This will cost you only around $7 a year to make your own soap!
You will need:
Bar of Ivory soap
1 cup of washing soda (Arm and Hammer for example)
Fill large bucket or container with 3 gallons of hot tap water. Grate the bar of soap into a saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the soap, and heat, stirring constantly until soap is dissolved. Add soap/water mixture to the hot water in the bucket. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup of washing soda and stir (do not mix up these steps). As this cools, it will turn into a white gelatanious soap. Thickness depends on the size of bucket used. Use 1 1/2 to 2 cups per load of laundry. You can add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the load as well. Use 1/2 cup vinegar in a downy ball as a softner (the vinegar smell does not stay in your clothes).
Fels Naptha Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha laundry soap -- grated
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
Put 1/3 bar of grated Fels Naptha in a pan with 3 pints of water, and heat until dissolved. Stir in: 1/2 cup Washing soda and 1/2 cup Borax. Mix until it thickens like honey. Remove from heat. In a two gallon bucket, put 1 quart of hot water, then add the soap. Mix. Fill bucket with cold water. Mix until well blended. Set aside for 24 hours. It will gel up. Use 1/2 cup for each load.
One note: NEITHER of these recipes produces a lot of suds when you put the detergent in with your wash. It still cleans well though - and the ivory smells pretty good too. Oh, and one other note <g> - the fels naptha bar soap can also be used like a "stain stick" - I dampen the fabric & rub the soap onto the extra tough stains.