Though we aren't living on our land yet, the fact that we will be very soon has really inspired me to hunt down and test many of my "do it yourself" recipes. Today I tried washing clothes with my home-made laundry powder, and I'm thrilled to say that it actually does work!
My husband and I both work with dirt: he's a mason, I'm a potter, and together we make a mess of clothing. We also don't have the best washing machine, it tends to move dirt around more than get rid of it, and we've always had trouble getting our clothes really clean and fresh-smelling in this machine.
I was a little uncertain about the powder at first, because the powder doesn't foam up in the machine, and I'm so used to the idea that bubbles clean better than no bubbles at all, but when I hung the first batch of towels to dry I was convinced. Even his work jeans came out clean!
If you're interested in trying the recipe, I used:
3 cups baking soda
2 3/4 cups borax
1 2/3 cups grated castile soap (I used Dr. Bronner's "rose" scented bar)
1/2 teaspoon rose essential oil
1/3 teaspoon patchouli essential oil
The essential oils aren't actually essential in the recipe, the add a lovely scent, but if you don't have any and don't feel like buying any, you really don't have to. I'd still recommend gettting a scented bar of soap.
All you do to make the powder is mix everything together - after grating the soap, and sprinkle in the oils. Then put it in a jar to store. I used about a 1/4 cup per load, but I think I may use 1/6 - 1/5 of a cup in the future.