Something so simple, and very cost effective is making laundry soap. I have been making it for a very long time, and have shared the recipe lots of places, but I don't know that I have posted it here.
1 bar of soap. Fels naptha ($1.19-$1.39), zote ($0.89), or octagon are all laundry bars. I know some people that use homemade soap, or castile soap, or even ivory bars. you can also use a bar soap for spot treating stains.
1/2 cup borax (4 lb box $2.99-3.50)
1 cup of washing soda (3 lb. box $2.50-$3.50)this is not baking soda
4 cups of water
stainless steel pot
5 gallon bucket with a lid
old gallon jugs (if you want to divide out the soap. I just leave it in the bucket in my laundry room, but if you had to carry the soap, to the laundromat or to community laundry facility I would put it in jugs)
grate the soap (I use my food processor, it is just soap and will wash off), add soap and water to stainless pot and melt soap on medium heat until completely dissolved. I use an old whisk for this part, don't go higher on heat to speed up the process you will just make lots of bubbles (trust me)
Once the soap is entirely dissolved, remove from heat and add borax and washing soda and mix well.
Pour into 5 gallon bucket. Add water into pot stirring with whisk to clean any soap residue and add to bucket. Fill bucket to just about 4 inches from the top. Place lid on bucket and let sit overnight. The next day, you will have a gelatinous goo. mix it up with the whisk and don't be afraid to put your arm down in there to mix it up, it won't leave that slimy feeling on your skin like store bought does. it really rinses clean.
If you want to put it in jugs I would recommend pulling out 5 jugs and use a measuring cup and a funnel. Leave some head space in the jugs as you should shake the soap each time before you use it. I just give my bucket a stir with my measuring cup before each use. (you can divide it into 10 jugs and dilute with water and use the same amounts recommended below, but I found I liked it better more concentrated)
Use 1/2 cup per load for top loader
and a 1/4 cup per load for a front loader. It is HE washer safe as it is low suds
Also I use oxygen bleach and vinegar. I use Kroger brand and everyday living.
I use the oxygen cleaner to treat stains and help keep my whites white, and I use vinegar instead of fabric softener. There is no vinegar smell in you clothes
I purchased reusable dryer sheets from the natural food store to further help reduce static in the winter.
Total start up cost on the laundry soap with bucket and supplies for me was about $12. After that each batch costs less than $2 to make depending on which soap you use. That is a huge savings. My brother in law loves it because his clothes never smell soured anymore and he works on motorcycles. I love that we don't itch all the time.
The only thing to get used to is the fact that the clothes won't smell at all. Big brands talk about scent but smell doesn't mean clean, it just means smell. If you want a fresh smell hang your clothes outside. Nature provides the best scent, and as a bonus it saves on electricity. You don't have to have a big space either, a drying rack on a balcony, or sidewalk is just as effective for small loads, or there are portable clothes line available. I purchased this one and I am super excited to use it, and will review it once I do, but the reviews I read were really good.
Have a blessed day