Sometimes habit can be our worst enemy, for years I was in the habit of buying dishwasher detergent and those cool but evil dishwasher pods. I think the dishwasher pods are evil because you can’t change the amount of detergent that you use if you are doing a small load of dishes. And being cost conscious I’ve wondered why dishwasher detergent and pods are so expensive? I knew there must be a cheaper and greener alternative and I challenged myself to find it.
I quickly realized not only did I want a more economic product I also wanted a more environmentally friendly alternative. This also meant to see if I can get find a borax free alternative. While borax is very efficient when it comes to cleaning, the debate about it is heating up and more and more about whether borax is a safe product to use.
Through some research I found out what a detergent is supposed to do:
- Dissolve fat and other food leftovers
- Support softening water through ion exchange
- Neutralize lime in the water
Once I knew what I wanted the product to do, I experimented and I figured it out. The perfect recipe is a powder mix of four ingredients. It only costs about a third of the price of regular brand dishwasher tabs. This way, you not only avoid many unnecessary chemicals and excess packaging, it also saves you a lot of money.
Recipe for Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
Makes: 1 kilo / 2 pounds
- 500 g / 16 ounces of citric acid in powder form
- 250 g / 8 ounces of washing soda
- 250 g / 8 ounces of baking soda
- 125 g / 4 ounces of coarse sea salt
This will last you between 30-40 runs of the dishwasher.
Why it Works:
Citric acid is used to soften water and to prevent calcium deposits. Depending on your water quality, experiment a bit with the amount. Washing and baking soda together form an ideal grease and dirt remover. Finally, the salt is required so that the ion exchangers of the dishwasher works and protects against calcification.
Important: All ingredients must be dry! Only use pure washing soda powder, not soda crystals, which would result in an immediate reaction with the citric acid!
How to Mix and Use the Detergent
Weigh the ingredients and mix them together. Use a large container or a jar. Simply shake all ingredients thoroughly to mix them.
Use one to two teaspoons in the usual detergent compartment for a regular load of dishes. The amount required depends on the amount of the dishes, the degree of soiling and hardness of the water. After experimenting one or two times, you’ll get a good feel for how much detergent you will need each time.
Using rinse aid in addition to this powder is generally not necessary, as the ingredients do the job. However, depending on water quality you may find a small dose beneficial.
Here is a recipe for homemade rinse aid.
Remember old habits die hard, we don’t need to use expensive or chemical-laden brand products in our homes to clean with. We have tested this homemade dish washing powder extensively with great success. Even heavily soiled pots and dishes come clean, and glasses are clear and free of stains.
Have you tried this or similar recipes? Share your experience in the comments section.