We're on a roll, with our adventures in making our own homemade cleaning products. We started a couple weeks ago, by making our own super easy, super frugal, homemade laundry soap, and it was a hit! It's cheap, it's effective, and better for the environment. I won't be going back to the store-bought stuff anymore!
Next on the list of homemade cleaner recipes: automatic dishwasher detergent. First, a little background: it is so incredibly difficult to find a good dishwasher detergent that doesn't contain chlorine. My mother, especially, is very chemically-sensitive, and it was a lot of trial and error, before I started using Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher detergent for my own family. It cleans thoroughly, especially with our hard water, it's phosphate-free, and doesn't produce noxious chlorine fumes. Still, that came at a price; almost five dollars a box at my local grocery store. Lucky for us, after having made our own laundry soap, we had almost everything already on hand, to churn out our first batch of homemade detergent for the dishwasher.
Much like the laundry detergent, this recipe calls for borax and washing (not baking) soda. Both are readily available in grocery store and big box store laundry aisles, at a couple dollars a box. The one ingredient I had to buy was citric acid. It comes in a white powder form, and should be available where you buy your vitamins and supplements. I ordered a huge five-pound tub from Amazon. The rest of the ingredients are just pantry staples: kosher salt, and a little bit of uncooked rice (a great tip, from DIY Natural, for keeping the powder from clumping).
No soap grating in this recipe: just mix the various dry ingredients together, in a container with a tight-fitting lid, label, and you're done!
Storage container with tight-fitting lid
An old 1-oz. plastic scoop
1 cup of borax
1 cup of washing soda
1 cup citric acid
0.5 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp dry, uncooked rice
Add all of the ingredients to your storage container, close lid tightly, and shake until thoroughly mixed.
Use 0.5 oz (1 tbsp) per load.
I just ran a load of plates, flatware, glasses, mugs, and even a stoneware baking dish. Everything is squeaky clean! Vinegar also magically makes a reappearance in the kitchen. Last month, we introduced it as a fabric softener for your washing machine. Now, it goes in your rinse agent dispenser, to get sparkly, clean dishes, without the hefty price tag of store-bought rinse agent.
Happy frugal cleaning :)