Saturday, October 27, 2012

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

My family does not actually USE our dishwasher unless we are canning something.  And even then that is only because we do so much at one time that we do not have the space we need on the stove top to heat everything up like it needs to be.  So, we throw the mason jars in the dishwasher and it works just fine.  That is really the ONLY thing we use the dishwasher for.  The reason being is because when we started cutting out chemicals in our house, the dishwasher detergent was one that had to go.  But none of the “green” detergents really did the job.  They all left a film after they’d been washed.  We started hand washing and just haven’t gone back, even though I make a pretty good dishwasher detergent now that does work like it is supposed to.

It is so simple, and if you make your own laundry detergent, you really won’t have to go out and get very many ingredients. 


  • 2 parts Washing Soda
  • 2 parts Borax
  • 1 part Kosher salt
  • 1 part Citric Acid

Mix together evenly, and add about 2 tablespoons to each load.  Use vinegar as the rinse aid instead of the blue stuff. 

Now…  there is a challenge with this and it will depend totally on where you live and what the condition of your water is.  Hard water is more likely to leave a filmy residue.  The Kosher salt and the Citric acid are the two key ingredients that will help soften up the water making it less likely to leave any film, but you may need more that what the recipe calls for.  The vinegar is also a natural water softener.  I know here, in South Carolina, our water isn’t really hard or soft…  it is kind of in the middle.  But if you have well water, you will be more likely to have to fight hard water…  and I know the Midwest has harder water than what we have here.

Where to find the stuff: I buy citric acid in bulk.  You can order it online or you can purchase a product called Lemi Shine that I know places like Walmart carries.  There is a warehouse in West Columbia, South Carolina that carries things like citric acid in bulk.  Find them here.  That is where I buy it.  It is a bit on the pricey side though.  Washing soda and Borax can also be found at the grocery stores.  So can Kosher salt.  

Also, in the south due to the humidity, things tend to clump together.  A trick to help this product with that is to wrap some dry rice up in a bit of panty hose and tie the ends.  Leave it in the container to help draw some of the moisture out of the detergent and make it less clumpy. 

You can also buy it from me while I still have some left.  It is $7 for a quart size mason jar already made.  Or the equivalent amount in shipping safe bag.  $5 for shipping.  If you don't want to buy all the ingredients, then this may be a good way for you to try it out to decide what you think.  Email me at

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