Tip Tuesday: DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Recently I found myself out of dishwasher detergent.  Oh the tragedy! Rather than buying a new box I decided it was about time that I made my own.  And so I did.  And surprisingly enough, it wasn't terribly difficult.  I scoured the Internet for tips and tricks and recipes.  There's a lot of information out there so I recommend that you figure out what works best for you.  There are so many variables when determining what is the best combination.  From your water, to your dishwasher, to how you load it and how often you run it.  So don't be discouraged if something doesn't work quite right.  Just tweak it until you find the combination that best suits your homestead.  Here's what works for us:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

1 cup Borax  - cleaning agent
1 cup Baking Soda - cleaning agent
1/4 cup Salt - for a little scrubbing action
1/4 cup Citric Acid - for grease cutting

Mix the ingredients well in a container that seals well.  I used a mason jar and it worked perfectly.

Now a few things to note with this recipe.  First off, you can easily substitute the Baking Soda with Washing Soda.  However, for some reason it was impossible to find in my city so I've been using regular Baking Soda with no difficulties.  Secondly, I found it tricky to locate Citric Acid.  It can be ordered online, but I managed to find a small quantity at a Bulk Food store in the candy making area.

Once all the ingredients are mixed together then you're ready to run your dishwasher.  I used 2 teaspoons of the mix and instead of a rinsing agent, I just simply used white vinegar.

I couldn't believe the difference from the very first load!  My dishes were shiny and squeaky clean.  And the inside of the dishwasher was noticeably cleaner.  My silverware was sparkling and you could almost see yourself in the plates!

We've been using this recipe for just about 2 weeks now and it's been great.  I would say it works the same, if not better than our previous store-bought  brand and at a fraction of the price!  Plus there's not a whole bunch of fragrance and fillers, just 4 simple ingredients.

When I calculated the cost I was quite surprised.  My homemade detergent was cleaning the dishes for just $0.07/load compared to store brands that are anywhere from $0.10 to $0.40 a load!

Here's my breakdown:

1 kg Baking Soda - $6.76
1 kg Borax - $2.82
1/4 kg Salt - $0.56
1/4 kg Citric Acid - $4.39
(the online price per kilo is great but the shipping almost doubles the price.  So I  will need to find an alternate supplier to help take the price down)

Total: 2.5 kilos for $14.39.  Which works out to 438 teaspoons.  And that works out to 219 loads for $14.39!

So my cost per load is $0.066!  Awesome!   

Once I figure out a solution to my citric acid dilemma, it will bring the price down even more. Do you make your own dishwasher detergent?  What do you use?  Love to hear your tips and tricks!

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Tip Tuesday - Save your Sterling, Sinks and Pans with Soda

Do you have Baking Soda in your house?  Did you know it's a little powerhouse and cheap too!  Ditch those nasty chemicals and put the Soda to work.  There are a million different ways you can use Baking Soda in your house. How do you Soda??  Here are 3 of my faves:

1.  Clean your Silver - I remember this from Science class.  Super easy and it actually works!
Can you see the 1/2 I did?

What you Need:
1 piece of aluminium foil
1 litre of water
1 tablespoon of baking soda
A big pot - one that's large enough to hold your tarnished treasures
Tongs to fish out your now sparkly silver

How to do it: Put the water, baking soda and aluminium foil into your potBring to a  boil.  Carefully place your tarnished items into the put.  Only a couple at a time.  It shouldn't take long to come   clean but really yucky ones may need some extra time.  Fish out your silver with the tongs and dry them off with a soft cloth.  And admire your teeth in your new shiny silver!

2.  Clean your Drain

This is super easy and cheap!  Two things I love!  Pour 1/2 a cup of Baking Soda down the drain in question.  Then pour 1 cup of vinegar.  Let it sit for an hour or so.  And then run some hot water down the drain.  Voila!  Told ya it was easy!

3.  Clean your Burnt Pans

Recently I've had a bout of burning pots and pans.  I don't know why.  It's something I haven't done in years.  But for some strange reason I've done a lot lately. I burned quinoa, lentils and potatoes.  Some of them were so bad I thought I would have to toss my pots in the garbage.  But I was able to salvage them. Yay for Soda!

What you need:

1 cup of vinegar
2 tablespoons of baking soda
1 cup of water approximately - depending on how big your pan is
Your burnt stainless steel pot or pan
A scrubby as you may still need a little elbow grease

How to do it:

Cover the bottom of your pot/pan with water.  Then add your vinegar and bring it to a boil.  You may notice it looking cleaner already. Remove from the stove and add your soda.  And watch the bubbles start working! Then empty out your pan and scrub as usual.   You can add a little extra soda to add some scrubbing power.   And that's it.  You can even make a paste of soda and water and use that to scrub if you don't want to use the stove.  But it will decrease the time and effort required to eliminate the evidence of forgetting a pot on the stove.  Hubby doesn't need to know that I could've burned the house down.  :)

Not bad for 1st time given it's never been polished. Time for round 2!
Happy green cleaning!  One other thing before I go...I use just ordinary Arm & Hammer Baking Soda for cleaning.  But when it comes to beauty or health products and baking I always use Aluminum-free Baking soda.

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