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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