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I just mixed up a batch of dishwasher detergent and realized it would be fun to share the recipe here, in case anyone else could put it to good use! There are quite a few recipes floating around on the internet and in magazines, but I fiddled with them until I came up with a recipe that works for us. The beauty of this recipe is that you can do just that, add a little more of this or a little less of that instead of trying brand after brand at the grocery store (because that can get expensive quickly!).
The ingredients are: 2 parts washing soda, 2 parts borax, 1 part baking soda, and 1 part kosher salt.
Add all ingredients to a jar or reusable plastic container (large yogurt container, empty juice jug, etc) and mix thoroughly. Add the detergent to your dishwasher, just as you would with commercial powder detergents. If you have hard water, or notice a powdery film on your glassware you can reduce the amount of baking soda or add some citric acid/lemishine. Also, a powdery residue can indicate that you are using too much detergent. Detergent manufacturers like to encourage us to use WAY more than is actually needed (use more = buy more = higher profits for them, right?) so don’t be afraid to scale back on the amount until it’s just right for your water and machine. Using this recipe only costs you about 10 cents per load of dishes! And the added bonus, no phosphates or other dangerous chemicals that are present in most commercial brands. You can also use white vinegar in the rinse aid compartment, instead of Jet Dry and other similar expensive products.
The technical info: washing soda works its magic on greasy or crusty messes, borax enhances the cleaning power of washing soda and also attacks grease, baking soda acts as an abrasive for scrubbing, and the salt helps soften the water for easier cleaning. If you’re curious about the safety of any of these products, please take a look at this site as it has very extensive information on using natural cleaners in your home.
Next up, I’m going to start making our own laundry detergent, so stay tuned!