Thursday, December 15, 2011

DIY Homemade and Affordable Dishwasher Detergent

DIY homemade dishwasher detergent
DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Ingredients

In my never ending quest to find more affordable and greener alternatives to brand name products I recently started searching out better dishwasher detergents. Using Pinterest and Google I looked up several different homemade options for dishwasher detergents. The majority of them were very similar in ingredients and combinations. So I tested out a few options and here is what I came up with!

First, let's make sure you have optimal dishwasher conditions. Clean up your sink, run some water down the garbage disposal, and then put in 1 cup of bleach. Let the bleach sit for a few minutes before running hot water and the garbage disposal. This will get the muck out of your system, and help your dishwasher run better.

Second, do the same with your dishwasher. Empty the dishwasher, pour 1 cup of bleach in the bottom of your dishwasher, and run a short, hot cycle. This kills any lingering bacteria in your dishwasher, and cleans out the muck in the pipes. I frequently toss my sponges in the dishwasher (top rack) when I do this.

Now, knowing your system is at its best, here's the cheapest, and incredibly effective homemade, dishwasher detergent! 

DIY Dishwasher Detergent Ingredients-
1 box Borax (4lbs 12 oz or 76 oz ) (I found it by the laundry detergent) $5.15
1 box Arm and Hammer Baking Soda (2 lbs box) $3.59

White Vinegar $1.19

Mix the Borax and baking soda in a bowl, and store in a dry container. And that's it! Ta da! No fancy anything to it! All you need is 1 tablespoon of the dry mixture! Put it in the detergent dispenser of your dishwasher.
The vinegar is in lieu of other rinse aids. Fill up your rinse aid dispenser with the vinegar.

The ingredients at full cost only come to $9.93. But because I'm always looking for ways to make things even more affordable, I went to and got some coupons! I got a full dollar off the baking soda, and when I got to the store it was on-sale $0.75 off! Woo-hoo! Bargain!

This detergent 'recipe' makes about a 6 month supply! Math- 76 oz + 64 oz = 140 oz. 1 tablespoon = .5 ounces. Which comes to 280 "servings." If you do 1 load a day, that's 280 days, which is closer to 9 months. But you may want to use just a touch more for heavy loads, and sometimes you may do 2 loads a day. So we'll compromise and say it is a 7.5 month supply of dish detergent for under $10 (or $8 if you use the coupon)!

It's cheap, but DOES IT WORK?!
One dirty, older glass, before it went in.

And the after! I see no need for another rinse agent.

Other versions included adding citric acid, kosher salt, or epsom salts. One even said to add lemon rinse. None of these products add to the effectiveness of cleaning, so I don't see the point in using them. (I really don't get the point of the salt!) If you have hard water you may want to add the lemon rinse (which was not cheap) to get shinier glass. I have really hard water, but this method worked just fine for me!

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