You may be reading the title of this post and asking yourself "why??" With small children running around, you do a LOT of laundry. The cost of detergent is ridiculous so to save money, here is a great recipe to make your own for much much less.
6 cups Borax
6 cups Washing Soda (NOT BAKING SODA)
3 bars of bath soap.
Use a cheese grater and grate the bars of soap, then allow them to sit and dry out for a couple of days. Run the grated, dried soap through your food processor to pulverize it. You can also do the same with the borax and soda if you want it to be finer.
In a large container thoroughly mix all ingredients. When ready to do laundry use 1 tablespoon per load, 2 tablespoons if your load is really soiled.
To save on fabric softener expenses, get another large container with a lid. Use 1 part liquid softener to 8 parts water. Cut several sponges in half and place into the container to soak. When you're ready to throw your clothes into the dryer, squeeze the excess softener from the sponge and toss into the dryer. When your load is finished return the sponge to soak in the solution again.
You'll save MEGA bucks on this alone. Another tip, is to save all of your bar soap remnants for this task instead of buying new bars.