Monday, June 25, 2007

How to make dishwasher detergent

Y'all know this is my very first dishwasher, so I give the Internet full credit for teaching me how to use it! Readers assured me that generic dishwashing detergent was just fine. They were right. Walmart's brand made our glassware sparkle.

I just kept forgetting to buy more. (I keep telling you, half of frugality is procrastination!) After a heavy load of company dishes, I looked up a few DIY recipes. The easiest calls for one part Borax to one part WASHING soda. The accompanying article includes a helpful cost breakdown.

Amy at Momadvice uses a more kitchen-cabinet-friendly version: 1 cup Borax, 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt. Test a tablespoon's worth in your next load for effectiveness. If everything's not squeaky clean, add straight vinegar to the rinse compartment next time. I keep mine in a Tupperware canister that's just as easy to pour as Cascade.

Go ahead and buy the giant jug of vinegar. You'll use it to de-stink left-too-long laundry and concoct homemade volcanoes. Borax is handy, too, as a cheap laundry booster and natural insecticide.

28 comments:

Lu said...

Thanks for the ingredients! I will talk to hubbie about making our own. Did you try the homeade stuff yet? Was it able to clean the dishes?! Let us know!

Anonymous said...

hahah, we buy the giant jug of vinegar, cause we put it on fries, fish, cucumbers, chips..etc,,,,and handy to clean with too...

but we're canadian....

Celina in Canada

Meredith said...

Yes, it works! At least, given our dishwasher and water softness!

Stephanie said...

I had trouble with a film on the dishes with the homemade detergent. Maybe it is my water or my older dishwasher. I am now using it to stretch the Aldi detergent (the best and cheapest IMO) Working great now.

lady laura said...

I love you, Meredith! I am SO gonna try this. The heavy chemical smell of dishwasher soap irks me. And concerns me....

Christy said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm doing the homemade laundry detergent and was wanting to try dishwashing detergent next. Thanks for sharing what works for you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipes, Meredith! Oooh, I'd love to know how you make homemade volcanoes!

Natalie

Jeana said...

Funny I didn't think of this, when I just tried homemade laundry detergent. Have you tried that?

Amy said...

Thanks for the mention, Meredith! I do like the homemade stuff, but use it to stretch the Aldi brand as well. I just use a little dash of the store brand with the homemade stuff. It seems to help boost it in some way.

I read that the washing soda left more of a film on the dishes then the baking soda, so that is why I tried that recipe instead...

Kay in PA said...

I will have to try the homemade dishwasher recipe, I have tried making one before but it called for Borax & Baking Soda, I wonder if Washing Soda will work better, I have some for when I make my own laundry detergant...we are currently have trouble with our dishwasher, the top rack is not getting washed...so experimenting with it may have to wait.

Mama Squirrel said...

I used the "giant jug of vinegar" yesterday to make ricotta cheese (curds and whey). Who knew?

Shannon@Idylwild said...

I just recently ran my dishwasher with nothing but vinegar in the rinse thingy and a tiny bit (less than half a tablespoon I bet) of regular dishwashing liquid because I was out of "everything." It worked great:)

Meredith said...

A lot depends on the hardness of your water.

Marie said...

Love the idea of making the dw detergent. But I have a question on the laundry detergent. My family has really (I mean REALLY) sensitive skin- can I still make my own (and how)?

Meredith said...

Marie, I can't use the homemade laundry detergent, either. You still need to add a laundry soap to the mix. Zote, Ivory, and Fels Naptha all have perfumes or colorings that tend to irritate the kids. Even then, my homemade batch didn't work all that well.

I have been successful finding free-and-clear detergents at Big Lots or on sale with coupons. Of course, I also use about half the suggested amount!

Marie said...

I can't find washing soda anywhere.

2boysmama said...

One tip for saving on laundry detergent and water... front loader washer. You use about 1/4 to 1/8 the amount of detergent you normally would. I buy one big box from Costco and it last about 9-12 months.

Anonymous said...

I buy the tubs of dishwashing soap at Sams and transfer it to a tupperware ceral container and store under the sink. I pour vinegar into the rinse compartment.It work fine. We only run full loads in the dishwasher. Vinegar is also great for the garbage disposal and drains.

Marie said...

Thanks Meredith. I have wanted to try making my own laundry soap, but with our skin, thought it might be impossible. I figured I would ask since I am trying to cut costs. I use the free and clear on a regular basis, but with our family of 5 and tow really messy boys I go through at least one of the huge ones a month (that is using less than waht they tell you too). Thought I might try and save some money. :)

~Quasimodo~ said...

I do use homemade laundry soap, made with ZOTE, and it works well for us, and at about .25 per 200 load jug, that's a savings of $2!

