Living With Less: Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Last year I shared a recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent.  We’ve been using the laundry detergent for well over a year now and it costs me about $7.00 for 6 months of detergent.  That’s an incredible deal!

I’ve been looking for a Homemade Dishwasher Detergent that we loved as much as the laundry detergent.  We finally found one!  We’ve been using it for several months now so I wanted to share it with you!

It’s so simple…and for the most part it uses the same primary ingredients as the laundry detergent.  However, while the laundry detergent is liquid, the dishwasher detergent is powder.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
2 packages unsweetened lemonade mix

Mix all together and keep in an airtight container.  Use 2 tsp in the main detergent hopper and 2 tsp in the pre-wash detergent hopper.

We’ve been very pleased with the results!  If you decide to give it a try, I hope you are too!

What about you?  Do you use a homemade dishwasher or laundry detergent that you are pleased with?


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5 thoughts on “Living With Less: Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

  1. I am currently looking for a homemade dish detergent and have been looking all over the internet for one that I like. I do have a question – have you heard anything about borax and how it is possibly unhealthy? I have read a lot of articles regarding that – but also a few that say it’s OK. Since I have a 13 month old and a 5 year old, I don’t want to do anything that could hurt them. Just curious if you had looked into that and what you think. Also…I read somewhere to put a bit of white distilled vinagar in the rinse thingy. It supposedly helps with spots on the glass. Thanks for your blog! You are an encouragement!

    • Stephanie, I’m aware of the concerns but most stem from people mixing up borax and boric acid (borax is a cleaner and boric acid is used as an insecticide). They are related but not the same thing. Borax is a mineral and is considered an eco-friendly cleaner.

      • Thanks Ladies for bringing up Borax! I’ve been meaning to read an article about it (see below) and this pushed me to do so. I found these quotes helpful (and it also mentions the same confusion you mentioned, Jill):

        “…the Material Safety Data Sheet lists borax as a health hazard of 1, the same as baking soda and salt.”

        “Borax is classified as non-carcinogenic and a mild skin irritant. The high alkalinity of borax is likely what causes skin irritation (just as excessive use of baking soda would cause irritation). There are also several studies in the ToxNet database that show its only a very mild lung irritant and causes no lasting damage. In addition, it does not penetrate the skin well, and is not considered to be bio-accumulative. (Meaning, repetitive use over time does not mean it builds up in your system.)”

        Here’s that article:

        Over the last year I’ve been researching and narrowing down my favorite, homemade and nontoxic cleaners (cheap too!) as I too have little ones (18 mo. and soon-to-be 3 with hopes of more! 🙂 I appreciate you sharing on the subject! 🙂

  2. I’ve tried a couple homemade, nontoxic dish detergents and I really like this one best (from the book The Naturally Clean Home):

    Citrus Sparkle Automatic DISH WASHING POWDER:
    2 cups Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate)
    2 cups Borax
    6 tablespoons Citric Acid Powder
    25 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil

    Blend all ingredients well and store in a plastic container. Use 2 tablespoons of the mixture per load.

    I also like best the powdered LAUNDRY SOAP:

    Powdered Laundry Detergent – Recipe #9
    12 cups Borax
    8 cups Baking Soda
    8 cups Washing Soda
    8 cups Bar soap (grated, I use my food processor and chop it a little with a big knife on a big cutting board from there – super easy!)

    • Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
    • Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load (I use 2 tbl.)

    And this one is easy to cut in 1/2 or in thirds to try a smaller amount at first. I felt it was easier and more concentrated – maybe even with more cleaning power with the baking soda?

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