Homemade: Dishwasher Detergent

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I finally gathered all the ingredients to make my own dishwasher detergent.  

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
Makes enough for 48 Loads

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Citric Acid OR 15 packets of Lemonade flavored Kool-Aid

Mix all ingredients together and keep them tightly sealed in a plastic or glass container. 

Use 1 Tablespoon of the mix per load of dishes in your dishwasher.  Important: In order to get your plastics and glass to be spot-free and sparkly, add vinegar to your rinse aid compartment.

Here’s where I got the supplies and how much I paid for them:

  1. Borax – Wal-Mart – $2.98
  2. Washing Soda – Schnucks – $2.79
  3. Kosher Salt – Wal-Mart – $1.98
  4. Wyler’s Lemonade Mix – Dollar General – $0.10 each, so $1.50 

So after all the tedious math and weight conversions (I’ll spare you the details), I calculated that the total batch costs $2.40.  That means each load is $0.05.  I priced out Cascade Powder on Amazon.com, and it comes in at $0.06 per load (if you sign up for the Subscribe & Save option), so my homemade detergent is still cheaper!

I have enough ingredients leftover to make another 5 batches.  There are great tips on the Borax and Washing Soda packages for other uses as well – score! 

This detergent is also phosphate-free and is environmentally safe. 

I ran a test batch with some pretty nasty dishes, and I’m very happy to report that they look beautifully clean. 

Money-Saving Dishwasher Tips:

  • Scrape, DON’T rinse your dishes – you can save up to 20 gallons of water by scraping.
  • Clean your dishwasher’s trap (ours gets pretty icky) after every cycle for optimum performance.
  • Turn off the Heat Dry option and let the dishes air dry to save electricity.
  • Periodically, pour 1 cup of vinegar in your empty dishwasher and run an empty cycle for a deep cleaning treatment.
  • Only run your dishwasher if there is a full load.
  • There is a correct way to load your dishwasher – Check out this very helpful video to save yourself time and money!
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