Thursday, April 14, 2011

DIY detergent review

I blogged about how I made my own DIY laundry detergent a while back.  What I didn't find time to write about was a dishwasher detergent recipe that was even easier - no cooking/melting necessary!  We have a standard apartment dishwasher - nothing special.  It's pretty new, black and we've always used standard dishwasher detergent and/or eco friendly versions.  So I decided to try my hand at DIY dishwasher detergent:

It's a basic recipe:
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda

    They're both powders so just combine them in a tub and use 2-3 tbs per load. 
I mixed them up and just filled the little cup in my dishwasher full of this new cheap cleaner.  Thing is... I wasn't impressed.  What's the point of using a dishwasher if you're going to have to re-rinse, de gunk and dry all your dishes?

So I googled and found that maybe I was missing some key ingredients!  Wahoo, I'm not a DIY detergent failure after all!  So this time I mixed up:
  • 1 part borax
  • 1 part washing soda
  • 1/4 - 1/2 parts citric acid. 
  • used vinegar as the rinse aid.

not clean

This supposedly gets rid of that film and makes dishes shiny.  Note: you can supposedly use lemon kool-aid concentrate powder instead of citric acid.  Because who has pure citric acid lying around?  Of course we do - we're weird.  We make homemade cheese - another blog post later.  So... I ran a load of dishes, and STILL not impressed. :(  It still didn't work as well as store bought detergents.  I had to wipe down glasses and some still had food or junk on them.  Everything has water spots.

What gives?

What am I doing wrong that this detergent isn't working for me?  I've googled more and found that:

a. I could be using too much detergent each load
b. I may need to clean the spray heads inside the dishwasher - with CLR or a ton of vinegar
c. I perhaps need to use 1 drop of regular soap (or Dr. Bronner's) with each load

I'm testing more theories and web testimonials on other DIY detergents.  I want to do this since it's better for the environment to not dump harsh chemicals into our water supplies and it's better for our home to not be around so many chemicals.  Plus I'm hoping that it saves us money.  As Michelle Duggar would say "buy used, save the difference".  Okay this isn't used, but homemade.  But if the results aren't there then I'm not going to waste my time.  I'll stick with couponing for cheap 'good' detergents.  More updates soon.


  1. Ugh, sorry it didn't work as planned! The only thing I've ever made with borax was homemade gak :)

  2. So what is your update on the dishwashing soap??


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