Friday, 23 September 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I did it! I made dishwasher detergent! Yay me! I know I'm way  more excited than I should be on this one but I'm finding making stuff on my own/"off the grid" is extremely satisfying, exciting and economical! I hmmmed and hawwwed over what recipe I would use and finally decided on one. I halved it to make sure it would work for us since different people report different findings. I think it really has to do with how hard or soft your water is and even what type of dishwasher you have.

What's the big whoop with conventional detergents?
Phosphates! "Once phosphates are discharged into the environment, they promote algae growth in local waters. These sudden blooms of algae trigger a process called eutrophication in which local waters become starved of oxygen and devoid of life. This issue is of special concern to anyone living near a lake or pond," writes Seventh Generation, a maker of phosphates-free soaps. You can read more about aquatic dead zones here

Phosphates used to be in laundry detergent but soap makers changed their formulation years ago. Now the same is finally happening with dish detergent with some companies voluntarily banning their use. Either way I still don't really trust big names. At the very least they all contain artificial fragrances which aren't very good to be breathing in. I even read a few articles that Cascade's new formulation is ruining some people's dishes and dishwashers! I dunno but making my own was so easy and cheap I don't think I'll be turning back!

Here is my recipe:
1 cup Borax (Can be found in the laundry isle at grocery stores. I got mine at London Drugs. It was 2kg for $6.99)
1 cup Washing Soda (Also found in the laundry isle. Again got mine at London Drugs. It is not the same as baking soda so don't subsitute it with that. 3kg for $6.49)
1/2 cup Citric Acid (Had a hard time finding this in Squamish. I got it in NB at a brew it store. Yesterday I came across is at Nester's though in the Asian spice section. 1kg for $10)
1/2 cup Kosher Salt (I used Sea Salt.... not sure if it would differ to use Ionized Salt or not...)
1 tsp White Rice (you don't need to do this but apparently it helps the batch from not clumping due to to citric acid. It won't hurt your dishwasher at all)

Use 1 Tbsp per load or adjust as per your need. Also fill the Jet dry compartment with white vinegar. It will act as a natural rinse agent... and no your dishes won't smell like vinegar after I promise.

There were some Dishwashing tabs onsale this week  at Save On... I did a little math and it works out to 24 cents a load.

This particular recipe will produce 48 loads and according to my excellent math abilities I figure it's about 4 cents a load. If you turn on your dishwasher once a day then you stand to save about $75/year or more depending on the type of detergent you use (green ones tend to be even more expensive) and if you normally get good sales. Not only that, it is non toxic and saves lots of plastic containers destined for the landfill. You can use the Washing Soda and Borax for many other household cleaning products including Laundry Detergent.... which I also made!

If you want to try some and you're in the area then come on by!

36 comments:

  1. I can't wait to try this!

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  2. The reason why the new Cascade is ruining dishes is because it lacks Phosphates. The industrial Cascade still contains that ingredient.
    I tried this recipe and no matter how much vinegar, jet dry or lemon I added, there was a fine dust on my dishes. I think it's my water.
    Instead of the rice, throw in a "Hot Hands". Don't activate it, just open the package and throw it in. It takes the oxygen out of the container and you won't have the clumping.

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    Replies
    1. What's wrong with "clumping" ?

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    2. TSP or Tri Sodium Phosphate can be added back in to replace the removed phosphates. TSP is also known as 'sugar soap'. You can find it at Home Depot and Lowes.

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  3. Thanks for the tip! I will try the hot hands trick next. I have to make up a new batch soon. The "soap" hardening has really been my only issue with this recipe and it has been minor. Do you have hardwater? We have soft water here in Squamish, BC which I now consider a major blessing since making this, laundry detergent and shampoo!

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  4. love this, going to order and start saving. i make laundry detergent, needed some for the dishwasher!

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  5. What is "Hot Hands" and I have hard water......will this work?

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  6. I tried this earlier this year. Seemed great at first, but eventually there was a white build up on everything, especially the hard plastic cooking utensils and the kids' plastic cups. Yuck. I gave it up. Back to the more expensive tabs for me. Thanks, Netmilsmom, for the tip about industrial Cascade. I will start looking for that.

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  7. oy vey - kids plastic cups... Please do some research on plastics and what they are doing to your children.

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  8. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JGWXO4?linkCode=xm2&tag=invihand-20

    http://www.restockit.com/cascade-automatic-dishwasher-detergent-85-oz-(34953pg).html

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  9. Anon, I doubt some ppl actually understand the dangers of plastics.

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  10. I've used this very same recipe and the only way I was able to minimize the *haze* was to add 1/2 tsp liquid dishwasher detergent to each side of the dispenser along with the homemade.....I have great water - not too hard, not too soft.

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    Replies
    1. I make the dishwasher tabs, almost same recipe-1C borax, 1C washing soda, 1C vinegar and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. When poured into ice cube trays this gels and hardens in about 6 hrs, then turn it out and let further harden overnight. It wasn't cutting it getting the dishes clean until I also added a few drops of liquid dishsoap to the dispenser. So, this time when I made the tabs I added 2 tbsp. liquid dishsoap to the mix! Works great!!

