We have hard water, and I haven't had any problems with our natural/homemade stuff and I've been using it for 5 years! I think MommyErin is right, you just have to work with different formulas, find the ones that work for you, and stick with them. Baking soda works as a softener, no? Make sure you include it in your formulas if you have hard water.
The other thing to consider, is if you have well water, where does your greywater go? Wouldn't you want it to be as nontoxic as possible?
I've been using a squirt of dish soap and a sprinkle each of baking soda and borax in my tub and sinks, and it works beautifully! Then I wipe down the faucets with a little white vinegar and water and the bathroom just shines.
It takes dedication to have a green, healthy home, but it is so worth it for soo many reasons.
If you use a nice scented castille soap in your laundry mixture, and then hang your stuff to dry outside (or in), it smells so fresh and truly clean. Why buy "Spring Breeze" softener/detergent when you can have the real thing?
I think the other thing that is really important about cleaning your home naturally is being very thorough and methodical in how you clean. It seems to me that using all those strong smelling chemical cleaners may make you think stuff is cleaner because of the smell.
We have all grown up in a time where we have been influenced by advertising to think "Oh, clean laundry smells like Downy."
If you're interested in keeping house naturally, you have to quiet a lot of those little voices in your head and find a new way to think about clean. To me, when I walk in my neighborhood and smell really strong fabric softener, I think, "Yikes, that smells toxic!" Plus, that stuff is made from animal fat and petroleum derivatives...
If you have to have smelly laundry, there are more natural products out there to try. Mrs. Meyers dryer sheets and the Good Home Company (their Beach House laundry fragrance is my naughty indulgence once in awhile) are both healthier options.
Good luck! I hope you find your way back to the light!