For our first eight years of marriage, we did not have a dishwasher. We managed, but with each move I was hopeful that our next place would have a dishwasher.
When we moved into my in-laws’ basement we installed counters and cabinets that my in-laws got for free years ago when someone else was updating their kitchen. There was a place for a dishwasher, but we didn’t have one. Knowing that they pop up on craigslist and freecycle, I started watching for one. It didn’t take long.
After trying a few different dishwasher detergents and learning about the chemicals in them, I decided to try making my own. I tried and tweaked recipes until I got something that I like.
There is some controversy about Borax being toxic, so while I use it in my homemade laundry soap, I wanted to avoid it in my homemade dishwasher detergent. We don’t eat our clothes, but we do put dishes and utensils (and the food that touches them) in our mouths. Commercial detergents contain toxins that you’d never want to put near your mouth.
Recipe for Dishwasher Detergent
Do you remember back in March’s financial update when I mentioned purchasing some citric acid to split with my mother-in-law? Well I’m finally ready to tell you what that was all about. Citric acid is the only ingredient you might not find at your local grocery store or Walmart (though you might find it near the canning supplies).
- 1 cup Washing Soda (Amazon link, but it’s much cheaper at Walmart)
- 1 cup Sea Salt (Amazon link, but you can get it locally)
- 1/2 cup Baking Soda (just the regular kind you bake with)
- 1/2 cup Citric Acid (Amazon link, buy online)
Combine all four ingredients in a bowl. Pretty simple, right? But don’t stop there, otherwise your mixture will turn rock-hard in your container. Even though there isn’t any liquid in the recipe, the citric acid initiates a cool reaction. Instead of wasting the rock-forming powers of citric acid, we are going to harness them to create dishwasher detergent tabs, which you know are all the rage these days.
If you want a scent to your dishwasher tabs, add some essential oils, otherwise you can leave it fragrance-free (that’s what I do).