Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I fight with my dishwasher pretty much daily.  Lately stuff just hasn't been getting clean.  I've had an impossible time trying to find a detergent that doesn't leave my dishes caked in white crud.  I've tried everything from the eco-friendly to mainstream commercial (Cascade, anyone?).  To top it off, our hard water isn't making things any easier.  

I can get on board with pre-washing my dishes, but pre and post washing is just getting rediculous.  

So, I set out to make my own detergent!  After a lot of Googling, I found a lot of "recipes" that used borax.  Since borax is... uh... toxic and all, I kinda didn't want it on my dishes.  I know people use it in laundry and around the house all the time, but I don't eat or drink off my clothes or my floor, so the standard is not the same.  

Sadly, I couldn't find any sensible recipes (as in recipes that don't involve chopping lemons for every wash load-like I have time for that!).  So, as I often do, I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. 

Here's what you need:  

1 bar of castile soap:  

You can find this stuff at just about any grocery store:  Vons, Albertsons, Safeway, Hyvee, Kroger, Etc. 

Castile soap is supposed to work well with hard water, which is great news if you have hard water like we do.  

Just grate the castile soap on a cheese grater.  The smaller the pieces the better.  

2 cups of washing soda:

½ cup Kosher Salt:

3 tablespoons of citric acid:

This is where the magic happens.  The secret is in the citric acid.  If you find that your dishes aren’t coming out clean and sparkly, you probably need to add more citric acid, because the citric acid is what gives the dishes a streak free shine.  Word on the street is that you can get citric acid (also known as sour salt) at wine/beer making stores.  In a pinch, you can use powdered lemonade mix (just be sure the main ingredient is citric acid).  FYI- 1 packet = approximately ½ tablespoon.  

Lastly, a handful of rice (optional).  Insider tip #1:  (yes, we’re all insiders now) if your detergent starts to get clumpy from moisture, add a handful of rice to the mix.  The rice will absorb any moisture and wash away in the dishwasher.  

Mix it all together and store it in some kind of air tight container and you are good to go!

Presentation is everything.

The best part is that it really works!  

Now, hear my words:  You do NOT need a ton of this detergent to get your dishes clean.  If you fill your entire soap compartment on your dishwasher you will end up with funky soapy dishes.  We experimented a bit and found ½ tablespoon of soap to be the sweet spot with our dishwasher. 

Insider tip #2:  If you add a little vinegar to your Jet Dry dispenser, your dishes will have never looked cleaner!

I am really excited about this!  I think I am going to keep making my own dish detergent.  It’s cheaper than the store bought stuff, this recipe will seriously last forever, and I know everything that goes into it.  It doesn’t get much better than that!  

If you decide to make some yourself, let me know how you like it! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Borax is actually not toxic in any way. Many people confuse it with boric acid, which is made from borax. Boric acid IS toxic. This explains it a little better than I can.

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