In my attempt to reduce plastic packaging, I, like many others, have decided to forego liquid laundry detergent. I liked liquid laundry detergent. You didn't have to worry about it dissolving properly in the water. But the packaging was making me mad (remember that plastic can't be truly recycled, only down-cycled), and I really don't think it's fair to the Earth to add plastic to her just because I "liked" it better.
To get past the smells that I find very strong, and to save a little money I've started making my own instead of buying powdered detergent (the ingredients of which I'm really not sure about). And I've been doing it for months - thanks, Cathy, for the recipe. It takes a little time to grate the soap, but it's worth it to me to save the plastic and the money.
1 bar Sunlight Soap grated
2 cups washing soda
2 cups Borax
All can be found in the laundry aisle at our local Safeway. You only have to use about 1/8 of a cup per load (or 1/4 cup) - experiment with what works best for you. I start dissolving it in hot water before I add it to the load.
I still only use cold water. And I use vinegar in the rinse cycle as a fabric softener. It gets soap residue out and doesn't smell.
I like knowing which chemicals are in my laundry. And I have no complaints about it at all. Works just fine.