Next on my list of diy cleaners to tackle was dishwasher detergent and this was one I was very hesitant about. Sure vinegar and water can clean my countertops but could I really make something that would actually clean my dishes as well as the Finish tablets I'd currently been using? Because it seems like dishwasher detergent is the cleaner I am most particular about. We've tried just about every type on the market in search of the perfect one that gets everything, especially the glasses, squeaky clean and shiny....and doesn't cost a million dollars.
Well we have been using our own diy detergent for a few weeks now and I am really happy with it! This is a powdered detergent so I keep it in a jar and put a heaping tablespoon in the detergent compartment for each load. In place of a "jet dry" type of rinse agent, I am using straight vinegar. Just pour it right into the compartment and refill as necessary.
Dishwasher Soap, adapted from diyNatural
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda (found in the laundry aisle)
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup lemi-shine (found with the dishwasher detergents and rinse agents, you can also substitute food-grade citric acid)
After mixing the ingredients together in a glass jar or other container, leave it out on the counter (open) for about 24 hours and give it a stir every once in a while. This keeps it from clumping. After that you can just put the lid on and store it wherever you usually keep your detergent. Use a metal tablespoon to measure it out or pick up some plastic measuring spoons at the dollar store to keep in the jar for easy access.
We have hard water here, but we also have a water softener so I don't know where that leaves us as far as hard water goes. If you have hard water and aren't getting the results you want with this formula you can add more lemi-shine or citric acid, up to double.
If you do the math on this (which you can see if you click through to the original recipe) it works out to about $0.05 a load. Compared to $0.20 per load for the Finish Powerball Tablets. And of course the cost savings of using vinegar instead of Jet Dry is overwhelming.
Oh, and if you are interested in the label template (you really should label all cleaners!) I got them for free here. They were very easy to use and I like the vintage look. :)
I hope you give this one a try!