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  11. Okay, Awesome....Gonna do that, TY, Can't wait......Would'nt Lemon Juice or Lime, work just as good as the Citric Acid?
    I have been making our own Laundry soap for 3yrs now. We LOVE it toooo. All stains come out & so clean & fresh smelling its unreal.
    It's so fun to go to the grocery store & have'nt had to buy laundry soap for 3 years now.....

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    Replies
    1. I'd like to have this recipe.

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    2. Wondering what receipes people have for laundry soap. Thank you.

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    3. Laundry Soap...

      Liquid Laundry Detergent
      1 bar of soap (Zote, found in the laundry aisle)
      1 cup borax (found in the laundry aisle)
      1 cup washing soda (found in the laundry aisle)

      You'll also need a grater, a medium sized pot, five-gallon bucket and some water.

      Use a grater to shave soap into a pot. Add two cups water, turn heat to low, and mix until combined. Remove pot from heat and set aside. Pour borax and washing soda into bucket and mix. Add soapy water from pot and mix quickly and thoroughly. Add enough water to fill three-quarters of the bucket, and continue stirring. Allow mixture to set overnight. Use one-half cup for small loads or one cup for large loads. The finished product will not be as "liquid" as store-bought detergent, it will appear chunky and thick. However, it dissolves easily in the wash, even in cold water :)

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  12. Yeah the ideas nice but the haze/residue it leaves behind is not worth it.

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  13. First of all.. rice is to keep the moisture out. never put in dishwasher.. secondly never use Citric Acid.. that is like Lemon or Lime and makes the water acidic... it will eat the finish off of lots of dishes and pots and pans in dishwasher. I know my daughter bought dishwashing soap for dishwasher put it pots and they were ruined because of the Lemon or citric acid in the soap..

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    Replies
    1. assuming you have it rinse well the citric acid is so diluted it won't ruin anything but cast iron but your not supposed to run that through the dishwasher anyway

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  14. My nice set of forks, spoons & dinner knives instructions said not to use dishwasher detergent with lemon (acid) in it.

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  15. I've been using just equal amounts of Borax and Washing Soda, and it works great in the dishwasher. It doesn't need anything else added to it.

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  16. I have been trying new recipes for about 2 months, adjusting each time because I can't seem to find what works. I'll try this one, it is similar to what I was using. I found citric acid DID help eliminate some of the haze on glass.

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  17. The repair man told me that it was my water that was leaving the white dust on my dishes and to have my water softener looked at and adjusted. I did and he also said to use Finish Quatum and I have been and it works great but would love to save some money so I'll try the tips here on this page.

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  18. Hi

    I run a website called Knowledge Weighs Nothing (http://www.knowledgeweighsnothing.com). We collect the best advice, tutorials and reviews on: homesteading, prepping and survivalism.

    I thought this post was really good so I did a quick post about it on my website here: http://www.knowledgeweighsnothing.com/how-to-make-homemade-dishwasher-detergent/. I hope you don't mind but I also used your image to give people a better idea of what your post is all about. I have linked to your original post and credited the image as yours.

    My website is currently getting 3000+ visitors a day. We also have a Facebook page with almost 16,000 fans (http://www.facebook.com/Knowledgeweighsnothing). I always let my Facebook fans know when there is a new post on the website; as a result, you should get a WHOLE LOAD of new visitors (100s) to your website over the coming days, plus many more over the coming months.

    I thought it would be nice to connect and also just check it was ok to use the image to help promote your post. Any problems or comments, let me know.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, that is how I found this site. From Knowledgeweighsnoting (which they are an awesome site also). Thanks for the recipe, I will try it out.

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  19. When someone did a followup on the "dishwasher detergent phosphate causes algae blooms," they got the "wrong" answer and were defunded.

    Turns out that not all phosphates are identical.

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  20. For what is the citric acid inside?
    Since you add soda, it will get neutraliced by it anyway!?
    baking soda is a very good source for neutralicing all kind of acid.

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  21. You can use lemon koolaid unflavored packs instead of the citric acid...it works great and is way cheaper and easier to find!

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  22. i tried this recipe and after a short time my silverware came out dull and darkened. I have since changed to using 1 tsp dawn, 2 tsp Oxyclean, and in the top shelf a small bowl with 1/4 cup vinegar in it allowing the water to fill the small bowl the rest of the way and rinse the dishes with the vinegar. I run the dishwasher and my dishes come out Sparkling clean. Just dump the vinegar solution when the dishwasher is done.

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  23. What is washing soda??

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  24. what is kosher salt and can you use normal

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  25. I tried lots of different recipes, but kept having problems with gunk in my dishwasher/on dishes. Finally I decided the best way to save LOTS of money (power, detergent etc) was to stop using the dishwasher and do the dishes by hand. They come out much cleaner and my bills are down, plus I don't waste time looking for an item, only to find it's in the dishwasher.

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  26. Leaves a thick white film on dishes.

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  27. I am interested in such topics so I will address page where it is cool described.
    top-5-best-cheap-dishwasher-detergents

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