Thursday, March 3, 2011

Make It Yourself: Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

I promise that not all the make-it-yourself topics will be about detergents but having just recently tried this and think it's wonderful I thought it was a must for Make It Yourself Month.

In the three years that my husband and I have been married we have never had a dishwasher.  When we moved into our new house here in Tennessee it had a dishwasher!  It was like 'ta-da!'  I've done a lot of research on washing dishes by hand verses washing dishes in the dishwasher and which is better and I found evidence for both.  I guess it really depends on the machine you have and the person washing the dishes.  Our new dishwasher is nice though because it is energy rated and comes with a pamphlet telling you how many gallons per cycle it uses in water.  Compared to what I estimate I use washing dishes by hand, we opted for using the dishwasher for the most part.  Problem is the detergent.  I don't trust the regular store bought stuff just like I don't like laundry detergent.  The scents, colors and chemicals... no thanks.  And the brands that sell 'better' detergents with no scents or colors are often really expensive.  So I found a simple recipe for homemade automatic dishwasher detergent and it seems to work great so far.


Washing soda


Mix equal parts borax and washing soda in a container with a lid (i.e. 1 cup of each).  Use two large spoonfuls in the detergent container in your dishwasher per load approximately 2 tablespoons.  Run your cycle as normal.

The cost breakdown:

Based on our local grocery store:  a 76oz box of Borax is approximately $4.30, a 55oz box of washing soda is approximately $2.99 and a 45oz box of Seventh Generation Automatic Washing Detergent is $8.99.  That means that if I made 2 cups of my homemade detergent it would cost approximately $0.88 and 2 cups of the Seventh Generation detergent would cost about $3.20.  I use the same amount of detergent when I'm doing dishes in my machine for both homemade and the store bought so that's a savings of over $2.00 per 2 cups of detergent!

Thanks to my new best friends, borax and washing soda, I now can clean my dishes in my dishwasher cheaper and hopefully it helps the water system a little bit by not adding chemicals and whatever else is in the store bought stuff.  This is great too because if you already make the homemade laundry detergent, you have everything you need to make it!

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