What I want to know, Meredith, is how do you use vinegar to "de-stink left-too-long laundry"? It gets really hot in our home and sometimes I end up washing the whole load again! I'm so blessed that someone has found a way to do this! *waits with bated breath*

TIA!

Nate said...

pour 1/2 c vinegar over laundry and run the load on rinse cycle. vinegar also works great for a liquid fabric softener!

Jes said...

Marie and Meredith,
My husband's family has all sorts of allergies, they are especially sensitive to soaps.
I have been making my own laundry detergent for over 6 months now with no problems.
I use pure and natural bar soap, you can get it just about anywhere, I get 3 bars at Walmart for 97c! Maybe you could try using that.

Heather aka The Momma said...

I found your link through a WFMW post and I'm so excited! HOW BRILLIANT! I can't wait to try it! Thanks :)

Jane said...

Just found your blog through WFMW and I am so excited! I am going to try this. Just also learned that Borax kills ants- what a productive day! Looking forward to coming back here!

Anonymous said...

Just a tip for anybody else having a hard time finding “washing soda”, we live here in Oregon and have spent almost 2 months searching every store from the little mom-n-pop’s to the big box stores, and NONE of them carry it, or will order it.

HOWEVER, take a walk over to the pool maintenance section at your favorite big blue store with the smiley face, and find “ph up”. It is sold in little one pound containers which are about 6 bucks each, but keep looking and you will find an off brand bucket with small wording on it, 4 gallon size buckets of pure sodium carbonate (washing soda) for about $5.00 bucks. It is exactly the same chemical as the arm and hammer stuff, and it’s dirt cheap, and a bucket that big should last for years.

(THIS POST IS BY ANOTHER MAN OR WOMAN, I AM REUSING IT FOR IMFORMATIVE PURPOSES, HOPE IT HELPS)

Bonnie said...

For those looking for washing soda: You can call the customer service # of the company that makes Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. With your zip code, they will tell you who sells it closest to you. I am getting ready to make laundry soap and pulled up this link for dishwasher detergent. Can't wait to try and save money as well as be healthier.

Anonymous said...

Amanda
I found washing soda at kroger in the laundry section.

Anonymous said...

For people with sensitive skin (who have problems with homemade laundry detergent) I'd like to make a couple of points that may help you find the right "recipe" for you.

- Always keep in mind, that water, all by itself, can be used to clean clothes. (Not the preferred way to clean I know... but it's good to remember that.)

- The "optimum" Ph balance of a detergent is 9 to 11

- Borax has a Ph of about 9.5

- Washing soda has a Ph of about 11

- Baking soda has a Ph of about 8.1

- Baking soda and Washing soda both have the ability to lift dirt & grease as well as neutralize odors.

- You can exchange Washing soda for Baking soda (and visa versa) in cleaning mixes. But will probably prefer (and need) Washing soda for those really heavy cleaning jobs (although Baking soda will work on those same jobs, but not quite so well or fast)
NOTE
***Always wear gloves when using washing soda as a cleaner!***

- Borax helps MAINTAIN the Ph balance of a mix (making the mix effective longer and therefore MORE effective overall)

- Soaps are used in most homemade recipes because of thier "specialty" of dissolving grease & removing dirt

SO most homemade detergents use:
Water - for it's base cleaning properties, Washing soda - for it's high Ph & thus high cleaning power, Bar soap for the added grease dissolving & cleaning power, and Borax - to keep the Ph (and thus cleaning power) UP and going longer.

So if you are having irritations from your detergent, it's most likely due to the Ph balance of your mix, or an allergy to an ingredient you are using. Fixes for this would include trying different bar soaps (If your family has a preferred bar soap - just use that! If they use a preferred liquid soap, see if that company produces a bar version, or search for some irritant free soaps at your local market) If you ARE using a soap in the mix that you don't normally have issues with, it could be the Ph balance... try to switch from using washing soda to using baking soda, or use Less baking soda, or less borax, or use less of the detergent overall. (Instead of 3 Tablespoons my original recipe suggested, I ended up only using 1 in lightly dirty loads, and 2 in heavy loads.)

And again, keeping in mind that "water" can clean your clothes by itself, don't be afraid to take out one of the ingredients of your recipe completley (even if just to 1 by 1 test them all to see if you can pin-point whether it's an allergy to a specific ingredient)

Sorry this 'comment' is so long. I just hope all of you who have problems with homemade laundry detergent and still want to use it are able to find a solution!

Oh, and one other thing. If one of your reasons for using 'home made cleaners' is to save money, I HIGHLY suggest shopping at mom & pop stores and local markets (with products that are made, grown & sold by people in your area) The ingredients may be slightly more expensive than at Large Chain stores but they will still save you money over buying the store detergents!!!! And it is SOOO important for the future to invest in local products!