Save on Dishwasher detergent! Make your own!
Over the years we have made our own dishwasher powder that contains no phosphates, costs pennies per load and is easy to make with simple and inexpensive ingredients. Now we have also perfected a recipe for dishwasher tablets, which provide an even more convenient application.
Here are two very simple and similar recipes for powder dishwasher detergent, and also for tablets if you prefer them.
What you will need:
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups
- Jar or a plastic container with a lid
- 1 Cup of Washing Soda – found it in most grocery stores or make your own (instructions at bottom of page)
- 1 Cup of Borax – Walmart has it at a very good price
- 1/2 Cup of Epsom Salt – Penny Lane Organics on-line store, Walmart, pharmacies etc.
- 1/4 Cup (or less) of Citric Acid - most grocery stores carry it
- Lemon essential oil – if desired
Combine in a large bowl 1 cup of borax with 1 cup of washing soda, ½ cup Epsom salt and ¼ cup (or less) citric acid. Mix thoroughly. Add few drops of lemon (or other) essential oil and pour into a jar with a lid.
Note: Citric acid will remove any mineral buildup but adding too much citric acid to the mix will reduce Ph of washing soda and therefore reduce its cleaning power.
Citric acid is not required if you use white vinegar in your rinse cycle.
Use 1-2 tablespoons detergent per load.
Use white vinegar as a rinse agent by filling the rinse compartment when empty.
How to make Dishwashing tablets:
If you prefer to use dishwasher detergent in "tablet" form, you can make these using the same ingredients as for the powder detergent, with just one minor addition, liquid and some silicon ice cube trays (or just form by hand). You will need to add some liquid to the powder, and mix it until the dry ingredients stick together and you can form them into a shape with your hand.
Just like we did above for the powder detergent, combine 1 cup of borax, 1 cup washing soda, ½ cup Epsom salt and ¼ cup (or less) citric acid.
Mix thoroughly, then add 1/4 cup of water. Add water a little bit at the time to make sure the mixture is not too soft and falling apart. You can also use lemon juice instead of water and omit the citric acid completely.
Once the mixture is soft enough to be formed (and not falling apart) spoon the mixture one table spoon at a time into silicon ice cube trays. Flatten it out, and leave it until dry – usually until the next day. Silicon molds are recommended because it’s much easier to get the detergent tablets out. If you don't have molds available, you can simply spoon one tablespoon of the mixture into your hand at a time and mold it into whatever shape you like. Set your hand formed detergent balls out on a piece of wax paper to dry overnight.
Store dry tablets in an air tight container. Use one tablet per load and use white vinegar as a rinse agent.
How to make washing soda instead of buying it:
Washing soda has been used for ages as a solvent to remove a range of stains. It is also used in commercial detergents to help detergent work with hard water.
We can make washing soda from inexpensive baking soda because the two are related. Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate or Na2CO3 while baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate or CHNaO3.
To make washing soda (sodium carbonate) simply spread a cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) on a cookie sheet and bake it at 250 degrees F for an hour. During the “baking” process baking soda will release carbon dioxide and water resulting in a brand new product – washing soda.
Let it cool and use it in your recipe.
I hope you enjoyed these recipes, and if you've had a chance to try them out please leave us a comment and let us know what you think! Happy Cleaning!