Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DIY Dishwasher Detergent and Rinse

I will get back to the bathroom products, as I need to make some adjustments, so I will now talk about homemade dishwasher detergent!

I have never been in love with doing dishes by hand.  I grew up with a dishwasher, and when I haven't had one, my dishes don't get washed very often. Right now I have one of those dishwashers that rolls around so I can hide it in my pantry when company is over

Once I started my organic trend, I decided that every time one of my products was empty, I would look for a more natural, less toxic product.  I started to read about Homemade Dishwasher Detergents, and the recipe is hit and miss when dealing with where your water source comes from. If you have hard water, dishes may come out cloudy.  My dishwasher is old, and they were slightly cloudy when I used the store bought stuff(I do plan on buying a new one in the future).  So I thought, what do I have to lose?

Here are the ingredients to what I would normally buy at the store:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate 
Sodium chloride 
Cocamide DEA 
Aloe barbadensis 
Cocamidopropyl betaine 
Citric acid 
Benzoic acid 
Benzyl alcohol 
Benzyl salicylate 
Butylphenyl methylpropional 
Magnesium nitrate 
Magnesium chloride 
Propylene glycol 
Triethylene glycol 
Cl 42090 
Cl 19140

There are only 4 ingredients to the Dishwasher Detergent.

1 Cup Washing Soda
1 Cup Borax
1/2 Cup Salt
1/2 Cup Citric Acid(or two small packets of unsweetened Lemonade- don't use another Kool Aid, or you will dye your dishes- Lemonade is colorless).

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, Detergent Booster
Here are the ingredients in Washing Soda- which you can find in your laundry detergent aisle.
100% Sodium Carbonate

Twenty Mule Team Natural Laundry Booster & Multi-Purpose Cleaner-76 oz.

Here is a description of Borax- which again you should be able to find in the laundry detergent aisle.
Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.

Morton Iodized Table Salt - 4lb. box

You can use Regular Salt or Kosher Salt.  Supposedly Kosher Salt works better, I have been using what I have, which is regular.

Now Foods - Citric Acid 100 Pure - 4 oz.
Here is the definition of Citric Acid from Wikipedia:

 a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods andsoft drinks. In biochemistry, the conjugate base of citric acid, citrate, is important as an intermediate in the citric acid cycle, and therefore occurs in the metabolism of virtually all living things.
Citric acid is a commodity chemical, and more than a million tonnes are produced every year by fermentation. It is used mainly as an acidifier, as a flavoring, and as a chelating agent.
Heinz Distilled White Vinegar 16 oz

Combine these four ingredients, the citric acid or lemonade will make your new powder dish washing detergent stick together, so it's best to shake it a couple of times the first few days so it doesn't stick together.  The lemonade (if you use that instead of Citric Acid), does make a nice fresh lemon scent.

It's best to rinse your dishes so they clean well, but again, my old dishwasher hates all food particles, so I was already doing this prior to the change.

Now you ask, but what about my rinse?  Yes, dishes do dry better when you have a rinse agent.

Replace your Jet Dry, with white vinegar.  It works great!!

And now you have it.  Your own dishwasher detergent.  And when you run out, you make another batch, and don't have to run to the store.  It's one less product you have to buy!

Again, all comments are welcome.  I hope you enjoyed this entry and look forward to hearing from you.


  1. This is a good one, I've been using this recipe for awhile, and I'm pretty pleased with it. If you have hard water, double the citric acid. And, if you accidentally use baking soda instead of washing soda, it won't clean anything! I have never totally gotten rid of the cloudy glasses tho... if you have any suggestions I would be interested.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting Emily!
      I did my first batch with baking soda, and my glasses were very cloudy. The washing soda does work better. However, my dishwasher is not the best, and maybe some replacement parts(or replace the whole thing), might make things better. I have only used lemonade instead of citric acid, but plan on using citric acid with my next batch.

      Thank you again for commenting! :)