Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frugal Home Series Part 3: Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Frugal Home Series Part 3:  Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I have always been disgusted by how much it costs to wash dishes with the dishwasher.  Even sicker at the thought of wasting money on "convenience" dishwasher tabs (okay, I'll admit.  I used to buy them in my couponing days when I could get an 18-pack for $2.  I hate couponing now!  I would always convince myself I could have something name brand because I got it cheap when couponing.  Whatever.  I spent too much and bought things that weren't very healthy.  Sure, I can get 10 packs of hotdogs for 10 cents.  But really?  Hotdogs?  My allegiance will always be to good 'ole Aldi!). 

Pinterest is chalk full of dishwasher detergent recipes.  Several of them call for citric acid, koolaid, and other concentrated items that come in tiny glass bottles and cost a pretty penny.  This recipe?  Easy Peasy.  Cheap.  If you already invested in borax, washing soda, and vinegar, you already have all of the ingredients except for one {cheap} item.

Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup vinegar
1 cup Borax
1 cup Baking Soda (or, even better- washing soda!  Either work)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice Concentrate in the lemon-shaped bottle (technically citric acid in a tiny {plastic} bottle, but SO much cheaper!)

Mix all ingredient together (use a BIG bowl.  That vinegar and baking soda will rock it out!) and store.  I used an old detergent bottle I had saved for this very occasion.  Shake to mix before each use.

**Please note that you will need to rinse your dishes before loading.  Apparently you are always supposed to do this?  =)  I say this because my husband usually is the dish-loader in our family and I do just about everything else (We've had some clothes.. ehhhem..  ruined. =D) (and I don't mean to say my husband makes me do everything.  I love my home and taking care of it.  Sometimes we argue because I don't want him to help because I love it so much.  And he works hard.  My way of serving him to make up for all the times I am a total b-rat). He says I am the worst dishwasher-loader of all time.  Too many dishes.  Nothing is rinsed.  Salt and Pepper (or something) particles on tops of cups when dry.  Woops!

Other than having to rinse, it works wonderfully.  Even glass was nice and shiny, no residue!

If you want to boost the rinse cycle (which I always do), add 2 tbsp pure vinegar to the rinse/jet dry dispenser.  It is awesome!  Seriously, who would have thought something so bitter as vinegar could be so sweet?!


  1. I love this! I can't wait to try it. :)

    1. Hi. I tried it. And the end result was too runny. So I added more bar soap to try to make it thicker but still runny after 24 hours in total. Do I add more soap??? I have already put in about 6 to 9 bars. I lost count. Any ideas? I added 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Gylcerin. 16 cups of bottled/jug of water. Thanks.. Kim B

  2. I made this but it solidified. Can you offer a suggestion? Is that what I should have expected? (I poured it into a glass bottle.)


  3. Hey Angie- mine did, too. I found that I had to either violently shake the container or stir it with a spoon before pouring it into my dishwasher. It was worth the extra step, though! Hope this helps.

  4. Hmmmm...mine is really hard. I think I will try heating it and see if that does something. Thank you for responding.

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  6. I have never tired mixing everything like she suggest, but I keep the mixture in two separate containers. 1 with the dry ingredients and the second with the pre-mixed wet ingredients in a ketchup squirt bottle. I have also read that if the dry ingredients start to clump you can put a silica packet in there. The last time I bought new shoes I happen to see the little packet so I just threw it in there for good measure.

  7. Do you still make this and use this? Any recent tips?

  8. I made it! you have to put in in ice cube trays and let harden! then dump them in a container and use like dishwasher tab!!

  9. Why is there a white film on everything, including the inside of the dishwasher?


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