We've gone through our first batch of Home-made laundry detergent, and my experience is that it's quick to make, much cheaper than store-bought, and may just work. I say "may just work" because the diapers are sometimes totally clean, and sometimes they don't seem to be as clean as they were in Boston. But we don't have hot water hookup to our washing machine, so that could be the reason.
The challenge I faced when I arrived in Cape Town is that no-one seems to make their own washing soap here, so two of the three most common ingredients- washing soda and borax- were not freely available. Borax is only available in tiny, expensive quantities to kill/maim cockroaches (at least in the shops I checked) and washing soda is not available at all.
[Eventually, I found Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) at Kismet, the tiny hardware shop in Wynberg, and found that it's also available, more cheaply at Builder's Warehouse in Maitland (but not the one in Tokai).]
Without further ado, here's the recipe.
Washing soda- 1 cup
1 Bar of laundry soap (grated)
Melted in a pot with however much water you can fit comfortably in the pot- you want the soap to be able to dissolve well.
Once the soap is melted, you can mix in about 5-7L (2.5 gallons or so) of water. I learned that it's better to put the mixture directly into the containers you'll be using for storage, because the mixture is semi-solid after it sets and can be hard to relocate.
Wait overnight, and it'll be ready to use in the morning!