I chop up a bar of castile soap which I found to be the least expensive so far. I used to use a food processor to grind it up but it "died" awhile back and I haven't replaced it yet. I just lay the bar on my chopping board and slice it thinly and in doing so it falls apart. I then cross chop it to ensure it's chopped up good. You could also use a grater. I forgot to take a picture of it after I chopped it up but I would technically call it "minced"! LOL! You can also use Dr. Bonner soaps and any other pure soap. I've used Fels Naptha soap before too and ran it through my Kitchenaide grinder and it looked like shredded cheddar when I got done. Very pretty but non-edible!
I have a nice sized Lock n' Lock storage container I use and I throw the chopped up Castile Soap in there. I then add 2 cups of Washing Soda, 2 cups of Borax and 1 cup of baking soda.
You can also scent your detergent which I like to do. I need to get some natural pure oils but for now I had to settle for what Wal-mart had which is called a concentrated fragrance oil made for those warmers. I'm pretty sure it's probably artificial but it does scent it but I prefer the all natural oils. BTW, I got all the ingredients at Wal-mart except for the Castile soap which I get at my local grocery store. I have also used Dr. Bonner's natural soaps which are already scented, or not and they are pure but cost more. The more you can do yourself the more money you save. The scents below are Lilac and Linen but you can use whatever you want. Some people use Tea Tree oil for it's anti-bacterial properties. I like to use scents based on the seasons too. In Winter I like pine scent. When I use my dryer I don't notice the scent so much but when I hang on the line I can smell it which is an extra benefit for hanging your clothes on a clothesline.
For mixing and storing I use a 3.8 quart Lock n' Lock container I purchased from QVC but you can use whatever you have on hand. I like the Lock n' Lock because it is waterproof and I can throw all the ingredients in there, lock it up and then just shake it like crazy and it all gets mixed perfectly, scent and all.
There you have it! How to EASILY make your own detergent and save yourself some money! It cleans to my satisfaction and I get pretty dirty sometimes as I garden and do everything myself around here. When you hang your clothes out in the sun it bleaches them a bit so I always hang my whites and lights on the front lines where the sun hits and my darker clothes in the back. In the Winter I hang in the basement but it's also an energy savings and when I hang in the basement they are wrinkled and I end up doing much more ironing which is an energy hog plus I'm taking my life in my hands going down the stairs with a basket full of wet clothes! Although, with the front loading washer the clothes aren't nearly as heavy! I've been using my dryer a little more this Winter. If you want to really chop $$$$$ off your electric bill stop using your dryer! It is one of the most expensive appliances you own. For softner and a rinse agent I use white vinegar. You will not believe what a coating those commercial softners and dryer sheets put on your clothes. If you use vinegar there will be no more soap residue left in your clothes and your towels will be much more absorbent and your colors brighter! Try it....you'll like it! And you'll be saving money...lots!
I use 1/4 cup of the detergent per load and I use 1/2 cup white vinegar for softner. Now go out there and save yourself a bundle!