About a year ago I acquired my very first dishwasher. I actually had to google “How to load a dishwasher” people! I am a hand washer from way back. So recently I was at the store checking out dishwasher detergent and of course reading the labels (that’s what I do) and I was not happy. The ingredients contained all sorts of surfactants and chemicals and soaps that I don’t ever use in my house. The eco-friendly dishwasher detergents were almost $5.00 for a 32 oz bottle! So for about a year I have been hand washing the dishes and using this beautiful new dishwasher as a drying rack. I had the idea to make my own dishwasher detergent, but too many other things going on to actually take the time to do it.
So finally, using ingredients that I always have around, I started playing with a recipe. It took a few tries and a few loads had to be washed by hand, but the final result is wonderful. Streak free, sparkling dishes every time. I don’t ever take the time to pre-wash the dishes before I load the dishwasher. I rinse of the worst of the gunk, and throw them in. I was also very surprised at how inexpensive this recipe is. My total cost is only 0.33 per load!
Homemade Hippie Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/2 Citric acid
I mix the borax, washing soda and salt in a jar and keep in under the sink. You can add the citric acid to the mixture, but the ingredients tend to react to each other and get all clumpy. My OCD doesn’t like clumps 🙂 So I keep the citric acid separate and add 1/2 Tbsp per load.
Borax and washing soda (not baking soda) can be found in the laundry detergent aisle of most major grocery stores. Kosher salt in the spice aisle. I checked out several places to purchase citric acid and found the cheapest source was a candle supply store. They sell it to me in bulk for $3.00 per pound.
For each load of dishes I put 1 Tbsp of detergent in the soap dispenser and add 1/2 Tbsp of citric acid.
For people with soft water, you can skip the citric acid all together and make this detergent extremely inexpensive! For people with very hard water, you may need a full Tbsp of citric acid per load, or your dishes will turn out with a funny white film on them. Experiment with using the least amount of detergent possible and still get your dishes clean. You may be surprised how little it takes. Let me know what works for you!