this, I'll go make some to see if it keeps the linty black from happening) until then I gave up and ordered Charlie's soap for my blacks.