Frugal Homemaking: Homemade Dishwasher Soap

Homemade Dishwasher DetergentI have been making our own dishwasher soap for our home for a little over a year now, and I have been very satisfied with how it cleans our dishes. I run my dishwasher at least two times a day. We snack and eat often, and I don’t spend money on paper plates, so we use a lot of our dishes every day. I’m not very good at keeping track of who used what drinking cup, and our cat has a tendency to drink water out of glasses that are sitting around too long, so unclaimed beverages go into the sink if they aren’t claimed.

I varied the dishwasher detergent recipe I found here, and added some store-bought dishwasher to help with the lack of phosphates. In my opinion, it adds a little extra strength to the homemade recipe.

I did some research, and there are sites out there that says to avoid the water spots on the dishes, you can use Lemi-Shine to add citric acid. I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work that well. I order Citric Acid on Amazon whenever I’m getting low. It comes in a plastic bag, but as you can see, I just recycled a lemonade jug and refill it when it gets in. The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t have anti-clumping ingredients (not too much of a downside in my opinion), and all I do is sift out the big clumps, put them in a Ziploc and let my three year old beat them until they’re powder again.

Borax and Washing Soda can be found at Walmart in the laundry detergent aisle. I’ve found Borax at grocery stores, but Walmart seems to be the most reliable when it comes to Washing Soda. I’ve tried other stores, and they just don’t carry it reliably.

If you’re ready to try your own dishwasher detergent, gather your ingredients, a large bowl to mix it in and a container with a tight fitting lid to store it in.

Dishwasher Detergent:

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
1 cup Dishwasher Detergent (any brand)
½ cup Citric Acid
½ cup Kosher Salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Store in airtight container. Use according to your machine’s instructions. I never had the instructions for my machine, so I put two Tablespoons into both the rinse and wash compartments (four Tablespoons total) and run on normal wash.

For a rinse aid, I fill the compartment with plain white vinegar.

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