Well, as for cleaning, it seems to clean as well as any other. The true test is whether it bothers our skin at all - Andy said if he starts itching to death or anything he's dumping the whole batch in the creek. If you live downstream and notice that your crayfish are especially shiny, then you'll know what happened.
But so far, there have been no complaints.
I also made another batch of detergent, using the same ingredients, but this time I chose to make a powder recipe. I used the same boxes of opened Borax and Super Washing Soda, and the baking soda cost me, oh, what - $.39/box at WalMart? Again, the bar of soap was $.79 (not on sale). So, using the products I had on hand, it was less than $1.50 for many loads. I don't have an exact number of loads, but I'll count.
1 scant bar of Octagon Soap (smuggled in this time, so Andy doesn't have a flashback) (use 2 cups, not packed down, but bang the measuring cup on the table to make sure its close to 2 cups. I had about 1/2 cup left over)
2 cups Baking Soda
2 cups Super Washing Soda
3 cups Borax
Grate soap finely* (now, the recipe calls for "bar soap." However, Octagon and Fels-Naphtha are soaps specifically marketed as stain removers or laundry soaps, so I chose that one. You can also use Ivory, and feasibly any other soap your family enjoys. This would also be one way to avoid the itching issue as indicated earlier.)
Add remainder of ingredients and mix well.
Mix very well.
Pour into a clean, dry apple juice bottle you've been saving for something like this.
Use about 1/4 cup for each load.
Yield: Approximately 2 quarts dry "powder"
*I used a cheese grater with a fine grate. I wish I had a box grater because this was the Pampered Chef roll-type grater I found at a thrift store years ago and it is nigh unto impossible to clean. So if you've over for supper soon and I ask if you want fresh grated Parmesan cheese on your pasta, I'd suggest you politely decline. Unless you like burping soap bubbles.
Stay tuned for updates as to the status of this experiment!